A Testimony: Mons. Domenico Pecile, vicar of St John in Lateran Basilica, Rome
Mons. Domenico Pecile, Bishop Emeritus of Latina, at present vicar of St John in Lateran Basilica in Rome, came on a private pilgrimage to Medjugorje in August 2005. He was ordained a bishop in 1984, and was retired in 1998. This is his testimony:
“I heard about Medjugorje for the first time at the very beginning of Our Lady’s apparitions. From the very beginning, I was interested in these events in a positive way. In general, concerning this kind of events, my personal attitude is always to come and see personally, to observe the event. This is how, some years after the beginning of the apparitions in Medjugorje, I came here with two other persons. I introduced myself as a bishop only to the pastor of Medjugorje. I was concelebrating together with other priests, as one of them. This first visit to Medjugorje remained engraved in my heart. Something within me was telling me that it was impossible that these events were not authentic. I had the chance to come back two years ago.
In the history of the Church, Our Lady has intervened many times because she loves humanity, and because God himself is sending her, in order to remind us of His love. I felt deep within, especially during my second visit two years ago, precisely this: the love of God! Jesus Christ is the one who is sending Our Lady. Jesus, whom she calls her Son. Sometimes, I feel like saying to the Lord: “Oh, Lord, do come yourself to us!” But He is sending Our Lady. I a certain way, we are more open and more ready to accept her. We feel less distant from her, because she is not only our Mother, but also our Sister. Because of my responsibility as a bishop of the Catholic Church, I have come personally to see if this event is real, if it is acceptable. From the very first time that I came to Medjugorje, my conviction is that these events are authentic.
Medjugorje is a reality. I see it as a place that has received a great gift. Our Lady is coming here, as she came to many other places, and maybe in the future she will be coming somewhere else. It is neither strange nor weird that Our Lady is appearing. She is always appearing in order to help us to come back to God. This time, here in Medjugorje, Our Lady is coming in a very powerful way, an outstanding way, different then her other comings. It is impossible not to see here the Lord our God. Impossible! I come here to pray to Our Lady, to feel her presence, not only because I feel the need for it, but because this is giving me a consolation on the road, a strength to continue, to walk with one additional reason, with the conviction that God truly loves us all.
Gradually, I came to know all the visionaries. My impression is that these persons have received a great gift, but they do not display it. They are simple, ordinary people like anyone else. You have to talk to them in order to realise that they have received a special grace, and this is what I like so much. When I came for the first time to Medjugorje, I met Jakov, the youngest among them. I spoke with him in the garden, next to his house. I saw this simple young man, I asked him some questions and he answered me. Someone could maybe say that he is without any higher education, but I say the contrary: he was very precise in his answers, confessing his faith and keeping in his heart the gift that he has received, without displaying it in any particular way. I had the same impression, every time I met one of them. They speak with great clarity. They have great gifts in their hearts. It is impossible for us to even imagine what is in their hearts, in their lives, and everything is so simple. According to my opinion, precisely this is the strongest thing. I have the impression that God wants them to fulfil the mission that He is asking from them, without displaying it outwardly. They are our brothers, people like any one of us, and they do not display the special gift that God has given only to them. They simply feel as carriers of a message, a message that they also need themselves. This is how I see them.
On other places of pilgrimage where Our Lady was appearing, some miracles have happened, and this is beautiful. But here, for such a long time, Our Lady is giving messages, is continuing to speak. I would say that, here, Our Lady continues to speak to the humanity. She is not doing it from a pulpit, but as a mother. Those who want to hear and to obey – they listen. Those who do not want – they don’t listen. Our Lady is continuing to speak here. I think that this is because the time, in which we live, is powerful and important as no time before. I our time, Our Lady is observing as a mother, seeing our reality and coming to help us to think again about our way of life and about the world in which we live.
When we read the messages, we can discern if they can help us, if they are in harmony with the Catholic teaching of the Catholic Church. Here, this is perfect! The messages are simple, so that everyone can understand them, and they are perfectly in accord with the truth of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church.
Pilgrims that are coming to Medjugorje are not coming for a visit, but to encounter Our Lady who is speaking to them through her messages. Our Lady is speaking to their hearts, if they are open to listen in prayer. If you pray here, if you come here in silence and you try to understand your life, if you pray and deepen your Christian life, something great and good for the humanity is happening.
These days, I was in a great joy. I was glorifying God! I especially enjoyed hearing confessions. In Medjugorje, hearing confessions is an extraordinary experience. Something special is happening here, it is different then elsewhere. Penitents are aware of their sins. They are aware of the fact that sin is the real evil of the world, and it is not so easy to come to this understanding. This is one of the most beautiful fruits of Medjugorje.
In Eucharistic celebrations, I saw something extraordinary: pilgrims were attentive, concentrated, although we had Holy Mass in a conference hall. Nothing could distract them; they experienced something deep within them. The presence of the mystery can almost be felt in the air here. The faithful come to the churches elsewhere also, but you see them talking. But not here! Here, they are attentive! In all our churches throughout the world, it should be as it is here in Medjugorje.
I also went for an apparition with Ivan. How to speak about it? It isn’t easy. I don’t know. I was telling Our Lady: “You are here and this is enough for me!”