Niigata, Japan, Mar 12, 2011 / 05:17 am America/Denver (CNA).
The epicenter of the earthquake that caused a deadly March 11 tsunami is located near the site of an apparition in which Mary warned about a worldwide disaster that could afflict humanity.
Japanese church officials have confirmed that the Diocese of Sendai, in the north of the country, was hit hardest by the 8.8 magnitude earthquake – the worst in Japanese history – and the resulting 23-foot waves.
Hundreds of people have already been confirmed dead in the city of Sendai, located less than 90 miles away from the apparition site of Our Lady of Akita in the town of Yuzawa.
The city of Akita, which experienced fire damage and flooding along with many parts of northern Japan, is a place of veneration for Catholics.
In 1973, the Virgin Mary was said to have predicted a number of future events – including natural disasters even more serious than Friday's earthquake and tsunami – during three appearances to a Japanese religious sister, Sr. Agnes Sasagawa.