The Medjugorje Story

On June 24, 1981, six teenagers (visionaries) from the Parish of Medjugorje in the Federation of Bosnia-Hercegovina, reported the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary on a nearby hill called Crnica (Apparition Hill), several hundred metres above the place called Podbrdo, close to Medjugorje. Many further apparitions followed on the same site. As the news of the apparitions spread, crowds of locals in advance of large numbers of pilgrims were attracted. Early fierce opposition from local Communist authorities was encountered with even the jailing of a local Franciscan priest. The visionaries were taken for police interrogation and repeated psychiatric and other scientific investigations. There was no medical or scientific reason found to doubt their stories of the apparitions. The Balkan war in the early 1990's threatened the Parish. Today, however, Medjugorje is a safe, well-developed, and scenically a very attractive place to seek to experience Our Lady's presence and influence. Since 1981, an average of over 1 million pilgrims per year have come to Medjugorje.

Three of the visionaries (Marija, Vicka and Ivan) have reported daily apparitions since that time. The other three (Mirjana, Ivanka and Jakov) are now receiving yearly apparitions. One of the visionaries (Marija) is given a monthly message to be publicised to the world. All of the visionaries have been allowed a sight of heaven with four of them also having seen hell and purgatory. All the visionaries have been entrusted with either nine or ten secrets concerning future events, some concerning the whole world, to be disclosed at the time of Our Lady's choosing. The third secret is believed to be a visible and indestructible sign on Apparition Hill for all to witness, including non-believers.

The Blessed Virgin Mary has become known through Medjugorje as the Queen of Peace. In Croatian, she is also called the Gospa. The core message of Medjugorje is peace through a range of spiritual actions: faith, prayer, penance, fasting and conversion. Both the actions and the effective result, namely a "true peace", where one is at peace with one's Creator, will be not only spiritually uplifting but life-changing for many.

The Queen of Peace has stated that this is the last time she will appear on earth. The Marian apparitions at Lourdes and Fatima have previously been approved. The apparitions at Medjugorje are currently under investigation by the Church. Until such time as this is completed, it is not possible to make conclusive assertions regarding the supernatural nature of the apparitions and other events at Medjugorje.

The parish of St James in Medjugorje is a centrepoint of the valley and a focus of the spiritual activities for the local Croatian community and for pilgrims from all over the world. All pilgrims would come with a wish to experience Our Lady's presence through a range of possible contemplative activities including prayer, Masses in the native Croatian or their own language, reading of the many books on Medjugorje, attending confession, quiet walking amongst the beautiful vista and visits to local sites. Special sites include St James Church, Crnica above Podbrdo (Apparition Hill), Krizevac (Cross Mountain) and the bronze Statue of the Resurrection (also known as the Risen Christ).