Medjugorje

The story of Medjugorje is well known to most Catholics. In 1981 six teenagers were playing together in the hills between the villages of Medjugorje and Bijakovici. Fifteen-year-old Ivanka Ivankovic, on the way home to the village of Bijakovići, suddenly saw on the hill of Crnica a woman in a white robe, with a white scarf over the head and the child in her arms. It was on this barren hillside that Mother Mary appeared and addressed and spoke to them. When the children told their parents what happened – the first reaction was skepticism.

The Međugorje apparitions, however, did not cease. The Mother Mary appeared again and again with the main Međugorje messages as Conversion back to God, Prayer, Fasting, Daily Reading of Bible and Confession, and soon made believers out of even the most vocal of critics. Since then it is estimated that over 15 million people have visited the tiny place of Medjugorje. This sleepy Herzegovina village of Međugorje has become the second largest Catholic pilgrimage site in the world.

There has been much controversy over the legitimacy of the visions and apparition, so much so that the Pope has not recognized Medjugorje as an official pilgrimage site, and shows restraint and caution. Some say the main reason for the  ”apparition” of Our Lady at Crnica hill: at the foot of the hill lies village of Šurmanci, where  local Croatian Catholic Nazi – Ustasha –  in early August 1941, in just two days, brutally, mostly with edged weapons and tools killed more than 800 Serbs from Prebilovci, Serbian Orthodox village in Medjugorje area, close to Crnica village, 35 km from Mostar, 20 km from the Adriatic sea and 5 km from the town of Capljina. Nonetheless, millions of faithful Catholics from all over the world visit Medjugorje and its sacred spots, and the many amazing accounts suggest that miracles are a regular occurrence here – the Virgin Mary is said to still appear every day to three of the teenagers and once a year to the other three.

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