St. James Church, a furnace of prayer
(c)Mary TV 2011
July 13, 2011
St. HenryDear Family of Mary!"Dear children; God the Father is sending me to show you the way of salvation, because He, my children, desires to save you and not to condemn you. That is why I, as a mother, am gathering you around me, because with my motherly love I desire to help you to be free of the dirtiness of the past and to begin to live anew and differently. I am calling you to resurrect in my Son. Along with confession of sins renounce everything that has distanced you from my Son and that has made your life empty and unsuccessful. Say 'yes' to the Father with the heart and set out on the way of salvation to which He is calling you through the Holy Spirit. Thank you. I am especially praying for the shepherds (priests), for God to help them to be alongside you with a fullness of heart." (May 02, 2011) There is one shepherd who has stayed "alongside" Medjugorje for many years - Fr. Jozo. In her talk for the 30th Anniversary, Marija spoke most glowingly of Fr. Jozo's pastoring during the early years of the apparitions. Here is what she shared: "It was important to know that Father [Jozo] did not believe in the apparitions [when they first began]. He was in a monastery in Croatia when the apparitions began. So when he got closer to his parish he heard the news that Our Lady was appearing near Medjugorje. He came to Mostar and he discovered that it was his parish that was having these apparitions! And he finally came to Medjugorje. He learned that there were six children living in his parish who were on Podbrdo at that time who were able to see Our Lady. He was really shocked! He had just arrived as parish priest to Medjugorje only three months before the apparitions. Now he was being treated badly by the communists because of these apparitions.
Wherever he had been as a priest, he tried to meet young people to help them to pray. He was renewing the churches...that was his desire. He did the same thing with the parish in Medjugorje. But in that prayer group...none of the visionaries were in that prayer group that Fr. Jozo had started in his parish. Vicka's sister was a member of that prayer group. Then Fr. Jozo met with them because he knew them in the prayer group, and he asked them, 'Who are these young people?' Vicka's sister, Ana, said, 'One of them is Vicka, my sister.' And he said to her, 'Is it really Our Lady appearing to her?' And Vicka's sister said, 'Yes! My sister is not lying because the truth is always respected in our home. And we always pray to God.'
"Fr. Jozo was a little skeptical, because he saw all the people coming to the parish were passing right by the church and going up to the hill! And many times he would even say, 'What is it in those stones, in those bushes that you find that you don't find in the church?' Thanks be to God! We can thank God for each one of those stones, because thanks to those stones and those thorny bushes, Our Lady, the Mother of God, has chosen that hill and so many hearts have been changed. And they have all embraced and accepted the invitation for holiness.
"And then when they [the authorities] forbid us to go to the hill, we asked Our Lady what we should do. She told us to go to the church: 'You will be protected there.' And we asked Our Lady that three times, because Fr. Jozo was skeptical and didn't want us to be near the church. He didn't want us there. But Our Lady told us 'Go to the church! You will be protected there.' And in those moments we went to the church in the parish of Medjugorje. At that time in the afternoon there was no evening program. There was no adoration. No prayer for healing. There was no blessing of religious articles. There was no evening Mass. And it was all that that Our Lady was desiring! And now when we pray 7 Our Fathers, Hail Mary's and Glory Be's, and the Creed, that we say on our knees after holy Mass every single evening, that prayer is the prayer of thanksgiving for Our Lady being with us all these years.
"Thank you, Lord, for the presence of Our Lady! Thank you for her presence in our church in Medjugorje. Thank you that we built such a big church. Today this church is too small. Thanks be to God for that...that our ancestors built such a beautiful church. And they built the beautiful cross on Cross Mountain where every single pilgrim is invited to go and pray the Way of the Cross....There we started living the passion of Our Lord in a very special way.Now we come back to the church where we came for the first time [running from the authorities]. It was the afternoon, the moment of apparition. We thought that it would be Our Lady who would open the doors to us, because at that time the doors would be locked. But we found the doors open. Fr. Jozo was inside praying in the church. He was praying, asking the God, 'Lord, give me a sign if this is from you. You are here present in the tabernacle on the altar. But all those people they go to the hill, and they ignore you here in the Church.' But Our Lady had wanted all those people to go to the church. She drove even us to the church. When we entered the church Father opened the Bible where it says, 'These are my beloved children.' At that moment we entered the church and he realized that we were the beloved children. He was able to hear in his heart the voice of the Holy Spirit saying 'Protect them.' And in that moment we started praying. He hugged us. We hugged him. And we started to pray together. And that prayer was the most beautiful prayer of my whole life. We were praying with our parish priest in our church. We prayed together with our parish priest and Our Lady appeared to us. And Our Lady told us, 'Invite your parish priest to celebrate Holy Mass.' And we started living Holy Mass." (Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti. June 24, 2011 at St. James Church) We can see how the Lord used the negative behavior of the police to move the focus of the apparitions from the hill to the church and how Our Lady was able to institute the evening program of prayer and Holy Mass at St. James through this one event. The children fled to Fr. Jozo for protection. And he was guided by God to protect them. And from that night onwards, Mass was celebrated in the church and the rosary was prayed. That furnace of prayer has continued to this day in Medjugorje. It is the program of prayer that Our Lady desires, a program of intercession that is now changing the world.
In Jesus and Mary!
PS. You can watch Marija's witness on our webpage, www.marytv.tvIt is in the video folder entitled "30th Anniversary Videos". Just scroll down in that window to"Marija, June 24, 2011"