1. THE CONTEXT OF MEDJUGORJE IN THE CHURCH AND IN TIME
2. MEDJUGORJE AND SPIRITUAL MOVEMENTS IN THE CHURCH
3. THE NEW EVANGELISATION AND MEDJUGORJE
4. RETURNING GOD TO HUMAN LIFE
5. ROLE OF THE LOCAL CHURCH
FRA IVAN DUGANDZIC
Medjugorje, in other words, that which is understood when the name of that small parish in Herzegovina is mentioned today, has already for seventeen-years a long and stormy, but above all, an unpredictable history. Because who seventeen years ago could have anticipated that the claim of the children to have seen Our Lady would reach to the furthermost parts of the world, and that the parish of Medjugorje would grow into one of the most distinctive shrines and develop such a dynamic spiritual movement before which no one can any longer remain indifferent. The experience of the group of children on Podbrdo hill in Bijakovici, accompanied by numerous messages and their tireless witnessing, has long ago outgrown them and the parish, as well as the local Church and has become a spiritual phenomenon of worldwide proportions. The children have long ago grown up. Most of them today are family people. And the small parish has become the meeting place of millions of pilgrims from the whole world. Among them are many who witness to having again found in Medjugorje a lost faith or to having quickened an already dormant faith. So many have again discovered the value of the sacrament of reconciliation, the depth and beauty of a live celebration of the Eucharist, and hearing of the word of God. Others again testify to physical healings for which medicine has no explanation. Inspired and animated by the Medjugorje events, numerous prayer groups as well as even completely new religious communities have originated in the parish itself and elsewhere. Meanwhile, many young men, who claim to have received the seed of their vocation precisely in Medjugorje, have found their way into the priesthood.
The request for us to read Holy Scripture can be found four times in the messages of Medjugorje. On October 18, 1984, a message said: "Today I call on you to read the Bible every day in your homes and let it be in a visible place so as always to encourage you to read it and to pray." A later message picks up on this one in a very specific manner: "Every family must pray family prayer and read the Bible!" (Message of February 14, 1985) Two further messages give reasons to why reading Sacred Scripture is so very important: "Pray and read the Sacred Scriptures so that through my coming you discover the message in the Sacred Scriptures for you.", and "Read Sacred Scripture, live it, and pray to understand the signs of the times." (June 25, 1991 and August 25, 1993)
'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.
GOD IN THE FIRST PLACE
PRAYER IN THE FAMILY
PRAYING THE ROSARY IN THE FAMILY AND TIME SPENT IN PRAYER
LOVE IN THE FAMILY
THE BIBLE IN THE FAMILY
THE FAMILY IS CALLED TO HOLINESS AND CONSECRATION
THE DESTRUCTIVE PLANS OF SATAN
PEACE IN THE FAMILY
VISUAL IMAGES ABOUT THE FAMILY
1. Medjugorje is a school, in which Mary, the Queen of Peace, has been speaking, and thus teaching us for fifteen and a half years already. Through Marija Pavlovic Lunetti, She has given simple messages on every Thursday from March 1, 1984 to January 8, 1987. From January 25, 1987 up until the present, the message has been given on the 25th of every month. She does not tell us anything new, but, in a motherly way, full of understanding and love, of gentleness and patience, She clearly and decidedly reminds us of that which we, as Her children, as individuals, as families and as the entire Church are obliged to do.
She speaks simply and concretely, without theorizing or philosophising, exactly as every Mother should. Mary, the Queen of Peace, is clear in what She is seeking and demanding of us. Her messages do not require exceptional explanations. They are understandable to everyone. There is no misunderstanding or lack of clarity in them.
Felicia, Countess of Abensperg and Traun, has been repeatedly coming to Medjugorje for about 20 years now. As a Christian and a mother of a large family, as well as a citizen of the world, she is involved in many religious and humanitarian activities.
In February, 2010, James Caviezel made his sixth pilgrimage to Medjugorje, and afterwards travelled to Vienna where he gave an interview to Christian Stelzer for the magazine Oase des Friedens. The following is taken from the Croatian translation, published in the latest edition of the Medjugorje parish magazine, Glasnik mira.
• Jim, can you tell us, how did you hear about Medjugorje?
My wife came to Medjugorje while I was in Ireland, shooting the movie “Monte Cristo.” Things were not that great, although I worked seven days a week. One day she called me, and I could notice in her voice that there was a change. She started talking about Medjugorje, and how one of visionaries was about to come to Ireland. I interrupted her by saying: “Listen, I really have some serious stuff to do. I am not able now to go into anything with any of the visionaries.” Besides that, I thought that, as a Catholic, I didn’t have to necessarily accept Lourdes or Fatima or Medjugorje. That is how I thought. I remember that in the Catholic school I attended earlier in my life, when we heard about Medjugorje we were thrilled, but we soon found out that the local bishop was objecting and considered the apparitions to be false, and so we lost our interest immediately.
The visionary Ivan Dragicevic came to Ireland, and I knew straightaway that I would not have time for him, since I had to work all the time. One day my movie partner Jim Harris wasn’t feeling well, so I got the day off, and I was able to attend an apparition. I stood at the very back of the packed church, and I wasn’t quite sure about what was going on. But when the man next to me in his wheelchair fell down on his knees at the time of the apparition, I was deeply moved. I thought, This handicapped man, despite all of his pains, is kneeling down on the cold stone floor, and he is praying! Today I realize only God could have known me so well. He knew where exactly He needed to touch me to get my attention!