"Miracle at Medjugorje"
Much in Medjugorje has changed during the past seven years. That is now the length of time that the Blessed Virgin has been appearing daily to the young Croatian visionaries from the tiny farming village.
Life there has changed--dramatically. No longer a sleepy farming village, it is bustling with commercialism surrounding the incredible phenomena of the Madonna's consistent visits. Streets once used primarily for herding animals and as playgrounds for the children, are now filled with huge tour buses and throngs of pilgrims from every country. On a given day, there is usually in excess of 5,000 or more pilgrims.
Yet, the predominant message of individual peace and love and reconciliation to Jesus Christ has not changed. Amid the chaos of so-called progress and growing materialism, the holiness is still there for those who seek it.
The usual comforts of travel found in well-frequented tourist spots are still sparse in this little village. That is improving at a fast pace now that the crowds have grown by the thousands and continue to come at all times of the year. The area is slowly but steadily acclimating to its new role as a religious Mecca.
Ironically, a government that was initially hostile and constantly harassing the locals and visionaries alike, is now working at a furious pace to add new hotels, cottages, restaurants and other tourist necessities to accommodate the ever-growing throngs.
The reason for the change is obvious: Medjugorje has become an unexpected economic boom that far outshadows their Marxist, atheistic aversion of anything that smacks of religion. It is now the number one tourist attraction in Yugoslavia. To the government, there isn't much difference in the currency of a pilgrim seeking spiritual renourishment, and a pilgrim seeking comforts.
The message of peace, prayer and reconciliation to God brought by the Mother of Jesus has now reached all corners of the world just as She predicted it would. This has happened despite the strange alliance of an atheistic government and the overzealous opposition to the apparitions by the local Catholic bishop, Pavao Zanic, under whose church authority they were placed.
Literally millions of spiritual conversions have occurred over the last seven years. They are the most visible sign of the "good fruit" of the Medjugorje apparitions.
Today, more Americans go to Medjugorje than any other nationality. They are followed closely by the Irish. There are also many pilgrims now from other Iron Curtain countries, eagerly sharing in the conversion found there.
The original commission set up by the Catholic Church under Bishop Zanic to study the apparitions and determine their church authenticity was replaced earlier last year by the entire Bishop's Conference of Yugoslavia (BCY). This was an unprecedented move in the history of Marian apparitions. The reason according to most sources was that Bishop Zanic used his commission more as a tool to discredit the Franciscan priests at Medjugorje, whom he accused of masterminding the entire event, thus viewing the apparitions as a hoax.
Bishop Zanic has opposed the apparitions after initially supporting them in the first few months. His opposition stems from a local feud between his office and the Franciscans over parishes he changed from Franciscan to secular priests authority. Somehow this matter was presented to the Madonna after the apparitions began and surprisingly, She answered. She said "Tell the Bishop he acted in haste and should reconsider. The two priests (whom the Bishop tried to have defrocked for remaining in the parishes in question) are innocent." When Bishop Zanic was told this message, his angry reply was, "The Mother of God would never speak to a Bishop that way!"
After a flurry of negative directives issued by Bishop Zanic's office, ArchBishop Frane Franic of Split, who is head of the Commission of Faith and Doctrine for the BCY, issued a set of directives in September, 1987. In short, it states that all those wishing to go to Medjugorje, may do so as individuals. This includes priests and nuns. In fact, the priests are encouraged to come so that they may help attend to the needs of the pilgrims.
Four of the young visionaries continue to see the Madonna each evening. They are Vicka, Marija, Ivan and Jacov. Mirjana and Ivanka have received all ten secrets and no longer have daily apparitions. However, Mary visits them at least once a year.
Mirjana is finishing her fifth year at the University of Sarajevo. She returns to Medjugorje approximately once a month. Ivanka was married in December 1986, and in November 1987 she has a baby girl that she named Christina. Ivan finished a year in the military service in June 1987 and is now helping his family in the field. Jacov is still attending school.
Marija and Vicka, the two most popular and spiritual of the visionaries see thousands of pilgrims each week, answering questions and praying with them. Both plan to join a convent when the apparitions are over.
In November, 1988, Marija came to the United States on a mission that completely exemplifies the message Mary is giving to us at Medjugorje. She came to donate her kidney to her brother, Andrija, age 32, who was dying of kidney failure. The operation took place at Birmingham, on December 15, and it was successful for both Marija and her brother.
It remains for me the single most example of what is being asked of us--to give in love to others as Jesus gave to us. It also was a special blessing to the United States in that for nearly three months, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Marija in Birmingham, Alabama.
The major change in these young seers is spiritual maturity.
Media coverage of the apparitions is just now beginning to reach the masses throughout the world. However, much of what they write or show is negative, centering on the sensational, the commercial and the controversy surrounding the apparitions. They typically ignore the main message of love and peace to concentrate on the external.
It is my opinion that Medjugorje's message has been and will continue to be transmitted on a grass roots level. The phenomenal spreading of these articles throughout the world is strong evidence of that fact. Each person going there, or hearing about it and believing, becomes and apostle of the message. To the curious, and the non-believer, it is nothing more than a drab little rural community consumed with religious mass hysteria; to the believer, the spiritual hungry, the faithful of the churches, it is a powerhouse of hope and renewal at a time of great need.
The Mother of Jesus Christ is making this unlikely little hamlet the mouthpiece for Her Son's message to the world. It has become a potent instrument for sanctifying all faiths that have the one God as the foundation of belief. The message is simple and direct. It can be understood and accepted by Catholic, Protestant, Moslem or Jew. And, it is meant for all of them.
Simply put, Medjugorje today is a modern day Bethlehem. It is simple, poor and living under religious and social oppression, just as Bethlehem was 2,000 years ago. Like that tiny insignificant hamlet of its time, Medjugorje has become the new birthplace of a tremendous renewal in the ways of God for a desperately troubled world.
Welcome followers of Medjugorje!
Your many witnesses of the effect that my articles have had convincing you to go to Medjugorje, or to take another step forward in your faith, have now convinced me to attempt to publish a monthly newsletter that will satisfy all aspects of informing the public of the miracle of Medjugorje.
Weible Columns, Inc. was established in October, 1986, in order to publish and make available the series of articles I wrote about Medjugorje. As of January 1989, more than 25 million copies have been printed and distributed throughout the world. We applied for non-profit status with the federal government soon after forming the corporation, and I am happy to report that as of January, we are officially non-profit. Our purpose with the newsletter and all materials made available through it, is to spread the message Mary is giving at Medjugorje.
Realistically, no information vehicle such as this can exist without financial support. Therefore, we will charge a fee of $12.00 a year for a 12 month subscription. I offer you this opportunity to stay informed about the apparitions by subscribing now.
For Canadian orders the price is $24.00, all other foreign orders are $30.00. This is due to the cost of mailing these newsletters monthly. ALL FOREIGN ORDERS PLEASE SEND US CURRENCY ONLY. THANK YOU
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