A Catholic Pilgrimage

Nadia and Ocean are Seen on Apparition Hill

We had to make a special stop on our way home from the Dalmatian Coast during our fall break. Both Nadia and I were raised in strong Catholic families and both of our mothers would have loved to have visited Medjugorje. Medjugorje is a small town in Bosnia & Herzegovina where 19 years ago, 7 teenagers had visions of the Virgin Mary. The apparitions have not been officially sanctioned by the Catholic Church like Fatima in Portugal or in Lourdes, France. The site is still a huge pilgrimage site and I was surprised at the number of tourists visiting the site on a rainy Tuesday in October. I was also surprised at the devotion of millions of people who truly believe in the apparitions. Many of the tourist there on the day we visited were Italians, which makes sense. It is relatively close and Italy is the home of the Pope.

Oliver and Owen Pose at the Outdoor Mass Complex

It would have been nice to have our mothers with us to visit the site. Sadly, both of them passed away, but we thought of them while we were there and got some holy water from the church for Nadia’s Aunt Silivia. We introduced Owen and Oliver to the concept of a Rosary and explained to them a bit about the Virgin Mary. I am no longer a believer, but I feel it is important that my children understand different religious beliefs because so many people in the world are still strongly religious.

Three of the seven still have visions or revelations and annually announce new messages from Mary. I am quite skeptical myself, as I don’t believe in anything supernatural. I am open to changing this view, but I didn’t feel or sense anything different when I was there. For me, I was happy for the village in regards to the help to the economy that the apparitions have brought, as well as the pilgrims, who come back from Medjugorje feeling refreshed and more spiritual.

I wouldn’t go back again but it was a very interesting stop. We did buy a couple of bottles of wine from the region, which are supposed to be very good.

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