Bishops have been approving Medjugorje for 34 years. Hundreds of cardinals and bishops from around the world have made pilgrimages to Medjugorje and have not only been impressed, but have returned to their dioceses and have encouraged their people to go to Medjugorje. Medjugorje is too important and has captured the hearts of too many Catholics worldwide, for bishops to be indifferent to it. Bishop Franjo Komarica, a member of the Bishop’s Conference of Yugoslavia, who was part of the development of the Zadar Declaration, said the following in a homily given in Medjugorje on November 21, 1990:

 

Bishop Franjo KomaricaBishop
Franjo Komarica
Banja Luka
Bosnia and Herzegovina
“All bishops should visit Medjugorje and personally witness what is happening there, so that they could then bring a decision that will be based not only on reading reports and hearing witnesses but on our own experience.”1

 

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, a very strong voice for Medjugorje, also speaks of the responsibility the bishops have towards Medjugorje. When in Lourdes in July 1998, he made the following statement:

 

Cardinal SchonbornCardinal Christoph Schönborn
Vienna, Austria
“If, as Jesus said, we must judge the tree by its fruit, then I must say that the tree [of Medjugorje] is good…Indeed, it is the mission of the shepherds to promote what is growing, to encourage the fruits which are appearing, to protect them, if need be, from the dangers which are obviously everywhere…Medjugorje is not invulnerable, this is why it is and will be so important that bishops be very conscientious about their mission as shepherds for Medjugorje so that the obvious fruits that are there might be protected from any possible unfortunate errors.”2

 

What are the “obvious fruits” that Cardinal Christoph Schönborn speaks of? In another interview, in 1998, he stated:

 

Cardinal SchonbornCardinal Christoph Schönborn
Vienna, Austria
“…Personally, I have not yet gone to Medjugorje; but in a way I have gone there through the people I know or those I have met, who, themselves, have gone to Medjugorje. And I see good fruits in their lives. I would be lying if I denied that these fruits exist. These fruits are tangible, evident. And in our diocese and in many other places, I observe graces of conversion, graces of a life of supernatural faith, of vocations, of healings, of a rediscovering of the sacraments, of confession. These are all things which do not mislead. This is the reason why I can only say that it is these fruits which enable me, as bishop, to pass a moral judgment. And if as Jesus said, we must judge the tree by its fruits, I am obliged to say that the tree is good.”3

 

Hundreds of bishops around the world have accepted the invitation to go to Medjugorje, which now includes Cardinal Schönborn who visited the village in December 2009. Their testimonies are presented here so that believers and non-believers alike can view the experiences of the shepherds of the Church, their observations and their prayerful discernment of what the meaning of Medjugorje is for them. These are personal testimonies of those who have journeyed to the village of Medjugorje physically, often with pilgrims from their dioceses where they have seen firsthand how impacting the Medjugorje experience is in the lives of the faithful, first while they are pilgrims in Medjugorje, and then after they return home, changed by their experience and desiring to live out their conversion by returning to, or more fully engaging in, the life of the Church. Many bishops expressed that they themselves were recipients of significant graces that impacted and changed their lives, renewed their priesthood, and led them into a closer relationship with Jesus and Our Lady. They were deeply moved by the whole experience of Medjugorje where they could see the renewal of the Church taking place right before their eyes.

 

Pope Saint John Paul II repeatedly encouraged the bishops who came to him about Medjugorje to go there, and to allow their faithful to go there as well. As Bishop Komarica stated above, bishops should visit Medjugorje to personally witness what is happening.  Hundreds of bishops have in fact come to Medjugorje and their testimonies are very positive.  Some came because they felt a responsiblity to their flock, to see what Medjugorje is all about.  However, what they discovered was that Medjugorje was not only for their flock, but for themeslves as well.  It is hard, if not impossible, to disregard or ignore the testimonies of so many cardinals and bishops, along with millions of lay Catholics who have experienced Medjugorje personally. What follows are the words of our shepherds. Is this not the Church speaking?

 

 

Personal Testimonies

 

Bishop Franjo KomaricaBishop
Domenico Pecile
Latina, Italy
“Because of my responsibility as a bishop of the Catholic Church, I have come personally to see if this event is real, if it is acceptable. From the very first time that I came to Medjugorje, my conviction is that these events are authentic. In Medjugorje, Our Lady is coming in a very powerful way, an outstanding way, different than Her other comings. It is impossible not to see here the Lord our God. Impossible! I come here to pray to Our Lady, to feel Her presence, not only because I feel the need for it, but because this is giving me a consolation on the road, a strength to continue, to walk with one additional reason, with the conviction that God truly loves us all.”4

 

Bishop Kenneth SteinerBishop
Kenneth Steiner
Portland,Oregon, USA
“In Medjugorje I experienced a new spiritual motivation. I have discovered God again and for me that is the proof that Our Lady is here!”5


 

Archbishop Gabriel Gonsum GanakaArchbishop Gabriel Gonsum Ganaka
Jos, Nigeria
“Since the time my faithful are coming to Medjugorje, I too, as archbishop, feel the duty to come, to see what happens and to have a personal experience of this place of intense prayer. I still remember the strong impressions I had after my previous visits. Our Lady’s messages are simple, practical and life changing…

“Even though it is not always easy or possible, I would like my diocesan priests to come to Medjugorje because it is important for them to come, see and experience. I permit no one, myself included, to be prejudiced, because that means to judge without seeing. As an archbishop, I would like to invite all those who have not yet done so, to come to Medjugorje!”6

 

Whatever it was that brought them to Medjugorje, many bishops discovered it to be a place filled with graces for them personally. It was personal renewal that convinced them that Medjugorje is a gift from God. It is very common to hear amongst those who do not understand what Medjugorje has to offer comments such as: “You don’t have to go anywhere to receive graces; God is present to you at all times. You don’t have to go to Medjugorje; the source of grace is available in your own Church in your own hometown.”  A Friend of Medjugorje, who has taken thousands of pilgrims to Medjugorje over the years, has a ready answer for such comments.  He says:

"We often hear from our pilgrims once we are in Medjugorje that, 'You know, I've realized I didn't have to come to Medjugorje to see Mary or receive graces, I have Jesus back home in the Tabernacle.'  Our response is 'Yes, you did have to come.  You had to come to learn that Jesus is in the Tabernacle back in your own home church and to receive the graces to understand that.'"

A Friend of Medjugorje went on to say:

"We had the Sacraments before Medjugorje began in 1981.  We had the Church.  Yet, with the Sacraments and the Church, people were falling away and neglecting them.  Was there no more power in the Sacraments?  In the Church?  Nineteen eighty-one, when the apparitions began, marked a spiritual turning point in the world.  ...Through this event, the life that has always been in the Sacraments, but was lost because of our weak faith, again began to be found because our faith was increasing.  At that point, June 24, 1981, in the world, faith was in crisis.  Several of the first messages of Our Lady's apparitions concerned faith.  On June 27, 1981, Jakov asked what Our Lady expected of the Franciscans in Medjugorje.  Our Lady said:

"Have them persevere in faith and protect the faith of the people."

The next day, after asking the day before what was expected of the Franciscans, the visionaries asked what Our Lady expected of the people."

June 28, 1981

"That people believe and persevere in faith."

Our Lady shows why there is a crisis of faith by saying:

January 21, 1982

"My children, don't you see that the faith begins to extinguish itself and that it is necessary to awaken the faith among men."

The faith of returning pilgrims back to their own home parishes spoke loudly to bishops around the world.  Many bishops, curious as to what had caused such impressive conversion in their parishioners, after accepting the invitation to go to Medjugorje, were surprised at the profound spiritual renewal they themselves received there.

 

Bishop Joseph Mugenyi SabitiBishop
Joseph Mugenyi Sabiti
Fort Portal, Uganda
“I believe that the persons who lead the Church should come here and experience the graces and gifts of this place!”7

 

Archbishop Louis KébreauArchbishop
Louis Kébreau
Cap-Haïtien, Haïti
“One cannot talk lightly about Medjugorje. It is a profound experience, intimate and personal! For me this is a time of renewal.”8

 

Bishop Iryney BilykBishop
Iryney Bilyk
Byzantine rite
Buchach, Ukraine
“For my personal life, as a bishop and as a believer, Medjugorje is a power and a grace! Our Lady is present in a very special way here!”9

 

Bishop Patrick PowerBishop
Patrick Power
Canberra-Goulburn, Australia
“…This is the second time that I came to Medjugorje and it really is a time of great grace. Our Lady has prepared many graces also for me. I have found a profound peace, especially after I heard [visionary] Vicka’s testimony. I felt the same peace that I felt in 1993 when I heard about the messages the first time. This all helps me again to decide for my vocation as a priest and for my ministry as a bishop. Medjugorje is PEACE.”10

 

Bishop
Victor Maldonado Barreno
Guayaquil, Ecuador
“Medjugorje is a meeting place of God and man. Here there is found an authentic source of salvation… I have to admit that this visit here has opened my eyes to many things and that I will do a lot of things differently in all the tasks of my life. Here I have better understood the role of Mary in the life of a Christian!”11

 

Archbishop Frane FranicArchbishop
Frane Franić
Split-Makarska, Croatia
“I personally learned how to pray at Medjugorje, with the Queen of Peace… I thank God that I was personally able to observe the development of this mystical theology and mystical phenomenon so closely. I recognize and accept the truth of Mary’s message at Medjugorje!”12

 

Bishop Jesus A. CabreraBishop
Jesus A. Cabrera
Alaminos, Philippines
“I feel very much at home here in Medjugorje. It is as if Our Lady was telling me, ‘This is your home!”13

 

Archbishop Fabio TiradoArchbishop
Fabio Betancourt Tirado
Manizales, Columbia
“This is my first time here. I can feel the presence of God here. I feel the grace that God gives to His faithful through His Mother. The Blessed Virgin here is asking us to listen to the Lord who asks us, through His Mother, to turn away from sin and to become bearers of peace.”14

 

Bishop João Evangelist Martins TerraBishop
João Evangelista Martins Terra
Brasília, Brazil
“Both for me and the entire group, this pilgrimage has been miraculous for the way we have been able to pray so intensely without tiring…I have been quite a number of times to Fatima and Lourdes where the events have already concluded. Here, instead, the apparitions still happen and for this, one is able to perceive a special divine presence. It seems to me that the entire area lives for the Virgin; is that not so? The whole place lives for the Virgin…I think the work I did [in the Holy Lands] prepared me for this, so that I could be aware of the wonderful grace and blessing of the Virgin here.”15

 

Bishop Sebastian ThekethecherilBishop
Sebastian Thekethecheril
Vijayapuram, India
“…This is the most beautiful place because Our Blessed Mother appeared here. Why is She so beautiful? Because She was Full of Grace. And here, we can see the graces… Only when people are filled with the Holy Spirit, they can be happy on the outside also. I have also this experience. I was longing to come here for so many years now...and now [at] the last minute I got the visa, and I came here.  I believe that this [was] a miracle in itself.”16

 

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Church Approval

 

On the subject of Church Approval, many bishops have spoken of their certainty that Medjugorje will be approved by the Church in the future. Their concern, therefore, is not in Church approval of the apparitions, but that Medjugorje will be ignored by many in the Church until the time the approval happens. Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar, who was regarded by many to be John Paul II’s favorite theologian stated:

“There is only one danger alone for Medjugorje—that people will pass it by!”17

Von Balthasar was convinced in the validity of Medjugorje. 

 

Cardinal Hans Urs von BalthasarCardinal
Hans Urs von Balthasar
Lucerne, Switzerland
“The theology of Medjugorje rings true. I am convinced of its truth. Everything concerning Medjugorje is authentic from the Catholic point of view. All that happens there is so evident, so convincing!”17

 

This is an impressive statement coming from a theologian who is widely respected within the Church. As you read through the following statements of bishops, you will see that so many of them came to the same conclusion as Cardinal Von Balthasar. Believing in the apparitions, the important thing then becomes not so much the rubber stamp approval from the Vatican, but that people convert.

 

Bishop Stanislas Lukumwena LumbalaBishop
Stanislas Lukumwena Lumbala
Kole, Congo
“…One should not worry about approval all the time. The approval will certainly be given. Bishops come, and they come to pray. There is something that we are drawn to, something that has impressed us. Little by little, Medjugorje will be approved. Let each one live one’s own devotion. We are making way to set up a radio station in my Kole Diocese, which will allow us to let people know more about Medjugorje.”18

 

Bishop Seamus HegartyBishop
Séamus Hegarty
Derry, Ireland
“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 for myself the source, the explanation, of this experience, this tremendous manifestation of faith, this high and exemplary Christian way of life. As regards to the Church—the official Church—it cannot afford to ignore this development…”19

 

Cardinal Giuseppe SiriCardinal
Giuseppe Siri
Genova-Bobbio, Italy
“The facts are facts and nobody can deny them.  The Church will give a judgment.  I can only say that I see many atheists leaving Genoa for Medjugorje who return with a rosary in their hands.”20

 

Archbishop Philip M. HannanArchbishop
Philip M. Hannan
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
“If supernatural isn’t the presence of a lot of people going to Confession, especially the youth, attending Mass, receiving Holy Communion, saying the Rosary—if that isn’t supernatural in essence I don’t know what is.”21

 

Bishop Geevarghese Mar Divannasios OttathengilBishop
Geevarghese Mar Divannasios Ottathengil
Bathery, India
“Medjugorje will be recognized, there is no doubt! Today or tomorrow, maybe a little later, it will surely be recognized!”22

 

Bishop Henry KennedyBishop
Henry Joseph Kennedy
Armidale, Australia
“…I have never been in doubt about Lourdes, and by the same token I am absolutely sure that the Gospa is present here. It will be nearly impossible to find another place on earth where such peace like here pervades!”23

 

Archbishop Murilo KriegerArchbishop
Murilo Krieger
São Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
“I see Medjugorje as a gift and a responsibility…If our hearts had been open and ready to walk in the way of Christ, everything that the Lord wanted to do through Medjugorje would have already been done...Medjugorje is a great responsibility. I understood that immediately, from the first moment I set foot on the soil of Medjugorje.”24

 

The strength of many bishops’ conviction concerning Medjugorje as a supernatural gift from God is startling to read by those who have only heard negative comments about Medjugorje from the negatively biased media, or those indifferent or closed to Medjugorje. Yet, so many within the hierarchy of the Church are enthusiastic about what is happening in this village and cannot see how the fruit they witnessed can be denied.

 

Bishop Stanislas Lukumwena LumbalaBishop
Stanislas Lukumwena Lumbala
Kole, Congo
“I can personally say that it is clear to me that all that is happening in Medjugorje, especially the great number of people, cannot be interpreted in any other way than a special intervention from God…I personally am praying that the moment of recognition comes as soon as possible.

 

"I would recommend to all communities that do not have vocations to come here and pray in this spirit that is alive in Medjugorje and they will certainly have vocations!”25

 

Fr. Bernard
United States of America
“A priest from the United States, Fr. Bernard, tells us: ‘In the past, my bishop before has always advised caution about the apparitions, he never actually expressed belief in them. But one day he heard that I was going to Medjugorje and he asked me to pray for vocations there. I knew it worked every time. Whenever a priest from our diocese would go there we would always get at least one vocation.

 

“When my bishop greeted me upon my return, his first words were, ‘I’m going to have to send you right back!’ During that period, his diocese received 10 vocations to the priesthood.”26

 

Bishop
José de Jesús Nuñez Viloria
Ciudad, Guayana, Venezuela
“It is clear to me that in Medjugorje is something very strong and supernatural. Without this supernaturality these events could never hold out to such an extent and spread like this throughout the whole world…What is being announced here is the essence of the Gospel, therefore we have to accept it!”27

 

Archbishop André-Joseph Mutien LeónardArchbishop
André-Joseph
Mutien Léonard
Belgium, Military
“…I have visited Medjugorje. I came and I am convinced of the authenticity of what is taking place there.”28

 

If the apparitions are in fact true, as many bishops are convinced they are, then the world places itself in a precarious situation by not seriously responding to this great gift that God has given. It is, therefore, a grave responsibility for those in the Church who are in the position to pass judgment over the events of Medjugorje.

 

Archbishop Frane FranicArchbishop
Frane Franić
Split-Makarska, Croatia
“If Jesus has sent His Mother to preach about conversion, then Her call is definitely coupled with a great grace of conversion which can only be received at Medjugorje. Jesus wanted exactly those graces, which He is distributing through His Mother, the Queen of Peace, to give peace to our people.

 

“That’s why I feel that those who have hindered a greater response to Our Lady Queen of Peace in Medjugorje carry a great responsibility. However, it is not too late yet…”29

 

Bishop Albin Małysiak, from Poland, a strong believer in Medjugorje for 20 years, worked closely with Pope John Paul II.

 

Bishop Albin MalysiaBishop
Albin Małysiak
Kraków, Poland
“We all must try to accept and live the messages of Our Lady. Peace in the world is at stake…I hope that this message will spread throughout the world and that more and more people will come here and accept the messages, while we all wait together for the Vatican to recognize Medjugorje!”30

 

Bishop Franziskus EisenbachBishop
Franziskus Eisenbach
Mainz, Germany
“…The message of Medjugorje for the world is clear: it has to overcome wars and conflicts by the power of love. No one needs to be afraid of Medjugorje even if it has not yet been officially approved by the Church. I wish that this message and this experience be carried also to Germany because we Germans are inclined to rationalism rather than to feeling. And here it is a matter of a message for man in his entirety.”31

 

It is clear that many bishops are saying, "go to Medjugorje and experience the grace of conversion." They state clearly that the Church is not hindering anyone from going and experiencing Medjugorje.

 

Archbishop Thomas Luke MsusaArchbishop
Thomas Luke Msusa
Blantyre, Malawi
“The Church will be the last to pronounce a judgment about Medjugorje. In the meantime, the experience of the faithful is essential. However, I see that the attitude of the Church is positive, because it doesn’t prevent anyone from coming. On the contrary, the Church allows people to go to Medjugorje. Unofficially, we can say that the Church has already accepted Medjugorje.

 

"As for the official judgement, we will have to wait some more time…Roused by Our Lady’s words, we need to pray primarily for conversion, because what is happening in Medjugorje also helps the Church to advance. I do not believe that the Church will ever refuse conversions. This is why I believe that, one day, the Church will recognize Medjugorje.”32

 

Still some will say, how can you be certain that the Virgin Mary is appearing in Medjugorje? How does one judge? Following are some of the responses that bishops gave to that question.

 

Archbishop Bruno TommasiArchbishop
Bruno Tommasi
Lucca, Italy
“Several years ago, I met a priest and some laymen who had gone to Medjugorje and who were internally transformed, converted. I was impressed. If a place is able to transform, to convert people, that means that this is a place of grace…”33

 

Archbishop Georg EderArchbishop
Georg Eder
Salzburg, Austria
“I am now convinced of the authenticity of Medjugorje. I have believed it for quite a while. I still wanted to come and take a look…My impression was confirmed because of the simplicity of the visionaries and the Evening Program. Everything is in the Church’s spirit and is very, very simple. At the same time, also very devout, with strong faith and above all with a strong will for conversion and real renewal.”34

 

Cardinal Ersilio ToniniCardinal
Ersilio Tonini
Ravenna-Cervia, Italy
“I think Medjugorje is a blessed place and a grace of God; [one] who goes to Medjugorje returns transformed, changed, he reflects himself in that source of grace that is Christ. Christ is at the same time the tap and the source. If in Medjugorje, as it is obvious by now, many conversions happen, it surely means that there is the hand of God.

 

“I believe that we should look at Medjugorje with serenity and trust, appreciating all the good and holy things that happen in that place….Only unbelievers do not believe in Our Lady and in Medjugorje. For the rest, nobody is forcing us to believe, but let us at least respect it.”35

 

Bishop Michael D. PfeiferBishop
Michael D. Pfeifer
SanAngelo, Texas, USA
“…To say nothing is happening there is to deny the living, prayerful witness of hundreds of thousands who have gone there. There is something other-worldly taking place at Medjugorje. There seems to be a special Divine presence there, motivating and inspiring the millions who visit this village to have a new love of God, and to strengthen and renew their commitment to live out the Gospel of Christ.”36

 

“As the Church continues to study and reflect on these mysterious and supernatural happenings of Medjugorje, I can only offer my personal opinion. I am convinced that Mary is appearing at Medjugorje, and that She is calling us to a deeper union with Jesus Christ, and to the faithful living out His Gospel in our daily lives…each one according to his or her vocation…Mary comes back today at Medjugorje as a kind and loving Mother, pleading with our world…with all of us…to simply do what Christ tells us to do. If we listen to her gentle command, Christ, through the Holy Spirit, will work new and wonderful signs of grace and love in our individual hearts, in our families, in our communities, in the entire world.”37

 

Many ask why is the Church taking so long to come to a decision?

 

Archbishop Emilio OgñénovichArchbishop
Emilio Ogñénovich
Mercedes-Luján, Argentina
“If you ask me for my opinion about Medjugorje, I will tell you that it can be compared to a mother, a pregnant woman in the sixth month of pregnancy, who impatiently awaits the moment to see her child born, but nobody can hasten it, because the right moment will come in its own good time.”38

 

Archbishop Bernardo CazzaroArchbishop
Bernardo Maria Cazzaro Bertollo
Puerto Montt, Chile
“…Where is the main thing? ...The fruits that derive from it…If I go in an orchard full of trees with beautiful, mature fruit, I do not go to see if the roots are all right or worm-eaten, ill. I see the beautiful fruit, I take it, I eat it, I offer it. If the fruits are good, the roots will also be good, says Jesus…

 

“…You do not have to go so much to the roots. Look at the fruits, the fruits of conversion, the invitation and the content of the messages. They are all evangelical contents. You cannot throw away the Gospel, even if it comes to you chewed in form of baby food, because we are like children, and Our Lady is giving us the baby food. We have become children, we are to be re-evangelised. Our Lady says it in a simple way like a mother, in small, but precious portions, in order to make us digest the Gospel that we have forgotten. This is important.

 

“…Let the Church go slowly, study, make commissions, examine for and against, whatever it wants. We say that the Church ‘should approve’. What is this ‘Church’? And what are we? We are Church, we have already approved! The responsible hierarchy is prudent, in order to avoid errors, in order to confirm all the good that is made…

 

“Altogether, I do not see here anything crooked, nothing worrisome. As a bishop, I do not see whims here, or strange things. Everything happens according to the norms of the Church: liturgy, prayer, sacrifice, especially conversion. It is good. We are grateful to God. If the Church says, ‘it's true’, if it says it tomorrow or in twenty years, it is not important. Let us not have haste! Let us leave the Church free! Let us leave free the competent authorities that is the local bishop, or in our case here, the Vatican. It has no importance. I respect the fruits.”39

 

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Medjugorje is Unique

 

It is not uncommon to hear people say of Medjugorje, “It’s just another Fatima. It’s just another Lourdes.” And yet, for many who have been to these and other shrines in Europe and around the world, there is a marked difference in how they speak of Medjugorje. There are great differences in how pilgrims are impacted in Medjugorje as compared to other pilgrimage sites. Medjugorje is different.  

Bishop Pavel HnilicaBishop
Pavel Mária Hnilica
Titular Bishop, Rusadus
“Cardinal Siri too—he died just this year—told me this, when I was in Genoa for a Medjugorje meeting. At dinner he said to me, ‘I have noticed that the people who come from Medjugorje become apostles. They renew the parishes. They form groups in which they get together—prayer groups; they pray before the Blessed Sacrament. They hold lectures, lead discussions and bring others to Medjugorje. And these circles, these prayer groups spread out more and more. They renew the Church.’ This was one of the greatest cardinals who gave this testimony about Medjugorje.”40

 

Bishop José Luís Azcona HermosoBishop
José Luís Azcona Hermoso
Marajó, Brazil
“I know people from the north of Brazil, professors and industrialists, who were atheists, and who were converted in Medjugorje some 15 years ago. Now, they go to Mass every day and are very active in the Church. There is a big difference between pilgrims who come here and those who go somewhere else. The experience of Medjugorje is an experience of conversion. Pilgrims speak in a different way about other places. Here, lives are changed. I see the authenticity of the conversions of Medjugorje.”41

 

Archbishop Franz KrambergerArchbishop
Franc Kramberger
Maribor, Slovenia
“…Medjugorje has become a place of God’s grace. In fact that is what serves as proof that God is present and something Divine is occurring there. People who come to Medjugorje not only realize this, but experience it in a special way. To experience God in this way is something unique…and this is where we see that Medjugorje is something special…it has great meaning for the general and local Church.”42

 

Cardianl Francesco ColasuonoCardianl
Francesco Colasuono
Apostolic Nuncio
Emeritus to Italy
“Medjugorje represents the event of the century. And we need to study it very well from the theological and the scientific points of view.”43

 

Archbishop André-Joseph Mutien LeónardArchbishop
André-Joseph
Mutien Léonard
Belgium, Military
“…Some people say where there is prayer, there is grace and miracles. But this logic does not seem to me completely correct. There are many other places in the world where there is prayer, where there is Confession, where Eucharist is celebrated, but there are not the same kind of evident fruits! …I think that on the spiritual plane we are living in a period that demands urgency!”44

 

Bishop Pavel HnilicaBishop
Pavel Mária Hnilica
Titular Bishop
Rusadus
“I travel a great deal in the world. I can say that the Medjugorje movement today is the strongest, most vibrant one in the Church around the world. But one characteristic of the Medjugorje movement that is not found in the Lourdes movement or Fatima movement is the familial aspect, the solidarity of all those who live the spirit of Medjugorje. Wherever I go, into whatever country in the world, when I encounter any Medjugorje group, I find myself suddenly as if at home, within my own family...It is this spirit of unity, of family, of solidarity that will bring victory to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, victory of the Church, the victory of Christ.”45

 

Bishop Joseph LafontantBishop
Joseph Lafontant
Port-au-Prince
Haïti
“I often went on pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes, and other places. Here I discover a big difference. There is nothing stereotyped. Everything is different from the other places. Everyone has his own personal experience. Here people find peace and are reconciled!”46

 

Bishop Joseph Vianney FernandoBishop
Joseph Vianney Fernando
Kandy, Sri Lanka
“I believe that it is a place that has been touched by the Divine. Otherwise, you cannot understand the kind of immediate spiritual atmosphere that the senses experience. I say this as a humble pilgrim, not as a bishop.”47

 

Bishop Datus Hilarion LegaBishop
Datus Hilarion Lega
Manokwari-Sorong
Indonesia
“Medjugorje is the world center place of prayer and peace. People are coming here because Our Lady is really appearing here, this is the place of renewal, conversion, new beginning.”48

 

Some Bishops sense that Medjugorje’s difference lies in the plan of God to spread the peace, the Gospel, the faith of Jesus Christ so evidenced in this village around the world. Medjugorje is the center of this plan, the radius, from which these graces flow.

 

Monsignor Roland About Jaoude
Vicar General of the Maronite Patriarch
Titular Bishop of Arca de Pheniere, Lebanon

 

Monsignor Chucrallah Harb
Bishop Emeritus of Jounieh, Lebanon

 

Monsignor Hanna Helou
Vicar General of the Maronite Diocese of Saida, Lebanon
“The fruits of Medjugorje are neither only for the local people nor only for Christians, but for all humanity, because the Lord has commanded us to carry to all humanity the Truth He has revealed to us, and thus to sanctify the whole world. Christianity exists for 2000 years now and we are only two billion Christians!”

 

“Medjugorje contributes to the apostolic enthusiasm and to evangelization, to which our Lord has sent us and which the Church is transmitting.”49

 

Bishop Seamus HegartyBishop
Séamus Hegarty
Derry, Ireland
“We recognize that in Medjugorje we are dealing with a genuine call to peace, and that peace is a divine gift for which we 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 its origin, its center, in Medjugorje, thereupon extending itself over the entire world.”50

 

Bishop Pearse LaceyBishop
Pearse Lacey
Toronto, Canada
“Basically, we are the children of God and our cries are as huge as of any generation. Therefore, the message has to be the same! We cannot do without God. This is the marvelous thing about Medjugorje. This is an oasis of God, this is the life of the Church as it should be. Tradition is not a dirty word, although it seems to be to some people! The life of a priest consists in bringing people back to God, people who have wandered away because they thought religion was irrelevant. Thank God that He is God and provides places like this. I have been to other places, but Medjugorje is the shining light today in our society.51

 

Because of the immensity of God’s plan through Medjugorje, the villagers have a large responsibility in seeing Our Lady’s desires fulfilled.

 

Archbishop Murilo KriegerArchbishop
Murilo Krieger
São Salvador da Bahia
Brazil
“…You cannot even imagine how important is the role of this parish for the Church and the world!”52

 

Bishop Gerard DionneBishop
Gerard Dionne
Edmundston, Canada
“Many pilgrims who come here carry in their hearts a remembrance of the faith and the hospitality that they encountered in the parish of Medjugorje. It is a great honor for this parish that Our Lady has visited it in a special way and that She has spoken in the Croatian language. I hope that the parish of Medjugorje and the entire Croatian people will never lose sight of that!”53

 

For some, it’s the fact that the apparitions are happening now, in our present day that makes Medjugorje an experience unlike anything that can be experienced today.

 

Archbishop José Antúnez de MayoloArchbishop
José Antúnez de Mayolo
Ayacucho, Peru
“I have been to Lourdes, but it is a very different reality. They cannot be compared. They are two different realities. In Lourdes, the event is closed, but here everything is still developing. Here, faith can be felt in a much stronger way than in Lourdes.”54

 

Archbishop George PearceArchbishop
George Pearce
Suva, Fiji Islands
“I have been in several shrines. I have spent quite a bit of time in Guadalupe, I have been about eight times at Fatima, and also in Lourdes. It’s the same Mary, the same message, but here at Medjugorje this is the ‘now’ word of Our Lady for the world. There is so much anguish and suffering. Our Lady has been with us all the way through, and in a special way in Medjugorje.”55

 

Bishop Gerard DionneAbbot
Nicolas Hakim
Superior General
Melkite Basilian Order of Chueirites
“I will tell everyone: ‘Come and see!’ I have seen the real presence of the Most Blessed Virgin. She is everywhere in the world, but here in a special way!”56

 

Bishop Gerard DionneBishop
Gerard Dionne
Edmundston, Canada
“Everything I have seen here during my stay has impressed me deeply. Something like this is hard to find any place else. The faith of the people here, the attendance at Holy Mass and the spirit of self-denial cut deeply into my heart. I watched how crowds of countless people go up mountains that are not easy to climb, go to confession and pray. They were from every part of the world. It is difficult therefore to conclude that all this is accidental, that this is an ordinary place and that nothing has happened here. In my opinion, only faith could lead these people to come here, faith that is convinced of something concrete…According to the fruits that I see, I can say there is something really special taking place here. It is not the Franciscans who are drawing the people here. I also have Franciscans in my parish, but there is nothing special going on. God is the one who is drawing the people to come.

 

“I believe Our Lady is appearing here. I don’t know how I would in any other way explain the phenomenon that is alive here. It is not possible that the devil is at work, since people are praying. Likewise, all this cannot be an ordinary deception. People can be deceived for a while, but not a full seventeen years* and then not millions of people. I believe that something special is happening here because of the fruits. There cannot be so much good fruit on a bad tree.

 

“Observing the liturgical life in the parish of Medjugorje...it is the everyday customary life of the Church. Mass is celebrated just like in other places. There is nothing here out of the ordinary. Last night we had Adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Everything was so simple: a few words, a few songs, just like the Church wants it to be. People are so strongly attracted to it that they are prepared to spend hours on their knees. We do the same thing in our churches, but people do not come in such great numbers. Why? I cannot answer differently than to say that God is present here in a special way.”57

* Thirty-four years as of June 25, 2015

 

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Renewing the Church

 

Some of the most powerful testimonies from bishops come from their observation that Medjugorje is bringing about the renewal of the Church. They admit that so many of their own initiatives and current programs are producing little to no conversions, which makes the tremendous conversions taking place in Medjugorje that much more amazing.

Cardinal Hans Urs von BalthasarCardinal
Hans Urs von Balthasar
Lucerne, Switzerland
“Our Lady represents the real Church. She is the Church. Ephesians 5:27 says ‘only She is the Immaculate Church.’ She shows us the way the Church should be. This is the meaning of the apparitions.”58

 

Archbishop Frane FranićArchbishop
Frane Franić
Split-Makarska, Croatia
“The spiritual renewal that is coming from Medjugorje has done more in three years than what we have been able to accomplish within the last 40 years in our pastoral service!”59

 

Bishop Denis CroteauBishop
Denis Croteau
Mackenzie-Fort Smith
Canada
“I’ve tried all kinds of things in my diocese to transform the people – because we live in a dysfunctional society and I’ve spent thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars with sessions and workshops, and I haven’t accomplished, spending all that kind of money, 10 percent of what has been accomplished here with one pilgrimage!”60

 

Cardinal František Tomášek of Prague, very well-known and respected for his combating Communism behind the Iron Curtain, and for what he suffered for the faith, was a staunch believer in the Medjugorje apparitions.

Cardinal Frantisek TomasekCardinal
Frantisek Tomasek
Prague, Czech Republic
“I think that we here are indebted to the events of Medjugorje for this huge new springtime of our faith, that God has given us through Mary. Prayer and fasting, faith and conversion, and then the invitation to peace, this can only come from God.

 

"I have many people who have been on pilgrimage to Medjugorje. They are full of hope, and willingness to testify and bear witness to their faith. I know many prayer groups who have shown me how they pray and fast, and this began in Medjugorje. The people are hungry and thirsty for the Word of God.

 

"Whenever people in whatever way set up obstacles, God always finds a way to seek out and gather His children together. I am deeply thankful to God for Medjugorje…Putting it simply, I hear very much, but I am always desirous of hearing more about Medjugorje. Oh, how I would love to go on pilgrimage to Medjugorje, and drink of this New Water. Many of my faithful would love to do likewise…”61

 

Archbishop Georg EderArchbishop
Georg Eder
Salzburg, Austria
“My impressions here are not surprising. I know that groups from Salzburg very often go to Medjugorje, that new prayer groups are constantly being started, that there are more and more people who say: ‘In Medjugorje I received my vocation!’ I am reflecting: We are losing three things that we are getting back again in Medjugorje: penance, conversion, and vocations. In Austria we look in vain for these things: conversion is not even mentioned anymore because people do not need it; Confession is dying out with us except in shrines and in the Churches of religious orders where this Sacrament is sought and lived; spiritual vocations are less and less. In Medjugorje this is happening constantly: Confessions, conversions and spiritual vocations!

 

“That is what I ask myself: What must we do for conversion to happen to someone? I have repeated to the members of Peoples’ Initiative that, for me, conversion in their program has disappeared. Are we the ones who do not need conversion, the way Jesus says it in the Gospel? Conversion is being excluded, and Confession is being lost, spiritual vocations are less and less, and we are asking ourselves how can we at all keep up a seminary? But all that is found in Medjugorje. We are finding exactly that which for us has disappeared.”62

 

There is no doubt in the minds of many bishops, the renewal of the Church is directly linked with what is happening in Medjugorje. Archbishop Eder continues:

 

Archbishop Georg EderArchbishop
Georg Eder
Salzburg, Austria
“I greatly trust in Our Lady of Medjugorje…When, at some time in the future, the credibility of the events here will be accepted, what will happen to those who did not believe? There is no doubt about it: what happens here is good. What happens here is what should happen in the Church: prayer, Mass, Confession, Adoration, conversion, the formation of prayer groups, vocations. These are all in light of the events which are being guided by Mary, with which She is preparing for the New Millennium. Much is happening here that we in the Church have forgotten. Mary calls and teaches us. For the Church in Austria, I can say: ‘We have forgotten much and we must begin anew with what Mary tells us in Medjugorje!’”63

 

Cardinal Bernardino Echeverria RuizCardinal
Bernardino Echeverria Ruiz
Guayaquil, Ecuador
“My presence here wishes to confirm my certainty that the impetus for a renewal in the Church comes from the Medjugorje groups, in Ecuador and the world over!”64


 

Referring to Our Lady’s messages from Medjugorje during his homily at Mass with 3,000 of the faithful at the National Shrine of Beauraing, Belgium, Bishop André-Joseph Mutien Léonard said:

 

Archbishop André-Joseph Mutien LéonardArchbishop
André-Joseph
Mutien Léonard
Belgium, Military
“We need to accept the messages of Medjugorje. Because all who are accepting them are renewing the Church, and the Church needs renewal!”65

 

Bishop Donald MontroseBishop
Donald Montrose
Stockton, California
USA
“ I see that a great number of the faithful who have visited Medjugorje return with a renewed faith, a renewed experience of prayer, fasting, Confession, Holy Mass, and Adoration. People who are faithful to Our Lady are also faithful to the Church!...”66

 

It is difficult to explain what one sees happening in Medjugorje. What is causing the conversion? Bishop Adelio Tomasin, from Brazil, says that theology or psychology cannot explain this profound renewal in the Church through Medjugorje. Whatever the cause, there is no doubt that it is coming through the hands of Our Lady.

 

Bishop Adelio TomasinBishop
Adelio Tomasin
Quixadá, Brazil
“In 1984 when I first came to Medjugorje I was impressed by the fact that even before the evening prayer the poorly lit Church was full of the faithful, so many of whom were young. I was also struck by the profound devotion – which was not fanaticism – and by the Confessions, and the prayer on the hills. I went to the Church and remained there in prayer nearly the entire day. That’s how I spent my days in Medjugorje; I did not speak to any of the Franciscans or the visionaries.

 

“Back home I felt profoundly renewed. I understood Mary better; also that thanks to Her the Church is renewed. I came again…deeply convinced that many things happen here that theology or psychology cannot explain. I discovered the true meaning of faith and its fruits. No one can doubt the fruits of Medjugorje, for God’s presence and His mercy are obvious; the Church can see that God’s grace is handed out by the Mother of Mercy, the Mother of Sinners, who was close to the Cross. This is a truth which cannot be denied.”67

 

The Church is being renewed through the conversion of individual hearts. It’s not happening from the top, down, but rather from the bottom, up. And it’s happening throughout the whole Church.

 

Archbishop Bruno TommasiArchbishop
Bruno Tommasi
Lucca, Italy
“I think that one can consider Medjugorje as an impulse for the renewal of the Church. This is a renewal that comes from below, through changes in persons.”68

 

Bishop László BíróBishop
László Bíró
Hungary, Military
“Medjugorje is one of the instruments in God’s hands, with which God is showing how ardently He loves men. Those who come to Medjugorje with an open heart go home completely different.”69

 

Archbishop Gregory Yong, on the 7th anniversary of the apparitions in Medjugorje, June 25, 1988, spoke the following words in a homily at a Mass in honor of the Queen of Peace in the Cathedral in Singapore. He was speaking of the fact that the churches in Singapore are packed in their daily Masses from those who have gone to Medjugorje.

 

Archbishop Gregory YongArchbishop
Gregory Yong
Singapore
“Never have we seen the Church packed with so many daily Masses as now. We are seeing the fruits of what is happening in Medjugorje.”70

 

Cardinal Johannes Joachim DegenhardtCardinal
Johannes Joachim Degenhardt
Paderborn, Germany
“Just as in the great classical pilgrim shrines, there is going on in Medjugorje the call to renewal of life after cleansing and conversion… It appears that this invitation applies to the entire Church.”71

 

Bishop Hermann RaichBishop
Hermann Raich
Wabag
Papua New Guinea
“Medjugorje is a huge chance for the Church!”72

 

Bishop Adriano LangaBishop
Adriano Langa
Inhambane, Mozambique
“I keep repeating to everyone that Medjugorje is the place that one needs to get to know, since it is here that we received invitation to prayer, this is really the place of the encounter with God.”73

 

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Renewing the Nations

 

Our Lady has come as the Queen of Peace to bring peace to the whole world, through each nation choosing the way of peace. It is beautiful to hear from Bishops around the world testifying to the impact Medjugorje is making in their own beloved homeland.

 

Cardinal Bernardino Eccheverria RuizCardinal
Bernardino Eccheverria Ruiz
Guayaquil, Ecuador
“I heard about Medjugorje a long time ago. It was my great desire to immediately come here, but until now it had not been possible. I’m so pleased that I came…God speaks through Mary here to all peoples and all cultures…This is a Godly moment on earth. I personally feel here the beginning of Europe’s conversion.”74

 

Bishop Donal McKeownBishop
Donal McKeown
Derry, Ireland
“One of the striking features of the group of Irish pilgrims, is that there are numerous men, younger and older, and that this is precisely the population that the Church in Ireland finds difficulty in bringing to Church. Many of them tell of taking drugs, alcohol, or being addicted to gambling, or having been away from the Church for long periods of time. Through God’s grace they are convinced that they have been healed here from these vices.”75

 

Archbishop Leonard Hsu Ying-faArchbishop
Leonard Hsu Ying-fa
Taipei, Taiwan
“Pilgrims from my group say: ‘We have to do something to make Medjugorje known in Taiwan.’ I wonder how we could organize pilgrimages from Taiwan to Medjugorje, how to bring young people…Two priests, one of them is a Jesuit father from America, translate texts about Medjugorje into Chinese, so people hear about Medjugorje. One priest from England sends brochures and photos. In America, there are centers spreading the messages of Medjugorje and they send their revenues to us. We want Medjugorje to be known in Taiwan.”76

 

Bishop Frederick DranubaBishop
Frederick Dranuba
Arua, Uganda
“I’m certain that the Lord is using this place for the conversion of nations!”77

 

Bishop Pavel Hnilica Bishop
Pavel Mária Hnilica
Titular Bishop
Rusadus
“Once a very close friend of the Holy Father [Pope Saint John Paul II] told me—this person knew that in America there are thousands of Medjugorje groups (this friend of the Holy Father’s knew also how many people and priests are coming to Medjugorje from America)—this person said, ‘These people from America who are going to Medjugorje, who are building prayer groups, these people are our hope to renew Catholic Christianity in America! These people are our hope for the future to renew America!’”78

 

Archbishop Georg EderArchbishop
Georg Eder
Salzburg, Austria
“For the Church in Austria, I can say: ‘We have forgotten much and we must begin anew with what Mary tells us in Medjugorje!’”79

 

Archbishop Jean ChabbertArchbishop
Jean Chabbert
Perpignan-Elne
France
“…I have noticed that here they discover the importance of prayer in everyday life…and many French people have discovered Our Lady here. These encounters between the Mother and Her children bring about profound change in their lives.

 

"Medjugorje is the actual answer to the serious problems of today’s world. In God’s love, the Mother wishes to unite Her divided children so they will look upon one another as brothers. This will help us sew back together the torn dress of mankind. Mary’s presence on the earth will re-establish the omnipresence of Jesus.

 

"Living according to the messages means ensuring peace in the world. With Her apparitions Our Lady is preparing the faithful for the Lord’s return to this valley of tears. Medjugorje teaches how to overcome and defeat all that satan has done in the world.”80

 

Bishop Henry KennedyBishop
Henry Joseph Kennedy
Armidale, Australia
“…There is a supernatural atmosphere of peace prevailing in Medjugorje, and people are living together in brotherly harmony. I simply cannot explain it any better, and I would like that we in Australia could be as religious as the people of this village are…”81

 

Cardinal Franc RodéCardinal
Franc Rodé
Prefect of the Congregation
for Institutes of Consecrated Life
and Societies of Apostolic Life
“Medjugorje is a place of grace. Many faithful from Slovenia who went there said that they received great graces! They made their Confession, came back to the life of the Church and started to live a Christian life. This is the grace that they received in Medjugorje.”82

 

Father Ghislain NdondjiFather
Ghislain Ndondji, OFM
Lumumbashi, Congo
“I would like our people to come to Medjugorje, but Africa is far away. I decided to take the initiative to establish a strong contact with Medjugorje.”83

 

Archbishop José Antúnez de MayoloArchbishop
José Antúnez de Mayolo
Ayacucho, Peru
“…Medjugorje is still quite unknown in Peru, but I promise to become an apostle of Medjugorje in my country!... I shall come back, I shall surely come back!”84

 

Bishop
Silas S. Njiru
Meru, Kenya
“Medjugorje is really known throughout the world. Wherever I go, in my country in the USA or in Europe, people talk about Medjugorje! Last year I was in Orlando, in Florida, and someone took me by car to the Space Center. He told me that he went to Medjugorje several times, and that I should go there too…This year, a missionary from Italy told me that he was going to Medjugorje and asked me if I would like to come with him…He sent me a letter saying ‘The money is here, everything is ready, just open your heart to Our Lady.’ This is why I am here.”85

 

Archbishop Hieronymus Herculanus BumbunArchbishop
Hieronymus Herculanus Bumbun
Pontianak, Indonesia
“In my diocese of Potianak in Indonesia, those who have been to Medjugorje increase the community spirit. The messages of Medjugorje can be very well applied to the living philosophy in Indonesia. They are closely related to the life of the people and the Church. In the present globalization of the world, which is affecting relationships in the family, these messages can help the family to feel like the basic cell of the Church.”86

 

Bishop Albin MalysiakBishop
Albin Małysiak
Kraków, Poland
“Medjugorje is being talked about much in Poland…In church here one feels the prayer of the people. Praying the Our Father together was a unique experience for me; to hear all the different languages as they pray as in one voice and one could make out the Polish language particularly clear…”87

 

Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa MendietaArchbishop
José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta
Panamá
“The spirituality inspired by Medjugorje can be very developed in my country. We especially want to involve children. The parish Church consecrated to Mary, Queen of Peace...was built according to the model of St. James Church in Medjugorje. In Panama, there are many prayer groups based on Our Lady’s messages.”88

 

Bishop Ludwig SchwarzBishop
Ludwig Schwarz
Linz, Austria
“Many Austrians came to Medjugorje during these years, many speak about it positively and with enthusiasm, because they experienced a personal change. In this place of grace of Our Lady, they made a deep experience of Jesus Christ in the Sacraments, especially in Confession and the Eucharist. This atmosphere of liberation impresses them. They speak about peace, about harmony between God and men and between men: Harmony brings peace, and the most beautiful fruit of peace is joy. Many come back home filled with joy.”89

 

Bishop Joseph OyangaBishop
Joseph Oyanga
Lira, Uganda
“This is a place of contemplation and prayer. Everyone who comes here takes part in an interpersonal togetherness. I saw people from Europe, America, Japan and Australia. They all feel as one. This made a strong impression on me.”90

 

Archbishop Stanislav SzyrokoradiukArchbishop
Stanislav Szyrokoradiuk
Kharkiv-Zaporizhia
Ukraine
“People come from all over the world and they pray together. The world today is in need of Medjugorje!”91

 

Cardinal Bernardino Echeverria RuizCardinal
Bernardino Echeverria Ruiz
Guayaquil, Ecuador
“God is speaking here through Mary not only to you, but to all nations and to all cultures.”92

 

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The Messages

 

What of Our Lady’s messages after 34 years and thousands of messages? Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer of San Angelo, Texas, believes Our Lady to be a modern-day prophet.

 

Bishop Micheal D. PfeiferBishop
Micheal D. Pfeifer
SanAngelo, Texas
USA
“I like to think that Mary is God’s modern-day prophet speaking a message from God, calling people to be faithful to Christ and to his living Gospel…the prophet whom God sends into our modern world to call us back to the way of Her Son, Jesus Christ, the way to true peace.”93

 

Archbishop Rubén Héctor di MonteArchbishop
Rubén Héctor di Monté
Mercedes-Luján
Argentina
“When I read Our Lady’s messages I had the impression that this must have been Her typical way of speaking…In my opinion, Our Lady’s messages in Medjugorje are a continuation of those in Rue de Bac, Lourdes and Fatima. Mary wants the conversion of hearts…By living these messages one finds the Lord’s peace, and the change in hearts mitigates the Divine justice. The world is chaotic, but here, people find hope in the supernatural, because human solutions are not sufficient.”94

 

Archbishop Gabriel Gonsum GanakaArchbishop
Gabriel Gonsum Ganaka
Jos, Nigeria
“I came here to see this radiation of prayer that has reached so many of my faithful. Our Lady’s messages are simple and practical. They change peoples’ lives and have spread to all corners of the earth. Even in convents things have changed because of the messages. Groups are being formed all over and people are praying for peace…Our Lady’s heart is a mother’s heart. A good mother does not tire of calling, inviting, insisting…”95

 

 

One bishop said that the simple fact that the visionaries have been steadfast all these years in professing the same message is what impresses him.

Bishop Frederick DranduaBishop
Frederick Drandua
Arua, Uganda
“This is really an important experience for me, especially at the level of prayer. I cannot say that Our Lady is not appearing. Fifteen years* have gone by and the visionaries are always repeating the same message. They don’t change at all. The message is simple: to pray, to fast, to believe, to confess and to adore. That’s precisely why we must be dealing with a supernatural event, because they are steadfast in their one message.”96

* Thirty-four years as of June 25, 2015

 

Bishop Adalbert NdzanaCardinal
Adalbert Ndzana
Mbalmayo, Cameroon
“I am happy to be here in Medjugorje which to me seems to be the continuation of Fatima. Here I see the realization of the Gospel in the situations common to the man of today. The Virgin speaks in a simple manner, and Her messages do not contain threats or fear. She calls man to love and to trust in God. The content of the messages conform to the Gospel and to Church tradition...”97

 

For some, the duration of the apparitions and the tens of thousands of messages given over the years is difficult to accept. Yet, Archbishop Bernardo Maria Cazzaro, from Chile, does not personally find this a stumbling block.

 

Archbishop Bernardo CazzaroArchbishop
Bernardo Maria Cazzaro Bertollo
Puerto Montt
Chile
“This is another topic, the duration of these apparitions. For me, it is not a great problem. I do not ask God to make accounts to me. He will ask me, not I to the Lord. If the Lord wants to appear two times, or twenty times or two hundred times, what should I say? I listen.

 

"This is not the picture here. This is the frame. The picture is what the Lord says to us, what He wants from us, that problem He wants to resolve. That is the picture. He wants to change us, He wants to change the whole world, and as we are stubborn, then the Lord insists, educates us slowly through these messages, which are all a reflection of the Gospel.

 

"If we would read more the Gospel and meditate on it, we would not need the messages. We have forgotten, that’s it, and the messages remind us. They do not say anything extraordinary, or difficult, we just have to change our hearts. Jesus is saying this for 2,000 years now.”98

 

Bishop Mendieta from Panama beautifully describes the power of Our Lady’s messages in the lives of people he has observed. He does not see the messages as boring or repetitive, but that they lead to a burning desire for people to change their hearts.

 

Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa MendietaArchbishop
José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta
Panamá
“The simplicity of these messages is enticing. The Medjugorje messages are an evangelical call to conversion and to peace; there is nothing apocalyptic in them. Without prayer, without fasting and without the Eucharist—and these are the foundations of Christianity—we cannot answer the call to holiness addressed to us by Mary.

 

"I have heard from many people that they experience the need to change, and to change within the Church and through the Sacraments. One cannot leave Medjugorje without this burning desire to change and to start anew.”99

 

Many bishops see Our Lady’s messages paralleling Holy Scripture. They testify seeing nothing contrary to Scripture but rather, they confirm the teaching and the spirit of the faith of the Church.

Bishop Seamus HegartyBishop
Séamus Hegarty
Derry, Ireland
“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 lies 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 on how to pray—that is, with more giving of ourselves and intensity, and new methods of prayer—prayer not only in words, but as something lived.”100

 

Bishop Gabriel Diaz CuevaBishop
José Gabriel Diaz Cueva
Guayaquil, Ecuador
“I believe that I am able to say, HERE THE HAND OF GOD IS AT WORK! And I pray for this, that the message of the most Blessed Virgin be accepted more and more. This message is not any different from the Good News (i.e., the Gospel), but they are still the words of a Mother who is concerned for the good of humanity and for the salvation of every single human being.

 

"I believe that what the Holy Virgin tells us is nothing other than an echo of the words of St. Paul: ‘This is God’s will—your salvation.’ I hope that the messages which the Holy Virgin has communicated to us for so long will be of great use to the entire Church and to each one of us. I believe that we should give the gift of attention to Her words, to Her who tries to say through these simple and good young people (the visionaries) so much to us that will bring us to salvation.”101

 

Archbishop Issam John DarwishArchbishop
Issam John Darwish
Greek Melkite Rite
Zahleh e Furzol, Lebanon
“The messages of Medjugorje are messages of the Gospel. I do not see anything else. Eucharist, penance, prayer…it is the Gospel.”102

 

Archbishop Georg Eder from Austria, in studying the events of Medjugorje, came to an understanding of why Our Lady has been coming for such a long time.

 

Archbishop Georg EderArchbishop
Georg Eder
Salzburg, Austria
“I began to ask myself more and more often: why these completely simple messages that are still being repeated? It is always a call to prayer, fasting, penance, prayer for peace. I said: that must have some meaning!...What does a mother do when she raises her child? I experienced that at home: she always repeats the same thing: I have already often told you that! But I cannot stop saying: Pray, or do so and so.

 

"Mary acts the same way in Medjugorje. She always says the same thing to Her children who are already now adult persons. And what else would a priest have to do in his parish? He is always calling to prayer. John Paul II once said that priests have to be the first to pray and have to be the teachers of prayer.

 

"That is what Mary, a good Mother, does. She teaches us to pray, really in a very simple way. Now I have to say truly that Christ’s Word has the value for me of being the recognizable sign: by their fruits you will know them!”103

 

In this day and age where secularism has made such advances even within the Church, Bishop Hieronymus Herculanus Bumbun from Indonesia sees Our Lady’s messages as a good remedy for families who desire to counteract these secular influences.  He said on Radio Mir that he was:

 

Archbishop Hieronymus Herculanus BumbunArchbishop
Hieronymus Herculanus Bumbun
Pontianak, Indonesia
“...very impressed by the message of Medjugorje given to the six visionaries. It is good for people to follow the messages, because they lead to peace, hope and faith. They present a basic Catholic education for the families. It would be good for families to pay more attention to these messages.”104

 

In the end, where do the messages lead? According to Bishop Stanislas Lukumwena Lumbala from the Congo, he sees Our Lady’s messages leading to a deep and profound spiritual life.

Bishop Stanislas Lukumwena LumbalaBishop
Stanislas Lukumwena Lumbala
Kole, Congo
“A deep spirituality is developing here. A message of peace and conversion has been given. All these messages are now to be used and lived…everything is moving towards a deeper level. Man needs a firm spiritual support. Man’s inner life should rely on solid Gospel values. That is why I say that deepening of the message, that is prayer, Communion and Confession, is becoming the basis of a deep spiritual life…”105

 

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The Visionaries

 

The visionaries are the first witnesses of Our Lady. They are Our Lady’s announcers, Her instruments in revealing Her plans and Her messages to the world. Although some of the bishops said it wasn’t necessary for them to meet the visionaries in order to believe, the visionaries made strong impressions among bishops who had the opportunity to observe, listen and speak to them.

 

Bishop Patrick PowerBishop
Patrick Power
Canberra-Goulburn
Australia
“In January 1993, I participated in a prayer program in Canberra [Australia] in which Fr. Slavko and Ivan, the visionary, also took part. I was deeply touched by what I heard and saw. The message that Ivan spoke and the manner in which he did it impressed me very much. He spoke about peace, prayer, conversion, penance, fasting and deep faith. Those are messages that I have heard so many times and I also have spoken about them before, but the simplicity in which it was all expressed was for me exceptionally important.”106

 

Archbishop Harry J. FlynnArchbishop
Harry J. Flynn
Saint Paul - Minneapolis
Minnesota, USA
“On Saturday morning we heard one of the visionaries speak and I must say that everything that he said was very solid. Someone in the audience asked him a question about ‘Communion in the hand.’ His answer was very direct and very simple. ‘Do what the Church permits you to do. You will always be safe.’ ”107

 

Bishop Stanley Joseph Ott from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, traveled to Medjugorje staying at the home of the brother of Medjugorje visionary, Marija, for one week. He had the opportunity to see Marija every evening for dinner. He said it was a pleasure for him to be able to meet with her on an informal basis. He described her as “humble, personable, and hospitable.”

 

Bishop Stanley Joseph OttBishop
Stanley Joseph Ott
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USA
“They (the visionaries) are not plastic saints, but people with life situations like everyone of us has.”108

 

Bishop Pavel Hnilica Bishop
Pavel Mária Hnilica
Titular Bishop
Rusadus
“After my third visit in these places, I was able to arrange for a little more time to speak with the visionaries and also with the people who live close to them in everyday life. I wanted to examine and understand what reasons the one who talks against Medjugorje and is opposed to it had for doing so. I am convinced that this is a case of slandering.

 

"These children are not manipulated. They are simple and sincere. I see a supernatural aspect in these events. Morally, they force us to treat them very seriously. Upon my conscience, I must come to the conclusion that the voice of God is speaking with power at Medjugorje.”109

 

Bishop Geevarghese Mar Divannasios OttathengilBishop
Geevarghese Mar Divannasios Ottathengil
Bathery, India
“I met the visionaries; I visited Marija, Ivan and Vicka. I think that they are real visionaries.”110

 

Bishop Deogratias Muganwa ByabazaireBishop
Deogratias Muganwa Byabazaire
Hoima, Uganda
“I was present at an apparition. My impression is that we are dealing with something profoundly real here. Speaking with the visionaries, I understood that they are sincere and mature people. On my return home I will emphasize the simplicity of the Gospa’s messages, and how it is this simplicity which breaks through to the hearts of Her children.”111

 

Bishop Eduardo Horacio GarciáBishop
Eduardo Horacio Garciá
San Justo, Argentina
“I met Vicka. She asked for my blessing and this impressed me. I was also impressed by her normality, simplicity and joy.”112

 

Bishop Denis CroteauBishop
Denis Croteau
Mackenzie-Fort Smith
Canada
“Personally, what impressed me the last time and this time, is that the visionaries don’t stress neither big miracles, nor extraordinary things, nor the end of the world, nor catastrophes or disasters, but the message of Mary, which is a message of prayer, conversion, penance, to say the Rosary, to go to the Sacraments, to practice your faith, to practice charity, to help the poor and so on. That is the message. Secrets are there, but the visionaries don’t make a big thing out of this. The message of Mary is prayer.”113

 

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‘Sensus Fidelium’
(Sense of the Faithful)
 

 

Millions of people going to Medjugorje and converting is a sign to the Church that something authentic is happening there. Most people who go to Medjugorje do not speak vaguely of their experience, but they testify that they feel the presence of Our Lady or have had an encounter with the Mother of God in some way. Their faith is deepened, they return to the Church and Sacraments, prayer becomes part of their daily lives, they become active in Church ministries, etc.

 

Bishop Emilio L. BataclanBishop
Emilio L. Bataclan
Cebu, Philippines
“I have no difficulties believing that Our Lady is here because, above all, the ‘sensus fidelium’ (sense of the faithful) says that Mary is here, and also my priestly and pastoral experience through a full 25 years, and now also that of being a Bishop helps recognize the special signs that Mary is present here and that She is caring for Her children.

 

"I would like to say to everyone: ‘Mary is the Mother who loves and truly has to come to this world. She comes and says what we have to do, because She cares for us.’ I hope that the world will open its heart and soul to this good Mother.”114

 

It’s one thing to read in a report about the millions of pilgrims coming to Medjugorje, and another thing altogether, seeing the multitudes with your own eyes climbing the mountains, filling the Church every hour of the day with strong, fervent prayers, praying on their knees on hard and rocky ground, forming long lines for Confession night after night, witnessing the joy and tears of so many conversions. The witness of this is something that cannot be easily dismissed.

 

archbishop Packiam ArokiaswamyArchbishop
Packiam Arokiaswamy
Tanjore, India
“The fact that pilgrims are constantly coming here and in ever greater numbers is a proof that miraculous gifts are being distributed here. Were that otherwise, the influx of pilgrims would have stopped long ago. I think Chesterton was the one who said: ‘Some people you can deceive all the time, all the people you can deceive some time, but you cannot deceive all the people all the time.’ People are constantly coming here in ever greater numbers and returning with peace in their hearts. Personally I am convinced that the events here are of a miraculous origin.”115

 

Archbishop Andre Fernand AnguileArchbishop
Andre Fernand Anguile
Gabon, Africa
“The first thing that deeply impresses me is the spirit of prayer here in Medjugorje. I see pilgrims from the whole world here. The evening program alone is enough to show how much and how deeply people pray here. Those inside the Church and those who cannot enter (because there is no more space) still pray ardently and devotedly. I see all the priests here Confessing for hours and who pray more devotedly than they would normally…Here it’s not difficult to feel the presence of God and the workings of grace in action…You can feel the spirit and presence of Our Lady.”116

 

Archbishop Thomas Luke MsusaArchbishop
Thomas Luke Msusa
Blantyre, Malawi
“What I have experienced here goes far beyond my expectations. The encounter with so many pilgrims is an excellent experience. I can see their desire to convert and to change. Medjugorje amazes (my pilgrims), and they will remain under the influence of seeing so many people coming here to pray.

 

“I am very enthusiastic about my visit here. I saw pilgrims from all over the world, all united in prayer. I am delighted to see the piety here…I am so amazed…I have no words to describe what I feel.”117

 

Bishop Gratian MundadenBishop
Gratian Mundaden
Bijnor, India
“A visit to Medjugorje. That again was a great EXPERIENCE…What impressed me was the crowds attracted to this place. And they come to PRAY and DO PENANCE. Hours and hours, without any fatigue or tiredness, they pray, day and night without any difference; they climb the hills of apparition in prayer, meditation, on the passion of Our Lord. Their fervor left unforgettable impressions on me. I heard several stories of real conversion and spiritual awakening.”118

 

Pilgrims express how deeply they were able to enter the prayer of the Mass in Medjugorje. The Croatian Mass in the evenings, though in a language most pilgrims are not able to understand, is also very moving to them. Everyone in St. James Church participates in the prayer and singing, from the heart. The Church is filled to capacity, and the overflow is gathered on benches outside the Church, but all are still very much attentive to the Mass. It is a beautiful and powerful experience.

 

Bishop Deogratias Muganwa ByabazaireBishop
Deogratias Muganwa Byabazaire
Hoima, Uganda
“I’ve spent a week in Medjugorje and I felt that it emanates much prayer, peace and friendliness. I met so many people who really pray and who seek prayer. I visited Krizevac and Podbrdo. I saw many, many people praying…

 

“The evening Mass made a deep impression on me. The Church was full every evening, and there were even more people hearing the Mass from outside. And even though they didn’t understand the language, they were deeply united in devotion and prayer. But even so, the most beautiful part of the prayer program was the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I saw a great number of priests confessing and a multitude of pilgrims and local people confessing.”119

 

Archbishop Salvador Piñeiro García-CalderónArchbishop
Salvador Piñeiro García-Calderón
Peru, Military
“Faith is alive here in Medjugorje. I can feel here how much every person needs God. While climbing Cross Mountain, I saw many young and old, healthy and sick people, praying sincerely. It is evident that God is being praised here, and I thank God for this!”120

 

Bishop Tadeusz WernoBishop
Tadeusz Werno
Koszalin-Kołobrzeg
Poland
“The experience of the people coming to Medjugorje affirms that this place is a place of special grace. Many convert and return to the path of truth.”121

 

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The Fruits of Medjugorje
 

 

The conversions of Medjugorje are very impressive. It is a common occurrence to see people return to the Sacraments after being away from the Church for many years. It is not an emotional experience, but rather a real desire to come back to God.

 

archbishop Rubén Héctor di MonteArchbishop
Rubén Héctor di Monté
Mercedes-Luján
Argentina
“The conversion of my two cousins during their pilgrimage to Medjugorje is what urged me to come to Medjugorje. One of them had been a Communist and the other a Fascist. This fruit and my desire to see what is happening in this place motivated my coming to Medjugorje.”122

 

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, on December 1, 2002, in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna made a strong statement in favor of Medjugorje when he said:

 

Cardinal Christoph SchönbornCardinal
Christoph Schönborn
Vienna
Austria
“Medjugorje is a place where an intensive mission-station of Heaven obviously exists, where thousands upon thousands of people find prayer, Confession, conversion, reconciliation, healing and deeper faith.”123

 

One obvious fruit of Medjugorje is what happens when pilgrims return home. They desire to bring Medjugorje home with them, to make it a permanent change in their lives, and to become a witness for Our Lady so that others may discover the richness of conversion through Medjugorje. In fact, many bishops have been to Medjugorje through the invitation and witness of those who live in their diocese.

 

Cardinal John DewCardinal
John Dew
New Zealand, Military
“I heard about Medjugorje for the first time from my parishioners. Those who went to Medjugorje came back with good fruits: the spirit of prayer, fasting, returning to the life of the Sacraments and becoming active members of the parish community. Numerous prayer groups were established. These events in Medjugorje made a profound impression on me!”124

 

Archbishop Robert RivasArchbishop
Robert Rivas
Castries, Saint Lucia
Antilles
“Pilgrims by their coming to Medjugorje become eager to be active in their own parishes - both in regard to prayer and the Sacramental life, and parish activities in general. Due to all that I experienced with the people, I have to say that a special work of grace exists here and that Mary is present. I really believe that Our Lady is speaking here.”125

 

Archbishop
Aquila
“I do not feel able to advise people against going to Medjugorje since, where I come from, people who had been absent from the Church for 10, 15 or even 20 years went there and returned completely converted.”126

 

Archbishop Philip HannanArchbishop
Philip M. Hannan
New Orleans
Louisiana, USA
“In [Medjugorje] I have always felt an atmosphere of deep peace and faith. I find that peace in all the people who have visited it. They come home with a deepened faith, they return to Sacramental life and prayer. They start prayer groups that are the source of grace for many. For that reason I recommend everyone, but mainly young people, to come on pilgrimage to the Queen of Peace and to take their powerful experiences to others. In that way may a chain of peace and faith be made in the world!”127

 

Archbishop André-Joseph Mutien LeónardArchbishop
André-Joseph
Mutien Léonard
Belgium, Military
“I remember that in the theologate I began fasting Fridays quite regularly, following the example of some of my students of theology or other students who I met at the university and who had fasted after pilgrimage to Medjugorje.

 

"When I became a bishop I met some believers of my diocese who fasted every Friday, who discovered the Sacraments, thanks to their encounter with Medjugorje. I established the fact that, regularly, among the students of theology there were those who experienced conversion and received a vocation, thanks to Medjugorje.

 

"Now I have thirty students of theology, among whom there are some who have undergone a spiritual experience here [in Medjugorje] which has marked their vocation. Such fruits are of interest to me…the fact that so many positive discoveries take place, just with thanks to Medjugorje, is positive evidence in favor of Medjugorje.”128

 

Archbishop Andre Fernand AnguileArchbishop
Andre Fernand Anguile
Gabon
“People from my diocese have often come to me after having been in Medjugorje. I wanted to see for myself what is happening here. I know of the many good fruits of Medjugorje. Those who had been here, after returning home become testimonies of faith on all levels. And that’s what is most needed at this moment.”129

 

Bishop Seamus HegartyBishop
Séamus Hegarty
Derry, Ireland
“Beyond doubt, the Medjugorje phenomenon has had a particular success in everything to do with fostering prayer. Not only do people pray more than is normal in parishes, but the quality of their prayer is particularly impressive…What has strongly impressed me is that in the Rosary's recitation the Biblical dimension of the mysteries is brought out so prominently.”130

 

When asked how those in his parishes have changed their lives after returning from Medjugorje, Bishop Nicholas D’Antonio of New Orleans stated:


 

Bishop Nicholas D’AntonioBishop
Nicholas D’Antonio
New Orleans, Louisiana USA
“Many of them have gone back to Church, they’ve gone back to the practice of Confession, they pray the Rosary every single day, they go once a month to some particular Church where they have a peace Mass, and they witness to their faith in the Blessed Lady. There is now a group called 'Immana' that has a social aspect in the sense of helping the poor and homeless. They are living the messages for others as well as themselves.”131

 

Bishop Julio Ojeda PascualBishop
Julio Ojeda Pascual
San Ramón, Peru
“I heard about the apparitions for the first time from the newspapers…For me, it meant nothing more than other strange names and I was skeptical, but I have noticed conversions and this is what impressed me most of all…There was an occasion to come to Medjugorje and I did it. I see so many people coming here… There are many conversions here, which can lead to spiritual vocations: a priestly vocation, a religious vocation, an active lay vocation…When I go back home, I will tell what I have seen and experience!”132

 

Cardinal Christoph SchönbornCardinal
Christoph Schönborn
Vienna
Austria
“Medjugorje bears marvelous and immense fruit…Mary is calling us, consoling us, strengthening us and exhorting us today. She takes Her mantle and gives it to us as a protection.”133

 

Bishop Henry KennedyBishop
Henry Joseph Kennedy
Armidale, Australia
“Pilgrims who hear the messages here [Medjugorje], at the source, will experience them much more real and intensely and, once returned home, they will find it so much easier to live them. Messages written down cannot, not even nearly enough, convey that feeling of deep inner peace, which the message, given in Medjugorje, at the source, radiates.

 

"That is why it is not sufficient to distribute the messages and to show photos of Medjugorje; people must be persuaded to go and visit this place here themselves. They must be brought to understand what a deep experience is awaiting them on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, and how this will have a profound and positive influence on their future life.”134

 

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Confession
 

 

Conversions happen in many ways in Medjugorje, but for the priest, the greatest conversion experiences have been in the confessional. It is in the confessional where priests are confronted with the profoundness of the grace that is impacting peoples' lives in Medjugorje. Some bishops see that the confessionals in Medjugorje are bringing about the conversion of the nations. Medjugorje is known as the "Confessional of the World."

 

Bishop Francesco Tarcisio CarboniBishop
Francesco Tarcisio Carboni
Macerata-Tolentino-Recanati-Cingoli-Treia
Italy
 “When I go to any shrine, I do not go to admire the Churches or monuments; I sit in the confessional, and from the confessions I hear, can evaluate just how good the shrine is. I have been to Medjugorje; I did not seek out the visionaries nor the priests. I just heard confessions for two whole days and this was enough to convince me that Our Lord is present in Medjugorje—and so is Our Lady!”135

 

Bishop Augustine HarrisBishop
Augustine Harris
Middlesbrough, England
“…the important thing here is Confession. People truly are ready to come face to face with themselves; they are ready to repent and make penance. I am sure that this is the deepest experience here; ie. renewal and conversion…

 

"What I would like to say is this: when a person comes here to pray and wants to confess and change [their] life, you cannot say no...I would say to them that it is good to come here where one’s conscience is freed and one finds the essential and where confusion is overcome…At the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross I saw more than 50 priests confess. This is wonderful.”136

 

Bishop Frederick DranduaBishop
Frederick Drandua
Arua, Uganda
“People come and change their lives. Many confess. In these last ten years as a bishop, I hardly ever heard confessions. Here people were constantly asking me to hear their confessions, and I did. In these days I must have heard over 100 confessions.”137

 

archbishop Gabriel Gonsum GanakaArchbishop
Gabriel Gonsum Ganaka
Jos, Nigeria
“They told me not to come [to Medjugorje], but I replied that I would because in Medjugorje people pray. I have spent my time here confessing in English, French and Italian, and I have to admit that the Confession convinced me of the truth on Medjugorje.”138

 

Bishop Seamus HegartyBishop
Séamus Hegarty
Derry, Ireland
“My most outstanding experiences in Medjugorje was that of hearing 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 depths of the heart than during all the 21 years of my priesthood. I could not help being moved by the workings of Grace—the clear workings of Grace, and 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.”139

 

archbishop George PearceArchbishop
George Pearce
Suva, Fiji Islands
“I have no doubt about the authenticity of Medjugorje. I have been here three times already and I say to any priest who asks about it: ‘Just go and sit in the confessional, and you will see miracle after miracle, after miracle…’ I have no doubts whatsoever. This is the work of God!”140

 

Bishop Pearse LaceyBishop
Pearse Lacey
Toronto, Canada
“I have met people with tragic situations in their lives and the miraculous way in which God is reflecting, manifesting Himself. One of the priests told me that he was hearing confessions, he eventually stopped and left, and they drew him back! The magnitude of the confessions is enough if you want to be satisfied that God is present here. Unbelievable. For me, that’s Medjugorje.”141

 

Archbishop Harry J. FlynnArchbishop
Harry J. Flynn
Saint Paul - Minneapolis
Minnesota, USA
“The great moment, for me, was the hearing of confessions every afternoon from 5 p.m. until 10 or 10:30 p.m. There were 46 priests hearing confessions in various languages. What a great grace that is onto itself: ‘People turning toward God.’

 

“I just walked around and looked at the lines. There were 26 confessional stations in which there was a priest and then 20 more priests hearing confessions in temporary stations. This happened also on Sunday afternoon from 5 p.m. until about 8:30 p.m. I heard confessions in English, and it was a great grace for me and a wonderful experience.”142

 

The awareness of sin has been all but lost in our modern, secularized world. Only a handful of people are in line for Confession on Saturday afternoons in most Churches across America, but everyone is in line to receive Holy Communion every Sunday. How many Communions are being consumed unworthily? But in Medjugorje, the opposite is true. Pilgrims often go to Confession 2 to 3 times during a 10-day pilgrimage. They hunger to be reconciled with God, and to be healed in their hearts.

 

Archbishop Bruno TommasiArchbishop
Bruno Tommasi
Lucca, Italy
“The fact that so many go for Confession here is very positive. In the western countries, many go for Communion, but very few go for Confession. One could say that the sense of sin got lost, and therefore also the need to go for Confession. We should receive with faith Our Lady’s messages.”143

 

Bishop Eduardo Horacio GarcíaBishop
Eduardo Horacio García
San Justo, Argentina
“Yes. I heard confessions of those who did not go for Confession for 30 years, as well as of those who went three days ago.”144

 

Bishop Hermann RaichBishop
Hermann Raich
Wabag
Papua New Guinea
“Confession is one of the fruits of Medjugorje. This is something special, something you cannot touch with your hands, but it is a big thing…”145

 

archbishop Savino Bernardo Maria Cazzaro BertolloArchbishop
Bernardo Maria Cazzaro Bertollo
Puerto Montt
Chile
“[The Confession] is beautiful. This is one of the most beautiful fruits of this place, of these phenomena of the apparitions. In fact, Our Lady is asking for Confession in order to entrust us to the Mercy of God. To change our life.”146

 

Bishop
Silas S. Njiru
Meru, Kenya
“I see that many people go to Confession and ask to be reconciled with God. Today, this is a real miracle. People told me that for many years they did not go to Church, and since they have been to Medjugorje, they go regularly to Mass. This is a real miracle for me. Whoever has been here cannot remain silent!”147

 

Archbishop José Antúnez de MayoloArchbishop
José Antúnez de Mayolo
Ayacucho, Peru
“It is right that Medjugorje is called a place of prayer for the whole world and ‘the confessional of the world.’ ”148

 

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The Youth
 

 

Our Lady said on August 15, 1988:

 

“...Young people find themselves now in a very difficult situation...”
 

Today’s youth are surrounded by so many destructive and diabolical influences. Many come from broken families and do not have the moral foundation to stand up against the assaults made against their innocence. And yet, the youth have a very strong attraction to the spiritual life that Medjugorje has to offer, and long to know that there is more to this life on earth than what the world has to offer. Tens of thousands of youth come to Medjugorje every year. The Church sees great hope in this.

 

Archbishop Andre Fernand AnguileArchbishop
Andre Fernand Anguile
Gabon, Africa
“But the thing that really delighted me was the sight of so many young people praying and confessing.”149

 

Bishop Jean-Vincent Ondo EyeneBishop
Jean-Vincent Ondo Eyene
Oyem, Gabon
“…Young people in their parishes feel too much lukewarmness. In Medjugorje, they discover a living, warm, awakened Church.”150

 

Bishop Salvatore BoccaccioBishop
Salvatore Boccaccio
Frosinone-Veroli-Ferentino
Italy
“In my diocese, I have young people who were converted and whose life was changed in Medjugorje. Their witness was for me a sign of a great presence of God in Medjugorje.”151

 

Bishop Thomas McMahon, from London, was very impressed at how Medjugorje attracted the young people. So many, he said, had grown:


 

Bishop Thomas McMahonBishop
Thomas McMahon
Brentwood, England
“…disenchanted with the institutional Church and heavily organized religion…Nevertheless, they are hungry and thirsty for the things of the Spirit—and somehow, there in Medjugorje, they find an answer.”152

 

Bishop Nicholas D’AntonioBishop
Nicholas D’Antonio
New Orleans, Louisiana USA
“We have a campaign on making Rosaries in the Churches and with that money we send the kids to Medjugorje. They come back completely turned around. They have more respect for their parents, a love for the Church: they get more involved in ministries in the Church…it’s a great change from the hard rock, heavy metal music that was their life before.”153

 

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Renewing the Priesthood
 

 

One of the most moving experiences in Medjugorje is to be in St. James Church and see 30, 40 or more priests filling up the entire sanctuary. Old and young, from many different parts of the world, they bring with them a deep love for Our Lady. Through the length of a pilgrimage, the hearts of pilgrims are often moved during Mass, as many priests share their own stories of conversion that Medjugorje has brought about in their lives. Many of the young priests received their vocations in Medjugorje and come back to thank Our Lady for leading them to the priesthood.

 

Cardinal Christoph SchönbornCardinal
Christoph Schönborn
Vienna
Austria
“If I was an opponent of Medjugorje I’d have to close down my seminary since almost all the candidates have received their call to the priesthood through Medjugorje!”154

 

Bishop Geevarghese Mar Divannasios OttathengilBishop
Geevarghese Mar Divannasios Ottathengil
Bathery, India
“I heard about Medjugorje for the first time about 15-20 years ago, but I was doubting. I was not very much interested in coming here, but a friend of mine, a priest from Switzerland, told me about Medjugorje and about his experience. His attitude as a priest had tremendously changed after Medjugorje. He was praying well, and in his relationship with others he became very human. He is a real priest now! That made me think: there must be something in Medjugorje!”155

 

Bishop Kenneth SteinerBishop
Kenneth Steiner
Portland, Oregon, USA
“I have met many priests who have come to Medjugorje. They have a better idea of their own priesthood. That is what I personally will take with me.”156

 

Bishop Lázaro Pérez JiménezBishop
Lázaro Pérez Jiménez
Celaya, México
“I became very interested in the events after having read a book by the theologian Laurentin. In the book he wrote: ‘In an era when the gardens of the Church are no longer giving fruit, the moment has come for the Virgin to renew them and give them a new freshness.’ I came to the conclusion that the fact that the problems which exist in the Church are still not resolved is to be blamed on us pastors. I did not feel excluded.

 

"We need holy priests and pastors ready to live according to the teachings of Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd and His Sacred Heart. The unresolved problems have opened the door to atheism, secularism and a consumerism society which has created its own set of values which oppose the Gospel teachings.

 

"A theologian friend advised me against coming to Medjugorje, saying that he would not put his dignity at risk by coming here. Professor Laurentin told me that there are theologians who teach Marian doctrine but do not try to deepen their personal relationship with Mary. All this helped me to become much more interested in the Virgin. I think it is important to pay attention to the good fruits of Medjugorje.

 

"I will invite the faithful from my diocese to come here. Personally, I think that if the Virgin is trying, through Christ, to reintroduce these values, (conversion, fasting, prayer, forgiveness and Holy Confession) then this should be the fundamental task of each priest and of each bishop. We have to show the faithful that there is a way of salvation in this world because Christ is our Way and our Saviour and this is what Christ’s Mother is calling us to.”157

 

Cardinal Jaime SinCardinal
Jaime Sin
Manila, Philippines
“I have a Jesuit friend, Father Antonio Olaguer, who was an activist during the time of President Markos [in the Philippines]. He was a problem because he lacked a faith dimension. He was somewhat leftist. Then someone invited him to go to Medjugorje, paying his fare, so he went. People there were telling him about the wonders they were seeing, but he didn’t believe them. Then one day he entered the Church there, just to reflect and to meditate. He heard a voice and it was the voice of Our Lady. ‘Father, you are my son, as Christ is my Son. Follow His footsteps."

 

"And now Father Olaguer is a different man. He is working for Our Lady all the time. He is now superior of the Jesuits in Manila. He said this is a great surprise because before he was a problem and now he is the superior.”158

 

Bishop Denis CroteauBishop
Denis Croteau
Mackenzie-Fort Smith
Canada
“When I came to Medjugorje the first time, I came incognito. I came as a ‘foot soldier,’ so to speak...I wanted to get the feel of it, to see what it contained. This time I came as...a bishop, an ordained minister, and it is a completely different impression. As a priest and a bishop, I felt really enriched by the experience for my ministry. It is something very touching.

 

“The highlight for me has been hearing Confessions. For a priest it might be the best place to really know and discover what Medjugorje is all about. I can’t conceive of a priest coming here and hearing Confessions for an hour without being convinced, absolutely convinced that Heaven is at work in Medjugorje. We can touch with fingers the work of Mary and the work of God in listening to people and how they are transformed...The priest experiences this firsthand.

 

“That is what struck me the most, this time around, the depth of the experience that the priest has. So, those two things (Confession and Mass) from the point of view of being a minister of Christ, a priest and bishop, have been the highlights of my presence here for the last 8 days.”159

 

A priest from Mexico was sent to Medjugorje to make a case against Medjugorje and the apparitions in order to discourage pilgrims from Mexico from going to Medjugorje. But in only a few days, Fr. Salvatore began to experience powerful graces in the village and came away from his experience convinced of Our Lady’s presence there. He said, “My priesthood was born in Medjugorje.” His bishop was greatly surprised at his positive report. Fr. Salvatore became an apostle of Our Lady in his own parish, spreading knowledge of Our Lady’s messages, the result being a total renewal of his own parish.160

 

Cardinal Frantisek TomasekCardinal
Frantisek Tomasek
Prague, Czech Republic
“I would say to priests who want to go to Medjugorje: most important is your own personal experience; this experience will require then no further words. The experience of nearness to God is decisive. Then the consequence of this experience is to carry that which was experienced, the message, further and to spread it.”161

 

Bishop Gabriel Diaz CuevaBishop
Gabriel Diaz Cueva
Guayaquil, Ecuador
“What also impressed me were the priests who concelebrated the Holy Mass here or visit the different places of apparition. The recollection, the faith and the devotion with which they do these are of themselves testimony of how very much the Holy Spirit is working in their hearts.”162

 

Bishop Damian KayaruziBishop
Damian Kayaruzi
Sumbawanga, Tanzania
“But this is not only a place of prayer, but a place where one can learn a lot. It is particularly important to me that I understood that we are all pilgrims. Pilgrims who come here discover the gift of life. God heals them here. They come back to God, they grasp the law of life and become messengers of peace. I want in my own ministry to tell people not to be afraid to accept life, even though I know it isn’t easy. When we climb the Medjugorje mountains, we can understand those difficulties. That can be experienced especially on Cross Mountain. The lesson one gets on Cross Mountain says: one has to accept everything one encounters in life and complete one’s assignment!”163

 

Monsignor George E. TracyMonsignor
George Tracy
Reston, Virginia
USA
“I have been coming to Medjugorje for many years. I have realized during this stay more than ever that this is a school of prayer for the world. We are taught by our Mother Mary in this beautiful mountain reality and in the Church to be in the central part of the world, in the central part of our hearts, real honest Catholics of great prayer.

 

“Just this week I was reading a paper by a very well known cardinal in Europe who wrote, regarding Medjugorje, that there was nothing to worry about in a critical way—he had only praise. In Medjugorje you learn how to pray! Medjugorje began to have a great influence [on me] when I came here for the first time and it has continued…I want to be Mother Mary’s child.”164

 

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Medjugorje Spirituality

 

Bishop Silvério Jarbas Paulo de AlbuquerqueBishop
Silvério Jarbas Paulo
de Albuquerque
Feira de Santana, Brazil
“The strongest impression made on me was the simplicity of prayer and the strong faith of those that I met. There is no kind of fanaticism here!”165

 

Bishop Domnico PecileBishop
Domenico Pecile
Bishop Emeritus
Latina, Italy
“In Eucharistic celebrations, I saw something extraordinary: pilgrims were attentive, concentrated, although we had Holy Mass in a conference hall. Nothing could distract them; they experienced something deep within them. The presence of the mystery can almost be felt in the air here. The faithful come to the Churches elsewhere also, but you see them talking. But not here! Here, they are attentive! In all our churches throughout the world, it should be as it is here in Medjugorje.”166

 

Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa MendietaArchbishop
José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta
Panamá
“All of the visionaries of Medjugorje are married, they have families, and I am very glad about this because this means that the call to holiness is for all. The family path is a way of holiness; holiness is not only for priests and for religious. God is calling all men. Christians are invited to give witness, to live in the world without belonging to the world. We are called to be witnesses of joy.”167

 

Bishop Jose Domingo Ulloa Mendieta also spoke of the spiritual transformation in the lives of pilgrims who come to Medjugorje.  

 

Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa MendietaArchbishop
José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta
Panamá
“Initially people feel the need to experience something. Human curiosity is natural, but the atmosphere created within the group day after day, during the pilgrimage, is helpful; the initial desire diminishes and another desire awakens: the need to know oneself and to achieve an inner transformation. The greatest miracle is the spiritual healing that people experience here.”168

 

Bishop Abilio RibasBishop
Abílio Rodas de Sousa
São Tomé e Príncipe
“I can see that people here make big sacrifices. I have experienced it as a pilgrim. If these apparitions had taken place in a rich country, I am sure that there would already be a stairway to the place of the apparitions, in order to facilitate climbing! I see that you leave places as they have been originally and I implore you to leave it this way: let the mountains in themselves be an occasion for a big sacrifice. I have seen people climbing barefoot and this is exceptional.”169

 

Bishop Hermann RaichBishop
Hermann Raich
Wabag
Papua New Guinea

 
“It is amazing that everybody has the feeling of belonging here, of not being a foreigner. Everybody can participate, even those who come from far.”170

 

Bishop Abílio Rodas de Sousa RibasBishop
Abílio Rodas de Sousa
São Tomé e Príncipe
“What I see, what impresses me, are people who come and pray. You can really feel that they have been touched by the Spirit. They pray a lot, everywhere, all the time, and this is excellent. This is really interesting, this is what attracts people and changes their behavior. I heard many witnesses from different people. Speaking about Medjugorje, they say: ‘We have really changed!’ ”171

 

Bishop Joseph OyangaBishop
Joseph Oyanga
Lira, Uganda
“…I saw people fasting. In the house where I was staying the pilgrims ate nothing for dinner other than bread... This spirit of penance, sacrifice and mortification is something which I haven’t seen in such a long time…”172

 

Bishop Denis CroteauBishop
Denis Croteau
Mackenzie-Fort Smith
Canada
“I think what has struck my people is the piety and devotion of the people here, the faith, the testimonies we have received. We have seen people at prayer, people that believe, people that live their Christian experience of faith and love. They are on fire. It’s beautiful.”173

 

Archbishop Savino Bernardo Maria Cazzaro BertolloArchbishop
Bernardo Maria Cazzaro Bertollo
Puerto Montt
Chile
“I am very impressed. Many pilgrims, much fervor and also much cordiality among them. Every group is a small community that moves, one heart, one spirit, the Gospel lived in these moments of prayer, of a movement made together.”174

 

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Fulfillment of Fatima
 

In many interviews by bishops who have visited Medjugorje, the apparitions of Fatima are often referenced, in that many bishops believe that Medjugorje is the continuation and the fulfillment of what Our Lady began in Fatima. Pope Saint John Paul II said this and believed this himself.

 

Cardinal Frantisek TomasekCardinal
Frantisek Tomasek
Prague, Czech Republic
“Personally, I am convinced that Medjugorje is the continuation of Lourdes and Fatima. Step by step the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph. And I am also deeply convinced that Medjugorje is a sign for this. Priests and faithful are deeply grateful for each message, for each informative report, that we receive from Medjugorje.”175

 

Archbishop Rubén Héctor di MontéArchbishop
Rubén Héctor di Monté
Mercedes-Luján
Argentina
“Our Lady’s theology in Medjugorje seems to be healthy and I understand it to be a continuation of the theology of Her apparitions in Fatima. In the past century Our Lady had already begun Her work: Rue du Bac, Lourdes, Fatima and, in my opinion, Medjugorje is the nucleus of Her work. Through this nucleus She is continuing what She began in Rue du Bac. She invites us to conversion of heart. Here, where there is so much suffering today, people pray a lot and are being reconciled through the Sacrament of Penance to arrive at that conversion. The messages of Medjugorje are messages of hope.”176

 

Bishop Gratian MundadenBishop
Gratian Mundaden
Bijnor, India
“My conviction [is] that Our Blessed Mother has taken in Her hands the task of converting the world to the Lord—The ERA of THE MOTHER! Many changes have occurred in the past year, events no one could have foretold or expected to happen so quickly. The Eastern block is cracking, the walls are crumbling. Generals resign, governments are brought down as people demand their freedom…All these events began during the Marian Year. They are the result of the powerful intercession of Mary.”177

 

Bishop Adalbert NdzanaBishop
Adalbert Ndzana
Mbalmayo, Cameroon
“I feel that Medjugorje is the continuation of Fatima… Our Lady is constantly telling us, free yourselves from sin and open your hearts to God’s love…”178

 

Cardinal Jaime SinCardinal
Jaime Sin
Manila, Philippines
“Everything that was foreseen in Fatima is coming true. And there is a growing feeling that the justice of God might fall on humanity at any time. God is merciful, but God also wants justice. People are turning to Mary for help. The world has a beginning and so it will have an end. Maybe Mary has already seen the end and wants to save us. Our Lady has appeared on every continent to touch the lives of all people. God wants all of us to go to Heaven, but some must go to hell. Perhaps God has sent Mary to save those She can.”179

 

Bishop Ludwig SchwarzBishop
Ludwig Schwarz
Linz, Austria
“The Second Vatican Council says that the Blessed Virgin Mary, after Her Assumption, remains close to Her children, helps them and leads them. This is why there is the possibility of apparitions of the Mother of God. We know that the Church has recognized the apparitions in La Salette, in Lourdes and in Fatima.

 

"The Mother of God is the model of the Church, She loves us, She loves Her children and She leads us towards Salvation, towards Jesus Christ. ‘Per Marinam ad Jesum’. Her most important themes in Lourdes and in Fatima, which we find also here in Medjugorje, are prayer, Eucharist, penance, conversion, the sacrament of reconciliation, involvement in favor of peace. These are the intentions that we find also in the Gospel, Jesus’ own intentions.”180

 

In Fatima, Our Lady came with warnings to heed Her requests for prayer, conversion, and penance to avoid disasters in the future. We see all around us the “signs of the times” which Vatican II spoke of as well as Our Lady in Fatima, and also in Medjugorje. Many bishops see the apparitions of Fatima and Medjugorje as a “sign” for our times and believe that much of what will happen in the future depends upon how we respond to Our Lady’s persistent calls today.

 

Archbishop Andre Fernand AnguileArchbishop
Andre Fernand Anguile
Gabon, Africa
“Our Lady’s apparitions are a good sign for our times. She wants to prepare us for the third millennium through Medjugorje and we must do as She says. If we’re obedient, all will be well and the world will have hope.”181

 

Bishop Augustine HarrisBishop
Augustine Harris
Middlesbrough, England
“When I was born in 1917 there was a war, and when in 1942 I was ordained to the priesthood there was a war then also. Now I am in Medjugorje and much is being said about the peace after the terrible war in your homeland. It seems to me though, that we are treating the subject of peace far too superficially. If we desire real peace, we need something deeper. That which Our Lady wishes to say is: don’t make the same mistake again, speak about peace, [but] not go deeper into the soul and the heart, where true peace is made. Here, Mary is teaching us true peace.”182

 

Bishop Abilio RibasBishop
Abílio Rodas de Sousa
São Tomé e Príncipe
“Here, people share the same ideas and make sacrifices for the Church. Such behavior can help the Church a lot to walk in the spirit of self-giving, and the consequence may be the unity of the world. I admit that personally I feel richer and stronger in my faith.

 

“[In] our times, there are more apparitions than in the past. I think that this is a sign, a sign given by a Mother seeking Her children. The apparitions are a sign that people went astray from God’s path. This is why the Mother comes with love and warns us, She tells us that we really have to turn to God!”183

 

Archbishop André-Joseph Mutien LeónardArchbishop
André-Joseph
Mutien Léonard
Belgium, Military
“The perseverance with which Mary is speaking to us in these times of ours made a very strong impression on me. Sometimes someone will say to me, ‘How are such long lasting apparitions possible?’ or ‘Mary talks so much!’ I personally do not have any preconceived ideas either about how [long] or how much Mary should talk. I tell myself that perhaps Mary is knocking on our doors with such unusual persistence just because there are such great and urgent needs in our times. I interpret Mary’s persistence as a stimulus to our conversion.

 

"The Medjugorje fruits are blessed fruits. Frequently people confide in me relating their experiences for which I can testify that they are rich with fruits of conversion, discovery of prayer, love, peace, penance, fasting and returning to sacramental life and the Eucharist.

 

“In order to achieve peace in the world, peace in families and in our hearts, I want to invite both you and myself to accept all those unceasing invitations into our life and in a special way to accept the call to prayer and fasting.”184

 

The extraordinary events at the end of the past millennium with the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the averting of a nuclear catastrophe that so many feared could not be avoided were linked by many in the Church to Our Lady, through Fatima and Medjugorje. It gives evidence that Our Lady has come not with a forecast of doom, though She does come to warn us that the world is moving in a dangerous direction, but to bring renewal and rebirth through accepting Her invitation to convert and return to holiness. Again, many bishops made these observations in studying the world events in light of Our Lady’s apparitions in Medjugorje.

 

Bishop Bernardo WitteBishop
Bernardo Witte
Concepción, Argentina
“I have kept an eye on the events of Medjugorje for the past 20 years and have been convinced they are true! They convey a message of faith and a message of hope, which the Church is conveying, while calling to prayer, to fasting and to conversion. This intensity is rather surprising, but this is how I interpret it: morality and ethics in the world are in great danger. In an extreme danger for the world, for the Church and for souls, extreme measures are needed. I marvel and I rejoice! Each apparition is a new hope and a new challenge.

 

"Also to this question, I have the same answer: In a great danger of the civilization of death, these apparitions promote a civilization of life.  I have the impression that everything is happening in a harmonious way: these apparitions, the pontificate of John Paul II who encourages the renewal of the pastoral life in the Church, and many bishops who consciously give a Marian orientation to their episcopate…"

 

"To resume, I would repeat the words of Our Lady in Fatima: ‘At the end, my Immaculate Heart shall triumph!’ I think that both, the apparitions of Fatima and of Medjugorje, signify a call to the renewal of Europe. In Medjugorje, the Communist East has begun to collapse. Medjugorje is a carrier of joy, of hope and of trust.”185

 

Archbishop Bruno TommasiArchbishop
Bruno Tommasi
Lucca, Italy
“To those who ask me questions about Medjugorje, I say that this is a place of prayer, a place where people are converted…The choice of the Holy Virgin to appear here, in the context and in the time of Communism, is a special event. It is really appropriate that She appears here and not in a place where liberty reigns.”186

 

Bishop Gabriel Diaz CuevaBishop
Gabriel Diaz Cueva
Guayaquil, Ecuador
“I believe that the messages of the Blessed Virgin have very much to do with the future of humanity and therefore also with the Holy Church. In the entire course of Church history the Blessed Mother has again and again perceived Her mission as that which the Lord gave Her from the Cross (when He said of Her to John): ‘BEHOLD YOUR MOTHER!’ She has really become the Mother of the Church and of the whole of humanity, and She continues to avail Herself of this role that which the Lord gave Her, as She stood at the foot of the Cross...

 

"Through prayer, namely the interior life with God, I believe we can really soften God's anger, which has been provoked by so many sins and misdeeds of humanity.  The Blessed Virgin calls us repeatedly to prayer, fasting and dedication to God, through which we can attain everything from the mercy of God.”187

 

Bishop Joseph DevineBishop
Joseph Devine
Motherwell, Scotland
“Looking around the world order, it is not the advance of peace which we see. Quite the reverse. So here we see a peace which has to be won for the world, a peace which has to be sought, a peace which has to be prayed for and paid for if a calamity is to be averted.

 

“That is my understanding of Our Lady under the title of Queen of Peace, which title has been associated with recent happenings in Medjugorje. It is a peace which is yet to be, and only will be through a communal turning back to conversion, prayer and penance. But that turning back is nothing other than going to the very heart of the Gospel. It is the very stuff of the Christian life.”188

 

Bishop Nicholas D’AntonioBishop
Nicholas D’Antonio
New Orleans, Lousiana USA
“The purpose of the apparitions? She tells us in Her own words: ‘I am the Blessed Virgin Mary. I came to convert the people of the world. I am the Queen of Peace. I came to bring peace to the world!’ 

 

“She stressed the need of prayer, penance, fasting on bread and water on [Wednesdays and] Fridays...conversion, reconciliation with one another and with God, and especially a firm faith as the pre-conditional means of avoiding catastrophic wars and thus assuring peace and the salvation of mankind. She recommended priests to keep their faith and to preserve the faith of the people. Does this message sound simplistic and trite? So does the Gospel to those who lack faith...If anyone knows the will of Her Son, She does! Let’s step out in faith and do what She says. We want peace, not a nuclear holocaust! The diabolical and idolatrous lust for power and money in this age has brought about a crisis of faith and authority. There is almost total confusion in matters of faith and morals...

 

“The service of the common good will not be realized until we stop trying to solve our world problems without the inspired teaching of the Church and the fulfillment of Our Lady’s simple message. The best gift you can give Jesus...is to do what His Mother, the Queen of Peace, recommends you do.”189

 

Bishop
José de Jesús Nuñez Viloria
Ciudad, Guayana
Venezuela
“I know that all the more people are coming from the whole world and that many pray here and are converted. This is a great supernatural reality of which the facts themselves speak…Mary is helping us in a special way to come to Christ, and He is the only Mediator and Savior. To Her, Jesus said from the Cross: ‘Behold your Son,’ but to the disciple He said: ‘Behold your Mother!’ I am convinced that is the reason for the apparitions, that is giving Mary the right and from which comes the duty that She appear and help us…”190

 

The events occurring in Medjugorje are a:

 

Bishop Stanley Joseph OttBishop
Stanley Joseph Ott
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USA
“...continuation of the call of Fatima and Lourdes…to live a deep spiritual life.”191

 

 

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121. Bishops and Archbishops in Medjugorje and on Medjugorje, Medjugorje.hr. Web. August 1999.
122. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #6, February 15, 1995. Print.
123. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #182, January 26, 2003. Print.
124. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #89, April 22, 1998. Print.
125. Bishops and Archbishops in Medjugorje and on Medjugorje, Medjugorje.hr. Web. February 2000.
126. Echo of Medjugorje. March 8, 1987. Print.
127. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #32, February 14, 1996. Print.
128. Bishops and Archbishops in Medjugorje and on Medjugorje, Medjugorje.hr. Web. July 2000.
129. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #75, October 8, 1997. Print.
130. Medjugorje Messenger, June 1989. Print.
131. D’Antonio, Bishop Nicholas. Medjugorje Peace Conference: Irvine, California. August 12, 1990.
132. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #177, August 26, 2002. Print.
133. Schönborn, Cardinal Christoph. Vienna stadium. Vienna, Austria. September 12, 1996.
134. Glasnik Mira. August 1995. Print.
135. Echo of Medjugorje. March 8. 1987. Print.
136. Echo of Medjugorje. Vol. 131. January-February, 1997. Print.
137. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #66, July 4, 1997. Print.
138. Echo of Medjugorje. Vol. 118. March-April, 1995. Print.
139. Medjugorje Messenger, June 1989. Print.
140. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #180, Nov. 26, 2002. Print.
141. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #180, Nov. 26, 2002. Print.
142. The Catholic Spirit, St. Paul—Minneapolis. October 19, 2006. Print.
143. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #214, September 26, 2005. Print.
144. Information Center “Mir.” Medjugojre, October 25, 2008. Print.
145. Bishops in Medjugorje and About Medjugorje in 2001, medjugorje.hr. Web. 2001.
146. Interview: Mons. Bernardo Cazzaro, Archbishop Emerito di Puerto Montt (Chile), Medjugorje.hr. Web. May 18, 2007.
147. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #175, June 26, 2002. Print.
148. Bishops in Medjugorje and About Medjugorje in 2001, medjugorje.hr. Web. 2001.
149. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #75, October 8, 1997. Print.
150. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #178, September 26, 2002. Print.
151. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #211, June 26, 2005. Print.
152. Medjugorje Messenger, October 1988. Print.
153. D’Antonio, Bishop Nicholas. Medjugorje Peace Conference: Irvine, California. August 12, 1990.
154. Schönborn, Cardinal Christoph. Vienna stadium. Vienna, Austria. September 12, 1996.
155. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #213, August 26, 2005. Print.
156. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #105, December 2, 1998. Print.
157. Echo of Medjugorje. Vol. 138. March-April, 1998. Print.
158. Medjugorje Magazine, October-December 1992. Print.
159. Children of Medjugorje.com. Web. November 15, 2001.
160. Echo of Medjugorje. Vol. 140. July-August, 1998. Print.
161. Medjugorje Gebetsaktion, # 1. 1988. Print.
162. Medjugorje Gebetsaktion, #16, 1990. Print.
163. Medjugorje Press Bullletin, #68, July 2, 1997. Print.
164. Information Center “Mir.” Medjugorje, May 22, 2004. Print.
165. Medjugorje Press Bulletin, #93, June 17, 1998. Print.
166. Pecile, Bishop Domenico. Talk Given in Medjugorje. October 4, 2005. Print.
167. Mendieta, Bishop José Domingo Ulloa. Radio “Mir” Medjugorje, September 2005.
168. Ibid.
169. Information Center “Mir.” Medjugorje, September 2003. Print.
170. Bishops in Medjugorje and About Medjugorje in 2001, medjugorje.hr. Web. 2001.
171. Information Center “Mir.” Medjugorje, September 2003. Print.
172. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #66, July 4, 1997. Print.
173. Children of Medjugorje.com. Web. November 15, 2001.
174. Information Center “Mir.” Medjugorje, May 22, 2007. Print.
175. Medjugorje Gebetsaktion, #17, pp.26,27. 1990. Print.
176. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #6, February 15, 1995. Print.
177. Mundaden, Bishop Gratien. Christmas letter to Diocese, Mary’s Mantle, Winter 1990. Print.
178. Medjugorje Press Bulletin, #68, July 2, 1997. Print.
179. National Catholic Register, September 27, 1992. Print.
180. Bishops in Medjugorje and About Medjugorje in 2003, medjugorje.hr. Web. 2003.
181. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #75, October 8, 1997. Print.
182. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #52, November 20, 1996. Print.
183. Medjugorje Press Bulletin, #191, 2003. Print.
184. Medjugorje Press Bulletin, #26, November 22, 1995. Print.
185. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #197, April 26, 2004. Print.
186. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #214, September 25, 2005. Print.
187. Medjugorje Gebetsaktion #16, pp. 30,31. 1990. Print.
188. Devine, Bishop Joseph. Sermon at Evening Mass in St. James, Spanish Place, London. June 25.
189. Mary’s Message, December 1985. Print.
190. Medjugorje Press Bulletin #131, December 1, 1999. Print.
191. Medjugorje Newsletter, Weible Columns, Vol. 2 #12. April 1991. Print.

Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up… and said to them, “…have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.” Acts 5:34-39