Thursday, July 6, 2006

What leads people to Medjugorje?

Since my first post on Medjugorje, I've been pondering something....

There are many reasons why some people go to Medjugorje. I can't judge them, and won't as it is not my job. But, because I know so many supporters who are devout, with strong appreciation for the Eucharist and mother Mary, I wonder if is less about what is there, in Medjugorje, as opposed to what they aren't finding much of these days in general. It is hard to find a parish where one can engage in adoration, for example. I'm lucky to be in a parish that provides the opporutnity 6 days out of the week, from 9:00am to 6:30pm.

While some stand to loose financially if it is fully disengaged, for the vast majority, the issue is one of spirituality. A loss of Medjugorje, could seem like a loss of the very things they seek there. Yet, I wonder, why aren't they finding it closer to home? I believe that most of these folks, are simply looking for a way to practice the faith, that has been missing.

For all those new people visiting this blog, I will share why I think most people go to Medjugorje, while at the same time providing links to posts and photos of life at my parish, Assumption Grotto Parish in Detroit. The photos you see of the Mass with the priest facing the high wall altar, are truly the Mass of Paul VI, better known as the Novus Ordo or New Mass. It is not a Tridentine (pre-Vatican 2). Priests here just celebrate it ad orientem, or facing the east, something I have found for me, removes the person of the priest, as he puts on Christ enabling me to focus fully on God in the Mass. [EDIT Feb 2008: Newer photos now include pictures of the "Tridentine" which has been celebrated regularly since Pope Benedict released his motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum allowing all pastors this option]

Medjugorje is not discussed at my parish and the bookstore does not permit the sale of anything relating to "apparitions" or similar, which are not fully approved. I am aware of parishioners who follow it personally and they are very devout people. The parish, focuses heavily on Fatima and Lourdes, with Fatima Devotions the 13th of each month out in our Grotto during the Months of original apparitions.

I give you these photo links in tribute to the hard-working, dedicated priests working in, and thru, Assumption Grotto in Detroit, who bring us these things with fervor and devotion, very generously. It is my list of reasons why people are attached to Medjugorje - in no certain order.

1)Eucharistic Emphasis

2)Adoration & Holy Hours


4)Devotion - in particular to the Rosary.

5)Other traditional prayers & devotions

6)Sacrament of Penance - frequent

7)Strong homilies, in fullness of the faith

8)Mortification & self-sacrifice (fasting)


10)Seminars, retreats, days of recollection

11)Marian Devotion

There is one last category, but it is a positive fruit of communities which value that which is above - once more, also evidenced by Medjugorje: Vocations!

Click through the posts in my sidebar under Vocation Talk to see vocations blooming in traditional-based orders. Getting back to basics works! I see it in my parish, and I see it in nearby parishes like Ss Cyril & Methodius.

What more could I ask for in a Catholic community? If you are in metro-Detroit, stop in some time. If you come for the 9:30am Latin Novus Ordo, be sure to pick up a booklet in the back so you can read along.

Thank you dear Fathers for the way you represent the priesthood and in creating a culture that is distinctly Catholic!


Orthodoxy said...

I agree with you about finding things in Medugorje that you don't find elsewhere. My wife and I went there, and we found people living simple lives, praying multiple times daily, with Eucharistic Adoration, daily Mass, and people willingly performing acts of mortification (like meditating on the Stations of the Cross or the Rosary while hiking up the mountainside barefoot).

These are things that my wife saw there that she did not see at Lourdes, which she also visited when she made her first trip to Medugorje 5 years prior. Lourdes had turned into a commercial enterprise and a tourist attraction for people seeking "cheap grace". Medugorje, on the other, while having many stalls selling rosaries, medals, etc. was more "unencumbered" by Western materialism.

I think that desire to pull away from Western materialism, combined with eyewitness accounts of spiritual and emotional conversions and re-conversions, is a large part of the attraction to Medugorje, as opposed to other Marian apparition sites.

Diane said...

Interesting observation - thanks for posting.

Robert said...

I largely agree with you, though I deeply respect what is going on in Medjugorje. I wasn't too interested in those eleven things until I happened to visit Medjugorje on a whim 15 years ago when I was backpacking through Europe with a friend. The iron curtain had just fallen and we also wanted to visit a former communist country. I wasn't really seeking miracles but I witnessed them there. Our Lady called me home to orthodox Catholicism - which I am still practicing 15 years later.

Diane said...

Amen! Robert. I won't deny that part of Medjugorje in the least.

People are hungering for what is there.

I don't think that the absence of a Medjugorje should hinder those things. If it does for someone, then that person needs to evaluate the attachment and re-orient it to where it authentically belongs, and Marian devotion is very well a part of it.

Think about mortification and fasting - two of the positive fruits of Medjugorje. For all those reading this thread, who do not belong to a parish where there are many into Medjugorje, tell me when you last heard about mortification, or taming the will, or fasting outside of prescribed times and offering it up in reparation for our sins, or the sins against all the tabernacles of the world. Or, offering it up for the poor souls in purgatory. Then again, when was the last time you heard purgatory discussed, or the four last things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell? In all too many Catholic funeral services I have heard it said, sometimes by priests, that the departed is in heaven now. How sad, that with such thoughts there is no longer a need to pray for the individual if such assumptions are made? Even Fr. John Hardon, as holy as he was, asked for people to pray for him after his death.

We should not have to travel to Medjugorje to hear about these things. They should be emphasized in every parish. They should be emphasized because they are distinctly and authentically Catholic. The protestantation of our faith in some circles today, has brought about the belief that we don't need to pray for the dead or make sacrifices.

I don't know about anyone else, but I've often wondered, who will pray for me when I'm gone? I'll bet a poll of Catholics would reveal extraordinary ignorance as to the deep necessity of praying and of making sacrifices for our dead. Why? Should I travel to Medjugorje to learn this? Or should I be getting it right in my own parish?

Anonymous said...

Well , I learned a lot from your post. Assumption Grotto!!! Oh, yes I know of it and I live about 2000 miles away. As my spiritual director says, Fr. Perrone is no ordinary parish priest. And STs. Cyril and Methodius? I know of that parish too and I know some folks there. You have GEMS of parishes there. We do not have gems of parishes here. None, zip.
My confessor, a retired polish priest is faithful but he is the only Marian priest in town. I could go on and on as to what the faithful have suffered onver the past decades in this dissenting dicoese but I will spare you. And those who care are becoming fewer.

I have been a Medjugorje devotee. Every holy thing in our parishes in the last 20 years (outside of the sacraments) can be traced to someone touched by Medjugorje. My reconversion was because of it.

YES, we who do not have an Assumption Grotto are hungry for God. Many leave the church for at least they hear of Jesus Christ in the protestant churches and learn the bible. They do not know the miracle of the Eucharist for it is never taught. So some have heard of Medjugorje and there they knew the favor of God. There the power of the sacraments was manifest. There one never tied of prayer. There were others to share with and to be able to pray with and not be considered a fanatic.

This blatant disobedience is being swept under the rug by devotees. I am told not to post on a Medjugorje forum for I am no longer a believer! Yet I have been one for years.

But I have also been studying discernment and I see BIG red flags. Very big. First of all one cannot base their faith on appartions or visions or any experiental thing. The saints have warned us that we are open to deception when we do this.

Obedience is the way of the saints and disobedience is a negative sign.

And I wondered with so many conversions and vocations, how could it be from the devil or how could the devil turn this which, of course, he would want to do. I am beginning to see now. There are lies from the father of lies. The devotees say the bishop has no authority and that Pope JPII was a believer, etc and that the bishop is a liar when he claims authority.
So the bishop is called a liar and calumniated in other ways and he is disobeyed and sin has entered in as well as division.

There have been priests who took the stripping of their faculties over leaving the Medjugorje industry!!! The sacred priesthood let go! This mostly kept quiet with those who mentioned it discarded as just unbelievers.

Yet the only belief we must have is in Jesus Christ and the Church He established! Our Lady is not fostering the vilifying of the bishop, who is never removed from authority in such things. I am in a Medjugorje prayer group and have promoted the messages and I will no longer in obedience because the priests and others who continue to put out messages are in disobedience. This is a scandal to the faith and a negative decision from the Vatican will rock the faith of those who are weak in faith or who have built their lives around Medjugorje. And the Marian and Eucharistic devotions will be set aside once more. The devl is looking for a big pay off here and I think we are seeing the beginning of it. I think I could even lose some friendships over this if I no longer promote and believe. Is this from Our Lady's School of Love? No.

Ave Maria!

Diane said...

Thank you very much for your well written testimonial.

Now, we must pray that people can find what they are hungry for, right in their own backyards.

smacrusader said...

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through me” - Our Lord Jesus Christ, (Jn 14:6).

"All religions are dear to my son and me." - The alleged "Gospa" of Medjugorje (pg. 119, The Visions of the Children, Janice Connell).

Now, which of the two is telling the truth???

My money, nay, my very soul, is on the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The question for those who believe in the "Gospa" is, which one do you bet your soul on???