Wednesday, June 26, 2013

JUNE 24, 1981

She came, sent by God, to prepare us for the 
Chastisements Coming Soon, 
to Save as many Souls as possible.
 Medjugorje in the Beginning, June 24, 1981

The Franciscan parish of St. James, in the village of Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina, became known in Herzegovina and the world because of six young people who claim to have seen visions of Our Lady. One of the nearby hills, called Crnica, has another hill attached to it, called Podbrdo (“sub” or “under hill”), and the village of Bijakovici is at the base of this hill. Podbrdo is the locale of the apparitions that are alleged to have started on June 24, 1981. Another hill, on the other side of Crnica, was called Sipovac until 1933, when the parishioners built a large cross on it to mark and honor 1,900 years since the death of the Lord. The name of the hill was then changed to Krizevac (“cross mountain”). Since then, people from the parish and from the surrounding areas have gathered there every year on the first Sunday after the feast of the Birth of Mary to celebrate the Exaltation of the Cross.  

The Franciscans, who came to the area in the fourteenth century as missionaries, preserved the Catholic Faith in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Holy See gave them the responsibility of being in this very difficult region under Turkish-Muslim rule from 1478 to 1878. It was a time of many tough trials and much suffering. Hard work in this small, dry land - in its vineyards and tobacco fields - constant struggle in good times and bad - has taught the villagers persistence in their ways and their goals. Unfounded optimism has never carried them away, nor has pessimism impaired their zeal for life. Emerging from this varied and rather hidden history, Medjugorje has become a destination for hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world.   [(Adapted from The Apparitions of Our Lady at Medjugorje by Father Svetozar Kraljevic, 3rd edition published by Informativni Centar, Mir, 2005. Some excerpts from the beginning days have been extracted from Vicka…Her Story by Finbar O’Leary, published in 2006) ]

IVANKA'S STORY:  In an interview with Fr. Svetozar in February 1983, Ivanka, the first young person to see Our Lady, spoke about the extraordinary events that took place on June 24, 1981, the feast day of John the Baptist: “We were together in my house, Mirjana and myself, and we went for a walk. When we were returning home, for some reason I looked toward the hill and saw a bright figure. I said, ‘Mirjana, look, the Madonna!’ Mirjana waved her hand and said, ‘Come on, you think Our Lady would appear to us!’ And we continued on our way home. We came to Milka's house, (younger sister of visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti), and she said, ‘Let us go to bring the sheep home.’ So we went there (near where the Community of Sr. Elvira is now located), talking along the way. When we arrived I saw Our Lady holding Baby Jesus in her hands, and then Mirjana and Milka looked and saw her too.” 
VICKA'S STORY:  In an interview with Fr. Tomislav Vlasic on March 15, 1982, Vicka recounted what had happened: “I went to look for Ivanka and Mirjana, because every summer we are together all the time. When I reached the road where they were, I noticed they were waving with their hands and calling me to come. I was wearing slippers. When I got to where they were, Mirjana said, ‘Look up there - Our Lady!’ I said, ‘What do you mean, Our Lady?’ I did not even look -did not take the time to bother to look. I kicked off my slippers and ran barefooted, toward Cilici, along the macadam road.
"On my way back, I met Ivan Dragicevic and Ivan Ivankovic. They were picking apples, and asked me if I wanted some. I said, ‘No,’ and then I said, ‘Ivan (Dragicevic), Our Lady - they said that Our Lady has appeared up there. Let's go there, you and me because I'm afraid.’ Ivan said, ‘Of course we'll go, but why are you afraid?’ I thought, ‘He's not afraid’. But when we got there and I turned toward Ivan to ask, ‘Do you see anything?’ he was already gone. I saw him running away. Then I asked Ivan Ivankovic, ‘Do you see anything?’ He said, ‘I see something completely white, turning.’ Milka was with us then, and I asked her if she saw anything. She said, ‘I see Our Lady.’ I said to myself, ‘If they are not running away, I will not run away either.’ 
"This was after 6:30 in the evening. It was raining a little and beginning to get dark…I was in shock. I felt stiff and could not move. The girls were describing Our Lady. They described how beautiful her gown was, the color of her gown and the way she was standing. I felt something strong was blocking me inside. It would not allow me to even look towards Podbrdo. Then in one moment, I could feel something unblocking inside of me. Something was coming out of my own heart and soul. As it did, my head went up and I was able to look towards Podbrdo. As I looked up, I was able to see exactly what the three of them, were describing to me. 
"We were standing on the road and Our Lady was up on the Hill. What I saw was very white. I saw a gown, dark hair. All the time, she was covering and uncovering something she held in her left hand. I was not able to see what else she was doing, but it looked like she was showing something. Then she called to us to come closer - but who was going to get any closer? We were saying to each other, ‘She is calling us, but who is going to go?’ I went home before the others. They remained there five or six minutes after me.
"Then I and little Milka went to Marija and told her that we had seen Our Lady on the hill. She just laughed and did not want to talk about it seriously. Then some people tried to tease us. ‘You should have caught her,’ Marija's uncle said. ‘Did she send greetings to your mothers and fathers?’ My sister said, ‘Maybe they saw a flying saucer.’ This is what happened the first time; but we did not pay any attention to what people said. We thought, ‘Let them talk’.”
A silent and distant apparition of the white silhouette on the hill of Crnica; the first time in the afternoon, the second time, towards 6:00 p.m.  

Vicka, Jakov, Ivanka, Mirjana, 
Marija, and Ivan in ecstasy, 1981
The date of the first apparition for the group of six seers, who see the Gospa nearby on the hill: "Praised be Jesus!" (DV.1).
Ivanka: "Where is my mother?" (Her mother had died two months previously.) "She is happy. She is with me." (A variation on this wording is) "She is your angel in heaven." (Lj.15).

The seers: "Will you return tomorrow?"

The apparition acquiesces with a nod of the head.

Mirjana: "No one will believe us. They will say that we are crazy. Give us a sign!"

The apparition responds only with a smile. Mirjana believed she had received a sign. Her watch had changed time during the apparition. (Bu 24; D4; K21).

Goodbye, my angels." (BU.24).

"Go in the peace of God." (DV.1).

FRIDAY, JUNE 26TH 1981  
In the presence of a crowd of 2,000 to 3,000 people, drawn there by the luminary signs coming from the hill of the apparitions, Vicka sprinkles the apparition with holy water and says: "If you are the Gospa, stay with us, if not, go away."

The apparition only smiles.

Ivanka:"Why have you come here? What do you desire?"  "I have come because there are many true believers here. I wish to be with you to convert and to reconcile the whole world." (According to others: "To convert all of you.") (K.26).

Ivanka: "Did my mother say anything?"

"Obey your grandmother and help her because she is old." (K.26; Lj.16; BU.28).

Mirjana: "How is my grandfather?" (He had recently died.) "He is well." (K.26).

The seers on a request from the crowd: "Give us a sign which will prove your presence."

"Blessed are those who have not seen and who believe." (L.2,24).

Mirjana:"Who are you?"

"I am the Most Blessed Virgin Mary." (L.1, 37).

"Why are you appearing to us? We are not better than others."

"I do not necessarily choose the best."

"Will you come back?"

"Yes, to the same place as yesterday." (L.2, 25).

On returning to the village after the apparition, Maria sees the Virgin again, in tears, near a cross with rainbow colors: "Peace, Peace, Peace! Be reconciled! Only Peace." (D.7). "Make your peace with God and among yourselves. For that, it is necessary to believe, to pray, to fast, and to go to confession." (F.2, 126; D.5).

 "Praised be Jesus!"

Jakov:"What do you expect of our Franciscans?"

"Have them persevere in the faith and protect the faith of others." (DV.1).

Jakov and Mirjana:"Leave us a sign because the people treat us as liars."

"My angels, do not be afraid of injustice. It has always existed." (L.2,33).

The seers: "How must we pray?"

SUNDAY, JUNE 28TH 1981  

The seers: "What do you wish?"

"That people believe and persevere in the faith."

Vicka:"What do you expect from the priests?"

"That they remain strong in the faith and that they help you."

"Why don't you appear to everyone in church?"

"Blessed are they who believe without having seen."

"Will you come back?"

"Yes, to the same place."

"Do you prefer prayer or singing?"

"Both, pray and sing."

Vicka:"What do you wish from the crowd which has gathered here?"

This question remained without any response except for a glance of love, with a smile, said the seers.

Here the Virgin disappeared. The visionaries prayed so that she might return because she had not said, "Goodbye, my angels."

During their song, "You Are All Beautiful," she reappears. Vicka: "Dear Gospa, what do you expect of this people?" She repeated the question three times and finally was given this answer: "That those who do not see believe as those who see."

Vicka:"Will you leave us a sign so that people believe that we are not liars nor comedians?"

No other response, only a smile.

"Go in the peace of God, " she said, as she disappeared.

(The responses for the 28th of June were taken on the tape recorder of Grgo Kozina.) (L.2,37-38).


The seers: "Dear Gospa, are you happy to see so many people here today?"

More than happy ("She smiles," writes Vicka).

"How long will you stay with us?"

"As long as you will want me to, my angels."

"What do you expect of the people who have come in spite of the brambles and the heat?"

"There is only one God, one faith. Let the people believe firmly and do not fear anything."

"What do you expect of us?"

"That you have a solid faith and that you maintain confidence."

"Will we know how to endure persecutions which will come to us because of you?" "You will be able to, my angels. Do not fear. You will be able to endure everything. You must believe and have confidence in me."

Here Vicka writes a question from Dr. Darinka Glamuzina: "May I touch Our Lady?" She gives this response: "There have always been doubting Thomases, but she can approach."

Vicka shows her where to stretch out her hand. Darinka tries to touch her. The Gospa disappears, then reappears in her light. (L2,33).

The parents of a three-year-old child, Daniel Setka, who had suffered from septicemia since the fourth day of his birth, asked the seers to intercede for the handicapped child. "Dear Gospa, is little Daniel going to speak some day? Cure him so that they all will believe us. These people love you very much, dear Gospa. Perform a miracle ... It is watching... it ... Dear Gospa, say something."

They repeated this petition and conveyed the response: "Have them believe strongly in his cure. Go in the peace of God." (L.2, 42-43).

The name of the hill was  changed to 
Krizevac (“cross mountain”).
Love, Jeanne