Vassula in Medjugorje for Easter
April 15 - 22, 2014
On Holy Tuesday, April 15th, we departed early in the morning from Athens for Split, Croatia, where Vassula had been invited by Nada Prskalo, Director of the “Ave Maria Pilgrimage” to give her testimony in Medjugorje. Prior to her arrival, Vassula is usually given a detailed program by the organizers of what she would be doing on a daily basis, but Nada was constantly traveling, so she never sent us a program. As we had no idea of what we would be doing during Holy Week, Vassula and I were both looking forward as to how God would unfold His plans for Vassula’s visit to such a blessed place as Medjugorje where our Virgin Mother first appeared on June 24, 1981 to six young children, [Ivanka Ivankovic (15 years old), Mirjana Dragicevic (16 years old), Vicka Ivakovic (16 years old), Ivan Dragicevic (16å years old), Ivan Ivankovic (10 years old) and Mika Pavlovic (16 years old)], and has been appearing to them since then for 28 years.
Upon our arrival in Split, Sabrina, a very good friend of ours, along with her friend and colleague Michele, picked us up from the airport to take us to Medjugorje. It was a good two-hour drive to reach Medjugorje, but the beautiful scenery of the landscapes paid off.
Medjugorje is located in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the former Yugoslavia, across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. The messages given to the visionaries are to be transmitted to the Medjugorje parish and to the world. Even though there are many messages, they can be summarized in six themes: conversion, prayer, fasting, faith, peace and reconciliation.
The six visionaries are receiving ten secrets each. The secrets are of future chastisements because of sin. The visionaries say that the 10 secrets will remain secrets until an appointed time. Only the visionaries know the day and time the messages will be revealed.
From the beginning of the apparitions, Medjugorje became an important place of pilgrimage for millions of people. Many people testify that they experienced special graces from God and our Lady by coming to Medjugorje, as well as receiving Their presence in their hearts. After their visit here, they also often feel motivated to lead a better life: a life of prayer, a life with love and an open heart for God and people.
Upon our arrival in Medjugorje, I felt such joy in my heart, knowing that we were at this humble, but so blessed place. Sabrina was kind enough to take us to our pansion, which was not in the center of Medjugorje, but some kilometers further out with a wonderful view of the Apparition Hill.
Nada welcomed us warmly. To our surprise, we saw that most of the pilgrims who had registered for the “Ave Maria Pilgrimage” were TLIG friends and that they attended this Pilgrimage because they had heard that Vassula would be there. It was lovely to see familiar faces. One of them was Sara Annunziata from the USA who also arranged to ship TLIG books to Medjugorje from the USA for Vassula’s speech. Later on, we found out that not only people from the USA attended the Ave Maria Pilgrimage, but also TLIG friends from Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Brazil. In total there were about 32 people.
Once we had settled into our guest room, Nada invited us to have dinner with the group and informed Vassula that her speech would take place the next day in the afternoon, at the pansion where we would be staying. Fr. Petar had also been invited to make a speech. She additionally informed Vassula that she was not obliged to follow the “Ave Maria Pilgrimage” program, and that she was free to arrange her own daily program. This allowed Vassula to spend some time with other True Life in God friends who had come to Medjugorje mainly because they knew that Vassula would be there. These friends did not register with the “Ave Maria Pilgrimage” as they had made their own arrangements.
After lunch, Vassula wanted to go to the center of Medjugorje, as she wished to meet with the TLIG friends. We found out that instead of 32 people, there were in total about 35 TLIG people who had come to Medjugorje from various countries, such as the Czech Republic, Romania, Scotland, England, Brazil, France, Croatia, Denmark, Poland and the USA.
Within the 35 count, we knew which motel the Greek people were staying at, so Sabrina took us there. We also happened to see Heidi from Denmark and Yannick from France, so we told them about Vassula’s meeting and asked them to spread the word. Later on, we also met with Marija from Croatia, and asked her as well to spread the word.
Late in the afternoon, Sabrina took us back to Nada’s pansion where Vassula spent some time with the Ave Maria group. Our day ended with a pleasant and relaxing visit with friends.
April 16th, Holy Wednesday
Holy Wednesday or Spy Wednesday: Judas made a bargain with the high priest to betray Jesus for 30 silver pieces.
The next day, Holy Wednesday, Sabrina picked us up early in the morning, as she had arranged that Vassula would meet with Vicka, one of the visionaries, in private.
Vicka welcomed us very warmly and joyfully. She had a beautiful smile that continuously spread across her face. Vicka told Vassula that she had heard about her from Fr. Petar. Vassula had the chance to tell her a few things about her mission, about the messages and also showed her an original notebook (no 111) that Vassula happened to have brought with her. Vicka showed a great interest in what Vassula was telling her and seemed very pleased about this meeting. She shared with Vassula thoughts about our Lady’s urgent call for prayer, fasting and reconciliation.
After our pleasant meeting with Vicka, we departed with Sabrina, her husband and Michele for the Apparition Mountain. On our way, Sabrina, who has a publishing company and has published several books related to Medjugorje and the visionaries, gave us extensive information about the visionaries: things that I hadn’t known and was happy to learn. Sabrina told us that each Visionary had been assigned a special mission by our Lady. She also told us that they all have their own character and personality. Vicka’s mission is to pray for the sick. Ivan’s prayer mission is to pray for priests, families and the youth of the world. Mirjana’s mission is to pray for all the unbelievers. Ivanka’s mission is to pray for the families. Jakov’s prayer mission is also to pray for the sick and Marija’s prayer mission is to pray for all the souls in Purgatory.
On our way to the Apparition Mountain, we walked by the house where Vicka lived when the apparitions started, and also saw Marija’s house.
Sabrina told us that the mountain where the apparitions took place was formerly called Mount Podbrdo; however, now, after the apparitions were seen there it is known as Apparition Mountain. There is a steep and rock-strewn path that ascends to the actual location where our Lady appears. Vassula told me that 20 years ago when she first came to Medjugorie the rocks were not so steep and sharp. The sharp stones testify to the existence of the millions of pilgrims who have walked this mountain through all these years; they have worn the rocks to a marble-like finish.
On our way up the hill we recited the rosary; at the completion of each mystery we took a small break before making that extra effort to ascend. When we got to the actual location where our Lady appears, we silently said a prayer. It is indeed a grace and a blessing to be at a place where there have been literally thousands of apparitions of our Lady, apparitions that continue even to this day.
On our way down the hill, we were all silent, trying to contemplate these wonderful moments.
At around 12:00pm that afternoon, we went for Mass at St. James’s Church: a beautiful Church which combines imposing architecture with simplicity. Sabrina told us that St. James’s Church was not originally planned to be built at this spot, but at a different location. The architectural plans for the construction of the church were designed for the church to be built much smaller. However, when the builders started building the Church, the ground was not solid and the foundation of the church began to sink. Years later, even though the parish of Medjugorje was not huge, the architects drew the plans for a much larger Church. No explanation was given as to why the Church was built so big, but once the apparitions began, the church was filled to overflowing with pilgrims on a daily basis. It was then understood that God had inspired the designers and builders to overbuild St. James’s Church.
Another reason why St. James’s Church is very special, as in the early years of the apparitions, our Lady also appeared there. The first apparitions that were seen in the church were actually in the sanctuary, right above the altar.
After Mass, we went back to the Pansion so that Vassula could get ready for her speech. The first people that arrived for the meeting were some Franciscan sisters who seemed to be very happy to meet with Vassula. Vassula had some time to share some thoughts with them and also showed them the original notebook that she had happened to have with her.
A few minutes later, more and more people assembled, and we were happy to see that about 100 people were in attendance at this meeting. Taking into consideration that no official announcement had been made to the community about this meeting, having about 100 people through word of mouth is a great accomplishment. As Fr. Petar would speak first, we recited the rosary while waiting for him to arrive.
Fr. Petar arrived at about 2:30 with another young man. We found out that this young man had cancer, so Fr. Petar privately asked Vassula to pray over him, which she did.
Fr. Petar opened his speech by referring to Medjugorje and stating that we are living in days of grace and salvation. He said: “We are here at this Holy Place where our Lady has come. We are living days of grace and salvation. God is doing everything to show that He loves us. He is doing everything to show us that He has a plan for us. He is talking to us through the chosen people. That is why we have to open our hearts and accept what He is giving us. This is really the time of our spiritual purification. This is the time for our decision for Jesus. To be a Christian means that we have to be open and to decide for Jesus. Decision is very important for the faithful. So, we have to answer to this call. God is talking to us all the time. When God is talking through a person, Fr. Petar said, that is also some kind of calling for us. God is talking to people and He awaits for the answer. So at this place also God has sent His Holy Mother… She came as a Queen of Peace. That is why she said on the first day, “peace, peace, peace”, three times. That peace should be between us and God, but also among us people. Peace is one of the greatest gifts. A man can have everything, but without peace people are not happy, and that is the work of the Holy Spirit because you can’t buy peace, it could be given only by God, and that gift is the gift that God is giving to everybody because we are His children, the only condition is that we are ready to accept it. ...”
He went on and talked about the importance of our spiritual conversion. We have to decide to have intimacy with God now because our eternal salvation depends upon that deciding moment. That is why he said these meetings are important: they help us love God. He also added that for many people we are the road to God; that is why our Lady asks us to pray from our heart for other people. When we pray, we have to pray with a pure heart, ask first for the Kingdom of Heaven and everything else will be given to us.
He then brought as an example: a story of two ladies that had serious illnesses. Both of them left everything in God’s hands; when they prayed to our Lord they asked that His Will be done in their lives. Finally, they were both healed. He closed his speech by saying that “We are all called to be witnesses in this world: Witnesses of God’s love.”
After Fr. Petar’s speech, Vassula addressed the audience by saying that Fr. Petar spoke about peace and that our Lady came to Medjugorje as a Queen of Peace. That peace should not only be between us and God, but also among people. Vassula said that at the beginning of her mission, her guardian angel asked her to make peace with God. He asked her not once, but quite a few times, and as Vassula did not understand what he meant, she told him “but I am not at war with God”. Her angel did not reply to her right away. Much later she started to learn from him that to make peace with God meant to stop living a rebellious life, a life that does not consider God’s will, and to convert, for sin is the transgression of God’s law. She then mentioned the purification she went through. At first, she really didn’t know what her angel wanted for her, as nothing was revealed. There were small steps she took towards purification, until the Father came and spoke to her. She was astonished by His gentleness, and above all by His paternal manner. His words pierced, like a command, with gentleness. In the messages God the Father reminds us that we descend from Him, that we belong to Him; we are the bone of His bone. Vassula spoke of the importance of our intimacy with God. The messages help us to get to know God, to understand Him and approach Him with greater intimacy. She said that when Jesus first approached her, He presented Himself as the Sacred Heart. That was a sign to show to her, that even though she is Orthodox and the Orthodox do not have the devotion to the Sacred Heart, but instead other devotions like the Pantocrator, He does not differentiate Himself. She talked about her mission, which is the establishment of the unity of the Churches and how difficult this mission is. She talked about the Apostasy of Christians, and the division among people, which is a sin. She spoke about Jesus’ request to unify the date of Easter, and finally, that Jesus claimed our world is in chaos. If nature is rebelling against us through geological catastrophes, it is because of our division. Additionally, Vassula talked about the importance of love. Divine Love is the principal virtue because all the other virtues sprout from love. The more complete our knowledge of God is, the more ardent our love for God is, and the more ardent our prayers are. Vassula concluded her address by reading extracts from the messages.
After the speech, she showed an original True Life in God notebook to the audience, and people had the opportunity to see the original handwritings and take pictures of the notebook.
We then went for dinner downtown with Sabrina and some friends. We were happy that so many people had attended the meeting, as nothing had been officially announced. The meeting had actually been arranged by Nada, but only for members attending the Ave Maria Pilgrimage.
April 17, Holy Thursday
Holy Thursday also known as Maundy Thursday commemorates Jesus Christ’s institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper.
The next day, Sabrina picked us up in the morning. We departed for the center of the city to meet with our TLIG friends and from there go to the cemetery to pay our respects at Fr. Slavko Barbaric’s tomb. Fr. Slavko was the priest who devoted his life to teaching the world about our Lady’s messages. He served the Church, the visionaries, the parishioners and pilgrims of Medjugorje without ceasing. His life was completely dedicated to serving Jesus through our Lady. In his short life span of 54 years, he spent every moment serving God and people. Sabrina told us that once our Lady appeared to the visionaries, having Fr. Slavko next to her. It is said that whenever people ask for his intervention, their request is granted. We said a decade of Ave Maria and a silent prayer in front of his tomb.
We then departed for the Via Domini (the Way of the Lord), which starts with the Mysteries of Light, and then headed towards the 30-foot bronze statue of the Risen Savior. The statue is the work of a Slovenian artist, Andrej Ajdic. The parish of Medjugorje got it as a gift for Easter in 1998. The part which is on the ground represents the tomb of Jesus, and the other part of the statue represents the Resurrection. Around the Statue there are the stations of the Way of the Cross for people who can’t climb the Cross Mountain.
Since 2001, the sculpture of the Risen Christ has been a mystery in Medjugorje because it started to shed tear-like liquids. The statue is verdigris green except for the large shiny golden patch on the right leg. The distal thigh and the lateral side of the knee have become smooth and shiny because many pilgrims touched and wiped that accessible part of the statue. One could clearly see drops of fluid slowly forming, and then oozing from the thigh, going down the knee and lower leg every second. Pilgrims promptly wipe the leg with a handkerchief before it reaches the foot. One surely stays in awe after seeing this phenomenon.
Vassula was informed by Maria from Croatia that a TLIG friend, Denyse, was planning to organize a meeting for her on Saturday. Consequently, we had an appointment with Maria and Denyse behind St. James’s Church. Vassula, followed by the TLIG friends who had been with us since morning, went to meet Denyse. We were happy to learn that the meeting would take place at the retreat center, called “Padre Pio Casa Della Compassione”, and the time was set for 2:00pm on Saturday. Once TLIG friends found about it, they asked for the address of the retreat center, so as to spread the word at Medjugorje. Denyse happily handed out business cards with the address. TLIG friends invited anyone they had the chance to talk to about the messages.
We then departed for St. James’s Church to attend the Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Before Mass, the congregation recited the rosary.
Late in the evening, Sabrina took us back to the pansion. The Ave Maria group was there, sitting in the living room around the beautiful fireplace. Vassula sat with the group, and shared beautiful stories with them. She also showed them, through her mobile phone, the paintings that she had recently made while in the USA. It was nice seeing her spend some relaxing time with the pilgrims, enjoying their company as equally as they were enjoying hers. I felt as if Vassula were trying to balance and spend some time with both groups, those who had been able to attend the Ave Maria Pilgrimage, and those who had come to Medjugorje individually. In the morning, Vassula would spend some time with the Ave Maria Pilgrims; during the day, when she had the chance, she would meet with the other TLIG friends who had come to Medjugorje individually. Subsequently, late in the afternoon upon our arrival back to the pansion, Vassula would again take some time to be with the Ave Marie Pilgrims.
April 18, Holy Friday
Holy Friday commemorates Jesus Christ’s Passion, crucifixion and death
The next day after breakfast, we took a taxi to go to the center of the town, as Vassula had arranged to meet with Fr. Petar. She actually wanted to invite him to escort her to one of her forecoming missions. Fr. Petar gladly accepted this invitation; he just wanted to double check his schedule. At this moment, they also had some time to chat about various matters. Within their dialogue, Fr. Petar invited Vassula to his parish for the Easter Monday Mass.
At 11:00am that morning we had scheduled to meet with TLIG friends so as to go to Via Domini to pray the Stations or Way of the Cross. Vassula thanked Fr. Petar for his time, and we then headed towards Via Domini. One friend had a TLIG prayer book. At each Station, Vassula would read the meditations from the TLIG prayer book.
With reverence, we prayed the Stations of the Cross, contemplating on what our Lord went through.
At 3:00pm we went to Church for the Good Friday Mass that commemorates the Passion and Death of our Lord on the Cross. We went to a Chapel dedicated to Pope John Paul II. While waiting for Mass to start, I noticed that quite a lot of people were coming to greet Vassula.
After Mass, we left our TLIG friends and departed for our pansion, as Nada had informed us that morning that one of the visionaries, Ivanka, would come and speak to the Ave Maria Group at 6:00pm.
Sabrina had told us that out of all the visionaries, Ivanka is quite introverted and does not often speak in public.
Ivanka was the youngest of the girl visionaries when the apparitions began. She was the first to see Our Lady (June 24th) and also the first to speak to Her. She was also the second visionary, after Mirjana, to receive the 10th secret, signifying the end of Our Lady’s daily apparitions. She now has an annual apparition on the Medjugorje anniversary, June 25th.
When Ivanka entered the pansion, she came in with a brisk walk and a big smile on her face, greeting everyone. I would describe her as a pretty woman: very tall, and with an impressive presence.
She began her speech by telling us how the apparitions began. She shared with us that during that time she was in grief because her mother had passed away (a month before the apparitions). The first thing she asked Our Lady was a question about her mother and our Lady responded by saying: “She is happy. She is with me”. In continuation, Ivanka told us that God has allowed her to see and speak to her mother five times over the years. Ivanka described her favorite of these special visits as the one when her mother came over to Ivanka, embraced her and said: “Dearest Ivanka, I’m so proud of you!”
Ivanka furthermore informed us that she was the first of the visionaries to get married and that she has three children. Actually one of her children, Josip, works closely with Nada as a Co-Director and guide of Ave Maria Pilgrimage. Josip is a lovely and gentle young man.
Ivanka told us that our Virgin mother invites people to an urgent conversion and reconciliation. She said that God has sent His Mother to our world; these years she is spending with us are a time of Grace granted by God. Our Lady’s mission is one of peace and love. She has come to re-educate us, help us convert and re-enter our lives back to God. She is guiding people to Her Son, Jesus.
Ivanka also discussed the importance of prayer and fasting. Prayer is the most frequent message in Medjugorje, and to pray with the heart is to pray with love, trust and abandonment. Without prayer we cannot have an experience of God.
Ivanka said that our Lady would like us to pray daily the entire 15 Mysteries of the Rosary. Through prayer we will defeat Satan’s power. Ivanka said that if we hadn’t prayed all these years as our Lady has asked us in Medjugorje, the world would have exploded (burst).
To the question whether she could describe our Lady, Ivanka replied that there are no words to express what our Lady looks like. Our Lady is beyond words.
Her speech ended with us praying the Our Father, the Hail Mary and Glory Be five times. In conclusion, she asked us to pray for her family. We then took a group picture. We were happy that she agreed to have a group picture taken with her, as at the beginning of her talk she had asked that we not take pictures.
After Ivanka's speech, later in the evening Nada brought to our company a friend of hers who had been healed miraculously in Medjugorje. He shared his story with us. Our day ended with pleasant chatting around the fireplace.
April 19, Holy Saturday
On Holy Saturday the Church waits at the Lord's tomb, meditating on his suffering and death. The altar is left bare, and the sacrifice of the Mass is not celebrated. Only after the solemn vigil during the night, held in anticipation of the resurrection, does the Easter celebration begin, with a spirit of joy that overflows into the following period of fifty days.
After breakfast, we departed for the center of Medjugorje and met with TLIG friends. We were happy to hear that they had spread the word about Vassula’s meeting, inviting people to hear what our Lord says in our days.
Around noon we headed towards the Padre Pio Casa center where Vassula’s meeting was scheduled for 2:00pm. Prior to her meeting, Denyse, the organizer, had arranged for Vassula to be interviewed by journalist Daniijela Sakota for a Croatian online News Link called “Glas Brotnja” (http://glasbrotnja.net/)
The interview took place around 1:15pm and lasted for about forty minutes. Vassula gave a brief introduction about her mission, and explained that the gift that God has given her is for the benefit of His Church. She referred to our Lord’s request for the Churches to reconcile and find unity in diversity, and she explained what diversity means and how important it is. Unity in Diversity is when people come together, as they are, and make peace with one another. She mentioned that the messages are a call for people to get to know God, understand God and become intimate with Him. Moreover, she referred to the Great Apostasy that we are living in our times and that God calls us to have a conversion within us. She spoke about the importance of sincere repentance and about the importance of prayer; by praying we are conversing with God. God wants us to approach him as little children. She said that this call is not only for Christians, but for everyone because she has been invited to speak about the messages to non-Christians as well. To the journalist’s question in reference to what God says in the messages about Russia, Vassula referred to the prophecy that Jesus had given her about the fall of the Soviet Union and that Russia will become the head of many nations. Vassula says that she expects Russia to keep the faith and declare it openly so as to guide the rest of the European countries to Christianity. To the question of what she thinks about Putin, Vassula replied that Putin is a Christian and he is not embarrassed to declare it in his talks. Subsequently, Vassula referred to the end of times. God is love, but He is also just and we are provoking nature with our sins. We are self-destroying ourselves. People do not take the messages seriously, and the reason for this is that they are not constant. We have to be constant in our commitment to God and do God’s will.
Right after the interview, Vassula had to make her speech. To our astonishment, about 210 people attended the meeting. The hall was packed, and many people had to stand. This meeting was not pre-arranged, but was suggested to occur spontaneously by Denyse. The word that Vassula would speak spread around the area like bush fire. We realized that there were a lot of people who spoke only English and others who spoke only French. Vassula therefore decided to give her speech in French and English. That was quite tiring for her. Of course, Maria was also translating for the Croatian speaking people. The audience seemed speechless and very interested in what Vassula had to say.
After her speech, a lot of people approached her to ask her questions, and others to ask to be blessed and to take pictures with her. Vassula patiently pleased everyone.
At some point, a lady informed Vassula that the president of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, His Excellency Zivko Budimir, had attended her speech and that he would like to meet her in person. Vassula gladly agreed to meet with him, which they did privately.
It is just wonderful to see how God planned these meetings. When someone leaves everything in His Hands, He leads things as He wishes.
After the meeting, we had a light lunch and then departed for the Cathedral where we would attend the Celebration of Holy Saturday. The Celebration was very devout. The presence of the Holy Spirit was very strong. I have to mention here that at the moment where the priest declared the resurrection of Christ, a woman that was possessed started to scream. I mention this because sometimes we do not realize what a glorious moment that is, the moment of His Resurrection, and how the demons tremble with our Lord’s victory.
The joy of our Resurrected Christ was emblazoned on our souls. Christ has Risen! Christ has Risen! Christ has Risen!
April 20, Easter Sunday
Easter is the feast of feasts, the unalloyed joy and gladness of all Christians.
After breakfast we departed for the center of Medjugorje to spend some time with TLIG friends and then attend Holy Mass at 12:00pm
After Mass, Sabrina came and picked us up, as she had invited Vassula to spend Easter with her family and friends. We had a lovely time, enjoying the company of our friends and the discussions that took place.
In the afternoon, Sabrina took us back to our pansion. We arrived just at the right moment; the group had just started praying the rosary. After the rosary Nada asked everyone to say a few words about their experience at Medjugorje and reflect on the days they were there. When Vassula’s turn came she said that she had been to Medjugorje before, and that actually this trip was her fourth time in Medjugorje. The first time she had come was about 20 years ago, so things had changed quite a lot. A lot of construction has taken place to accommodate the thousands of pilgrims that visit Medjugorje every year. She also said that she felt that our Virgin Lady had called her to go to Medjugorje. She said that in January she was invited to go to Fatima, in February to Banneux, another place of Marian apparitions, and now to Medjugorje; all this did not happen by coincidence. Vassula said that she felt as if our Lady was hugging her, cuddling her and consoling her. Her visit to Medjugorje was indeed a present by Her.
Our Sunday Easter ended with delicious snacks and refreshments around the fireplace, with Vassula enjoying the company of the group.
April 21st, Monday after Easter
The Lord has risen from the dead, as he foretold. Let there be happiness and rejoicing for he is our King forever, alleluia.
In the morning after breakfast, we departed for Mass at Fr. Petar’s Church in Vitina (about 20 klm away from Medjugorje).
The landscape reminded me a lot of Greece, especially the rocky mountains, with the only difference in that they were rockier than those in Greece. Unfortunately however, the taxi driver took us to the wrong Church and therefore we were not able to be on time for Mass.
Fr. Petar however, was waiting for us. He did not start without us, even though we arrived there nearly an hour later. Other TLIG friends who happened to learn about this invitation, were also present. Fr. Petar performed a lovely Mass, trying to read parts of the liturgy in English, so that the parish could also understand (most of us spoke English). I really appreciated that and it confirms what I thought of him. He is a gentle man, sensitive and caring, with a strong and pleasant personality. Indeed, Fr. Petar has been chosen by Mirjana, one of the visionaries, to reveal the Ten Secrets to the world.
After Mass, Fr. Petar said a healing prayer. I felt that Jesus was continuously pouring His healing balm and graces on us as well as our family members and friends who were not able to attend this trip, but were in our thoughts.
After the Healing Prayer, Vassula thanked Fr. Petar for his kind hospitality. We said goodbye to him and to the TLIG friends and we departed back for Medjugorije where we would meet Nada and the Ave Maria group to go by bus to Dubrovnik.
On our way to Dubrovnik, we prayed the rosary and we had the chance to chat with Nada about various things. At some point our discussion was about Fr. Jozo Zovko. Fr. Jozo was the parish priest of Medjugorje at the time the apparitions began. At first Nada told us that he did not believe in them, but later he became a crusader for the events taking place. This resulted in his imprisonment for about a year and a half, causing him physical harm which he suffers from till this day.
Fr. Jozo is not residing in Medjugorje at the present time. He is in Zagreb. Nada told us that he has been very much persecuted for supporting Medjugorje, and that he is not allowed by his Bishop to speak about Medjugorje. We can imagine how much this hurts Fr. Jozo, as our Virgin Mary had also given him the grace to see Her and hear Her. Fr. Jozo is very much loved by the locals, and some say that many miracles happen when he intercedes for their needs. Nada shared with us a miracle that happened to her father after Fr. Jozo’s prayer. She told us that she personally saw Fr. Jozo’s eyes turn turquoise blue while he was once praying, looking upwards towards the sky. I told her that many people have claimed the same for Vassula when she speaks about the messages; Vassula’s eyes turn into a big, beautiful turquoise color as well. Early in the afternoon we arrived in Dubrovnik. We checked into our hotel and had dinner with friends.
April 21st, Tuesday
Around noon we departed from our hotel for the airport to return back to Athens. At the airport we met with the Greek TLIG friends.
While on the plane I was contemplating what we experienced in Medjugorje. The graces we received… the presence of our Lady...
At present, Medjuorije has not been officially approved by the Vatican. On the contrary even today, after so many years, with proven miracles and conversions that have taken place in Medjugorje, some visionaries are still persecuted. I was sad to hear that in the USA Ivan is not allowed to speak about Medjugorje to the public in Churches anymore. How many similarities are there in this regard, compared with what Vassula has been going through all these years? It is astonishing to see how the devil wants to shut down the voices that our Lord has chosen to transmit His urgent calls for repentance, conversion and reconciliation.
As mentioned earlier, our Blessed Mother had told the six visionaries that she would give them 10 secrets. The contents of these secrets remain hidden, but when the time comes they will be revealed. The first three secrets are not about catastrophes in the literal sense; however, the others are severe and harsh. Our Lady has told Marija that through prayer and fasting the eighth secret lessened; however the ninth is even worse, and the tenth secret is totally bad and cannot be lessened under any circumstances.
"You cannot imagine what is going to happen, nor what the Eternal Father will send to the earth. That is why you must be converted! Renounce everything. Do penance. Express my thanks to all my children who have prayed and fasted. I carry all this to my Divine Son in order to obtain an alleviation of His justice against the sins of mankind. I thank the people who have prayed and fasted. Persevere and help me to convert the world.” (Medjugorje - June 24th 1983)
This also reminds me of the urgent message that our Lady had given to Vassula on January 7, 2008 when our Blessed Mother woke her up at 3:00am
“ ... we are very near the events that have been foretold that are facing humanity and that they are outside our door; events that are drawn by the world's wickedness, selfishness, lack of love, events that result from the world's rejection of God's Word, their spite, hypocrisy, and godlessness. The earth is in danger and will suffer with fire. God's wrath cannot be sustained any longer and it will fall on them because man refuses to break with sin. That God's Mercy all of these years were to draw as many as possible to Him, extending His Arm to save them but few only understood and listened. That His time of Mercy will not hold much longer and the time is coming where everybody will be tested and the earth will spew out from within it rivers of fire and the people of the world will understand their worthlessness and their helplessness without having had God in their hearts. God is firm and true to His Word. The time has come where the household of God will be tested and those who refused His Mercy will taste God's Fire."
Our Lady continued to speak about sacrifice. She has asked me to remind everyone that God our Creator asks us to commit ourselves more to Him and that to be converted is not enough without sacrifice and steady prayers. (Vassula - TLIG January 7, 2008)
The times we are living in are times of great grace and mercy. Now is the time for us to listen to what God has been telling mankind all these years through His chosen ones. The events to come seem to be very near ...