Experiences of pilgrims in Medjugorje, August 2013
Date: October 25, 2013
Andrea Cunningham: „Medjugorje is a special place”
Andrea Cunningham, who came with her family, husband and five children from Northern Ireland, was one of many pilgrims that we met and had chance to interview. This is her fifth visit. She thinks that Medjugorje is indeed a special place and she keeps coming back here because this is where she feels at home. “This indeed is a special place. I heard about the apparitions in the beginning of 90’s and I arrived here for the first time in 1994, at the time I got married. How does Medjugorje help me? It keeps my relationship with God, strengthens and renews my faith, gives me strength. I think it is really easy to become part of hectic life, stress of everyday living, we are easily distracted by other things, and when you come to place like Medjugorje, that means return to the nature, return to the personal relationship with God”, said Andrea who thinks that young people always seek for something, and they actually seek for God. “It is wonderful to see so many young people here who walk around and pray Rosary and they all look so natural, since it is easier for them to do that here than back home. It is hard to be like this at home because there is general opinion that something is wrong with the people who pray and do not do some other things. I do not know what will happen in the future. I can only say that Medjugorje is a little piece of heaven on this earth, and that is what we are all longing for, whether we were aware of that or not. We are longing towards that, and here you get the feeling that it is possible to achieve that.”
Fr. Charles Colazzi about the experience of Medjugorje
Fr. Charles Colazzi comes from New Jersey and this is his ninth time in Medjugorje. He spoke about his life, priesthood vocation and experience of Medjugorje. He came here with a group of young people when he was sixteen and it was the time when he truly experienced the beauty of this place. “As a young man, I went to the church but did not particularly like the faith. During my visit to Medjugorje I had strong experience of prayer that completely changed me. After I returned home, I started loving prayer, I spent time Adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and I prayed Rosary every single day.” Four years afterwards, he went to the seminary and became a priest during his next visit to Medjugorje. “That is all really beautiful experience. I would say that I fell in love with Our Lady, with Jesus. Everyone experiences something different, weather it is inner healing, feeling of love and intimacy, or perhaps miracles because we all feel something different. Confessions in Medjugorje are very significant; people are really different when they return home. Usually people who confess here feel something, very often their life changes completely and they feel strength of good confessions that happen after twenty or thirty years of wondering around. For me as a priest that is a highlight here in Medjugorje because that is so beautiful and useful”, said Fr. Charles.
Medjugorje helped me understand the Gospel
Stefano Rotondo is a doctor from Italy. He heard about Medjugorje at the beginning of the apparitions and made his first pilgrimage here in 1983. He told us that his life changed dramatically after that visit. “It was then when I understood that it is very important to find God where I live and that I can discover joy of simple encounter with God. I came in 1983 for the first time and Medjugorje is today everywhere for me, everywhere I live. It helped me understand the Gospel and to live it in everyday life. I learned how to listen here, I learned what is silence, I learned how to accept myself – simply, I started opening my heart to God,” said Stefano whose family together with two another families formed a prayer group. This is his fourth year that he comes and brings pilgrims to Medjugorje. “In the depth of our heart we wanted to continue prayer in our place and that is why our three families began to pray the Rosary together and we do that on regular basis. We felt Gospa’s presence in our homes and how She wanted us to bring others to Medjugorje as well.
“I received encouragement for priesthood and music ministry in Medjugorje”
Fr. Liam Lawton from Ireland grew up in a big family with five children and he was ordained as a priest in 1984. He said how he was moved by the faith of the local people when he first arrived to Medjugorje. Fr. Liam comes from the family of musicians and his desire was to live music at the same time with priesthood. The crucial moment for him was encouragement he received after confessing before Fr. Slavko Barbaric who invited him to sing few songs during the Holy Mass that same evening. After singing during the Holy Communion he also accompanied Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with his music. That was the beginning of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament that we have today in Medjugorje.
Fr. Slavko also initiated the first International Youth Festival in 1990, and Fr. Liam participated in it from the beginning. He said that two most important messages of Medjugorje are that God exists and that only in our God we have peace, while Gospa is the instrument of all of that.
Every day I feel Gospa’s and Jesus’ grace
Agnes Nick lives in Canada for the last twenty years and finally her great wish to come to Medjugorje was realised in these days. “Every day of my life I feel Gospa’s and Jesus’ grace. I am a member of prayer group in Saint Tomas in Toronto that is called ‘Mary moves priesthood’. We gather every Wednesday evening and we pray Rosary to the Blessed Virgin Mary and read Her messages from Medjugorje. Ever since I do that, I feel that I can carry all life difficulties in easy way: you simply surrender to God and His Mother, and they know the best all of our needs. They always come to help in our aids”, said Agnes.