Wednesday, October 01, 2014

October is the month of the Rosary

The Rosary is a very simple prayer that is deeply founded in the Bible. In the 15 Mysteries we quite simply have the possibility of being with Jesus and Mary in joy, in sorrow, and in glory. And it is this that must be taught to the people when one prays the Rosary.

Sadly for many people the Rosary is only a repetition that can then also become boring. Yet the Rosary is in fact a deep meeting with Jesus and Mary.

Whoever prays the Rosary looks at Mary and Jesus, how they behave in joy and in sorrow, and then how they move on into glory. This is exactly what every one of us, all people today in fact need. We need to watch them and then change our own behaviour according to theirs, and then with this change in our behaviour to become an example for all others.

Fr Slavko Barbaric OFM

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Grace from heaven

The word of God – a precious gift from heaven – is enough to set the world and hearts alight. Our Lady invites us to receive and accept her messages – words from heaven – and to live every word she gives us.

As the time drew near for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely took the road for Jerusalem and sent messengers ahead of him. These set out, and they went into a Samaritan village to make preparations for him, but the people would not receive him because he was making for Jerusalem. Seeing this, the disciples James and John said, “Lord do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” But he turned and rebuked them, and they went off to another village. Luke 9 : 51-56

Dear children! Today I pray for you and with you that the Holy Spirit may help you and increase your faith, so that you may accept even more the messages that I am giving you here in this holy place. Little children, comprehend that this is a time of grace for each of you; and with me, little children, you are secure. I desire to lead you all on the way of holiness. Live my messages and put into life every word that I am giving you. May they be precious to you because they come from heaven. Thank you for having responded to my call. Medjugorje message, June 25, 2002

Monday, September 29, 2014

SS Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels

It’s not often Our Lady makes mention of angels in her messages, but she did three months ago in her message to Marija on July 25. She said:

I am with you and, with the saints and angels, intercede for you.
part Medjugorje message, July 25, 2014

St Augustine says: “‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are, ‘spirit’, from what they do, ‘angel.’” With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” they are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word.” CCC 329

The picture above shows a sculpture of the Angel Gabriel located at ‘Little Lourdes’ just outside the Croatian town of Makarska, where many pilgrims stop off on their journey home from Medjugorje.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What is your opinion?

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people; “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He went and said to the first.‘My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not go’, but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, ‘Certainly, sir’, but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?” “The first” they said. Jesus said to them, “I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kigndom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.” Matthew 21 : 28-32

Dear children; Anew, in a motherly way, I am calling you to love; to continually pray for the gift of love; to love the Heavenly Father above everything. When you love him you will love yourself and your neighbour. This cannot be separated. The Heavenly Father is in each person. He loves each person and calls each person by his name. Therefore, my children, through prayer hearken to the will of the Heavenly Father. Converse with him. Have a personal relationship with the Father which will deepen even more your relationship as a community of my children – of my apostles. As a mother I desire that, through the love for the Heavenly Father, you may be raised above earthly vanities and may help others to gradually come to know and come closer to the Heavenly Father. My children, pray, pray, pray for the gift of love because ‘love’ is my Son. Pray for your shepherds that they may always have love for you as my Son had and showed by giving His life for your salvation. Thank you. Medjugorje message, November 2, 2013

Thursday, September 25, 2014

September message from Our lady given to Marija

Dear children! Also today I call you to also be like the stars, which by their light give light and beauty to others so they may rejoice.

Little children, also you be the radiance, beauty, joy and peace – and especially prayer – for all those who are far from my love and the love of my Son Jesus.

Little children, witness your faith and prayer in joy, in the joy of faith that is in your hearts; and pray for peace, which is a precious gift from God.

Thank you for having responded to my call

September 25, 2014

A generation goes, a generation comes...

“How many Christians live for appearances? Their life seems like a soap bubble. The soap bubble is beautiful, with all its colours! But it lasts only a second, and then what? Even when we look at some funeral monuments, we feel it’s vanity, because the truth is returning to the bare earth, as the Servant of God Paul VI said. The bare earth awaits us, this is our final truth. In the meantime, do I boast or do I do something? Do I do good? Do I seek God? Do I pray? Substantial things. And vanity is a liar, a fantasist, it deceives itself, it deceives the vain, because in the beginning he pretends to be [something], but in the end he really believes himself to be that, he believes. He believes it. Poor thing!”
Pope Francis, September 25, 2014
(full text here)

You sweep men away like a dream,
like grass which springs up in the morning.
In the morning it springs up and flowers:
by evening it withers and fades.
Psalm 89 : 5-6

Dear children! Today I call all of you to decide for holiness. May for you, little children, always in your thoughts and in each situation, holiness be in the first place – in work and in speech. In this way, you will also put it into practice; little by little, step by step, prayer and a decision for holiness will enter into your family. Be real with yourselves and do not bind yourselves to material things but to God. And do not forget, little chlidren, that your life is as passing as a flower. Thank you for having responded to my call. Medjugorje Message, August 25, 2001

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Material things

Jesus called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither staff, nor haversack, nor bread, nor money, and let none of you take a spare tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there; and when you leave, let it be from there. As for those who do not welcome you, when you leave their town shake the dust from your feet as a sign to them.” So they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the Good News and healing everywhere. Luke 9 : 1-6

Dear children! Also today I call you to conversion. You are concerned too much about material things and little about spiritual ones. Open your hearts and start again to work more on your personal conversion. Decide everyday to dedicate time to God and to prayer until prayer becomes a joyful meeting with God for you. Only in this way will your life have meaning and with joy you will contemplate eternal life. Thank you for having responded to my call. Medjugorje message, April 25, 2000

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Responding to the call...

The mother and brothers of Jesus came looking for him, but they could not get to him because of the crowd. He was told, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to see you.” But he said in answer, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practise.” Luke 8 : 19-21

Dear children! Today I am happy to see you in such great numbers, that you have responded and have come to live my messages. I invite you, little children, to be my joyful carriers of peace in this troubled world. Pray for peace so that as soon as possible a time of peace, which my heart waits impatiently for, may reign. I am near to you, little children, and intercede for every one of you before the Most High. I bless you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.
Medjugorje message, June 25, 1995

Monday, September 22, 2014

Seeing the light

Dear children! Today I am calling on you to decide whether or not you wish to live the messages which I am giving you. I wish you to be active in living and spreading the messages. Especially, dear children, I wish that you all be the reflection of Jesus, which will enlighten this unfaithful world walking in darkness. I wish all of you to be the light for everyone and that you give witness in the light. Dear children, you are not called to the darkness, but you are called to the light. Therefore, live the light with your own life. Thank you for having responded to my call.
Medjugorje message, June 5, 1986

Jesus said to his disciples: “No one lights a lamp to cover it with a bowl or put it under a bed. No, he puts it on a lamp-stand so that people may see the light when they come in. For nothing is hidden that will be made clear, nothing secret but it will be known and brought to light. So take care how you hear; for anyone who has will be given more; from anyone who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.” Luke 8 : 16-18

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pope blessed another Medjugorje statue

Following on from the special wedding ceremony last Sunday morning, when he married 20 couples at St Peter’s Basilica, the Holy Father’s current focus on marriage was highlighted again last week as Pope Francis welcomed other newly-married couples and their guests at the Wednesday General Audience.

On display 
in a place of honour outside the Basilica was a large statue of Our Lady of Medjugorje belonging to the House of Mary, an organisation based in Ischia, Italy, and founded to combat social injustice. 

It had been brought to Rome to be blessed by the Holy Father and Pope Francis duly obliged, spending time in prayer with the three-metre-high statue before giving it his blessing.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis was pictured accepting a statue of Our Lady of Medjugorje sent to him by the Medjugorje seer Vicka and, in May, photographed praying in front of another Medjugorje statue outside St Peter’s.

The Holy See Press Office today announced Pope Francis has decided to establish a Special Commission for the study of the reform of the matrimonial processes in canon law.

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. Luke 2 : 1-2

photo source:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Another miracle at Medjugorje?

An Italian woman named as Gigliola Candian claims that she was healed of multiple sclerosis at Medjugorje last Saturday. The 48-year-old from Fossò, near Venice, explained that she had been suffering with MS for the past 10 years and had been in a wheelchair since last year. “I had accepted my illness and I never asked Our Lady to cure me.”

About the claimed cure Gigliola says, “I was praying with a group of people in church and Jesus spoke to my heart. He said, ‘Do your trust me?’ I said I did and he replied, ‘Then walk!’ I felt tingling and a great heat in my legs and then saw a bright light in front of me. From that moment I realised I could walk and got up.”

Since returning home Gigliola says she continues to gain strength and make progress, and is now able to take short daily walks alone without the use of her wheelchair.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I invite you to decide for peace...

On Thursday the Scottish nation decides in a referendum vote to remain within the United Kingdom or go for independence.

Polls indicate that the yes and no vote is too close to call.

Whatever the outcome, the strive for independence, and even retaining unity, will disrupt and challenge the inner peace of many hearts.

Almost 30 years ago a great sign was witnessed in the skies above Scotland when the word MIR (Croatian for PEACE) appeared. It was witnessed by John Watters who died in October 1997, but not before documenting his testimony and its connection to a similar sign that appeared over Medjugorje in August 1981 and which is featured in a stained-glass window of St James church in the village.

John’s testimony is published in A Message of Peace – The Testimony of John Watters
(ISBN 0 9519718 0 8). This is part of his story.

It was a Wednesday night, December 5, 1984. December had just made its first impression on the landscape. The last of the girls had been dropped off near her home, and John Watters was driving the works van to his own house at Dundonald (in Ayrshire, Scotland). It was threatening frost and the sky was a deep purple and starless.

Turning the bend on this quiet country road, looking between the branches of the trees, John was aware of horizintal white lines in the sky. As he approached the next bend, a hundred yards away, he found himself wondering “what have we here?” – knowing that this question would soon be answered as he turned the bend and came out of the trees. As he did so, the lines he had seen turned out to be three huge three-dimensional letters floating in the night sky. The letters foremed a word – MIR.

As John slowed down, thoughts raced through his mind. What a funny time to advertise! What is this advertisement for? Beer? Washing-up luiquid? Furniture polish? The only logical explanation was that this was sky-writing, which he had seen many times as a youngster.

Then he noticed how perfectly these letters had been formed. He marvelled at the technology. As John watch, it became clear that these letters were made of cloud, as the knurls were obvious to the eye. They did not waver or waste away.

As the road was deserted, he took the opportunity to study this formation closely. John looked at and enjoyed the beauty of these letters in the stillness of the night, unaware that what he was watching was going to bring about the most unbelievable change in his life.

The letters remained in the sky for about five minutes, by which time John had come to the end of the road. As he turned into the village of Drybridge, the letters disappeared behind the houses. He knew he would see them again – this time from a different angle – when he left the houses behind. As he did so, he turned to look at the letters once again, but all that were left were some wisps of black cloud wasting away.

John arrived home minutes later. His main thoughts concerned what his colleagues would find to say about this sky-writing in the morning. At work the next morning, Joh told of his experience of the previous evening and was surprised to find that not one of his colleague had noticed the letters and, after a few jokes about what the letters stood for, the incident was put down to sky-writing and forgotten.

The following Sunday John attended Mass in the vllage hall at Dundonald, this small community being served by the Passionist Fathers from the nearby retreat centre at Coodham. After Mass, Fr Tom Scanlom made a statement.

“If any of you watched a skit on television about a fortnight ago, about the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje in Yugoslavia.” he said “we have a man who has just come back from there, and he is giving a talk on his experiences in Medjugorje. You are most welcome to come and listen.”

John had seen this programme – the tailpiece to ITN’s News which, very briefly, reported on the alleged appearances. His feeling was that this was really very remote – it was happening in Yugoslavia but had little to do with him.

This was not the sort of thing that John would normally have attended. However, when the day of the talk arrived, John was there. Having sseen the tv programme, he was able to follow the story with interest. The priest, Fr John Mary Griffin, was certainly convinced that Our Lady was appearing there and considered the apparitions were authentic. He was finishing his talk when he said something that completely shocked John.

“…and seen in the sky by hundreds of people was the word ‘peace’. Of course, it was written in Croatian, whose word for peace is MIR.” This was the first time that John had heard the word mentioned.

And it was the beginning of John’s commitment for the remaining years of his life to spread and promote Our Lady’ messages of peace within Scotland.

Dear children! Today I invite you to decide for peace. Pray that God give you the true peace. Live peace in your hearts and you will understand, dear children, that peace is the gift of God. Dear children, without love you cannot live peace. The fruit of peace is love and the fruit of love is forgiveness. I am with you and I invite all of you, little children, that before all else forgive in the family and then you will be able to forgive others. Thank you for having responded to my call. Medjugorje message, January 25, 1996

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The joy of victory...

US grand slam winner Marin Cilic (pictured above) returned to his hometown of Medjugorje this afternoon to a rapturous welcome by villagers and pilgrims. He was escorted into the village by members of a local motorcycle club and met by local dignitaries, including parish priest Fr Marinko Sakota, before visiting St James church to participate in the Rosary and Holy Mass.

Dear children! I desire to share my joy with you. In my Immaculate Heart I feel that there are many of those who have drawn closer to me and are, in a special way, carrying the victory of my Immaculate Heart in their hearts by praying and converting. I desire to thank you and to inspire you to work even more for God and his kingdom with love and the power of the Holy Spirit. I am with you and I bless you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.
Medjugorje message, August 25, 2000

God visits his people...

Sons and daughters are brought back to life at Medjugorje – daily.

Every day dead men and women sit up again and begin to talk, begin to witness to the resurrection in their lives, begin to inspire and fill people with awe and bring new hope to those who have lost hope, lost faith and lack love in their lives.

At a town called Medjugorje, God’s compassion turns tears of sorrow into tears of joy as he restores his children back to life, entrusting them to the care of the Blessed Mother and the Sacraments of Mother Church. “Woman, this is your son!”

A great prophet has appeared at Medjugorje; God has visited his people.

Dear children! Today I call you to love. Little children, love each other with God’s love. At every moment, in joy and in sorrow, may love prevail and, in this way, love will begin to reign in your hearts. The risen Jesus will be with you and you will be his witnesses. I will rejoice with you and protect you with my motherly mantle. Especially, little children, I will watch your daily conversion with love. Thank you for having responded to my call.
Medjugorje message, March 25, 2005

Jesus went to a town called Nain, accompanied by his disciples and a great number of people. When he was near the gate of the town it happened that a dead man was being carried out for burial, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a considerable number of the townspeople were with her. When the Lord saw her he felt sorry for her. “Do not cry” he said. Then he went up and put his hand on the bier and the bearers stood still, and he said, “Young man, I tell you to get up.” And the dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Everyone was filled with awe and praised God saying, “A great prophet has appeared among us; God has visited his people. And this opinion of him spread throughout Judaea and all over the countryside. Luke 7 : 11-17

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tears of sorrow... and of joy!

There is much conjecture over the possible reason and any significance as to why water seeps from the right leg of the Risen Saviour sculpture at Medjugojre.

Some consider the phenomenon ‘miraculous’. Many healings, both spiritual and physical, are associated with the 30-metre bronze structure that towers above the pilgrims who gather to pray and ponder around the imposing dual representation of the Crucified and Risen Christ created by the Slovenian artist, Andrej Ajdic:

“My sculpture of Christ differs from the classic images and doesn’t resemble them at all. It is a result of a different approach to the theme and introduces a new reflection, which succeeds in creating in a single sculpture both the Crucifixion and Ressurection of Christ. My Jesus symbolises both… In this single sculpture I have managed to present two mysteries simultaneously: Crucifixion and Resurrection.”

Water began seeping from the right knee in the summer of 2000. There are occasions when the flow ceases, only to start again after a few days or weeks of ‘dryness’.

The area where the water flows is within reach of pilgrims. They are able to touch the leg – even cling to and embrace it. In turn, it is often the pilgrim’s heart which is touched and brought to tears – tears of sorrow, tears of joy.

They share in the mournful experience of the Blessed Mother when Jesus was crucfied on his cross:

Let me mingle tears with you,
mourning him who mourned for me
all the days that I may live:
by the cross with you to stay,
there with you to weep and pray,
is all I ask of you to give.

(Stabat mater dolorosa)

They share in the Blessed Mother’s hope and joyful experience of the resurrection through the cross:

Christ, when you shall call me hence,
be your mother my defence,
be your cross my victory.

(Stabat mater dolorosa)

The ‘flowing’ image of Our Lady shown at the top of the page was photographed at Medjugorje on September 14, 2006, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. The reflection on the Risen Christ sculpture was recorded unintentionally and not composed or seen by the photographer at the time.

Eight years on, it is only now I am able to perceive the significance of Our Lady’s flowing reflection and the phenomenon of water seeping from the sculpture, as an outpouring of tears by a Mother sharing in the many sufferings and resurrection experiences of her ‘children’ at Medjugorje. Tears of sorrow, tears of joy.

It is the mother of Jesus who always stands next to each of us and our own cross, and who waits for our resurrection, our reconciliation with her Son Jesus. Two weeks ago Our Lady confirmed this in a message to Mirjana
(September 2) when she said, “I am always beside you…” 

The Sorrowful Mother is also our Mother who promises that her Immaculate Heart will triumph, when tears of sorrow will turn to tears of joy, a joy which Jesus promises his disciples “no one shall take from you”.

Feast of the Triumph of the Cross

Dear children! For these days while you are joyfully celebrating the cross, I desire that your cross also would be a joy for you. Especially, dear children, pray that you may be able to accept sickness and suffering with love the way Jesus accepted them. Only that way shall I be able with joy to give out to you the graces and healings which Jesus is permitting me. Thank you for having responded to my call.
Medjugorje message, September 11, 1986

And when I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw all men to myself.

John 12 : 32

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fr Peter Rookey RIP

Fr Peter Mary Rookey, OSM, died peacefully in his sleep in the overnight hours of September 9-10, 2014, at Our Lady of Sorrows Monastery, Chicago, IL. The friars of the community had gathered around his bed to offer prayers.

Born in Superior, WI, October 12, 1916, he was ninety-seven years of age. He entered the Order at Hillside, IL, in 1930 and was a priest for seventy-three years.

Details of services and funeral arrangements can be found HERE.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

A time for miracles

When Artie Boyle, the father of thirteen children from Boston, Massachusetts, was diagnosed with deadly lung cancer, he and his family were devastated. As a last resort, he travelled to the tiny village of Medjugorje in Bosnia Herzegovina to seek a miraculous healing.

A Time For Miracles documents Artie’s emotional journey into the unknown and the remarkable series of events that forever changed his life.

Further information from: A TIME FOR MIRACLES

Monday, September 08, 2014

Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary

If Elizabeth ll, Queen of England, or even the Queen of Thailand, can celebrate two birthdays in a year, then why not Our Lady, Queen of Heaven?

It was in the sixth century that the Jerusalem Church originated the feast of Mary’s birth, along with the Presentation in the Temple and probably the Annunciation. By the seventh century, the Jerusalem feasts were celebrated not only in the Byzantine Empire, but also in Rome. The Birth of Mary is celebrated on September 8, one of three feast days given to Our Lady by the Catholic Church; the others are: Presentation of the Lord (February 2), and The Visitation (May 31).

September 8 can be viewed as Our Lady’s ‘official’ birthday celebrated by the Church. But for followers of Our Lady’s messages from Medjugorje there is another date in the calendar put aside for celebrating the Gospa’s birthday – August 5, best considered as Our Lady’s ‘private’ birthday. This was revealed to the visionaries very early on in the history of the Medjugorje apparitions.

• Mention of this date was also made by Fr René Laurentin and published the same year in his book, Is the Virgin Mary Appearing at Medjugorje? He wrote:

At the end of May 1984, Jelena and Mirjana, with whom I spoke on June 10, had received from the Virgin a call to celebrate August 5 as the 2,000 birthday of her birth. The feast was to be celebrated by two days of fasting and a day of celebration... The three days of fast (they added one) ended in a day of intense prayer in the Church and on the hill (of apparitions). There were many conversions and confessions. One of the priests said to me: “I will remember this day more than my 20 previous years as a confessor.” According to the young people (the visionaries), Mary had said who had heard confessions that day would have great joy...

• The visionary Mirjana also spoke about Our Lady’s ‘private’ birthday in an interview with the author Jan Connell, who wrote in her book, Visions of the Children:

In the first few days of the Apparitions, the Blessed Mother was most gracious about the fear of the six visionaries, and gentle about the personal suffering each was enduring. She told the Children: “Do you know my real birthday is August the 5th?” The Children said no, they did not know that. The Blessed Mother continued: “Would you Children like to give me some presents?” Jacov sorrowfully blurted, “Dear Blessed Mother, I don’t have any money!” The Blessed Mother smiled joyfully and said: “Oh Jacov, my dearest little one, you don’t need money for my birthday presents! Tonight when you go home, no matter what your feelings tell you, no matter how you are stimulated, rather than speak the pain in your heart, run outside and look at the heavens and cry out, ‘Its all for the love of you, Dear Jesus.’”

Mirjana said the next evening at the Apparition, the Blessed Mother thanked Jacov for his gifts from the previous evening. By the time the Blessed Mother’s birthday arrived, Mirjana said that Jacov “was just bursting”. He had billions of presents for the Blessed Mother! High-strung and nervous by nature, young Jacov could hardly contain himself during the long rosary prayers that preceded the Apparition. Finally the moment came. The great flashes of light announced the arrival of the Queen of Heaven and Earth. As Jacov saw her he literally reached up and grabbed at the Mother of God as he cried out. “Happy Birthday, Dear Blessed Mother!” Realising what he had done, Jacov fell on the floor in shame and fear. Mirjana said she saw the Blessed Mother tenderly lean down and pick him up as she took his little nail-bitten hand in hers and kissed it.

• The visionary Marija made reference to Our Lady’s birthday (but not the date) when she visited Manchester in 2004. In her recorded testimony Marija explained:

“Our Lady once said that we could celebrate her birthday, and as a prayer group we ordered a big cake, and we brought it on top of Krizevac, the Mountain of the Cross, at half-past-eleven at night, when Our Lady said she would appear. You can imagine us carrying this cake, climbing the hill for this long forty-five minutes walk. But we did it with great joy. And in the moment of the apparition we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Our Lady. We had created this cake with many roses made of sugar, and even had the idea of taking one of these roses and to offer it to Our Lady. And Our Lady took this rose and She took it with her. We said that it’s impossible that Our Lady is bringing back to Paradise, this rose. The following day, early in the morning, we climbed the hill to see if we could see the rose anywhere. But the rose wasn’t there, and we were full of joy in our hearts. We also ate the cake – it was very big – at the end of the apparition and at the end of all prayers, and I must say the cake was very, very good, because at that moment we were tired and hungry, and we were joyful.”

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Medjugorje’s Marin Cilic reaches final of U.S. Open

Marin Cilic, the 25-year-old tennis star who first started playing the game in his native Medjugorje, will meet Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the final of the US Open final on Monday.

Neither player has previously played in a major final. It’s a first for both players with Nishikori probably favourite to win, having beaten Cilic twice in games this season and ahead 5-2 in all meetings.

But then who expected either player to beat favourites Roger Federer or Novak Jokovic in their respective semi-final match-ups!

Cilic came through his match on Saturday beating the legendary Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in 104 minutes.

“It was the best match of my career ” said Cilic, “I could not have dreamed that I would play so well in difficult conditions in a duel where the stakes were so high.”

Although now based in Monte Carlo, the six-foot-six Cilic, has family still living in Medjugorje. No doubt they, and the rest of village, will be praying to Gospa for a very special intention on the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, the day Cilic meets Nishikori in the final at Flushing Meadow.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

A moment of Medjugorje grace...

This description of an apparition experience formed part of a series of two articles on the Medjugorje phenomenon by the writer John Cornwell and was published in The Tablet in March and April 1990.

I visited Medjugorje two years ago, not as a pilgrim, nor even as a practising Catholic, but as a journalist intent on examining the phenomena as one of a series of case-histories illustrating current “mysticism of popular opinion” (the phrase is borrowed from the philosopher W. T. Stace, and used, I think, advisedly). So Fr Slavko’s visit [to the UK] seems a suitable occasion on which to air some observations and reflections on the cult, and perhaps to raise, rather than to settle, some of the issues that it suggests.

As a result of my visit to the shrine I am convinced that Medjugorje has renewed the faith and spirituality of a great many pilgrims. I also believe that there are significant problems and difficulties connected with the cult, and that these have less to do with spirituality than with politics.

First I want to describe what I saw and felt when I was invited to witness the "children" experiencing an apparition in a small study bedroom in the parish house.

It began with a sense of bathos. Some 30 priests were in the “visions” room, crammed together in uncomfortable kneeling postures and praying the rosary in Latin. There was a table, a divan bed; the attention of the priests was focused on the wall opposite the window where there was a low bookcase. There in the blank space above, the Virgin would appear.

As the priests began to sing the Veni Creator Spiritus (stumbling uncertainly over the words, I am afraid to say), there was a commotion at the front door out in the hallway as the visionaries, Jacov and Marija, arrived. Jacov was dressed in a fashionable pink linen suit, his hair freshly spiked in punk style; he went down immediately on his knees in the doorway next to me and fetched out a rosary.

Marija, despite the heat, was dressed — for modesty I imagine — in a pale blue sweater, dark blue woollen stockings, and a calf-length woollen plaid skirt. Her oval face glowed in the heat; her nose was longish and strong, and she had a rather pointed jaw. She looked directly at those about her with tranquil grey eyes. There seemed to be nothing artful about her; she looked assured, like a strict novice mistress. She immediately took charge.

She knelt and began to recite the rosary in Croatian and the priests began to respond raggedly in various languages. I was standing no more than a foot away from her; once or twice she looked directly back at me and I felt a sense of peculiar excitation in the momentary eye contact.

The voice of Marija was dominant; she spoke slowly, enunciating each word clearly, recollectedly, quite unlike the gabble of the priests. And the longer she prayed the more she drew the attention of everybody in the room. Was it the highly charged intensity of expectation, the stirring of some barely understood, primitive undercurrent? Whatever the case, with every passing minute this plain peasant girl seemed to me more radiant, more mysterious, and more lovely. I found it impossible to take my eyes off her.

Just occasionally she would rest back on her heels in a swan-like movement, before resuming a graceful upright posture. In contrast, the sweating priests found their unaided kneeling positions excruciating; they fidgeted and grunted, and rolled their eyes, totally outclassed by Marija. Outside the great crowd could be heard saying the rosary and singing, and as time passed the responses became a steady, concerted roar. It was as if they were willing something to happen in the room by their fervent pleading.

When we reached the end of the complete 15 mysteries of the rosary, Fr Slavko, who had been crouching in a corner under his cowl, stood up. He pointed to the window and asked the nearest priest to shut it; then he switched on the light, a simple naked bulb hanging from the centre of the room. The crowd outside suddenly fell silent.

He said: “Let us pray now that Marija and Jacov will receive an apparition.” Jacov and Marija stepped forward, causing the priests to squeeze together even tighter. The two young people stood before the wall, their hands joined in an attitude of prayer. They began to pray out loud in unison.

Suddenly in perfect co-ordination, they went down on their knees and continued to pray some more; then, both together, their heads rose and they were now speaking silently, their lips moving rapidly, gazing intently as if at a real object. They had entered their ecstasy.

At this point I witnessed something truly astonishing, for which I could find no ready explanation. For about three minutes I saw Jacov and Marija speaking silently and in turn to the invisible figment that hovered in front of them; the extraordinary fact was that when one of them stopped “speaking”, the other, in that same split second would begin. Yet they were not uttering a sound, nor were they capable of seeing each other's lips; I could see no bodily movement whatsoever by which they could cue each other in order to achieve such a feat.

Marija, on whom I now began to concentrate, did not appear ecstatic in any melodramatic or histrionic way, but her face seemed to radiate a, striking innocence and wonder. Her gaze was steady, unblinking, tender; the whites of her eyes seemed to shine with an unearthly light. “Transfiguration” was a word that came to mind. And when I focused my attention on Jacov I saw that same transfiguring quality in his face, made all the more poignant by his youth.

While I stood watching them I became aware of the stunning silence and stillness, both inside and outside the room; momentarily a child cried a long way from the building, and the sound and the distance The cliché about seeing the whole of one’s life in an instant when on the brink of sudden death was not something that I had ever experienced personally, and I had always thought it an exaggeration; but I now believe that I have an inkling of what such an experience might be like. For as I stood in the apparitions room I recollected in my mind’s eye, with great clarity, each and every one of the images of Mary before which I had prayed throughout my childhood and youth — from the statue of Mary in my mother's bedroom in infancy to the carved stone Mary Queen of Heaven that adorned the lady chapel at Oscott College in my young manhood. And in a mysterious expansion of a single moment I was somehow aware of each and every prayer I had prayed and hymn that I had sung to Mary — from my earliest Hail Marys to the poignant Salve Reginas at the end of compline in later years.

As the experience faded, I found myself thinking that these memories gave new meaning to the phrase “full of grace”, and for a moment I had the impression of something unblocking inside myself. Somehow, unawares, I found my heart inclining.

Then the moment was past.

All this took, I believe, a matter of a few seconds. Then, without warning or any indication of a cue, Jacov and Marija both whispered the word “Ode” (Goodbye); they leaned back slightly, their faces awestruck; they gave a little sigh. They were now praying out loud and I noticed that Marija’s voice was thick and throaty. Then, in a trice, both of them stood up and the ecstasy was over.

A priest of my acquaintance who is a promoter of the Medjugorje cult has attempted to persuade me that I was in receipt of a genuine moment of grace in the parish house that evening. How can one possibly tell? I cannot deny that the experience was arresting and slightly uncomfortable. The same priest might also argue that it aided a process of a long return towards faith after many years of agnosticism.

What is certain is that in the strange otherworldliness of the place, and especially the peculiar psychic atmosphere that seems to attend the behaviour of Marija, my imagination was stimulated in an unusual way. It was no wonder that I felt touched: and during the time I spent there I met many people who had been affected in a similar way. I am suggesting that I can explain my experience rationally; and yet, I do not see any reason why a "genuine moment of grace" should not occur within the field force of the imagination. But even if I were convinced that I had been in receipt of that “genuine moment of grace”, I would have no desire to exploit it as a “testimony”. Despite the fact that I write about it now publicly, the experience was private. It was also temporary, and I have moved on. I put it on record here because it is an example of a “positive” experience among many negative ones that occurred to me in Medjugorje and thus an important element contributing to the depth of my ambivalence towards the Medjugorjean phenomenon as a whole.

The above photograph by Ian McDougall was taken sometime in the 1980’s and shows two of the Medjugorje visionaries, Jakov and Marija, entering the parish offices where they received regular apparitions of Our Lady.

According to the late Fr Slavko Barbaric OFM, the attached message (October 25, 1999) was one of the shortest given by Our Lady and also without the customary conclusion, “Thank you for responding to my call.”

In his message commentary, and the expression “This is a time of grace”, Fr Slavko wrote:

Mary has given us this expression several times over these years, but we must really remain very conscious that this expression may not be turned so that people may come to think that any time has more or fewer graces than any other time. God is the fulfillment of goodness, of love, of mercy and of all graces, and with all our prayers and fasts we are still unable to make God be more grace-giving. If our God can be more complete today than He was yesterday or tomorrow more complete than today, then He is not the God in whom we believe. So, from the very beginning when God gave us time, it is really all been a time of grace. Here it only concerns us. It is WE who can experience these times differently, for instance, when we think of Christmas or Easter or different Feasts, then we all know that many people have a much easier time to come to Holy Mass, to Confession and to prayer, and then again forget for a while. But it is all a time of grace. All those who know of and follow the phenomenon Medjugorje know that from the very first day until today, every day can be understood as a time of grace. How much joy have people had since they found out that Mary is really appearing here? How much peace and how many renewed decisions to pray and to fast have been made since Mary began appearing here? How many decisions have people made to love one another and to reconcile especially at Confession and with one another since Mary began appearing here? All this is a time of grace.

The Pope says... the Blessed Mother says...

The privileged place for an encounter with Christ are our sins. Pope Francis, September 4, 2014

In prayer with the heart you shall encounter God. Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray!
Medjugorje message, October 25, 1989

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Pope Francis says... Our Lady says...

GOSPEL, THE EUCHARIST, PRAYER: thanks to these gifts of the Lord we can conform ourselves not to the world, but to Christ, and follow Him on His path, the path of "losing our life to find it.”
Pope Francis, Sunday, August 31, 2014

Also today I call you to be carriers of the Gospel in your families… January 25, 2006

I am calling you for the Eucharist to be the life of your soul… August 2, 2014

I am calling you to a more active prayer and attendance at Holy Mass… May 16, 1985

Vicka celebrates her 50th birthday

First of the six Medjugorje visionaries to reach the age of 50 is Vicka Ivankovic, who celebrates her jubilee birthday today.

She was born in Bijakovici on September 3, 1964, and married Mario Mijatovic on January 26, 2002 in Gruda, a small village near to Medjugorje. The couple have two children, Maria-Sofia and Ante.

Vicka is one of three remaining visionaries who still receives daily apparitions since first seeing the Blessed Virgin on a hillside outside Medjugorje on June 24, 1981. So far Vicka has received nine of ten ‘secrets’ – the last on April 22, 1986.

Despite her fragile health and sufferings over many years, Vicka is tireless in meeting with pilgrims, especially the sick, and radiates Our Lady’s messages with a joy and warmth that touches the hearts of everyone in her presence.

For many years Vicka gave daily witness to the messages of Medjugorje from the steps of her childhood home in Bijakovici at the base of Apparition Hill, but in recent years has switched location to meet and speak with pilgrims at Sr Kornelija’s orphanage in the village of Vionica.

Other visionaries next to reach the age of 50 are Mirjana (March 18, 1965), Marija Pavlovic (April 1, 1965) and Ivan Ivankovic (May 25, 1965).

• The top photo of Vicka is the most recent and was taken during an apparition at Corridonia in Italy last Sunday. The photo above dates back to the mid-80’s and shows Vicka being interviewed outside her family home.

photos: Chronache Maceratesi and Ian McDougall

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

September apparition of Our Lady to Mirjana

Dear children, I, your Mother, am coming anew among you out of love which has no end, from endless love of the endless Heavenly Father.

And as I am looking into your hearts I see that many of you accept me as a Mother and, with sincere and pure hearts, you desire to be my apostles.

But, I am also the Mother of those of you who do not accept me and who, in the hardness of your hearts, do not desire to come to know the love of my Son.

And you do not know how much my heart suffers and how much I pray to my Son for you.

I pray to him to heal your souls because he can do so.

I pray to him to illuminate you with the miracle of the Holy Spirit so that you may stop, always anew, betraying, cursing and wounding him.

With all my heart I pray for you to understand that only my Son is the salvation and the light of the world.

And you, my children, my dear apostles, always carry my Son in your hearts and thoughts.

In this way you are carrying love. All those who do not know him will recognise him in your love.

I am always beside you.

In a special way I am beside your shepherds because my Son has called them to lead you on the way to eternity.

Thank you, my apostles, for your sacrifice and love.