In my last post I alluded to an anniversary as part of this week's Catholic Topic. Monday June 25 was the 26th anniversary of the apparition of Mary at Medjugorje, a small village in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Blessed Virgin actually appeared first on June 24, 1981 (the feast of the birth of John the Baptist), but the six children who saw her didn't actually see her close up or receive any messages from her until the next day June 25, 1981.
Marian apparitions are fascinating. All Marian apparitions have to be investigated by the Church which tries to determine the authenticity of the apparition. There is a whole process and it gets very confusing. I am not going to get into that aspect here. But I do know that the apparitions of Mary at Medjugorje have not had any official church approval yet, though they are still under investigation.
Regardless, it is a powerful place and one I would love to go visit one day. There are several Marian apparition sites I want to see and this is one of them (the others are Fatima, Portugal; Knock, Ireland; and Lourdes, France).
Back to Medjugorje: the six children saw Mary, who was known to them as the Queen of Peace, every day for a long time. One by one, she revealed six secrets to them after which she stopped appearing to them daily. However, she stills appears to each of them on some kind of regular basis, yearly or monthly or something. I also think a few of them may still see her daily as they have not yet received all 10 secrets. I'm not totally familiar with the entire story, so see the resources at the end of this post for more details.
The first time I heard about Medjugorje was about 5 years ago. I knew someone who went there and I ran into him one night when I was out at a bar with some friends. He had just gotten back from his trip and was telling me all about it. We had each arrived at this bar with a different group of friends and then spent the evening talking with each other (and he drove me back to my car, which worried the guys I was originally with). Anyway, I honestly didn't know what he was talking about when he was explaining his trip and I had never heard of the place he had been to. Before I left him he gave me a little card (not exactly a prayer card, but close) that had a picture of Mary, a prayer, and a little silver medal in it. Now, 5 years later, this friend of mine was recently ordained a priest (see my post from May 19, 2007) and I bet his trip to Medjugorje helped in his discernment of his vocation. And I still have the little card from Medjugorje that he gave me.
I highly recommend reading about Marian apparitions. Reading about them is one of the things that made my faith stronger when I was rediscovering Catholicism and the many riches and wonders it holds. I recommend starting with this book:
Those Who Saw Her by Catherine M. Odell. I have the revised edition from 1995, but there could be a more up to date edition out now. It is published by Our Sunday Visitor Books. It has an entire chapter on Medjugorje as well as ones on many other Marian apparitions.
For lots of information about Medjugorje, including monthly messages from Mary, an overview, information on pilgramages and travel, reflections on the monthly messages, and much, much more, visit this site:
The site also has information on how to pray the Rosary and about Eucharistic Adoration.
Definitely check this information out. I highly recommend it!