The following comes from a May 11 Catholic News Agency article by Mary Rezac:

A statue of the Virgin Mary in Fresno, Calif. appears to be weeping miraculous tears, according to witnesses.

The family that owns the statue says the tears have been coming and going for about the past year and a half.

According to witnesses, the tears appear to well up in Mary’s right eye and stream down her face. Maria Cardenas, owner of the statue, placed a glass under the statue’s chin to collect the apparently miraculous tears and share them with people who come to see it.

The statue was a Mother’s Day gift to Cardenas 10 years ago, she told local news station ABC30 Action News. However, it didn’t start weeping until after the murder of her cousin.

The news crew stayed to see the statue weep, and reported that the tears were oily, smelled like roses, and were welling up continuously.

Bishop Armando Ochoa of the Diocese of Fresno said in a statement that he is “just becoming aware” of the apparently miraculous statue.

“It is unknown who the priests are that were being referenced in a related televised news story, as the Diocese has not had any member of the clergy report this matter to Bishop’s Office, to date,” Bishop Ochoa said.

The family will be contacted by the diocese in a private manner in order to offer pastoral guidance regarding the phenomenon, he added.

“The Catholic Church is very cautious with these matters and employs science where possible to ferret out hoaxes and other non-supernatural explanations,” said “Miracle Hunter” Michael O’Neill, who extensively researches Catholic miracles.

“Tears are collected and tested to see if they are human (pig’s fat has been found in some false cases) and statues may be x-rayed to rule out any internal mechanism used to fraudulently mimic the flow of tears,” O’Neill told CNA in e-mail comments.

“Some weeping icons have been shown to have natural causes – condensation or leaking ductwork in the wall behind them. On a few very rare occasions these lachrymations (tears) have been found to have no explanation and are worthy of belief as being miraculous.”