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John Paul II Believed that the Blessed Mother is appearing in Medjugoerje. Print E-mail

John Paul II Pope John Paul II many times expressed his faith in Medjugorje. The late Cardinal Tomasek had made public the Holy Father's remark in his presence, "If he were not Pope he would like to go to Medjugorje to help at the work with the pilgrims." The Holy Father had invited numerous priests and bishops to go there. He had received several of the Medjugorje visionaries, (1) among them Mirjana Dragicevic. Upon visiting Rome in 1987 he spoke for 20 minutes with her in private. The visionary states that she will reveal nothing about this conversation for the time being, apart from these words of the Holy Father: "If I were not the Pope, I would be in Medjugorje already." (In March, 2004, she received an invitation from Pope John Paul II to come to the Vatican to meet with him again. His declining health, however, prevented the meeting from taking place). 

As the Holy Father was being introduced to 310 disabled from the Balkan War during his March 2, 1995, General Audience, he recognized the Medjugorje visionary, Vicka, when she presented him with a rosary that had been blessed by Our Lady specifically for him. The Pope said to her, "Pray for me and I will pray for you!" She then accompanied him, helping to introduce the most severe cases as he visited each one (Press Bulletin 10, April 12, 1995). (2)

Here are some of the things Pope John Paul II had said, (verifiable by the witnesses cited): (3)

To Bishop Paolo Hnilica on August 1, 1989: "Today the world has lost the supernatural. Many people sought it and found it in Medjugorje through prayer, fasting and through confession," and on March 25, 1984, "Medjugorje is the fulfillment and continuation of Fatima."

The Archbishop of Kzangju's conversation with the Holy Father was recorded in the February 3, 1991 issue of L'Homme Nouveau: "In Korea, in the city of Naju, there is a statue of Our Lady that weeps." The Pope replied to him: "And there are some bishops, as in Yugoslavia, who are against... But you must consider the response of the people, the many conversions... All this is in line with the Gospel. All these facts must be studied seriously."

Archbishop Patrick Flores of San Antonio, Texas (USA) shared in August, 1989: "When I met with the Pope, I asked him, 'What do we do about the many people going to Medjugorje?' The Holy Father said, 'Let them go—they're going there to pray. When you get there, you pray for me.' Sometimes the people follow the bishops. Sometimes the bishops follow the people" (Message de Paix, Montreal, 11/12/89).

To Father Jozo Zovko, parish priest to the visionaries (1981), during a visit to Rome, June 17, 1992, the Pope said: "I give you my blessing. Take courage, I am with you. Tell Medjugorje I am with you. Protect Medjugorje. Protect Our Lady's messages!" (4)

Bishop Jean Chabbert of Perpignan, France, states: "Medjugorje is the actual answer to the serious problems of today's world... I do know that the Pope is truly convinced of the authenticity of the apparitions" (Nasa Ognjista, November, 1994).

In autumn, 1994, several Centers for Peace were preparing an apostolic tour for Fr. Slavko of Medjugorje to South America, for January/February, 1995. The Archbishop of Asuncion, Paraguay, Msgr. Felipe Santiago Benitez, hesitated. He wasn't sure that he should allow gatherings about Medjugorje in the churches. He therefore requested letters of recommendation about Fr. Slavko from the Provincial of the Franciscans and from the Bishop of Mostar. As he was in Rome in November, 1994, he asked the Pope whether or not it was appropriate to give permission for these meetings in the spirit of Medjugorje to take place—particularly with a priest from Medjugorje. The Holy Father answered him with these words: "Authorize everything that concerns Medjugorje!" Archbishop Benitez then considered it unnecessary to receive any other recommendations. He called the Center for Peace and gave them permission, for the Pope himself had said to do so!

The news that the Pope had said, "Authorize...," spread like wildfire all over South America, which resulted in the eight countries visited by Fr. Slavko opening wide the doors of their churches and cathedrals to the message of Medjugorje!

Words of encouragement by the Holy Father to bishops and priests to go to Medjugorje and pray there are countless. What is more, the Holy Father would read each month the message given by the Virgin at Medjugorje, as well as news of the village, in the Echo of Medjugorje.

In February, 1995, a number of Croatian Bishops met with the Holy Father in Rome. Archbishop Franic reports that during the meeting, Bishop Zanic (the retired Bishop of Mostar) asked the Holy Father, "Your Holiness, when are you coming to Sarajevo?" John I Paul II replied, "Oh, I thought you were going to ask me: 'When are you coming to Medjugorje?'"

On April 6, 1995, a Croatian delegation made an official visit to the Holy Father. The delegation included Croatia's Vice President Jure Radic (representing President Tudjman) and Cardinal Kuharic. After reading his official statement, Pope John Paul II said: "I want to go to Split, to Maria Bistrica and to Medjugorje!" (Slobodna Dalmacija, April 8, 1995, p. 3).

A February 6, 1997 CNS release sent out from Rome quoted that day's issue of Il Messagero:

A statue of Our Lady of Medjugorje that cried tears of blood on 14 occasions in early 1995 after being brought from the Marian Sanctuary of Medjugorje to the Italian port city of Civitavecchia was judged "supernatural" by a panel of Italian theological experts, who had spent nearly two years studying the controversy.

At the time of the miracle, the April 6, 1995, issue of Italy's main news daily, La Stampa, reported: "Bishop Grillo has disclosed to the press without any further reservation that the Blessed Virgin Mary's weeping is a miracle!" With two hundred priests concelebrating, Bishop Grillo asked Fr. Jozo to address 3,000 people present at Mass on June 17, 1995, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, to enthrone the statue of Our Lady of Medjugorje in his diocese for public veneration. (5) During his homily the bishop said: "This grace is granted to us through Medjugorje!"

In a February 10, 2005 Zenit report, Bishop Grillo declared the shrine had become "a center of evangelization not only for the city, but for Italy and the whole world!" Pointing out that thousands of miracles had taken place, he said that before the statue of Our Lady of Medjugorje had arrived "Civitavecchia was considered 'the Stalingrad of Latium'—60% communist, an anti-clerical and anarchic city."

Four months later Pope Benedict XVI told the Italian Bishops Conference: "Papa Wojtyla venerated the Madonna of Civitavecchia!" And as he was greeting Bishop Grillo at the end of the meeting: "The Madonna of Civitavecchia will do great things!" (Il Messagero, 6/01/05). The statue of Our Lady of Medjugorje in Civitavecchia began weeping again in October, 2006.

President Tudjman of Croatia came on pilgrimage to Medjugorje on March 15, 1997. On that occasion, in front of the Bishop of Mostar, the local Franciscans and the media, he repeated publicly a statement made to him on two occasions by Pope John Paul II: "I also wish to come to Medjugorje!"

After a July, 1987, pilgrimage to Medjugorje, Archbishop Gaetano Allibrandi, the Papal Nuncio in Dublin, paid one of his normal visits to Rome and was surprised to find a message from the Pope waiting for him at the Papal Secretariat of State: the Holy Father wanted to speak to him! This kind of message was quite unusual. When he met the Pope, the first thing John Paul II said to him was: "I hear you have been to Medjugorje, tell me all about it!" The Nuncio described how he had found Medjugorje, the graces he had received there, and his visit with the visionaries. As the meeting was ending, the Holy Father took six rosaries and blessed them; then he asked the Nuncio to make sure that these rosaries were given to each of the visionaries on his behalf!

In personal letters written by the Holy Father now made public, Pope John Paul II often expressed gratitude for Medjugorje and his belief in the authenticity of Our Lady's apparitions there. (6)

That the Holy Father had said (and not just privately) that he wanted to go to Medjugorje could be taken as an important step towards recognition. It was considered a remarkable gesture of recognition, for example, when in 1979 the Pope visited the apparition site at Knock in Ireland.

Archbishop Angelo Kim, President of the Korean Episcopal Conference, reported in the Korean Catholic weekly, 11th of November, 1990, the following dialogue with John Paul II: "Thanks to you, Poland has now been freed from Communism." The Pope replied, "No, not me, but by the works of the Blessed Virgin, according to her affirmations at Fatima and Medjugorje." (7)

On February 25, 1994, Pope John Paul II wrote to his lifelong friends, Marek and Sophia Skwarnicki:

I guess Medjugorje is better understood these days. This kind of "insisting" of our Mother is better understood today when we see with our very eyes the enormousness of the danger. At the same time, the response in the way of a special prayer—and that coming from people all around the world—fills us with hope that here, too, the good will prevail. Peace is possible... It can be that there is only one such sanctuary in the world" (see the Pope's letter in the section below).

Letters from John Paul II on Medjugorje

December, 1992

+ Dear Marek and Sophia,

I have received your greetings, the wafer and two letters, one from you, Marek, and one from you, Sophia. Thank you for everything. I wish to return the greeting for Christmas and New Years. May the Christmas Eve wafer express this as well.

I thank Sophia for everything concerning Medjugorje. I, too, go there every day as a pilgrim in my prayers: I unite in my prayers with all those who pray there or receive a calling for prayer from there. Today we have understood this call better. I rejoice that our time does not lack people of prayer and apostles.

I thank Marek for both poems (songs)—The one from Huta and this one for Lagiewniki. I share your concern for "The Weekly" and every day I entrust this name to God. I wish Marek the gift of courage and health.

J Paul II

Christus natus est nobis!
Venite, adoremus!

John Paul II, Pope

* * * * *

+ Dear Marek,

May God reward you for the "Misterium (Mystery)." To know what it contains, I will have to read it but I can feel something in my bones from reading the letter only. I will make sure to have it read promptly.

Meanwhile, I thank you for the text (still unread) and for the kind words from its author. May Our Lady always protect Marek and Sophia, and their family.

And now we every day return to Medjugorje in prayer.

John Paul II

Vatican, May 28th, 1992

(in handwriting)

"Christ is Risen, My Lord and my hope"
With my (best) wishes and blessing

John Paul II, the Pope
Easter, 1992

* * * * *

Vatican City, February 25, 1994

Dear Marek and Sophia:

I thank you very much for both letters. Sophia is writing me about the Balkans. I guess Medjugorje is better understood these days. This kind of "insisting" of our Mother is better understood today when we see with our very eyes the enormousness of the danger. At the same time, the response in the way of a special prayer—and that coming from people all around the world—fills us with hope that here, too, the good will prevail. Peace is possible—such was the motto of the day of prayers of January 23rd, prepared by a special session at the Vatican in which Mr. T. Mazowiecki also participated.

Perhaps it is thanks to this as well that Europe is coming back to its senses. People in Poland are getting back to their senses, too, as follows from your writing. Maybe it will become easier for them to come to terms with the Pope who has not preached "the victory of democracy" but has instead reminded them of the Decalogue.

I thank you because I myself am very much attached to that place. It can be that there is only one such sanctuary in the world. Regarding Tygodnik, thanks be to God for what Marek has written me. After all, it would do terrible harm if this superb magazine were to be lost. It is only too bad that they "did not hold out" on the transitional stage to democracy. These days I was visited here by the so-called "young editorial board" including Mrs. Ziuta (Josephine) and Fr. Adam. From what I read in the letter, it follows that the visit was helpful.

Also, on the issue of the arrival of the group from Vilnius. Perhaps it would do well to call Fr. Conrad (Hejmo) and Fr. Stanislaus (Dziwisz). I think that some means will be found. I will also be very glad if you show up here one day. I told Tygodnik that I missed very much those "Travels around the Church," i.e. what Marek was bringing in. Please also say to Leszek Nowosielski that I will keep in mind his late mother.

That's that. I am writing this at the beginning of the Lent. May God bless us in this holy period of time so that we will live out the victory of Christ.

With my blessing,

John Paul II


* * * * *

Castel Gandolfo, September 3, 1994

+ Dear Marek and Sophia:

I thank you very much for this letter following the 40th anniversary of your marriage. I am glad that it was celebrated so beautifully by the celebrators of the jubilee themselves and other participants of the prayers at the Dominican nuns' priory.

The second part of the letter provides many valuable pieces of information concerning the pilgrimage to Medjugorje on August 15 in which Sophia participated. These are then the impressions of a first-hand witness, that is to say, they are reliable in every respect. May God reward you! It is difficult not to read those words without heartfelt compassion for those poor little orphans and all the local inhabitants of that land. No wonder that the people put their hope only in God as, there, they do not get any support from their nearest community.

I commend to the Mother of God Sophia, Marek and their whole family. I wish you to stay healthy.

With a blessing from my heart,

John Paul II

* * * * *

+ Dear Marek and Sophia,

I cordially thank you for the joint letter from the Skwarnickis, Sophia and Marek. I also thank you for the Easter wishes. I return them with all my heart to you and the younger generation (the children and grandchildren), and, eventually, to the "Weekly" and the whole Society. I trust that our Mother of Jasna Gora (the Bright Hill) will help me on the route of my pilgrimage in June. I do ask you for your prayers. I also remember in my daily prayers Father Andrew B. And I am sending a special blessing for Monica on the occasion of her First Holy Communion. And may everything work out fine on the Medjugorje to Rome journey. (8)

With a heartfelt blessing,

John Paul II
Vatican, March 30th, 1991

(in handwriting)

May the Peace of Christ reign in your hearts (Colossians 3:15) Halleluiah!

With Blessings,

John Paul II, the Pope
Easter 1991

* * * * *

Vatican City, December 6, 1993

+ Dear Marek,

My heartfelt thanks to you for Intensive Care. I am right now at the last stage of the reading. I think that the volume is superb, very unique. Surely there have not been many poets who made a cardiological clinic an object of their poetry. This is very modern. I do not know what such great oracles as Milosz and Baranczak might say, but I think that your volume is excellent. It is also excellent because, under the theme of the clinic, it links up with the theme of "travel around the Church." This way the volume has a general character and is, in a way, biographical. We find out that the man who happened upon the cardiological clinic is, consequently, the man who drove along with the Pope over to Australia and, even before that, to Mexico and elsewhere.

It is too bad that the younger members of TP (the liberal Catholic "Tygodnik Powszechny" weekly) have not had such experiences. Maybe they would not then write such things (like the younger Wozniakowski did) on our Millennium or the Papal visit in Poland. In fact, what he writes is not all bad or untrue, but very one-sided and therefore not the whole truth. You are right when you write in the last letter that, in a way, everything ends up with Jerzy (George) Turowicz and Fr. Tischner who has lately written an excellent article about "Veritatis Splendor" and M. Ziebie who is a new acquisition at TP—one of a kind, unfortunately. And it is good that they print him also in the "Tablet." It is good they print in TP M. Novak, J. Neuhaus or Weigel, and sometimes mention A. Frossard. Apart from that, however, everything breaks off with Jerzy Turowicz. Sometimes, maybe, with some sort of a "sneak attack" by Madam J. Hennel and T. Zychiewicz (in a way, your friend from the cardiological clinic). The editors of TP do not want to be, as Card. Kominek used to say: more retro-oculata, they want to be necessarily ante-oculata, i.e. gazing intently into the future. They only forget that, without this "retro," there is also none of this "ante." And, besides, the matter of the church assistant—for what I know—remains in a deadlock. Card. Macharski took the right position that the role of the assistant may not be only to "nod in approval."

When reading your letter, I feel that, in a way, we both fight for the same heritage. If you see that Tygodnik (Weekly) begins to make references to this heritage, then this is for me—obviously—a great consolation. Concurrently, however, you ascertain that there is hardly anyone to continue this heritage and there comes into being an essential question regarding who would have to preserve it in a creative way, when looking at the so-called "young personal composition." Those gentlemen once wrote me a letter to which I replied. Jerzy delivered that reply but that does not change the fact that it is necessary to learn from the Church continually, just like Christ and the Gospel, and one cannot learn from it without some kind of leaven.

This leaven is the love of the Church and it can never be any liberal critique of the Church, even if it referred to the most loudly acclaimed names of the postconciliar theologians.

Thank you, Marek, for your last letter. I see that the author of the letter worries not so much about what he wrote but that he wrote so much. I am glad, however, that he wrote and that he wrote this way because an expression of his concern, and the concern, in turn, is always an expression of love: and I will not hesitate to say that TP needs such love in the present situation. I do not know whether they find it in the sufficient measure in the Polish church. But, first of all, they must find it in their own house. I quote here the words of St. John of the Cross: "Where there is no love, graft love—and you will find love."

As you see I, too, have written at length against my custom. I cannot, however—just like you—cease to desire for the Tygodnik weekly to be a Catholic magazine, i.e., a magazine for Catholics who, today, search otherwise than in the past and want to find the Church and themselves in this magazine.

Hence, Marek, are also my wishes to you and your wife and the younger generation in the Skwarnicki family. I know that Sophia looks very much towards Medjugorje and, of late, towards Ostra Brama for the reason of her entire past. I, actually, was in Ostra Brama, I even quoted from Mickiewicz there. I was not in Medjugorje but I also look in that direction. Please tell your wife about it. I look in that direction and it seems to me that one cannot understand today's terrible events in the Balkans without Medjugorje. This is another postscript to my letter in which I am sending you the Christmas Eve wafer so that you break it at the Christmas Eve table and share it with your wife, your family and the TP editors if they still come to you for it—it followed from the letter they do not do it too much... But what can we do... It is Saint John of the Cross who wrote that our Lord Jesus showed us in the night of Bethlehem that, where there is no love, "it is necessary to graft love, in order to find love." And these are my wishes for you and for your entire community with which I continually try to remain a part of, also in prayer. For this is, in some sense, our common heritage.

John Paul II




This articles was excerpted from Medjugorje and the Church, 4th edition, Queenship Publishing, 2007.

Notes

(1) Ivan Dragicevic was the only Medjugorje visionary not to have met the Holy Father. On April 2, 2005, during her apparition which took place two hours after the Pope's death, Our Lady brought him with her when she appeared to Ivan. He shared the experience on April 25, 2005, during a talk in Lancaster, PA.

(2) The author has pictures of the Holy Father conversing with Vicka during this meeting, and one taken in 1987 of Mirjana with the Pope.

(3) For years the Bishop of Mostar, E. Michael Jones and others were charging that reports of the Pope's belief in the authenticity of these events were pure fabrications. His own letters now dispel any question. 

(4) Regarding the treatment in 2002 of Fr. Jozo Zovko, O.F.M, by Bishop Peric (concerning the bishop's personal attacks on Fr. Jozo in the media) the Franciscan Provincial in Mostar, Fr. Slavko Soldo, O.F.M, Fr. Jozo's superior, told the author: "It's not true that Fr. Jozo was suspended by his Franciscan General. He is not suspended! He is a priest in good standing with his community!" (Note that the November 14th letter from the Provincial and a November 21st letter of clarification from the Franciscan Vicar General in Rome are posted at www.marytv.tv.)

And regarding the charges against him, it's interesting that not one of those women has ever sent any of those letters to me. And I'm the first person who should know. Fr. Jozo is responsible to me as far as discipline goes. I find it interesting that neither has the bishop ever sent me a copy of any of those supposed letters. Let me repeat: never have such charges—or anything like them—ever been brought to my attention—and there are none in my office files preceding my time as Provincial! Of course now they can be invented and sent to me afterwards.

The Franciscan Provincial had good reason to be frustrated. Charges of sexual misconduct brought against Fr. Tomislav Vlasic, O.F.M (who was named pastor in Medjugorje after Fr. Jozo Zovko, O.F.M, was sent to prison) spread publicly by the Bishop of Mostar, had been refuted countless times by the very woman whose name appears at the end of the letters—that the bishop was using as his proof...the lady who was supposed to have written them and sent them to him. She pointed out to him that two letters he had with her name at the end were even written in different handwriting... "I am ready to swear by the Cross in the presence of anybody and everybody that I never disclosed or wrote who the father of the child is." The bishop's response was to ask her to be quiet and not tell anyone, and he continued spreading those letters to journalists as authentic! (Cf. At the Sources of Medjugorje: Objections, Daria Klanac, ZIRAL, Hrvatski mladezi bb, Mostar, 1999, p 39).

In 1990 Fr. Rupcic published an account of events that give even a clearer explanation for why the Franciscan Provincial in Mostar would be frustrated by the Bishop of Mostar's treatment of Fr. Jozo Zovko in 2002:

On December 21, 1985, the bishop invited Fr. Tomislav Vlasic (appointed Pastor after Fr. Jozo Zovko went to prison) and the "provincial" Fr. Jozo Pejic for a discussion. After he had seen fit to defame Fr. Vlasic before his former parishioners, he now sought to blackmail him before his "provincial." The bishop told Fr. Vlasic that if he would not sign a statement that the Gospa is not appearing in Medjugorje, and that he (Vlasic) had fabricated the whole thing, Zanic would publish his case against the priest far and wide (that he was the father of the child). When Fr. Tomislav refused to yield, the bishop said, "Well, Fr. Pejic, there is nothing more we can do with him." After this, the bishop proved true to his word. He slandered Fr. Tomislav before the whole world (Rupcic, The Truth About Medjugorje, p. 77).

It is unfortunate that Our Lady's apparitions were caught up in this scandalous war between the local hierarchy and the Franciscans. Well aware of this sad history (from his tenure as Prefect of the CDF) it would be hard to believe Pope Benedict XVI didn't have this in mind when he addressed Bishop Peric and the other two bishops who make up the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina during their "ad limina" visits in February, 2006. VIS sent out a press release that included the following:

VATICAN CITY, FEB 24,2006 (VIS) - "Blessed are the peacemakers." With these words, Benedict XVI received in the Vatican this morning prelates from the Bishops Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. ...Love "must translate into that higher measure of justice which is mercy." The Pope underlined the fact that, with this spirit, the bishops "will easily be able to carry out the mission entrusted to you, contributing to healing still-open wounds and to resolving contrasts and divisions left over from past years."

"First of all, it is important that every effort be made to increase the unity of the flock of Christ, ... overcoming, if necessary, misunderstandings and difficulties associated with events of the past...Blessed are the peacemakers," the Holy Father repeated... "As well as to the Church's mission in the outside world, these words are also applicable to internal relations among her members..." The Holy Father reminded them that the bishop should be "a 'builder of bridges,' between the various elements of the ecclesial community" (VIS 060224 (560)).

(5) A history of this event can be found at http://www. visionsofjesuschrist.com/weeping63.htm. Note there, for instance, the following AP news article:

Update January 25, 2005—Weeping Medjugorje Statue in Italy is Deemed "Inexplicable" by Church Experts.

Report: Document concludes there's no human explanation for Italy's weeping Madonna. ROME (AP) - A review of the probe into a statue of the Madonna said to have shed tears of blood a decade ago concluded that the phenomenon has no human explanation, a newspaper reported Sunday. The Civitavecchia diocese ordered theologians, historians and doctors to review the case and compile their conclusions in a document, according to Corriere della Sera, which published what it said was a summary of the findings.

Corriere, Italy's leading newspaper, said the document presented a critical analysis of all the testimonies given at the time, as well as all possible explanations for the phenomenon. "Everything—they (the experts) say unanimously—indicates that in that corner of the Earth, at the gates of Rome, an event took place that has no human explanation and points at the mystery of the supernatural," Corriere wrote.

Vittorio Messori, a leading Catholic author who helped Pope John Paul II write the 1994 best-selling book Crossing the Threshold of Hope (and Pope Benedict XVI when Prefect for the CDF, The Ratzinger Report) wrote the Corriere article.

(6) Regarding the Holy Father's concluding words to his March 30, 1991 letter: "And may everything work out fine on the Medjugorje to Rome journey," note Marek's important clarification at the end of the Pope's letter (note 8). A statue of Our Lady of Medjugorje weeping in Civitavecchia takes on added significance.

(7) Just prior to signing the Peace Accord in 1987, President Reagan (USA) was given (by Alfred Kingon, at the time America's Ambassador to Europe) a letter from Marija Pavlovic, one of the visionaries in Medjugorje. According to Kingon, President Reagan, visibly moved, phoned his thanks to Marija in Medjugorje, and then proceeded to his meeting with Gorbachev after first exclaiming, "Now I'm going to this meeting with a new spirit!" (Marija would later write Gorbachev, "at the request of Ambassador Kingon," informing him, as she had the American President, of Our Lady's message of peace from Medjugorje. Kingon testifies that it was translated into Russian and put into the hands of Gorbachev at the Kremlin. Also some time later, Reagan wrote Fr. Juan Villanova, chaplain of the Sanctuary of Fatima, Portugal, thanking him for having sent the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. It was "upstairs in Nancy's and my bedroom" at the White House when he and Gorbachev "were meeting downstairs." A non-Catholic, Ambassador Kingon, Secretary to President Reagan's cabinet before being named Ambassador to Europe, gave this testimony—and also his own after his pilgrimage to Medjugorje—at the 1992 National Conference on Medjugorje at the University of Notre Dame: "Our Lady is now coming for all her children on earth, in preparation for a major turning point in the affairs of men!"

H. E. Mr. Li Shuyuan, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China in Bosnia and Herzegovina, visited Medjugorje on April 23rd, 2002. Eighteen Ambassadors accredited in Bosnia and Herzegovina visited Medjugorje on May 11, 2002. The Russian Ambassador also came. Because so many Americans were going, the US State Department launched its own investigation. The former US Ambassador to Yugoslavia, David Anderson, sent two political officers who came back and reported, "Mr. Ambassador, you won't believe this, but there's something there!" (NEC, Inside Edition, 9/90).

Capt. Scott O'Grady, the American fighter pilot in NATO forces whose plane was shot down in Bosnia in June 1995, credited his rescue to Our Lady of Medjugorje:

On the third day of my hiding out, thinking about how survival is first of all a spiritual test, I experienced something amazing and unrepeatable. All of a sudden, in the stillness of my hiding place, I remembered the accounts of my mother's friend who, before the war broke out in Bosnia, had visited Medjugorje, a little place south in the country, where there is testimony about Our Lady's apparition. That afternoon I turned to Our Lady in prayer. Immediately I felt her presence. It became more and more clear and palpable right up to the moment that I saw her. It is hard to describe in words. The vision came through the strength of my feelings, and that feeling was indescribably warm, full of bliss and peace. Someone existed that prayed and kept watch over my return home. That vision was the most important thing that happened to me in Bosnia. It gave me the courage to hold out in the most difficult moments (Return with Honor, p. 105).

"Through his book the American pilot made public his own declaration given immediately after the very rescue operation: 'Our Lady of Medjugorje saved me!'" (Press Bulletin 31, January 31, 1996). Upon his safe return O'Grady's picture graced the front page of nearly every American newspaper and magazine. He was on national TV with President Clinton. The media—in particular the Catholic media—chose not to report any of Captain O'Grady's references to Our Lady and Medjugorje!

And testimonies abound: the original symbol for the EU (depicted, for example, on vehicle license plates) was a circle of 12 stars—representing the 12 stars in the crown of Our Lady as she appears during her apparitions in Medjugorje according to the artist who created the design (as a result of grace experienced—during a pilgrimage to the village). Grace extends also to those who haven't been there. On August 1, 1997, Congressmen Chris Smith (R., NJ), the leader of the pro-life movement in the US Congress, and Tom Lantos (D., CA) the founder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus (not a baptized Christian and the right hand of President Clinton in Congress) invited the author to arrange a congressional briefing on the messages of peace being given to the world by Our Lady from Medjugorje. The briefing took place in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC on October 22, 1997. On May 5, 2005, the Executive Director of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus—a holocaust survivor (and also not a baptized Christian)—wrote a letter thanking him for having sent Fr. Donald Calloway's Medjugorje testimony on DVD: "You have a very important mission to spread this information to the world!"

In January, 2005, the author was invited to address an American Evangelization Conference. Cardinals and bishops were present (coming also from the Vatican), America's former Ambassador to the Vatican, the Executive Director of the Catholic Media Association for the US and Canada and numerous representatives of the Catholic media. I admonished the Catholic media for its treatment of Medjugorje... the secular media having been more honest! (One example: Timothy Tindal-Robertson's Fatima, Russia & Pope John Paul II quotes the Holy Father: "No, not me, but by the works of the Blessed Virgin, in line with her affirmations at Fatima." But the Pope had actually said, "... at Fatima and Medjugorje." The Pope's reference to Medjugorje had been deleted, and also in its second edition—Ravengate Press, 1998, p. 56). An editor for OSV had told the author 15 years before, "As a journalist I've never seen anything like it in my life! It's as if the Catholic media in this country wants to hide its head in a hole in the ground and hope that Medjugorje goes away." A Catholic newspaper had commissioned her to write an article on Medjugorje. By the time she sent it in a new editor for the paper had been named, who had instituted a new policy: the word "Medjugorje" could not appear in the paper! The Catholic media continues this policy. The editor of Today's Catholic deleted references to Medjugorje in the paper's December 17, 2006 article, "Blessed Mother Leads Guitarist to Music Ministry" and did the same when featuring a talk given at Notre Dame's Edith Stein Conference, "The healing of the Feminine: A Case in Point" (March 4, 2007). "Medjugorje was pivotal in my beginning to heal," the speaker was quoted in the article as saying, but this sentence, and all references to Medjugorje—central to the speaker's testimony and to the article itself—were deleted by the editor before Today's Catholic went to print. For years the National Catholic Register wouldn't allow the word "Medjugorje" to appear in the paper, even in paid advertisements! A chapter in Jeff Cavin's book, Amazing Grace for the Catholic Heart, presented the testimony of Fr. Donald Calloway, titled, "Grateful Dead to Greatly Alive," but before Fr. Calloway recorded his testimony for MARY TV (which can be streamed or downloaded to Ipod at no cost at http://www.marytv.tv), he told the author, "I wasn't allowed to mention Medjugorje." (The couple who wrote and preformed the theme song for Life on the Rock, Cavin's television program on EWTN, credit Medjugorje for their music ministry, yet guests were regularly told Medjugorje couldn't be mentioned on the show!). Before recording his testimony in South Bend for the 1992 National Conference on Medjugorje, Mark Bavaro, tight end for the New York Giants, told the author he had recorded his testimony the day before for Keep the Faith in New York—but hadn't been allowed to mention "Medjugorje." Indeed , the secular media has been much more honest. "When something important is going on, silence is a lie," A.M. Rosenthal, New York Times.

(8) Marek comments: "The phrase, 'on the Medjugorje to Rome journey' was not an allusion to any journey. It meant a relationship between the Medjugorje sanctuary and the Vatican, because controversies regarding the Medjugorje apparitions were still persisting as was the conflict between the Medjugorje Franciscans and the Bishop of Mostar. It was the time when Medjugorje matters were referred to Yugoslavian episcopal authorities for consideration."

 

By Denis Nolan    
Saturday, 30 June 2007 

Last Updated ( Sunday, 09 December 2012 )
 
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