Church authorities took a cautious approach to the phenomenon. The pastor of the local church, Fr. Giuseppe Bruno, came to the Lannuso home accompanied by several experts, including open atheist Dr. Michele Cassola, to investigate.
There, they directly witnessed the image weeping, the last time it did so. The experts would later be part of the investigative commission to determine the authenticity of the tears and their origin.
Upon testing the fluid being shed by the image, and comparing with human samples, Dr. Cassola said it was clear that the liquid from the image was analogous to human tears, although he had no scientific explanation for the phenomenon.
The final report of the commission was released on September 9, 1953. Three months later, on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the bishops of Sicily unanimously declared that the image of the Mother of God had indeed wept. The tears would purportedly become the source of many miracles throughout Italy.
In an October 17, 1954 radio message to a Marian conference in Sicily, Pope Pius XII referred to the weeping image and asked, "Will humanity understand the mysterious language of those tears? Oh the tears of Mary! Upon Golgotha they were tears of compassion for her Jesus and of sadness for the sins of the world. Does she cry again for the renewed wounds produced in the Mystical Body of Jesus? Or does she cry for so many sons, in which error and sin have extinguished the life of grace, and who gravely offend the Divine Majesty? Or are they tears awaiting the belated return of her other sons, once faithful, and now dragged down by the false mirage of the legions of the enemies of God?"
The large number of faithful who came to venerate the miraculous image led to the construction of a shrine in 1968, which was later renovated in 1994. That year, Saint John Paul II consecrated the shrine on November 6 during his pastoral visit to Catania and Syracuse.