It was early 1982 or 1983 when I first hear about Our Blessed Mother appearing in Medjugorge. Having been brought up in a devout Catholic home, and having a strong devotion to Our Lady, I eagerly devoured any reading material that was available on the subject. For me, the thought of Our Holy Mother appearing now, just as she had in Fatima and Lourdes was more than exciting, it was pure divine grace. I wanted to know why she was coming to us now and I wanted to know everything she had to say.
Soon afterwards, around 1989, my parents and a wonderful group of their friends went to a Marian Conference in Notre Dame to hear different speakers share their personal testimonies and experiences about Medjugorge. Being very moved by this whole experience, one of their friends suggested that they should try to organize a conference like this one in California. This October will mark the 21st Medjugorge Peace Conference to be held in Irvine, California. It looks like Our Lady approved!
In May of 2006, I was called to a make a pilgrimage to Medjugorge with one of my daughters. I say that I was called to make this pilgrimage, because that is exactly what happens to all of us that go to Medjugorge, we are called by Our Lady.
If you have ever spoken to anyone that has made the journey to Medjugorge, they have probably told you that it is a grueling trip. It took us 22 hours to get there, with three connector flights, one of which we barely made. Needless to say, when we finally landed in Sarajevo I gave Jesus one big “thank you Lord”!
We were met at the airport by a man that held up a simple sign that said “Heaven, this way”. Since he spoke no English, we could only hope that he was there for us. We loaded ourselves into the bus, pulled out our rosary beads and began to pray them out loud. All the pilgrims in the bus did the same. We were heaven bound!
Like so many of us that have ups and downs in our lives, my pilgrimage to Medjugorge was a much needed answer to a prayer for inner peace. And, shortly after our arrival in this quaint little mountain town, we took a hike up to Apparition Mountain where we just sat for awhile taking everything in. As I sat there, my mind filled with the faces of many people I had meant throughout my life, some of whom I had not thought of in years. I immediately offered them up to the Blessed Mother in prayer, as if handing them to her here, at the site of her first appearance to the visionaries, and then I let them go into her care. It was then that a peace came over me, and I heard something say, “this time is for you”. This time of prayer and of peace was for me and would remain with me for the rest of my life to reflect upon in good times and bad. I was receiving an undeserved gift of grace for which I would be forever grateful! And, like all God given gifts, it was meant to be shared with others.
Still today, Our Lady is appearing in Medjugorge. And, she is still saying to each one of us that our time of grace is now while she is still among us! She asks us all to live her massages. What are these messages? She asks us return to a life of prayer, to be reconciled with God and with each other, to fast and to read the Sacred Scripture, letting it be a part of our everyday lives. In perfect obedience to God the Father, Our Lady is always leading us one way, and that way is toward her son, Jesus Christ.
"Dear children! Today on this great day which you have given to me, I desire to bless all of you and to say: these days while I am with you are days of grace. I desire to teach you and help you to walk the way of holiness. There are many people who do not desire to understand my messages and to accept with seriousness what I am saying. But you I therefore call and ask that by your lives and by your daily living you witness my presence. If you pray, God will help you to discover the true reason for my coming. Therefore, little children, pray and read the Sacred Scriptures so that through my coming you discover the message in Sacred Scripture for you. Thank you for having responded to my call." BVM,June 25,1991