Terry Colafrancesco - who is the face behind the "Friend of Medjugorje"
To many he is no friend of Medjugorje
Date: April 10, 2010
Category: Caritas of Birmingham and "A Friend of Medjugorje" Terry Colafrancesco, Sterrett (AL), Alabama
By Stephen K. Ryan
Who is the man behind the mask known as the "Friend of Medjugorje"? The founder and operator of Medjugorje.com/ Caritas of Birmingham insists on calling himself "A friend of Medjugorje" rather than by his own name. Maybe it is just us but this curious business of referring to oneself in the third person, as the "Friend of Medjugorje" does throughout his web site, is beginning to creep us out. From the onset the third person references on his web site create an aura of obfuscation and an unsettling lack of transparency.
The "Friend of Medjugorje" as it turns out is named Terry Colafrancesco. He may refer to himself as a friend of Medjugorje but the more we peel away the layers we are beginning to discover that many people who are devoted to the Medjugorje movement think he is anything but a friend.
None of us are perfect and we encourage everybody to feel free to let us know the short comings of Ministryvalues.com but please could Terry Colafrancesco drop the whole "Friend of Medjugorje" nuttiness. Let's be honest - it's just weird, creepy like my teenage daughter likes to say.
Our recommendation to Mr. Terry Colafrancesco would be to simply use his real name and introduce himself the way most adults do with a polite "Hi I'm Terry Colafrancesco, welcome to Medjugorje.com," If he were to do this it would make a whole lot of people a whole lot more comfortable.
Aside from the third person issue many people are now also beginning to raise more serious questions about the business practices and evangelical methods of the organizers behind the website Medjugorje.com. In fact there have been reports that Mr. Terry Colafrancesco may be running an organization with many "cult" like characteristics.
A number of years ago Father Svetozar Kraljevic, OFM wrote an open letter expressing his concerns about the organization run by Terry Colafrancesco.
"Dear brothers and sisters, Here in Medjugorje, in the name of the priests who are working in the parish with pilgrims who are coming from all over the world, I express my deep concern for the organization called CARITAS from Birmingham, Alabama. It appears that the organization does not follow good practice of Church discipline as well as the discipline of its members in regard to their ways in which they are organized within. We are afraid that there might be elements of a lack of respect for family relationships, mutual respect, respect for the church authority, respect for the families where the members come from, respect for property of family members who are there now and those who were there and left the community."
And now, yesterday, Medjugorje.com or Caritas of Birmingham, in a lengthy statement on their web site, announced a fund raising plea for $200,000 + to meet their annual operating needs to run their web site. click here for details
The number seemed stupendously high to us given what we know about running our own web site, ministryvalues.com. Our monthly out of pocket cost to run ministryvalues comes to a whopping total of $14.99 to pay our web hosting bill. We pay the good folks at Christian Web Host.com this money, not only to host our website, but to provide helpful technical assistance as we need it. Ministryvalues.com relies on developing quality content to make our site relevant. This requires a lot of man hours for sure, but what we have found, as is typical with most projects that come from the heart, there are many people dedicated to "The Queen of Peace" and are more than happy to help out in any way they can.
Looking into this issue of costs we recently spoke with a few of the folks who run some of the more popular sites dedicated to Medjugorje. Turns out we all have pretty much the same business model i.e. we pay the monthly hosting bills of around $14.99 and give a ton of our own time to the project for free. Many run their websites at pennies on the dollar compared to Medjugorje.com yet have richer content and reach a much wider audience.
Why pick on Medjugorje.com? Well first, and I am sure Terry Colafrancesco would support us on this, given his patriotism and love of freedom, we have a right in this country to express ourselves. And second, in the end, we are just very concerned that Caritas of Birmingham and Medjugorje.com are politicizing a beautiful movement for peace that has been to date so wonderfully free of politics. This is really at the heart of our concerns. To see the Medjugorje movement wrapped around the American flag like Medjugorje.com is doing with their call for America to Pray the "Patriotic Rosary" quite frankly breaks our heart. The folks at Medjugorje.com seem limitless in their ambition to spread their own interpretation of "Our Lady's messages despite her wishes to leave the messages just the way they are, neither adding anything to them, nor taking anything away from them "whatsoever."
Below is an article we did a few month ago that expresses our concerns about Medjugorje.com and Terry Colafrancesco's movement.
The hard working folks at Medjugorje.com, part of Caritas of Birmingham, would like to encourage everybody to pray the "Patriotic Rosary"
We think it is crazy.
This is from Medjugorje.com "The Patriotic Rosary quickly captured the hearts and attention of millions when ﬁrst heard and prayed. Inspired by Our Lady, the “Patriotic Rosary” is a powerful prayer for divine protection and mercy for our Nation and its rebirth. It is especially important to pray for our Nation during this time."
Inspired by Our Lady? Attention of Millions? Protection for our Nation? When did God pick sides.
Furthermore the folks at Medjugorje.com have a special message titled "Betrayal" The special message begins with "Presently, the most murderous hands of innocent blood in U.S. history holds power throughout the present administration." The article then says "On another front, the present president is determined to ‘install’ socialism in the United States in a rearrangement of the economic order to redistribute wealth, instead of what was once a free-market society."
This is all from a website dedicated to Medjugorje. The Queen of Peace
The website goes on to say the founder's mission is to "Consecrate our Nation" Consecrate our Nation"? who is doing this? The pope? the Vatican? Nope the founder of a website wants to Consecrate our nation.
Medjugorje.com is the most political website dedicated to the events known as Medjugorje we have ever seen. They have aggressively adopted the typical fundraising tools you see in politically oriented websites. Pitches to sign up for their newsletters, donation requests, red meat politics, and other money making offerings.
Perhaps the most important words or message, for us anyway, came from one of the visionaries who said "Live the messages do not preach the messages . Words will only serve those who do not hear" This made all the sense in the world to us at ministryvalue.com
To us, the beauty, the genius really, of the medjugorje movement is it has been brilliantly, blessedly free of politics. Pray, convert go to confession, love, seek peace in your heart.
Now we have Medjugorje.com and Caritas of Alabama that want to add their inspiration.
The folks at Medjugorje.com are preaching the messages and politicising the messages and it is wrong. Their website will only serve "Those who do not hear". If there was ever a betrayal of the Medjugorje movement it is coming from this website and the cult like organization.