Bishop’s ‘outstanding experience’ in Medjugorje

by admin on January 18, 2010

FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2010

Bishop Seamus Hegarty of the Derry diocese in Ireland is one of many prelates who have made a private pilgrimage to Medjugorje. He travelled there in July 1987 (when he was bishop of Raphoe) and afterwards gave this testimony.

I had heard so much about the Medjugorje phenomenon and, as things turned out, managed to go there myself for five days in July 1987. I went, of course, as a private pilgrim, a private person.

I couldn’t help being enormously impressed by everyone, both local parishioners and those who visit Medjugorje from all over Europe and overseas. I also got a very clear impression that here in Medjugorje you are dealing with a centre of prayer, of penance, and of reconciliation.

“By their fruits you shall know them.” Here the fruits are so manifest, so clear and impressive, both in Medjugorje itself and among those who return home after a pilgrimage, that they simply cannot be ignored.

Among many people from my own diocese that had been to Medjugorje I noticed the ongoing, positive results in relation both to their personal and family life. Thus I felt simply obliged to go to the place and find out myself the source, the explanation, of this experience, this tremendous manifestation of faith, this high and exemplary Christian way of life.

I have read the messages the Mother of God is said to be giving to the visionaries. And what I have seen and heard tells me that there is a strong accord, a parallel, between these messages and what the gospels say about the teaching of Christ. The emphasis lis very strongly on prayer, fasting, reconciliation and peace – themes that occur over and over again in Scripture. One thing is clear about the Medjugorje messages: they contain nothing that contradicts the Church’s official teaching, which is based on Scripture as on a foundation. Here the emphasis is on prayer and how to pray – that is, with more giving of ourselves and intensity, and new methods of prayer; prayer not only in words but also as something lived.

But what is likewise emphasised in the messages is fasting. It has a long Church tradition behind it. Of recent years, however, it has fallen into disuse on a wide scale. Now it has been revived as a challenge that young people, in particular, face up to in a dramatic way.

We recognise that in Medjugorje we are dealing with a genuine call to peace, and that peace is a divine gift for which we all must pray. ~On the basis of what I myself observed in Medjugorje, and which everyone that has been there likewise observes, I believe that we are going to experience a radiation of this atmosphere of peace which has it origin, its centre, in Medjugorje, thereupon extending itself over the entire world.

Many prayer groups have been formed as a direct result of a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, an outcome of the religious experience people gain there and which they thereupon keep up and apply to their own life circumstances among their families and communities. Beyond doubt, the Medjugorje phenomenon has had a particular success in everything to do with fostering prayer. Not only do people more than is normal in parishes, but the quality of their prayer is particularly impressive.

The rosary, as we would expect, is one of the most important forms of prayer practised by Medjugorje groups. What has strongly impressed me is that in its recitation the biblical dimension of the mysteries is brought out so prominently.

As regards the Church – the official Church – it cannot afford to ignore this development. Bishops and priests must encourage these prayer groups and, in my opinion, must also be present at them to give leadership and due advice and spiritual orientation. It must also be said that the laity who, with good intentions and devotion, come together to pray deserve every help and direction they can get from the clergy. While, it is true, the presence of a priest is not absolutely necessary at prayer meetings, it is nonetheless most desirable in order that exaggerations and unrealistic or mistaken ideas and expectations may be avoided.

It would be a great pity if Medjugorje’s central message (prayer, fasting, reconciliation and peace) became obscured in any way or if excessive emphasis came to be placed on signs and wonders. Accordingly, the presence at these prayer meetings of the Official Church in the person of the priest is very much to be desired.

My most outstanding experience in Medjugorje was the hearing of Confessions. One day I spent three hours doing so. And I am sure that during those three hours I heard more Confessions of the kind that are basic and come from the depth of the heart than during all the 21 years of my priesthood. I could not help but be moved by the workings of grace – the clear workings of grace; also, by the clear acceptance of the call to penance and reconciliation which expressed themselves so unmistakably in the quality of the Confessions I heard. So this experience will ever remain my most impressive and abiding Medjugorje memory.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyne January 27, 2010 at 8:22 pm

A very beautiful site dedicated to Our Lady.

Matthew January 28, 2010 at 4:24 pm

I have fallen in love again with my beautiful Catholic faith. It answers most comprehensively and wisely all of life’s most important questions. The real treasure was always where my parents showed me.

Grace March 10, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I took my two young children to Medjugorje over 5 years ago, all the way from Sydney, Australia. I did so after re-reading a book on Medjugorje where I paid my first visit 10 years prior, before I became a mother.

As a young mother then, I was determined to give my children the best start in life. That’s when I realised that faith is the most important gift I could give to my children because the gift of faith lasts beyond death. Hence my decision to go on this pilgrimage, with my husband’s generous support & blessings.

We received many blessings during our trip and after we returned to Sydney. I started a weekly Children Cenacle with another mother who also has two children. This is the 6th year the Cenacle has been going; even though we’ve both returned to part time work. We kept it going because we recognised the importance of faith and prayer in our secular Western world (where the Rosary is no longer taught or prayed even at Catholic School).

This Children Cenacle, therefore, is truly one of many ‘fruits’ from Medjugorje. I encourage those who can afford to go there; while those who cannot afford to live the Messages – Mass, prayer, reconciliation, reading Bible and fasting. May God bless you all!

maria formosa July 27, 2010 at 7:53 am

i went to Medjugorje last year.i can say i was overwhelmed by the sense of the sacred.i m trying to go again this year before october. pl pray for me to be able to make it

lillian August 22, 2010 at 11:25 am

i first heard about Mother \Mary appariations in Medjugorje when Brother Rohan from Dubai visited Vincentian Prayer House in Nairobi and was moved by her testimony. May all Catholic christiams all over the world take Our Most BLESSED MOTHER AS THEIR MOTHER.

maria formosa August 26, 2010 at 7:42 am

hi ,
i m
just back from Medjugorje along with my husband and daughter.i m sooo happy.The good Lord fills us with his love and peace if we only open up to let him work in our heart!
MARIA FORMOSA
FGURA’

Roger M Pasaylo November 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm

The messages of our dear Mother transformed my heart to follow the will of the Father in heaven. I can not afford to visit Medjugorje personally but with the access of this technology I can still be there spiritually that will also keep my heart bornning with the love of my God.

Sal Bucca June 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I visited Medjugorje in July 2000. I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to meet Visca one of the visionaries at her home. She came right up to me and said the Blessed Mother had a message for me. She was happy that you are here and that I should pray and my prayers would be answered. She told me that she had read all the petitions I had written down and brought with me. During the trip I also saw the phenomena of the sun spinning. I was overwhelmed and delighted.

Vesna Kordis May 23, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Hi all,
I Went to Medjugore in 2009 with my two daugters Bianca and Marie, and we all fell in love with Medjugore we felt total peace
luckly my father comes from Surmanci which is very close to
Medjugore , we stayed with relatives who took us up the hill
were the Virgin Mary appeared and we loved it so much, that
my only wish is to see it one more time before I die…
I have not felt peace like that anywhere else…

May God bless you all…

Ellen E. Galizia June 28, 2013 at 3:27 am

This is very serious,not to be taken lightly. Satan plays mind games on us. I myself have renew my faith with God. Read scripture,go to confession once a month, do a better job of fasting, not sloppy,pray the rosary more, and focus on what messages Our Lady is saying. We have had some bad experiences with priest, stating “Catholic schools are nothing more then a mill stone around the Catholic Church”. My husband turned totally against religion even God. This has affected our family in a very negative way. Along with some other experiences With his high school teachers. The Irish Chriatian Brothers. This family needs prays, there is much confusion, the youngest one begged him to attend Mass with him he wouldn’t, she was crushed. My husband always quotes Father Stanely’s Quote “The Catholic schools are nothing more then a mill stone around the Catholic churches neck.” Pray for us. Ellen

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