Medjugorija

Viva Marija – Međugorje, Medjugorje. Zdravo Marijo

 

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Međugorje je jedno od najpoznatijih katoličkih svetišta u svijetu, smješteno u blizini grada Čitluka, u južnom dijelu Bosne i Hercegovine. Broji oko 4300 stanovnika, a postalo je poznato kroz ukazanja Djevice Marije, koja se kao fenomen počela javljati 1981. godine. Od tada je ovohercegovačko mjesto, uz Sarajevo, jedan od najposjećenijih turističkih centara Bosne i Hercegovine, koje godišnje obiđe oko milion katolika iz cijelog svijeta. Za razliku od marijanskog svetišta u francuskom Lourdesu, koji je sa šest miliona turista-vjernika postao pravi komercijalni raj za domaće ugostitelje, međugorsko svetište je još uvijek zadržalo svoj prvobitni šarm, u kojem hodočasnici nalaze mir u vjeri. Centar okupljanja u Svetištu kraljice mira, kako se međugorsko svetište službeno zove, je crkva sv. Jakova u centru mjesta.

     Za vrijeme rimskog doba ovo je područje pripadalo naronskom okrugu. Pronađeni su ostaci kasnoantičke bazilike. Međugorje se prvi put spominje 1599. godine, u povijesnim dokumentima, kao autonomna župa. Sadašnja župa osnovana je 1892.godine i posvećena je sv. Jakovu, zaštitniku hodočasnika. Današnja župna crkva dovršena je 1969. godine i posvećena je Sv. Jakovu Zebedejevom. Prva crkva građena je 1897. godine, ali nakon prvog svjetskog rata, zbog nestabilnosti je neupotrebljiva. Na vrhu brda Križevcu, 1933. sagrađen je križ za 1900. godišnjicu razapeća Isusa Krista na kojem se nalazi natpis: Isusu Kristu, Otkupitelju ljudskog roda, u znak svoje vjere, ljubavi i nade, u spomen 1900. godišnjice Muke Isusove. Nakon 24. lipnja 1981. godine piše se drugačija povijest, kada su počela ukazanja Gospe sa Isusom. Od tada se Međugorje počelo ubrzano razvijati pružajući hodočasnicima sve potrebne sadržaje za vrijeme njihova posjeta ovom svjetski poznatom svetištu.[1]

 

Međugorje

Medjugorje- Čitluku front door, that Our Lady appeared to the Croats,” the famous verse came from ordinary people, pilgrims who have come up walking all over the world in this little town in Herzegovina.

Medjugorje is unrivaled largest Croatian sanctuary, though not yet officially recognized. No one knows the exact number of visitors a year but it is certain that the number exceeds one million.

Medjugorje was a typical poor Herzegovina village with a church of St Joseph. Jacob until the 24th June 1981. year when, according to testimony, then six young parishioners happened first apparition of the Virgin Mary. Since then, it becomes increasingly important item on the world map, and little by little turned into one of the most famous Marian shrines in the world.

Medjugorje has many special features. Nowhere, so do not walk, does not exist so cruel rocks by which pilgrims walk barefoot, so young, so many converts, incredibly poor care of all the structures of the apparitions to date, etc. but once unbeatable:

                                   Medjugorje is a confessional world.
In support of this fact goes one statement of Croatian archbishop that he speaks with a senior Vatican official person and he asked that Croatian Archbishop what he thinks about Medjugorje. He briefly answered. “Your confession Excellency go there to confess for three hours and you will know”
Inevitable place on the occasion of the arrival in Medjugorje: Apparition Hill, Cross Mountain, Cenacolo, Mother’s Village, etc.
Medjugorje is no fun, no luxury, no historical monuments. It gives everyone just one thing that all substitutes – Prayer.

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In the Beginning

  

 is a small mountain village in Bosnia-Herzegovina,the former Yugoslavia. The following testimony was given by Ivanka Ivankovic-Elez in Buffalo, NY, on November 23, 2008:

 

Going back in history – on the 24th of June, 1981, my life changed forever. I never thought that something like this would happen, that the Mother of Christ could appear to me, and I never heard about Fatima or Lourdes at that time.

My family and I at that time were living in Mostar, and we came home to Medjugorje on summer vacation. And visionary Mirjana was visiting from Sarajevo. So on the 24th of June, Mirjana and I and some other friends of ours, after Mass, decided to go outside the church and talk about our summer vacation. I don’t remember how long we were there walking around and we couldn’t wait any more for the rest of the girls to come, so we decided to go back to the village. On the way back something was pulling my eyes to the hillside. When I looked on the hillside, I told Mirjana, “Mirjana, look up there! There is Our Lady!” She did not want to even look up there and she said, “Don’t talk nonsense. It could not be.” Mirjana was just remaining quiet and we continued to walk. When we came to the village, Marija’s sister, Milka said she was looking for her sheep. As soon as she saw me she said, “What happened to you? You look different.”  I told her, “I just saw Our Lady.” Then all three of us walked back to the same place and we all saw Our Lady at that time. Our Lady was on the hillside, standing about 600 meters up on the hill and She was motioning Her hand for us to come closer. But we were just standing still. We were afraid to go up there.

In the meantime, Vicka came to join us, and she said, “What is happening to you?” We said,” Hurry up! We see Our Lady!” When she heard that she simply took her shoes off and started running back to the village, and on the way to the village she met two Ivans – Ivan who is the visionary, and his friend also called Ivan. She told them what was happening and then all three of them came to join us. Even though there were more of us now, we were still afraid to go up the hillside, We were still very excited and very confused at what was happening. Some of us went to the closest home and we went inside and told the people in the household what we saw. We just told them, “We saw Our Lady,” but the people said, “Don’t play and don’t tell that to anyone.” Then they chased us out of the yard.

When I came to my home, my grandmother was there and I told her what I saw, and she told me, “It’s probably someone tending their sheep.” I was only 15 years old at that time, and that night was never longer in my lifetime as that. Whenever we told any of the other people what we saw, they did not interfere. But the next morning, even though Medjugorje had only one phone in the whole village, the news went around to other villages what was happening in Medjugorje. So the next day more people gathered. My grandmother then raised her hand and said, “Whatever is happening, no matter who is up on the hillside, you are not leaving my sight.”

When we reached the place where we were standing before, we saw flashes of light on the hillside, three times, and something was pulling us forward to come closer. So six of us were pulled so quickly other people could not keep up with us. When we came close to Our Lady we saw the beauty that no words can describe. My eyes never saw anything more beautiful than that. Our Lady has a gray gown, white veil, a crown around Her head with stars. She has blue eyes and dark hair, and She’s standing on a cloud. At that very moment, we all knelt in front of Our Lady.

Two months before that began, my mother had died; she passed away because she was very ill. That day when we knelt in front of Our Lady, I asked Our Lady, “Where is my mother?”  Our Lady just smiled and said, “Your mother is with me,” and Our Lady said, “Do not be afraid of anything. I will always be with you.  I will come tomorrow.”

In the meantime, some other people who started to walk with us reached the base of the hillside and they saw something unusual happening to us, and they suggested that the next day when we come, we should bring holy water and sprinkle the apparition. So when Our Lady appeared on the third day, Vicka took holy water and she said, “If you are of God, stay with us; if you are not, go away.” Then She smiled and She said, “I am the Queen of Peace,” and the first message of Our Lady was peace. Later on, She added conversion, prayerfasting and penance. So those are the main ones, the most important messages from the first days.

From 1981 to 1985 I had daily apparitions. Through all those years Our Lady was talking to me at each meeting about the future of the world, and the future of the Church and also Our Lady’s life story. I know everything in those notebooks, and so when Our Lady tells me that it is closer, She will tell me the time and I will give the notebooks.

The 7th of May, 1985, was my last daily apparition, and Our Lady stayed with me a whole hour, and She gave me the tenth secret. Our Lady told me that She was not going to meet with me every day, only once a year, on the 25th of June.

So from 1985 until now I have only one apparition a year. On the day when I was talking to Our Lady, She gave me a beautiful gift that I’ll never forget.    Every person is asking himself whether there is life after this. I am a living witness that there is life after this because Our Lady showed me my mother. My mother talked to me and she said, “My daughter, I am so proud of you.”

It’s already been 27 years that Our Lady has come to visit us, giving us the words of wisdom in every message, showing us how to live our life. It is only up to us to accept these words.

Each one of us visionaries has our own mission. Some of us have the mission to pray for sick people or for the priests or the Church. I was chosen to pray for families. Our Lady is inviting us to pray for families, together to renew the family there in our homes. In the beginning Our Lady requested that we pray seven Our Father’s, Hail Mary’s, and Glory Be’s a day, then later the whole Rosary. Our Lady wants us to display the Bible, Holy Scriptures, in our homes and to read it often, every day if possible, and then the Bible can be our life; and to go to Holy Mass often, especially on Sunday; and to go to Confession once a month.

I pray for families every single day, for all families, not only in my village, but around the world. I’m asking all of you to pray for my family and the families of the visionaries. Thank you.

 Editor’s note: On the second day when Ivanka, Mirjana, Vicka and Ivan returned to the hill, Milka’s sister Marija and 10 year old Jakov Colo joined them. These are the 6 visionaries. Ivanka, Mirjana and Jakov have all been given 10 secrets. As of this writing(12/8/08), Ivan, Marija and Vicka have 9 secrets and continue to receive daily apparitions.

The “Secrets”

 

The following excerpt is from an article written by Fr. Petar Ljubicic, who is the priest chosen by visionary Mirjana to reveal the secrets to the world:

Concerning the secrets, Mirjana herself states that she thinks the day of their fulfillment is nearing. And lately, Our Lady calls her to a specific program of how she should pray and live. At the same time, through Mirjana, She calls all people of good will to join with her in prayer.

God has announced to us that He will send signs of preliminary warning. He wishes to show clearly that He is forever “Master of the world.” God will send us some early signs and then He will give us a permanent sign. Mirjana says that when the signs appear, many people will be converted, many who doubted until now and who deliberated about whether the event in Medjugorje came from God or from some other source. It will be clear to everyone who is open to the Spirit of God that God is indeed here and dwells among us.

Concerning us, specifically, of course we’d like to know when all of this will take place. I believe that curiosity can best be satisfied by fasting and prayer, and people who do so don’t need to be afraid. Everything will turn out right. I don’t know what misfortunes and catastrophes will come; and naturally, I don’t know what will happen to us. I know only this: Without God’s wisdom, nothing will happen to us. Everyone can receive what he needs to fulfill God’s plan in his life. I believe that from this, we can conclude that God loves us today, too. I see positive proof of this in the fact that God is sending His Mother to us, and that He has already given us many signs. There are many witnesses who have meditated about this and have been converted. They are the people who began to fast and pray. I believe these are signs and that they are more significant than physical signs. Material signs can be momentarily impressive, but the joy and happiness which one experiences in the soul remains and is not easily forgotten. That’s the treasure we carry in our hearts.

Shortly after Mirjana’s visions ceased, I was informed by the other visionaries that she had chosen me as the priest of her confidence. At that time I thought I was too far away from Medjugorje. I was a priest in another community and there was no indication that I would be moved to Medjugorje. Mirjana, who moved in the meantime, to Sarajevo to continue her studies, told me that God will put everything in its place. Mirjana asked Our Lady whether she had acted correctly, and Our Lady told her that everything would happen at the proper time. And indeed, since the fall of 1985, I’ve been in Medjugorje for more than a year.

Mirjana told me that Our Lady comes more often lately and that she hears Her voice at a predetermined time. She said Our Lady is preparing her for the fulfillment of the secrets. Our Lady wants everything to develop in order. She gave Mirjana something similar to paper, which contains information about the individual secrets. Ten days before, she’ll know what will happen. Three days before a secret is revealed, it will be announced to the people so they’ll know exactly what, where, how, what time, and for how long it will take place.

The first two secrets will come as advance warnings and as proof that Our Lady was here in Medjugorje. The third secret will be a visible sign. This secret is the same for all the visionaries. No one knows how many secrets are the same for all of them. As far as the visible sign is concerned, the exact information will be received three days in advance. All of us have to prepare for this with prayer and fasting.

 

The Visionaries

Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic - Vicka is the oldest of the visionaries. She was born September 3, 1964, in Bijakovici, and comes from a family of 8 children. Her prayer mission given by Our Lady is to pray for the sick. Vicka, her husband Mario, and young daughter & son live in the small village of Gruda, a few kilometers north ofMedjugorje. In January of 1983, Our Lady began to tell Vicka Her life story. The information Our Lady dictatedto Vicka over these two years is contained in two hand written notebooks and will be published when Our Ladytells Vicka it is time. Vicka: “The only way to peace and love is prayer and fasting.”Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo - Mirjana was born March 18th, 1965 in Sarajevo. Her prayer mission fromOur Lady is to pray for all unbelievers. Mirjana graduated from the University of Sarajevo where her familylived. Mirjana, her husband Marco, and their two daughters live in Medjugorje. On August 2, 1987, Our Ladystarted appearing to Mirjana on the 2nd day of each month to pray with Mirjana for all unbelievers. Mirjanatells us that Our Lady defines “unbelievers” as those who have not yet felt God’s love. She tells us that if weonly once saw the tears in Our Lady’s eyes for all unbelievers, that we would all begin praying intensely for thisintention. Mirjana: “The Mass, the Rosary, and fasting, especially on bread and water only, can stop war, canchange the natural law, particularly if they are done with great faith and great trust and great love.”Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti – Marija was born on April 1, 1965, in Bijakovici. Her prayer mission given byOur Lady is to pray for all the souls in purgatory. She has three brothers and two sisters. When the apparitionsstarted, she was studying in Mostar, about eighteen miles away. She is the visionary to whom Our Lady givesthe public message to the world on the 25th of each month. Marija, her husband Paulo and their four childrenlive in Italy. She visits Medjugorje a number of times each year. Marija: “Fear comes from Satan. Those whotrust the Lord do not experience fear.”Ivanka Ivankovic-Elez - Ivanka was born on July 21, 1966, in Bijakovici. Ivanka’s prayer mission fromOur Lady is to pray for families. Ivanka has one brother and one sister. Her Mother Jagoda, died in May 1981.

When the apparitions first began, Ivanka asked the Blessed Mother about her mother. God has allowed Ivanka

to see and speak to her mother, who is in Heaven, five times over the years. Ivanka and her husband Raico and

their three children live in Medjugorje. Ivanka: “People know whether they are living in God’s will or not by

how much peace they have. If they don’t feel peace in their hearts, they know they are not doing the right thing.

Those who are doing God’s will have peace.”

 

Ivan Dragicevic - Ivan was born on May 25th, 1965 in Bijakovici. His prayer mission given by Our Lady is to

pray for priests and the youth of the world. There are three younger children in his family and although Ivan

and Mirjana share the same last name, they are not related. Ivan, his wife Laureen and their four children

reside half the year in Medjugorje, and half the year in Boston, MA. Ivan: ”All prayer is pleasing to God. It is

Satan who always tells us our prayer is not good enough, that we are not good enough. The least prayer is very

much.”

 

Jakov Colo- Jakov is the youngest of the seers. He was born on March 6, 1971 in Sarajevo, and was only 10 years old when the apparitions started. His prayer mission given by Our Lady is to pray for the sick. Jakov, his wife

Annalisa and three children live in Medjugorje. In the early years, the presence of the young fidgety boy among

the group of seers is significant in terms of the authenticity of the apparitions. It was highly improbable that he

would come to church for two to three hours of prayer every single day, in winter as well as in summer, year

after year, simply to make believe that he is seeing the Blessed Virgin. Jakov: “We need to learn how to thank

God because He gave us too much, and we do not understand that. W e are constantly asking for more.”

 

 

The Official Position of the Church Regarding Medjugorje

The following is excerpted from a talk given by Dr. Mark Miravalle at the Medjugorje Conference at Notre Dame University in May, 2008.

What is the official position of the Church regarding Medjugorje? Would it be an act of disobedience to pilgrimage to Medjugorje before the Church has given the apparitions final and definitive approval?

Let’s go to the facts. On April 10, 1991, the Yugoslavian Episcopal Conference made a declaration regarding Medjugorje. It is known as the “Declaration of the ex-Yugoslavian Bishops’ Conference,” in Zadar. In the statement of 1991, the bishops say the following: They do not approve Medjugorje as supernaturally authentic; they do not prohibit Medjugorje as a fraudulent apparition. They rather conclude, without saying a positive statement of Medjugorje, that the pilgrims can come, and they are to be pastorally tended to. Now, theologically this is what we call the middle category of

“non constat supernaturalitate.” Now once again, bear with me on these distinctions because they’re important for clarity and understanding what is the official position of the Church on Medjugorje. An approved apparition receives what is called “constat de supernaturalitate.” which means it consists of a supernatural origin. The third category is the prohibition category, that is, “constat de non- supernaturalitate.” That is where the local bishop says officially these are not approved, and you cannot come, and there can be no sacraments celebrated at this site. Well, there’s a middle position, and it’s “non constat supernaturalitate,” which means the Church, and here the Zadar statement, does not approve the apparitions, it does not discredit the apparitions, and people are, indeed, free to go.

So the 1991 Zadar statement makes clear that personal pilgrimages to Medjugorje are done, can be satisfied within proper biddings to the Church. Now, on May 26, 1998, the Vatican Congregation to the Doctrine of the Faith made a statement on Medjugorje in response to a letter from a French bishop, Bishop Aubrey, and at that time the secretary to Cardinal Ratzinger, Archbishop Bertone, who is now the Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone made a very important confirmation from the Vatican of the 1991 Zadar statement. Archbsihop Bertone, in this statement in 1998, said the following: Number one – that the Zadar statement, without approving and without condemning – is the position of the Church on Medjugorje at the present position. Number two – the statement of Archbishop Bertone stated that the personal opposition of the local bishop is his own personal position. It is not the official position of the Catholic Church, and I quote from the letter, “that the position of Msgr. Peric is and remains his personal opinion.”  Thirdly, the statement of 1998 states once again that pilgrims can pilgrimage to Medjugorje on a private, personal, that means non-diocesan organized basis.

   My friends, this is extremely important if we’re after the facts. This is Rome; this is the Holy See, this is the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith saying that the position of the local bishop, which is a negative position, is not the official Catholic position at this time. And we know from our Catechism and we know from our teaching that you always go with Rome. You go with the Holy See. You go with the voice of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. So, in answer to question one, is it an act of disobedience to pilgrimage to Medjugorje, it absolutely is not an act of disobedience. It is permitted in the 1991 Zadar statement, from the bishops of ex-Yugoslavia. It is confirmed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the letter of Archbishop Bertone, May 26, 1998.

The Locutionists

Besides the 6 visionaries in Medjugorje, there are two locutionists (people to whom God speaks“with the heart,” an experience which is known in the history of the Church as “locutio cordis” or inner locution). In December, 1982, Jelena Vasilj, 9 years old, began to hear Our Lady speak to her. In March of 1983, Marijana Vasilj ( no relation), age 11, began to also have inner locutions of Our Lady. The messages to these girls were similar to the visionaries. In March of 1983, Our Lady established and led a prayer group through Jelena. Our Lady dictated to Jelena consecration prayers and a prayer for the sick and recommended the reading of Matthew 6:24-34 every Thursday.

 In June of 1986, Pope John Paul II said, in response to a group of twelve Italian bishops seeking pastoral advice on people making pilgrimages to Medjugorje, “LET THE PEOPLE GO TO MEDJUGORJE IF THEY CONVERT, PRAY, CONFESS, DO PENANCE AND FAST.”

 

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