For the first time in almost 30 years of reported apparitions at Medjugorje, the Bishop of Mostar refuses to answer media questions about them. His opposition to the apparitions has been well-known throughout his time as a bishop, but now he refers to the international commission appointed by the Vatican to study Medjugorje.
Since June 24, 1981 there have been thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of miracles in Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Medjugorje miracles, whether smaller or bigger, changed people’s lives. Here are only some of them and they all have something in common – for people who believed and saw them, they were beautiful, divine, amazing and almost impossible to describe.
On June 25, 1981, the second day of the apparitions, Mirjana asked Our Lady if She would give them a sign so that others would believe that they were seeing Our Lady. Mirjana believed she received a sign when Our Lady smiled. Mirjana also noticed that her watch had changed times during the apparition. The time went backwards. Most people would say that this is insignificant, not of any importance. But Our Lady has told us on November 25, 1991 to:
“…Pray that you might be able to comprehend what God desires to tell you through my presence and through the messages I am giving you…”
'Medjugorje' means more than just the town in Herzegovina that carries this name. It stands for the movement that this name has triggered ever since several youths testified that on the 24th of June 1981 the Gospa, the Mother of God, the Mother of Jesus, appeared to them and is still appearing to them today. The most important aspects of this movement can be described as follows: First, it is a MOVEMENT OF PILGRIMAGE. To this day, many millions have come to this place of pilgrimage from all parts of the world. Further, Medjugorje represents a MOVEMENT OF PEACE, that emanates from within. There, people experience the gift of peace in their hearts and are ready to pass it on to others, where they live: in their marriage and family, in their neighbourhood and their community, their working place and in politics. They are being motivated not only by their own experience of reconciliation and peace but also by the name, with which the Gospa introduced Herself to the visionaries: I am the Queen of Peace. Third, one can call Medjugorje a MOVEMENT OF RENEWAL, which permanently renews the spiritual life of individuals, groups and communities. A great number of people have had deep spiritual experiences: physical and spiritual healing, conversions, renewal of prayer and faith, impulses for fasting, liberation from addictions. The most obvious sign of these renewals are the prayer groups, which have been founded by the pilgrims in their communities upon their return from Medjugorje. There they meet regularly, usually once a week, for prayer and adoration, to pray the rosary, to read the Sacred Scripture and to discuss the gospel and Christian life. And finally, Medjugorje has become the symbol for a MOVEMENT OF HUMANITARIAN AID, which in itself is unique. This was particularly evident when the Balkan war began and extended into Bosnia-Herzegovina. Millions of pilgrims, who had received spiritual gifts in Medjugorje, were now showing their gratitude by helping materially: with food, clothing, medicines and other goods, with money and by sponsoring orphans and war victims. This short outline shows what is meant when one talks about Medjugorje as being a movement. It should also be mentioned that this movement is being fed with the messages, which the Gospa has given to Marija Pavlovic from March 1, 1984 to January 8, 1987, on a weekly basis, and since then on the 25th of each month. These messages consist generally only of several sentences and are impulses to make the five original basic messages more concrete: faith and conversion, prayer and fasting, as well as peace.
There are two questions, with which we are going to be dealing with and they are: Is this movement, which comes from Medjugorje, a spiritual movement? Is it within the Church? In order to understand these questions, it is necessary to further point out several things.
Our Lady appears to six visionaries, which can see her and talk with her during regular apparitions. During some of these apparitions, Our Lady gives messages. One of most frequented topics of these messages are appeals for prayers and love.
On June 24, 1981 at around 6pm six little children went outside of Medjugorje on a little hill named Podbrdo, or locally known as Crnica.
Those children were Ivanka Ivanković, Mirjana Dragičević, Vicka Ivanković, Ivan
Dragičević, Ivan Ivanković and Milka Pavlović. While there, they saw a beautiful, young woman holding a baby in her arms. She never said anything that day, but tried to show them with her hands to come closer to her. The children got very scared and ran away, although they all thought they saw Virgin Mary.
Supernatural signs are a method God has used throughout history to know Him and to bring His children to conversion. It is a way God speaks to us or to incite our hearts to believe and come to Him. Yet, Jesus once said:
“An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.”
Yet still, Our Lady says:
March 25, 1990
“…God wants to save you and sends you messages through men, nature, and so many things which can only help you to understand that you must change the direction of your life…”