Proclaiming God's Word

"Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, fastened with double chains, while guards kept watch at the door. Suddenly an angel of the Lord stood nearby and light shone in the cell." -Acts 12:6-7

St. Peter was in jail on several occasions, and St. Paul was jailed even more frequently. However, both were repeatedly and miraculously freed from jail and for proclaiming God's Word. Because "there is no chaining the word of God" (2 Tm 2:9), there is no chaining those committed to proclaiming God's Word.

Paul connected his rescue from dangers with his preaching of God's Word. He said: "The Lord stood by my side and gave me strength, so that through me the preaching task might be completed and all the nations might hear the gospel. That is how I was saved from the lion's jaws" (2 Tm 4:17).

When we proclaim God's Word, we need not be chained by compulsive behavior, imprisoned by sin, or paralyzed by the fear of death (see Rv 11:11-12). The truth of God's Word sets us free (Jn 8:32). God's Word is the key to freedom. On this glorious feast, turn the key to unlock your chains, spring yourself from prison, and give yourself real freedom.

Jesus, Word of God, set me free and I will really be free (Jn 8:36).


Medjugorje: The 32nd Anniversary

The 32nd Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions celebrated in Medjugorje

The Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions in Medjugorje was solemnly celebrated on Tuesday, June 25, 2013. Along with many pilgrims from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, there were larger ogranised groups from England, the United Sates, Ireland, Canada, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Korea, France, Poland, Italy, Ukraine, Japan, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Belgium, Portugal, Brazil, Lebanon, Slovenia and Romania.

 Apart from arriving by the ordinary means of the transport, many pilgrims have walked to Medjugorje so they would fulfill their vows to the Queen of Peace and thank Her for all of the graces they have received. During the day there were 22 Holy Masses celebrated in the parish church, at the outside altar and in the Adoration chapel.

 Holy Masses in Croatian language were celebrated at 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11 a.m. and the central evening prayer programme began at 6 .m. with Rosary and continued at 7 p.m. with the solemn Holy Mass, celebrated by Dr. Fr. Miljenko Steko, the Provincial of Herzegovina Franciscan Province along with 220 priests that concelebrated. Fr. Ivan Landeka celebrated Holy Mass on June 24, with 153 priests that concelebrated with him. The traditional 22nd Peace Walk was held on that morning from shrine of St. Anthony in Humac to Medjugorje parish church with couple of thousands of pilgrims that took part in this event. (photos)

God Word Among Us

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)

Right now, close your eyes, and imagine God telling you about his deepest desires for you: “I want you to be free enough to live a vibrant Christian life. I want to see you live in holiness, gratitude, and patience. I want you to be a blessing to everyone around you. I want you, my child, to be filled with the fruit of my own Holy Spirit!”

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus speaks about people who prophesy and perform miracles in his name but who still don’t really “know” him. It’s a bit chilling, actually, to hear these words because they make it clear that the Lord is interested in more than our “performance.” He wants to make us holy, not powerful. He knows that it’s holiness that unlocks the real, life-changing power of the Spirit.

We need to be careful here. Jesus is always thrilled at our victories, no matter what form they take. He rejoices over every one of our efforts to serve him and his people. He is delighted when we go to Mass, serve in a ministry, pray with a friend, and try our best to follow his commandments. But at the same time, he still sees areas in our life that need to be addressed. He’s never disappointed in them—he knows us too well to be surprised by them. He never holds them against us either. Rather, he so wants us to shine like stars in the sky that he is eager to set us free from everything that holds us back (Philippians 2:15).

Today, ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify one area of your life that needs a little attention. Tell him you’re eager to work with him. Give him permission to shine his light into your darkness so that you can shine his light into the world around you. People need your witness. They need your love and compassion. Let the Holy Spirit make it happen!

“Come, Holy Spirit, and make me more like Jesus. I want to be his hands and feet in this world!”

Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16; Psalm 106:1-5


Medjugorje: Our Lady's Message of June 25, 2013 to Marija

"Dear children! With joy in the heart I love you all and call you to draw closer to my Immaculate Heart so I can draw you still closer to my Son Jesus, and that He can give you His peace and love, which are nourishment for each one of you. Open yourselves, little children, to prayer - open yourselves to my love. I am your mother and cannot leave you alone in wandering and sin. You are called, little children, to be my children, my beloved children, so I can present you all to my Son. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Pilgrims gather for the anniversary

Pilgrims gather for the anniversary

(c)Mary TV 2013

June 25, 2013
32nd Anniversary of the Apparitions in Medjugorje

Dear Family of Mary!

With deep gratitude to Our Lady for her presence in Medjugorje for these 32 years, we join with her children all over the world in saying, "THANK YOU!!!"

Today Medjugorje is filled to capacity with pilgrims from all over the world! 

And today, we are sending out the transcript of Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti's talk on June 24, 2013, which we streamed, live.  The audio was a little hard to hear, and so we want to send out this transcript so that we can all receive Marija's words and ponder her heart, so filled with joy and love of Our Lady, on this anniversary day.  It is long!!

Marija speaks at the outdoor altar- 6/24/13
Marija Pavlovic Lunetti   June 24, 2013,  St. James:
The talk began with the 7-7-7 prayer.  Marija said:  
We definitely need it, these 7 Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory bes!! We all know that in the Church of St. James in Medjugorje, every evening after Mass, we pray the Creed, 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys and 7 Glory Bes. Why do we do it?? We do it in thanksgiving to the Queen of Peace. Today in a special way we can say with all our hearts, we can really say to Our Lady, "Thank you!" And what we do every evening here after Holy Mass, all the people who know about this prayer, they stay and straight away they kneel down, and they gladly stay for a few extra minutes to say this prayer in order to give thanksgiving to Our Lady. However some people do not know about this prayer, after Mass is over they simply get up and they leave the church or the church grounds. We have our habit here.
When we kneel in the sacristy, we do kind of a favor for each other. Especially when it is cold or when it is hot in the summer time, we always kneel on a small pad, a kind of little carpet that we can use to kneel. Sometimes it is just a little towel. In the shops here you can get a little pad to kneel on. In the Sacristy with the parish priest...I have to say that the parish priest is an amazing grace for us because he is a Medjugorje vocation, he is a fruit of Medjugorje. Not only him, but also his sister who is a nun! In a special way there is a great joy in our heart to see them, because they are both fruits of Our Lady's apparitions. And when the prayer to Our Lady begins they always come to me to give me something to kneel on. I then say, "Sister, maybe you can give it to someone else!!" Or maybe I take it and then give it to someone else who has difficulty kneeling down. And then in my heart I say, maybe this is a little sacrifice that I can do. To kneel down without knee pads. Maybe someone next to me needs it more than me. Then I always see a beautiful smile on the face of that person. And that smile shows so much love, and that smile is full of love.
And this is something that I like here in Medjugorje! When pilgrims come for the first time, they are a bit confused and they don't have experience. And what we have learned, that Our Lady is here, and she loves us and she wishes us well. She is here to hug us and embrace us, and at the end we all feel good, and above all we feel privileged. We even feel more and more [that we are] Our Lady's children. The heart of Our Lady is a heart that beats in our own bodies because we can feel her love, we can feel her joy to be here present with her children. She is here to love us, to teach us, to change us.
But Our Lady says to us, "Living the way you are living you will not have a future or eternal life." Then we respond, "We are sinners but we are your children." And this is something Our Lady knows, and that is why she says to us, "Go to Confession. Choose a priest who will become your spiritual guide. Leave sin. Renounce sin and start walking on the pathway of holiness."
She, at the beginning, began guiding the parish of Medjugorje in this way. And so many people were saying at that time, "But what can she tell us??" She speaks a lot, they say. And those who oppose Medjugorje say that she speaks too much. But we can say she wants to guide us on a beautiful way, and that sooner or later we will be on that pathway in her Immaculate Heart, because she wants us to be inside her Immaculate Heart. She invites us, she loves us and she says to us, "Dear children." She says to us, exactly as she did at the foot of the Cross with the Apostle John, when the other apostles were lost, when they were helpless, she says there is still hope for them, for us, because Jesus, their Master is dying for them on the Cross. And Jesus said to Our Lady, "Mother, behold your son." And what did He say to John? He said to John, "Behold your Mother." And we are those who through John receive this call from the Mother. We also have become the children of God and the children of Our Lady. We have become what Our Lady invites us to be.
Today, with her extended hands in today's world, Our Lady comes to us. She comes not to 1000, or 30,000, or 100,000...no she comes to all of us. Each one of us is important to her. We are poor. We are poor souls in everything, but especially in a spiritual way....
We can't say we began a movement. All we can say is that Our Lady appeared and she told us to place God in the first place in our life. Maybe you are sick; maybe you do not have health. You do not have faith. Maybe you are searching for something supernatural, so that you can feel something in your heart. I am saying to you, you are at the right place. Our Lady says, "Pray, pray, pray." You are not here because of beautiful hotels. There is no luxury here. There is not air conditioning everywhere here. You are not at the coast, because there is no sea here! But we are here before the heavenly sunshine, before the sea of Love with Our Lady, in the school of prayer that Our Lady started here.
Our Lady wanted this parish and she started giving messages. So many times she was saying, "My dear children, I am your mother." And she said to us so many times, so that we would not forget this, "You need God. Without God you do not have a future." Even if we have everything in this world, all the material things, we will leave everything behind, clothes, cars, houses. You will leave it all behind. And those who have more will leave more behind.
But there is one thing to know, that if you have everything, but you do not have God, what do you have? Nothing! God created us in His image, and without Him we have nothing. I believe we all know a person. Suppose that person's name is "Stanko". We can say that I knew that person, that person laughed with me. I knew his hair style, etc. But that person is dead. Then we say that that person yesterday was driving a car, was walking, was working, was talking, and now that person is gone. That person has a body, but the spirit is gone. We also know many people who are alive, who work and walk and live, but who are spiritually dead. They are dead spiritually, even though they are walking around.
There is a friend of mine who shares that there are volunteers who go to Africa to help. Those volunteers are often very rich people. They come from rich families. However they are not happy, they are not pleased, they don't see a future for themselves. And yet they have everything. Those people are from families which have provided everything that they needed and yet those young people are not happy. And they say that they come to Africa to help, and after their experience in Africa they go home completely changed. One day I spoke to one of those young men, and I said to him, "What did Africa give you??" And that young man said to me, "Africa gave me the joy of life." Why, because that young man could see children who did not have anything but the shirt on them, but they were happy. They had an improvised ball and that ball was a piece of plastic. And that was the way that they learned to play football. And he said, "I played football with them, and I ate with them, and I ate very little. And I would try to get some sleep, but I would go to bed hungry. I had pains in my stomach, because we couldn't eat more. There was not enough. Then I would remember the times I would go to my kitchen and open the refrigerator, and it was full of food, and I would still complain that there was nothing in this house for me to eat!! And yet the refrigerator was full!! Then I understood what it meant to have nothing to eat. That person came back from Africa and started studying and working for missions with a group of people who pray. And he works and whatever he earns, in the afternoon he puts it aside for the missions in Africa.
How often are we indifferent? How often do we see those who have nothing, who have no clothes to put on and we do not think of them? Our Lady has been saying to us, that prayer and fasting can even stop wars, even the wars in your hearts...those moments when you don't think about God. When there is not God in your heart, when we do not think about God's commandments, and when we do not live them. That is why Our Lady says, "Wake up, wake up from the sleep of lack of faith." I am thoroughly convinced that the person who starts praying becomes a better person. That person is ready to serve other people and more and more that person becomes more sensitive and a person of feelings.
We see that Our Lady calls us to return to God, renounce sin, convert. We need to know how to do this work. Place the Sacred Scripture in the first place in your family homes. Read from the Bible, open the Bible every day. And Our Lady says to us, "Choose a priest to be your spiritual guide, a spiritual guide who will help you, who will teach you, and who will give you absolution in the name of God." And in the name of God he will help you, so that the name of God will be there for us in the moment when we need it. And Our Lady says, "Place the Holy Mass in the center of your life. There you will meet God. There you will receive God. And with the help of God you will find your pathway on this earth, in the world, he will give it to you."
We were children when the apparitions started, and I remember we were saying that there were so many young people who were lost, and we could see so many young people who were lost in drugs and lost in alcohol. That was a time of Communism, and the Communist's wanted to make everyone believe that God does not exist. I was a student, and at school we had to learn about Marx and about Communism, and they used to say faith is the opium for the masses. And imagine me; I had to study all about this, me, who was able to see Our Lady! So who was right, Our Lady or that poor man with his ideology? Thanks are to God, Communism is gone, but unfortunately now there is consumerism and materialism around us, but Our Lady comes and says to us that our life is temporary, that it will pass. As the Sacred Scripture says, for those who are strong maybe they will live for 70 years. And today science says we may live longer, that people will live to 150 years...But yet, what is all that compared with eternity?? Is it worth insisting on being here?? Why don't we do our best to deserve and merit heaven??
I have to say that all of you are courageous to be here in this sunshine. I can say that maybe you can say "I will give this as a gift to the Lord. And I offer this for the conversion of so many other people or for the healing of so many people who are here in our midst, for the healing of so many children who have commended themselves to my prayers who have Leukemia.
I remember the time when we were young, in 1989, when we wanted to convert everyone. We wanted to be perfect as Our Lady is. I remember we wore long skirts because we didn't want to scandalize anyone. And we were telling people who were not properly dressed to put something on their shoulders, so they wouldn't scandalize anyone. We could also see many young people who were far from faith. There were young people who didn't have faith. So we decided we would found a prayer group, and every Friday night we would pray for those young people who are far from God. And that is exactly what we did. We asked our parish priest if we could do it, and we just asked for the church to be given to us, nothing else, nothing more, but just the church to go to and pray. But he asked who wants to come. We told him, all the young people in our prayer group. And he said yes. We were so happy and content because we were given permission from the parish priest. And we started singing and praying before the Lord. And then I remember we would soon see that it was 3:00 in the morning! We didn't even go to bed at all. Imagine! We were young people full of enthusiasm. But we were not really ready for this. But slowly, slowly, we were down on our knees, and our heads were bowed, and we looked like Muslims, who are praying. And then you could see and hear nothing, but silence, because everyone was in silence. You couldn't even hear the birds chirping. As we say here, it was the silence of the tomb. Then we were all asleep, and we could hear someone snoring. Then we would tease that person. Then after a while Our Lady said to us, "Bring the Sacred Scripture. Have the Bible with you." And then we would joke, when someone fell asleep and snored that that person was profoundly meditating, when that person was actually asleep! And I remember one person, a man there with his wife, and when he would snore, his wife would kick him, and then he would wake up and just continue, "Holy Mary, Mother of God..."
I always say that the family that has a future is the family that prays, the family that exists. And as Our Lady said to us, "We are now going to pray a rosary a day." Often we would be tired at work, but we would still be able to pray at the end of the day the Rosary. And the wife of that young man would say, "Ok I will say the first part of the Hail Mary, and then I will kick my husband and tell him to pray the second part, Holy Mary...!!" She loved her husband, and she wanted to pray together with her husband, because in marriage man and woman become one.
And on the bus that goes from Medjugorje to Mostar, it stops at least 15 times. And everyone knew that this husband was from Medjugorje because everyone knew that if someone bumped him on the bus and woke him up, he would simply start to pray!! He was not a fanatic, just a person of good will, someone who worked hard himself, and who loved his family. And that is what Our Lady asks of us. Our Lady doesn't want us to become fanatics. And she doesn't want all of us to become missionaries and to go to Africa. But she says, "Go to your families!" From the Mount of Tabor, go back to your family. And do what you can do, through God's blessing and Our Lady's intercession, that your family, that your parish community can become worthy of the presence of God. So that we who are able to say we want God and we want the Blessed Mother in our families and at every single level of our family life.
That is what Our Lady asks of us. She desires to say to us, "Convert. Change your life! Without God there is no future, no eternal life, because without God we do not have a future." That is why Our Lady says to us, and she is tirelessly inviting us, "Pray!" She has been appearing here for a long time, and she has been saying "Return to God." So often she repeats, "Pray, pray, pray!" There is time for you when you get back home to play, to shop, to rest. But the hill where Our Lady appeared is here. The Cross Mountain is here. And Our Lady chose this country to wake us up again, and to say to us "I am your mother. Go back to your family and take me with you." If we start to think with the heart of Our Lady, then we will feel the urgency to convert and to give witness to all those who live close to us. We will be worried for our children who are far from God. We will be worried about our husbands or wives and we will desire to pray for them and to be an example to them with our lives. Then for them we will be willing to make sacrifices. We will go even to Apparition Hill.
I remember a friend of mine who came to Medjugorje just for one day. At that time she wasn't a friend of mine, but now she is a friend of mine. She is a very modern person. She really takes care of her body and she is very much into sports. She works in a pharmaceutical company and she has a pharmacy herself. And people would come to her and say, "Can you give us advice. What should we do?" And then on the day of their wedding anniversary, her husband came to her and said, "I am going to bring you to Medjugorje." And she said, "OK, but just one day please." But Our Lady waited for her here. And Our Lady really loved her and changed her. And she really fell in love with Our Lady. She has three children. And she even has a dog. Every morning she doesn't go up Apparition Hill, but she wakes up at 5:00 in the morning and she is an exemplary mother, very modern, very into sports. But every morning she goes jogging with her dog and she prays the Rosary. Our Lady didn't say what way, because you can pray a rosary while you are preparing your meal, while you are driving, while you are ironing. No one said in what way we should pray. But Our Lady simply says, pray the rosary. Maybe in the beginning it will be a rosary, but we will pray without thinking about it. But as we say, eating you learn how to eat, and we say, praying you learn how to pray. And we are here to learn how to pray and how to have peace with God and Our Lady.
And Our Lady gives us messages. She says, "Put my messages into practice. Live my messages." And I say to you - Live the messages. The messages of Our Lady are nothing new. They are already written in the Sacred Scripture. Maybe those of us here will never meet again, will never see each other. But what you have met here and what you have experienced in your heart here will remain an amazing treasure. That is why I say do not waste time; make good use of your time in Medjugorje. Use this time in Medjugorje and pray.
I remember my own personal experience when I asked Fr. Slavko to become my spiritual guide. I said to him, "Can you be my spiritual guide?" Then he said yes. Then I said, "Can we meet? When, where, how?" And then he looked at me in a really profound way and he said to me, "Ok tomorrow morning at 5:00 in the morning at your house." I was 16 years old. And you know what young people do at that time in the morning? What do they prefer at that age, what do they like more? At five o'clock they are back from the disco, and they just want to sleep. But I never went to the disco, but I loved sleeping, and when he said 5:00 am, it was amazing for me. And I said, "Ok...I have this plan...at night when I go to bed I will put clothes on, and put even my shoes on, and sleep with my shoes off the bed, a when Fr. Slavko would pass by, I would be ready with clothes and shoes on! But I have a strong will, and I said to myself, I have to do it. Not really that I have to do it, but I wanted to do it. And I can say that when I have that desire in my heart to be better, more holy, in reality to try to live more and better the messages of Our Lady, I have lived some of the most beautiful moments of my life.
When Fr. Slavko would come, he would begin, "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." He wouldn't say, "Dear one, did you get any sleep? Did you get enough sleep, did you sleep well?' He wasn't just talking, as many Italians are doing when they are up on the hill! They talk, talk, and talk! But I believe in a special way Our Lady loves Italy, because she sent me to Italy to convert you! No, I am just kidding. I believe that God in his mercy will convert all of us!
That is why I desire to say with my heart, "Use this time. This is a time of great grace for us." When it happened to Jakov, the visionary, that Our Lady said the time has come when you won't have any more daily apparitions, Jakov remembers those times and he would love to see her now every day. And now when he meets me he will say, "How was it yesterday - how was it. What was it like?" And I often will see a tear in his eye. And I ask myself, why did they stop for him, and I still have them? Why is it not the other way around? Why was it us, and not somebody else? We have many questions. I am not perfect, I am not a saint. I am a sinner. But I have a desire in my heart to be better and to convert, to really become a child of Our Lady.
Start thinking in this way: I believe that Our Lady's children will become better. Maybe we will make a decision and start a prayer group. Maybe we will be able to help each other. Maybe we will learn how to pray properly the mysteries of the Holy Rosary of Our Lady, and every day we will become richer and more content, happier, because God won't be up there in the clouds in heaven far away, but in our midst. Because we live as Jesus said, "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am present there." And we, in the name of Jesus, will be able to start living a brand new life for ourselves, for the world, and for our future, for our own children.
Our Lady said once when we consecrated ourselves to her Immaculate Heart, and it was during the time of one of the apparitions, and all of the people were there, and I was in Sicily and one of the officials of the government in Sicily, when he read the consecration prayer to Our Lady, Our Lady answered and said, "You won't regret this, neither your children nor your children's children." I wish that in your act of coming to Medjugorje for your personal conversion, that through your personal conversion to her Immaculate Heart, I hope and pray that Our Lady will act and work in your heart and will be able to say to you, "You won't regret doing this, neither you, nor your children, nor your children's children." This is something that I wish for all of you from the bottom of my heart.
And this evening when I am together with Our Lady I am going to pray for all of you. I can't remember all of you by name, but I am sure that all of you are already in the heart of Our Lady. And I am going to pray for all of you and for all of your intentions. And I am going to pray for all that you carry in your heart, for all the members of your family that you left at home. We will also pray for all those people who do not have the faith or courage to come to Medjugorje. Maybe they are sick, confined to bed, and they cannot come to Medjugorje. I am going to pray for all of you and present all of you to Our Lady. I will pray for all of you. Thanks be to God we have so many priests here. We will ask one of them to do what they do, to bless us all. It is a grace that they can do it because we receive Jesus from their hands. And we really have to pray a lot for our priests. And we have to love all priests. We ask all our priests to pray over us and for us that they may give us God's blessing, so that we can live in our hearts, act in our hearts and our lives with God's heart and God's eyes. (All the priests came and blessed us!)

Happy Anniversary, one and all!!

Cathy Nolan
(c)Mary TV 2013
 "Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world!"   
Blessed John Paul II  -
Be connected! 


Ten of Thousands Attend Anniversary

by Jakob Marschner

The 32nd anniversary of the apparitions is celebrated by great crowds of believers, a local news portal reporting expectations of 100,000 people present. Cross appeared in the clouds during Mass on June 22. Public apparition to visionary Ivan Dragicevic on top of Apparition Hill tonight.

The statue of the Virgin Mary obverlooking Medjugorje from atop Apparition Hill where Ivan Dragicevic will have a public apparition on June 24. Photo: Hrvoje Joe Topic
The statue of the Virgin Mary overlooking Medjugorje from atop Apparition Hill where Ivan Dragicevic will have a public apparition on June 24. Photo: Hrvoje Joe Topic

Medjugorje is flooded with pilgrims gathering to mark the 32nd anniversary of the Virgin Mary’s apparitions on June 24-25. Without citing sources, the local news portal Brotnjo Online reports that 100,000 people are expected.

Though this figure is likely too high, Medjugorje being unable to house this many pilgrims, many come from nearby areas which could serve to make the expected number more credible.

medjugorje cross sky cloud clouds evening mass june giugno 22 2013
The Cross that appeared in the clouds during the evening Mass on June 22

“For several days, numerous columns of Catholics from home and abroad have traveled day and night to be present in “the oasis of peace”, once again experience true peace and reconciliation, gain spiritual strength, strengthen their faith, and give thanks to the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje for all the graces they have been endowed with” Brotnjo Online reports.

“From several directions, numerous pilgrims are on the march from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries. Many will hike dozens or even hundreds of kilometers, some even barefoot.”

During the evening Mass on June 22, many among the waiting pilgrims got a special treat when a Cross appeared in the clouds. This morning saw the 22nd traditional peace march from Humac to Medjugorje, starting at 6 pm. At 10 pm on Monday, visionary Ivan Dragicevic will have a public apparition on top of Apparition Hill.

The evening Mass on June 25, the formal anniversary day,  will be led by the new Franciscan Provincial, Fr Miljenko Steko, previously the director of Radio Mir Medjugorje.    Source   http://www.medjugorjetoday.tv/


Medjugorje is preparing for the 32nd Anniversary

Medjugorje is preparing for the 32nd Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions

Medjugorje parishioners and pilgrims from all over the world as well as local pilgrims are preparing for the celebration of the 32nd Anniversary of Our Lady’s Apparitions. The Novena to the Queen of Peace began on Saturday, June 15, 2013 and as a part of this Novena pilgrims and parishioners are climbing Apparition Hill every day at 4 p.m. to pray the Rosary. The evening prayer programme begins at 6 p.m. with prayer of Rosary and continues with Holy Mass at 7 p.m. The Information Office registered groups from Germany, Austria, Italy, the United States, Ireland, Canada, Lebanon, Spain, Slovakia, Poland, China, Hungary and Hong Kong.

 Each one of these pilgrims has his own story related to Medjugorje. So, Judy Paterson arrived from South Africa and this is her tenth pilgrimage to the Queen of Peace. Among other things, Judy told us: “I came here to thank. I had many experiences. Three years ago I was healed here. I was really sick and doctors told me I have three more months left. I recovered some strength, came here, prayed and returned home healed. It took me lots of time but I was healed. I came to thank Our Lady because my healing came through Her and our Lord. I know it was them who restored my health again.”  http://www.medjugorje.hr/en/


Medjugorje visionary Vicka spoke with Father Livio Fanzaga on Radio Maria of her views on suffering

Photo by Bernard Gallagher

PADRE LIVIO – Well, I had another thought about it. [...] Seeing as how you were asked by the Madonna to pray for the sick, maybe the Madonna wants you to be like a living message of how to be patient in accepting all this suffering that you’ve been through.

VICKA – For sure, suffering cannot be explained, suffering can only be lived in one’s own heart. When the Lord gives us a suffering, a cross, pain, this is really a big gift that God gives. We often think, how can sickness be a gift? But it’s a big gift! Only God knows why he gives this gift and only He knows the reason for when He takes it back. It is only up to us how we are ready to accept this gift. The Madonna told us that many times when this gift come to us we always ask a thousand questions, and she says stop asking questions. It is enough to say, “I Thank you God for this gift, that you still have something that you want to give to me, I am ready to receive it. I ask only your strength and courage so that I may carry on”. And also the Madonna has already told us, “you don’t know how great is the value of your suffering in the eyes of God”. I am telling you what I am able to through my own suffering… my suffering is a gift…. I am not saying that we are always 100% ready to embrace suffering but I have a great desire, a great joy to suffer something for the Madonna and for Jesus. There is nothing that I wouldn’t willingly suffer for them. The Madonna can say to me, “Vicka, do this, do that”, and I await with all my heart, with open arms. Because I want to respond to that to all the good that the Madonna has given to me, and with what little is mine suffering I can respond with this to her love. And so I say to you, dear listeners, when you are suffering, and today there are different kinds of suffering: there is the suffering that God gives and there is the suffering that we make for ourselves and these are two different things, they don’t have the same value. We must try to accept that which the Lord wants and we must give thanks and when one gives thanks for this great gift, then graces and fruits and everything come sooner. And then we can’t say “I’m suffering, I’m in pain”, God knows this: accept it, don’t talk about it. One who is still able to speak isn’t suffering. Suffering is to be lived in our soul and in our hearts.

PADRE LIVIO – I seem to recall that on several occasions the Madonna spoke about smiling though one is suffering.

VICKA – Certainly, and this too is really beautiful. Because when you smile in your suffering it’s because you have accepted it and you belong totally to God and afterwards you don’t perceive the suffering anymore but you will feel joy; because you suffer with joy there is no tension, there is nothing that tires you, you feel very happy. But that joy doesn’t come from anything outside, it comes from within you, from your heart. And you feel an urge, every day it becomes stronger, and you don’t feel the heaviness anymore. I don’t feel any heaviness, I feel a joy so great that I want to do more for the Madonna, to suffer more, and you feel the suffering but there is a great happiness, there is love, because you suffer, you bear the suffering with love.


The Mother loves you with Motherly love

       A mothers love   
The Mother loves you with Motherly love.

(c)Mary TV 2013

June 20, 2013
Dear Family of Mary!
"Dear children, I have come to you here and introduced myself as the Queen of Peace. And today in a special way I invite you to pray for peace. Pray for peace. And especially in your families, peace, peace dear children. Open yourselves to the gift of peace. The Mother prays together with you and intercedes for all of you before her Son. The Mother loves you with motherly love. Thank you, dear children, for also having responded today to my call." (Message through Ivan, Monday evening, June 17, 2013)
I don't think we can underestimate the power of our Mother's prayers and love for each one of us. She is truly the Mother who prays for her children and stays with them through thick and thin. She stays with us to keep us safe and protected from all evil, and to fill us with her love.
*I received an email that captures the essence of Our Lady's prayer for us and love for us. It is from a friend who has had many trials in her life and has suffered from depression. During a trip to Medjugorje several years ago a relationship with Our Lady began on Apparition Hill which has grown and matured slowly over time. She responded to the June 17 message through Ivan with these words:
*Dear Cathy, I just wanted to share something with you in regards to this plea from Our Lady to "pray for peace".  Just last night as I was going to bed, I was doing some spiritual reading and very softly in my heart, I felt tremendous gratitude to God for the peace I felt in my heart and soul.  I felt relaxed, protected by God from the evil one's attacks.  I was remembering that for most of my life, I lived with a very un-peaceful heart, a restlessness of my soul, an ungrateful heart.  All I could see was how "unjustly" I had been treated by people in my life and how "unfair" my life seemed to be.  But by the constant intercession, I believe, by Our Lady for ME, MY soul, MY life, as if I were her only concern, peace has come to my heart through the love of her Son, Jesus.  Clinging to His garment hem and making a decision to LOVE Him in spite of all the things in my life that had hurt me, peace found its way to my heart.  I felt this all within a few moments last night.  No more warring within me, just contentment as I was praying. I just felt...peace.  Now to keep that peace during summer break, that's the true test! [She has teenagers!] Just wanted to write to you after reading your reflection.  God bless! M.
Oh how happy this makes me! I think this is the effect Our Lady has on each of us when we begin a relationship with her! She  prays for us and loves us until we let go of all our pain and sadness, our unforgiveness and regret. She helps us experience the love of Jesus, that love that can solve every difficulty and keep us safe. She shows us how very much we are loved, by Jesus, the Father, the Spirit, and herself. And in that knowledge (which is experience), peace enters our souls, and we are content to be children of God!!
Our Lady loves each one of us, our souls, our lives, as if we were her only concern. She mothers each of us individually, with her total attention and solicitude. She loves us and will not stop loving us until she loves us into heaven. Our peace will come when we realize this, and just rest in it, as my friend was resting, in gratitude.
"The Mother prays together with you and intercedes for all of you before her Son. The Mother loves you with motherly love."
Peace, peace and only peace!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2013


Our Lady's Apparition to Ivan

Photo by Bernard Gallagher
Our Lady appeared to Ivan during his prayer group meeting on top of Apparition Mountain at 10:00 p.m. tonight, June 17, 2013.
Our Lady said:

“Dear children, I have come here and introduced myself as the Queen of Peace, and today, in a special way, I call you to pray for peace. Pray for peace, especially in your families. Peace, peace dear children. Open yourselves to the gift of peace. The Mother prays together with you and intercedes for all of you before Her Son. The Mother loves you with the Motherly love. Thank you, dear children, for also today, having responded to my call.”



Jesus said: "You have heard the commandment, 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.' But what I say to you is: offer no resistance to injury." -Matthew 5:38-39

In one of his talks, Pope John Paul II remarked that there seemed to have been fewer healings at Lourdes, the major healing center of the world. He thought that this might have indicated fewer healings in general throughout the world. The pope realized the difficulty in knowing how many are healed. However, let us assume that the pope's observation was correct. Why may there be fewer healings?
   * Healings, especially for Christians, are often based on faith (e.g. Mt 9:22). Possibly our faith is weak.
   * Healings accompany the proclamation of God's word (see Mk 16:15-18). Our lack of evangelization may limit the opportunities for healing.
   * The Lord uses medical technology to heal. However, many don't realize that the Lord, not the technology, does the healing.
   * No one deserves healing. The Lord heals us in His mercy. Mercy is given especially to the merciful (see Mt 5:7). However, our culture of death is unforgiving and often merciless. Most people, even Catholics, still believe in "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" (see Mt 5:38). We want our rights, even if the price is to execute a few criminals. "Should a man nourish anger against his fellows and expect healing from the Lord?" (Sir 28:3) Will God give His healing mercies to the merciless?
Prayer: Father, may I want my worst enemy to be blessed, loved, healed, and saved.

 " 'In an acceptable time I have heard you; on a day of salvation I have helped you.' Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!" -2 Cor 6:2


A Father's Day Prayer

Blessed are You, God and Father of us all, for the gift of our father. Today we honor and thank him for the gift he is in our lives.His love for us is a reflection of Your divine love.Bless him this day with Your strength and Your power that he may continue to be a sign of Your abiding love. May we, who have the honor of bearing his family name, assist him with our obedience, respect and deep affection.Bless him on this special daywith happiness, health, peace and good fortuneso that he who shared of his very lifemay live together with You, his God and heavenly Father, for ever and ever.Amen.


Dear Children of Medjugorje

Dear Children of Medjugorje, praised be Jesus and Mary!
1. On June 2, 2013, Mirjana received her monthly apparition at the blue cross, surrounded by a huge crowd of pilgrims.  After the apparition, she conveyed the following message:
 "Dear children! In this restless time, anew I am calling you to set out after my Son - to follow him. I know of the pain, suffering and difficulties, but in my Son you will find rest; in him you will find peace and salvation. My children, do not forget that my Son redeemed you by his Cross and enabled you, anew, to be children of God; to be able to, anew, call the Heavenly Father: 'Father'. To be worthy of the Father, love and forgive because your Father is love and forgiveness. Pray and fast, because that is the way to your purification, it is the way of coming to know and becoming cognizant of the Heavenly Father. When you become cognizant of the Father, you will comprehend that He is all you need. I, as a mother, desire my children to be in a community of one single people where the Word of God is listened to and carried out.* Therefore, my children, set out after my Son. Be one with him. Be God's children. Love your shepherds as my Son loved them when he called them to serve you. Thank you."
* Our Lady said this resolutely and with emphases.
2. June is a month rich in feasts for the Church! There is the celebration of Corpus Christi, the Sacred Heart, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Holy Trinity! Contrast these with the "feast" celebrated by the President of the United States who has again declared the month of June "gay pride month," and the "feasts" of some French who stormed three different cathedrals in rebellion against the Catholics who oppose gay marriage which was legalized there in May. So, it is more important than ever that we welcome the immense graces that come through our celebrations of God and His saints.  These graces are a light in the middle of the darkness that is now overtaking so many children, young people and older people.  "He who looks to him will be radiant", says the Psalmist (Ps. 33).  And looking to Him simply means adoring Him.
In addition to celebrating the graces offered by God during the feasts this month, we can also prepare our hearts for the anniversary of the apparitions in Medjugorje by saying the prayer given by the Angel of Fatima to the 3 little shepherds in 1916 from the bottom of our hearts as often as we can. The novena celebrating the 32nd Anniversary of the Apparitions begins on June 15th and ends on the anniversary itself, June 25th.  This prayer dispels so much darkness!  It would be a lovely gift of thanksgiving to offer Mary for her 32 years of apparitions!  God alone is able to dissipate the density of evil that attacks us every day, but the worshiper powerfully assists God's action by begging for His mercy.  One can always hope for better politicians, but he who can and will change things is you, today! It is you, it is I, it is us, those who wish to adore the Living God in spirit and in truth.  May the true worshipers grow in number and in quality, and the face of the world will be changed!
Here is the prayer that came to us from heaven at Fatima:
"Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly.  I offer you the most Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference by which He is offended.  And through the infinite merit of His Most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of you the conversion of poor sinners."
3. Miracle in Buenos Aires! In 1996, when Pope Francis was the auxiliary bishop of Cardinal Quarracino in Buenos Aires, a remarkable Eucharistic miracle occurred.  The present Pope himself examined the issue and requested that the object of the miracle be photographed.  The results are amazing.
On August 18, 1996, at 7 pm, Father Alejandro Pezet was celebrating Mass in the church that is in the center of the city.  He was about to finish distributing Holy Communion, when a woman came to tell him that she had found a host that someone had thrown away at the back of the church.  Fr. Alejandro went to take a look and saw the host. It was in poor condition and soiled.  Because he could not consume it, he put it in a small bowl filled with water and then placed it in the tabernacle of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.
On August 26 he opened the tabernacle, and to his great amazement he saw that the
host had become a kind of bloody substance.  He informed Mgr Jorge Bergoglio, who gave instructions to have the host photographed by professionals.  These photographs, taken on September 6th clearly show that the host, which had become a fragment of bleeding flesh, had significantly increased in size.  For several years, the host remained in the tabernacle, and the entire matter remained a secret.  Because the host was not undergoing any kind of visible decomposition, Mgr. Bergoglio decided to have it scientifically analyzed.
On October 5, 1999, in the presence of Mgr. Bergoglio's representative, (who had become Archbishop in the mean time)  Dr. Castanon took a sample of the bloody fragment and sent it to New York to be analyzed.  Because he did not want to influence the results of the examination, he decided not to tell the team of scientists where the fragment came from.
One of the scientists was the famous cardiologist and forensic pathologist, Dr. Frederic Zugiba.  He determined that the analyzed substance was actual flesh and blood containing human DNA.  He stated that:  "The analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle which is found in the wall of the left ventricle, near the valves.  This is the muscle that contracts the heart.  We must remember that the left ventricle of the heart acts as a pump that sends the blood through the entire body. The heart muscle is in a state of inflammation and contains a large number of white blood cells.  This indicates that the heart was alive at the time when the sample was taken.  I confirm that the heart was alive, because white blood cells die outside of a living organism.  They need a live organism in order to remain alive themselves.  Therefore, their presence indicates that the heart was alive when the sample was taken.  In fact, these white blood cells had penetrated into the tissues, which is an even stronger indication that the heart had been subjected to intense stress, as if its owner had been severely beaten on the chest."
Two Australians, journalist Mike Willesee and attorney Ron Tesoriero, witnessed the tests.  Knowing the origin of the sample, they were taken aback by Dr. Zugiba's statement.  Mike Willesee asked the scientist how long the white blood cells could have stayed alive if they had come from human tissue kept in water.  Dr. Zugiba told him that they would have ceased to exist after a few minutes.  The journalist then revealed to the doctor that the substance from which the sample was taken had first been preserved in ordinary water for one month, and that after three years, it was preserved in a bowl filled with demineralized water.  Only then was a sample taken to be analyzed.  Dr. Zugiba was very embarrassed by this information because he said that there was no way of explaining it scientifically.
Dr. Zugiba then asked the following question:  "Please explain the following to me: if this sample comes from a dead person, how is it that while I was examining it, the cells of the sample were moving and pulsating?  If this heart comes from someone who was alive in 1996, how can it still be alive?"
Only then did Mike Willesee reveal to Dr. Zugiba that the analyzed sample came from a consecrated host (white bread with no leavening), which had mysteriously been transformed into human flesh and blood.  Astounded by this information, Dr. Zugiba said:  "How and why could a consecrated host change its nature and become living human flesh and blood, this will remain an inexplicable mystery for science - a mystery completely beyond its competence."
Then, Dr. Ricardo Castanon Gomez arranged for the laboratory reports written after the Buenos Aires miracle to be compared to the reports that were written after the Lanciano miracle, again without revealing the origin of the test samples.  The experts who proceeded with this comparison concluded that the two laboratory reports had analyzed test samples coming from the same person.  They further pointed out that the two samples revealed an "AB positive" blood type.  This blood had the characteristics of a man who was born and lived in the Middle East.
Only faith in the extraordinary action of God can give a reasonable answer!  God wants us to be aware that He is truly present in the mystery of the Eucharist.  The Eucharistic miracle of Buenos Aires is an extraordinary sign, witnessed by science.  Through this sign, Jesus wishes to awaken in us a living faith in His Real Presence in the Eucharist, real, and not symbolic.  It is only with the eyes of faith, and not with our human eyes, that we can see Him in the form of consecrated bread and wine.  In the Eucharist, Jesus sees us and loves us and wishes to save us.
Don't miss this link, where you can read about how Dr. Castanon, an atheist who became a Catholic, explains this miracle (in Spanish)! http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v%3DAPz1v8oz1ms&h=oAQGQBzhw&s=1
4. Filip Pavlovic. On July 3rd, the nephew of the visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti will be ordained a priest at the church of St James in Medjugorje.  He received his calling at the age of 4, and since then never thought of changing his direction. Let us pray with him and for him! As Mary tells us, let us love our shepherds as her Son loved them when He called them to serve us!
Dearest Gospa, I see so many of your children who know nothing at all about faith, but who are calling to you from the depths of their misery!  On this Anniversary of your apparitions, we beg you, spread upon us graces of light and love, help us open our hearts to welcome these graces as never before!
Sr. Emmanuel +


The two steeples of St. James Church in Medjugorje

The two steeples of St. James Church in Medjugorje

Prophecy of Sr. Briege McKenna
By Louise Lotze
   When I was reading the April, 2013 issue of The Spirit of Medjugorje, a phrase jumped out at me which reminded me of a prophecy Sr. Briege McKenna had made before the apparitions had begun in Medjugorje. The article I was reading was by Sr. Emmanuel, “One Single Mass Per Year.”  In conclusion, she was speaking about St. James Church and the thousands of pilgrims that gather there today. Then she said it is no wonder that we see “rivers of graces” flowing on that village. This inspired me to find Sr. Briege's prophecy again. I searched and discovered my cassette tape in a shoe box.
    In 1981, Sr. Briege was attending an International Conference for priests in Rome, one month before the apparitions had begun in Medjugorje. The priests were formed into groups by their country.  She met with a group from the former Yugoslavia.  A Franciscan friar who was a youth director in the diocese of Mostar asked her to pray with him to find a way to help the youth. The youth were really seduced and were taken to meetings by the Communists with propaganda to draw them away from Christ. As Sr. Briege prayed with him, she got images like an overhead projector.  She saw this priest sitting on the main celebrant's chair in front, and he was looking onto the body of the church, and it was packed with young people. From behind him on the altar, there were streams of water –  rivers, just flowing, and the young were cupping it and drinking it, but as they were drinking it, they would go out and bring others in. She told the priest he didn't have to worry, that many young people would come to his church.  She also told him that she saw a church with two huge steeples.  Almost immediately, a Sacred Heart missionary, a French Canadian priest whom she knew, walked over to her. She had been speaking into the friar's ear and it had been translated by another priest, so no one could have heard what she had said.  This missionary priest, who had just gotten a prophetic word, then told the friar that “you know Father, Our Lady is going to visit your church.” This friar priest was not even in Medjugorje at that time, and no one knew about the two steeples in the church.  It was all very bizarre, but later made sense when the friar became pastor of St. James.
   A year later, Sr. Briege was invited by the government of Brazil to give a retreat and to speak to the government officials. She begged the Lord to tell her on what she was to speak. She was given a message by Our Lord to promote the Rosary, fasting, penance, prayer and to speak about Our Lady.    
   Later, Sr. Briege received a letter telling about the apparitions in Medjugorje.  She hadn't heard of this, though it was a year later. When Sr. Briege recalled all this, she realized that the message of Medjugorje had been placed in her heart at that particular time when she was speaking in Brazil!
Editor’s note:  Louise is from Ashtabula, OH.
Source of this Article   http://www.spiritofmedjugorje.org/ 

Saint Anthony of Padua

Unfailing Prayer to Saint Anthony
Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints. O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God
and Charity for His creatures made you worthy, when on
earth, to possess miraculous powers. Miracles waited on
your word, which you were ever ready to speak for those in
trouble or anxiety. Encouraged by this thought, I implore
of you to obtain for me (request). The answer to my prayer
may require a miracle. Even so, you are the saint of
Miracles. O gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full
of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the
Sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms, and
the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours.


Pope Francis, Only the Holy Spirit moves us foward

Dear children! I rejoice with you and in this time of grace I call you to spiritual renewal. Pray, little children, that the Holy Spirit may come to dwell in you in fullness, so that you may be able to witness in joy to all those who are far from faith. Especially, little children, pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that in the spirit of love, every day and in each situation, you may be closer to your fellow-man; and that in wisdom and love you may overcome every difficulty. I am with you and I intercede for each of you before Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call." Our Lady's Medjugorje message of  (May 25, 2000)


Ivan Tells He Was Showen Heaven Twice

by Jakob Marschner

Unlike other Medjugorje visionaries who tell the Virgin Mary showed them Heaven only once, Ivan Dragicevic says Mary did so twice with him, in 1984 and 1988. Ivan describes the experience in the same way as visionary Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic who tells she were in Heaven in 1981.

medjugorje visionary seer veggente ivan dragicevic apparition april 28 saint mary mother of god church middletown nj
Ivan praying before his apparition on April 28 in Middletown, NJ (USA)

Medjugorje visionary Ivan Dragicevic has seen Heaven on two separate occasions, he reveals in an interview with Radio Maria director Fr. Livio Fanzaga, published in the Italian daily il Giornale.

- Our Lady showed the visionaries the afterlife, to remind us that we are pilgrims on earth. Tell us about this experience? Fr. Livio asks.

“In 1984 and also in 1988, Our Lady showed me Paradise. She told me (she would) the day before. On those days, I remember, Our Lady came, took me by the hand and in a moment I arrived in Paradise” Ivan replies.

Ivan giving testimony in Waterbury, CT (USA) on February 19
Ivan giving testimony in Waterbury, CT (USA) on February 19

“It is an area without internal frontiers as in the valley of Medjugorje, with no boundaries, where they are singing songs. There are angels and people walking and singing, and all are wearing long dresses. The people looked the same age.”

“It is difficult to find the words. Our Lady leads us to Heaven and every day brings us a little piece of Paradise” Ivan says.

Ivan’s description of Heaven matches that given by visionary Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic who tells she was taken to Heaven in her body in the Autumn of 1981, along with visionary Jakov Colo. People looked for them for half an hour, but were not able to find them.
source  www.medjugorjetoday.com


Medjugorje: Our Lady's message to Ivan at the Blue Cross

Monday June 10, 2013

“Dear children, also today I desire to call you, through this time, to especially pray for my intentions. Pray, dear children, in this time of grace, because together with you I desire to realize my plans. Dear children, thank you, also today, for having responded to my call.”


God's Word Among Us

“When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’”(Luke 7:13)

Vulnerable, destitute, defenseless—the situation of a widow in ancient times could be heartbreaking. Without a husband to protect and provide for her, a widow faced danger and poverty. This is why throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, God reminded his people to go out of their way to look after widows. A widow’s great comfort, of course, was a son if she had one. Filling the role of provider and protector in the place of his father, a son could guarantee safety and security. But what would happen if a widow’s only son died?

We meet two such widows in today’s readings. Staying in the house of a widow, Elijah begged God to bring life back to her son. And in the Gospel reading, Jesus interrupted a funeral procession to bring a young man back to life and give him back to his widowed mother. The reaction after each miracle was enthusiastic and hopeful: surely God was with his people! He had come to help the weakest and most vulnerable!

Whether or not we are widows, these readings tell us something important about God. Have you ever felt vulnerable or defenseless? Have you ever felt powerless in the face of circumstances outside your control? God cares! He who raised up the widow and orphan cares for you! He looks on you with compassion and says, “Do not weep” (Luke 7:13) .

God’s heart is moved when he sees you in a difficult situation. In fact, when you can’t rely on your own powers or abilities, he can draw you even closer to his side. So let God care for you today. Let him into the situations where you feel the least in control: an illness, a job loss, the challenge of starting over after the loss of a spouse or child. Ask your Father to walk with you, put his arm around you, and take care of you.

“Lord, in my vulnerability, I ask you to come close to me and show me your love. I trust in your protection!”

1 Kings 17:17-24; Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13; Galatians 1:11-19



As we have repeated so many times, we will adhere to whatever the Church eventually directs concerning the famous apparition site of Medjugorje in Hercegovina, where we are concluding an extremely successful pilgrimage with a truly wonderful group.
We can say this: the fruits remain astonishing. To say that it deepens and refreshes faith -- and often sparks it in those who have gone cold -- is a gross understatement.
It is also an understatement to say that Medjugorje has changed.
It is ten times as large in the way of pilgrim accommodations as it was in 1990, when we first ventured here (the first day, skeptically).
Building after building has gone up. The construction remains non-stop. New four-story hotels/bed-and-breakfasts rise on virtually every block, and often more than one. No longer is the church visible from many parts of the area. There is a constant stream of traffic, particularly buses and taxis. Last weekend (6/2/13), there were at least a hundred in the village, the majority from Italy. One estimate is that there are now 24,000 pilgrim beds in town. Last weekend, most were in use -- meaning that about twenty thousand people went to the Blue Cross on Apparition Hill for the seer Mirjana Soldo's monthly apparition. (One old-time guide put the figure at closer to 40,000 beds.) The largest hotel has a hundred rooms. Photographs of the city [below] were taken from the church.
More than half the pilgrims are now Italian, though there are still many Irish, Polish, Germans, French, and Americans, as well as pilgrims from elsewhere in the world. There are Masses in various languages through the morning. On a slow weekday, a dozen priests con-celebrate the English Mass, while at night more than twenty tend to the evening liturgy. (On weekends, the number of priests about doubles.) There are now a total of fifty-nine outdoors confessionals. Crowds are down slightly from last year, as recession plagues Europe.
It all seems hectic and peculiar until one comes here; the peace of Heaven (in my discernment) remains as strong as ever (though at times one has to pray a bit deeper for it, or wander, Rosary in hand, into the old part of Medjugorje, which remains still and beautiful and quiet, as in the old days).
At the church, the doors literally have to be barricaded shut during certain Masses due to overcrowding inside. Not a single other person can fit. It is the opposite of the problem in the West (where too many churches are empty -- barricaded because they are closed).
fr fra father jozo zovko medjugorje buenos aires argentina meeting pope francis cardinal archbishop jorge mario bergoglio 1990s late blessingIt is nearly impossible to get inside the church during Mass on the weekends. There is now the outdoor extension of the church, an amphitheatre arrangement of altar and chairs that seats an additional seven thousand. When visionary Ivan Dragicević spoke on Sunday, there was not a single available seat; people stood in the aisles. We sat (knelt would be more accurate) for a private apparition he allowed our group, in three installments, to attend. Our pilgrims were overwhelmed by the sense of grace. The seer Vicka Ivanković remains out of sight due to a back injury caused when an overly enthusiastic pilgrim grabbed her and caused her to fall a while back -- the second time she has been so injured.
But Medjugorje is Medjugorje and stands alone, in need of no one human. The Church stance? There is that Vatican commission that reportedly has finished a report, one that will be reviewed or has already been reviewed by Pope Francis. No one can know what he will do with it. Again, we will strictly obey what he says, whatever our personal feelings (and experiences). When he was cardinal in Buenos Aires Pope Francis reportedly allowed both Ivan and the well-known priest Father Jozo Zovko to appear in his jurisdiction, and a guide who knows Father Jozo said the priest, who ended up close to Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio during that visit, is optimistic on Church judgment (the prediction is a statement within three years, if positive: direction on establishment of a formal shrine).
What of the "secrets"? The seers say that some of them pertain to Medjugorje itself, and this is curious, because one wonders if one of them has to do with an event or even natural disruption such as an earthquake in the village itself. The original church here was heavily damaged by a tremor and led to construction of the famous twin-towered one. One seer told a priest two decades ago that her first secret had to do with a local event somewhere in the world and when she was asked if people would rush to see it, she said no more than people would rush to see, say, a dam "that collapses in Italy." Mirjana will inform a priest of her choice beforehand (probably a friend of hers, Father Petar Ljubicic). What of a permanent sign? One wonders if it might have to do with rays of spiritual light, as suggested by a well-known author. On one occasion such rays were seen both across the Cross atop Mount Križevac and on the church far below at the same time.  The towering Cross has been frequently seen to turn into a column of luminosity. The Blessed Mother once commented that a fire seen on Apparition Hill (and tended to by Communist firemen) was a forerunner of the great sign. (When those firemen reached the "fire," nothing was there and not a weed had burned, though there have been real brushfires since.)
Bottom line: Medjugorje remains as powerful and fascinating as ever, and we are fortunate to be working with the highly expert 206 Tours of New York and an amazing guide named Slavenka. It has rained much of the week, as it has across Central Europe, where floods have plagued France, Germany, and Czechoslovakia. Usually, this is the most beautiful and sedate time of year. But such are the signs of our topsy-turvy times. What about those who disbelieve in the apparitions? We respect their opinion, though it is very consistent that those who declaim it most loudly have not been here. Meanwhile, the Blessed Mother has literally put Medjugorje on the map: where before it was not even on detailed ones of Bosnia-Hercegovina, it now appears on maps of the whole region brought up on the Weather Channel.
--Michael H. Brown
Our thanks for all your prayers