Our Lady of Medjugorje
"Our Lady takes us to the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and she comes to us, inviting us to open our hearts to the Lord. Our Lady is the expression of the highest dignity which God has bestowed on men and that dignity which makes him a real child of God. St John says 'Now we are children of God. What we are going to be, we do not know, but we will see Him as He is.' So let's get rid of false glitters and idols, that our eyes become clear and that we can collaborate with Our Lady, to bring not only ourselves to conversion, fasting, prayer, to the Lord, but to take many with us; to be co-redeemers, to be collaborators in the redemptive work of God; that we too one day can say 'Our Lady, your visit was not in vain. You have stayed so long with us but thank you because you have convinced us, that through your humility, through your simplicity, through your tender love, you have convinced us that we can follow you, that we can open our hearts to you and that you can lead us into the open heart of your son."
"If I weren't Pope, I would already be in Medjugorje confessing"
Mgr Slawomir Oder (Judicial Vicar of the Appellation Tribunal of the Vicariate of Rome), in his book 'Why He Is a Saint - The Life and Faith of Pope John Paul II and the Case for Canonization', writes:
"His devoted love for Mary only grew and flourished when the connection between the 3rd secret of Fatima and the assasination attempt of May 1981 became clear. In connection with that dramatic event, extrajudicial sources confirm, John Paul II also saw a link with the apparitions of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje, in the former Yugoslavia, which began at the end of June of the same year. The confirmation of this link would later come, to those who believe, in the message to the faithful from Mary herself on August 25, 1994, in the period when the Pope was preparing for his pastoral voyage in Croatia scheduled for the coming September 10-11. "Dear children, I am united in prayer with you today in a special way, to pray for the gift of the presence of my beloved son in your country. Pray, my children, for the health of my most beloved son who suffers, but whom I have chosen for these times."
Although he never took an official position on these apparitions, in private Pope Wojtyla did not conceal his own belief. To Monsignor Murilo Sebastiao Ramos Krieger, Archbishop of Florianopolis in Brazil, who was going for the 4th time on a pilgrimage to the Sancuary of the Queen of Peace, he confirmed: "Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world!" In 1987, during a short conversation, Karol Woytyla confided to the seer Mirjana Dragicevic: "If I weren't Pope, I would already be in Medjugorje confessing." This intention finds confirmation in the testimony of Cardinal Frantisek Tomasek, Archbishop emeritus of Prague, who heard him say that, if he weren't Pope, he would have liked to go to Medjugorje to help with the pilgrimages.
Even more eloquent in this connection are the words written black on white by the Bishop of San Angelo, Texas, Monsignor Michael David Pfeifer, in a pastoral letter to the diocese on August 5, 1988: "During my visit ad limina with the bishops of Texas, in a private conversation with the Holy Father, I asked him what he thought about Medjugorje. The Pope spoke of it in very favourable terms and said: "To say that nothing is happening at Medjugorje means denying the living and praying testimony of thousands of people who have been there."
Dating back to March 26, 1984, is another epiosde recalled by the Slovakian Archbishop, Pavel Hnilica, one of the prelates who was closest to the Pontiff. When he went on his secret mission to Moscow - to celebrate Mass secretly within the walls of the Kremlin - the Pope asked, "Pavel, did you go to Medjugorje, then?" When Hnilica said no, because of the dissent expressed by certain Vatican authorities, the Pope replied, "Go incognito and come back and tell me what you have seen." Then he took him to his private library and showed him a book by Father René Laurentin in which a number of messages from the Queen of Peace were quoted, commenting, "Medjugorje is the continuation of Fatima, it is the completion of Fatima."
After John Paul II's death, his friends Marek and Zofia Skwarnicki made available the letters that he wrote to them, abounding in specific references to Medjugorje. On May 28, 1992, the Pontiff wrote to the couple: "And now every day we return to Medjugorje in prayer." Welcoming them as guests that same year for the Christmas greeting, on December 8, he wrote on the back of the image of a saint: "I thank Zofia for everything concerning Medjugorje. I too go there every day in prayer: I am united with all who are praying there and who receive the call to prayer from there. Today we better understand this summons.""
Medjugorje - Međugorje
Medjugorje ('between the hills') has been a place of pilgrimage and conversion since 1981 when, on 24th June, 6 children saw a beautiful woman on the hillside who, on the second day, told them she was the 'Queen of Peace'. Marija, Vicka and Ivan continue to have daily apparitions to this day; Mirjana, Ivanka and Jakov have apparitions once a year. The parish is served by the Franciscans. Pope Benedict XVI has set up a new commission to look into the authenticity of these apparitions.
While until the Church has made a pronouncement on Medjugorje, there are no official pilgrimages, several million pilgrims have travelled to Medjugorje in a personal capacity (over 1.25 million consecrated hosts have been distributed at Masses in Medjugorje between 1985 - 2010). What is known for sure is that Medjugorje has been the place of a conversion of heart for many. Fr Danko, one of the parish priests, is currently collecting information about vocations received in Medjugorje, for the Vatican commission. He has received over 500 testimonies so far, and expects over another 500 - view the questionnaire. For much more info, visit the Medugorje Parish website.
Magnus, from Scotland: "I think of Mary as a very, very brave and strong and gentle person ... In some ways I think of her as a spokesperson for the poor, especially through her Magnificat, through her beautiful prayer of praise and her prayer of incredible hope .. Through her words and through her life, I think she shows us how to believe, and that things can get better. She shows us how to have faith in our good and loving God, and I think again at Medjugorje she invites us to make that choice, about whether to be people of hope and whether to be people who put her son Jesus at the centre of our lives like she did and does always. So, more than anything, I suppose when I think about Our Lady, I have a huge, huge sense of gratitude to her for her constant presence in my life and for her never giving up on me when I go astray, when I forget what's important, when I forget her Son, when I sin. I have such a sense of gratitude for her patience, for her never tiring of inviting us again back, for never giving up on us, for never making us feel bad about ourselves. Those are my thoughts on Mary, my mother." ♦
Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow started Mary's Meals in 2002, which now provides daily meals in school for over 600,000 children in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Mary's Meals is one of the great fruits of Medjugorje.
Milona, from Germany: "In Medjugorje I met Our Lady in a new way. I knew her in my early life through Fatima and there was always a little corner of paradise that stayed in my heart after a day in Fatima. But here I met her as who she really is and she was just simply for me the beginning of a new life. Because what I met was a woman that is so close to us and so motherly, and motherly in the most securing way that .. I didn't know this was possible. A mother that never wants us to worry; she always makes me understand 'Do not worry. I am the Queen. I am there. There will be a way out. Pray, pray and trust and be at peace.' She has taught me that there is not one moment of the day that I'm not being looked after, that I'm not being looked at. And I went through some very, very difficult moments, where I felt I was in absolute pits of darkness and nearly despair. But yet there came the moment when I couldn't anymore, there came a light and I could breathe again. So she for me she is like the breath of fresh air every day that brings me a God that she knows, the living God who is close, close, close. So she for me is a wonderful bridge between us humans, because she's like us and she's also the fruit of what her son did for us like in advance. And so she knows it all, she knows the strength of decision, she gives us all the secrets, all the mysteries of her relationship with the Lord, she gives it to us. And this is what I just love about her, because she's totally unselfish - she would be, wouldn't she - but she says it's all out of dear love for the Lord and for you, my children. So she gives everything to us that He has given her ... She for me is the deepest joy and a sign of hope and she gives me strength every single day and I just praise the Lord for having such a mother and for having her to us." ♦
Eileen, from Ireland: "I had a lot of miracles from Our Lady, especially when I went to Medjugorje for the first time. I was addicted to drugs and drink and she helped me to come off all that. She helped to be strong. .. She helped me in all my situations, especially with my family and my children, and she kept me strong and she kept me praying."♦
Jan, from Italy: "My relationship with Mary started becoming closer and closer when I went to Medjugorje a year ago. In her I found a mother, I found forgiveness and felt peace, and when I came back to my city that was the only thing that I could think about and look for in the months that came. And I started praying the rosary every day and she started bringing me closer to Jesus, day by day, and what happened next is I started discovering again the sacraments and the Mass." ♦
John Paul, from Ireland: "Our Lady invited me to go to Medugorje in summer 2010 and from that time she has been leading me back to her son, Jesus. So I just encourage all of you to turn to Our Lady. If you're experiencing any difficulties in your life, turn to Our Lady and she'll never let you down. She'll hold you by the hand if you ask her and, through the rosary, she'll lead you back to her son, Jesus." ♦
Anton, from England: "Apart from Our Lady being one of the major figureheads of the Church and an important part of my life in the sense that I pray to her daily in the rosary, she played a big role in my life for 6 months when I was in a place called Medjugorje, where I was able to deepen my relationship with Our Lady and really experience her love as a mother, but also as someone who is able to offer comfort and joy and peace and pretty much every good measure of life all in one." ♦
Rodolphe, from France: "Pendant longtemps je connais pas vraiment qui était Marie. J'ai eu une relation personelle avec Jésus, avec le Père et l'Esprit Saint. J'ai fait un pèlerinage marial en Bosnie et là j'ai pris conscience de l'amour de Marie comme Mère de Dieu et Mère de tous les hommes et le chaplet a pris un autre sens pour moi et j'ai pu le prier tous les jours." ♦
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Father Danko Perutina OFM, one of the Franciscan parish priests in Medjugorje, talks about his vocation to the priesthood: "There was a big battle inside me and I couldn't support this. One day, after Communion, I sat down in the last bench in an old church in Mostar and I told Jesus, "Jesus, I will die a healthy sportsman, because I can't support this pressure. And I have to decide and right now I decide, I will become your priest." At that moment, I felt like a burden of about 500 kilos that had been on my shoulders just disappeared. And at that time I saw that I guessed. Now I have been a priest for 11 years, I am 41 years old and if I had to be born 100 times I would choose to become a Franciscan priest, because I am very happy, as a priest, as a Franciscan and as a man, because Jesus calls me and gives me the grace to say 'Yes, I go with you'. ... If somebody is in the cross to be or not to be a priest or not, I recommend do not be afraid, go ahead, and Jesus will give you big grace. What's important - don't be afraid." ♦
Franice, from the US: "This is my 6th journey to Medjugorje, and I come for Our Mother's call. She's calling all of us, she's calling all of us to be closer to her son. She does not want to be the centre but she is like a mother: she enfolds us, she covers us with her mantle, she blesses us. There are many graces that pour from this site and the most important, beyond the visionaries, beyond the sites and beyond the swirling sun, is the change of heart, is that you leave your hard heart and your mother replaces it with a heart that is soft and open to Our Lord Jesus. And as our mother says: 'Come. Come and meet my son, come and meet him here.'" ♦
Michael, from England: "Mary came into my life about 20 years ago. Having been brought up a Catholic and kicked it all pretty well into touch, somehow a place called Medjugorje came on the scene to me, and when I was searching I thought 'Yes, I'll have a look at this place. If she is there, she can tell me. If not, I'll carry on the way I'm going.' I went to Medjugorje - Mary touched me in the most extraordinary way and I can't really say very much other than that my parish priest (who said I was the most unlikely member of the pilgrimage) asked me what I was feeling and I said 'I am feeling extraordinarily loved, unbelievably loved and yet I am absolutely nothing.' And that has remained with me ever since. So Mary, through Medjugorje, brought me back to her Son and since then, yes, a change of life." ♦
Helen, from Ireland: "I had great devotion to Our Lady when I was a child: I used to pick little primroses and my mother had a little altar. During the month of May I used to decorate it with the veil and the flowers, but over the years I strayed away and it was the blessed lady who brought me back again to Jesus. I went on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje and it changed my life. Her greatest contribution to me is that she's like the refuge of holy love, the protectress of the faith and I pray to her every day to protect my faith because I never want to lose it again; it's the most precious thing I have." ♦
Marian, from the USA: "I had a lot of scepticism and everything about coming to Medjugorje, and I feel I had a lot of obstacles to overcome and I had a lot of tragedies in my life, and I feel that the Blessed Mother put her hand on my shoulder and brought me here to Medugorje. It has been an eye-opener to see everybody with the Blessed Mother in their heart, and coming that so many miracles have taken place through the Blessed Mother." ♦
Richard, from England: "Really this seemed to be very simply a sign, a gift, and a miracle from Our Lady, And I took it as a sign of her benediction and a sign somehow of the reality of her place in God's plan and the reality of her intercession and the reality of her mission to draw us closer to God and closer to Christ her son." ♦
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Kathy, from England: "I would invite Our lady to walk down the aisle with me with her arms around me when I received Jesus in Holy Communion, to teach me how to receive Him. And, well, I believe that she does that. I don't believe that I know how to receive Him, I don't believe I will ever know how to receive Him properly. But I know that she answers my prayer and as far as I can open my heart, she helps me to receive Him as worthily as I unworthily know how." ♦
Rita, from Ireland:"From there on in, my life has been with the Blessed Mother, no matter what comes, no matter what happens in my life, because I know of the love the Blessed Mother has for me, and that she loves everybody. She's a mother, she's a perfect mother ,and her motherly love is so beautiful and it has brought me to God the Father, brought me to Jesus, and to knowing the Holy Spirit." ♦