Stella Mar Films was in Medjugorje again this week to document the ongoing apparitions and lead one of our pilgrimages. See our video below this report.
Many of our pilgrims decided to spend the night near the Blue Cross at the base of Apparition Hill to be close to visionary Mirjana Soldo when she experienced her monthly apparition on the morning of June 2, 2018—just as the cast of our film Apparition Hill did several years ago for the movie.
Throughout the night, they prayed and waited with joy beneath the clear, starry sky. Some tried to sleep on the rocky ground while others were determined to remain awake all night, but few were prepared for the whirlwind of emotions that swept through the area shortly after sunrise.
THE MEDJUGORJE EXPERIENCE
People come to Medjugorje for a variety of reasons ranging from curiosity to a yearning for stronger faith.
Our pilgrimage groups stay at the guesthouse run by Mirjana Soldo and her family, so, in the days leading up to the apparition, our pilgrims got to know her as the humble, kind-hearted woman that she is; Mirjana serves them meals, jokes with them, gives her testimony, and answers their questions.
Knowing her in this way made seeing her experience the apparition all the more special and profound.
Like many of our pilgrimages, we were blessed to have a high number of young people in attendance. They climbed Cross Mountain and Apparition Hill with our local guide, Miki Musa; they swam and canoed at our favorite outdoor restaurant located on a nearby river; they took part in the parish's religious program including Mass, Confession, and Adoration.
But when asked about the highlight of their trip, most of them talk about being at the June 2 apparition.
One highlight of bringing people to Medjugorje usually comes towards the end of the trip when we get to see the intense bonds that have developed in the group.
People who came together as strangers just a week before have now become like a family. Such a strong bond is formed, it seems, because they are not just together as travelers; they are together as pilgrims.
The bond is a spiritual one, and for many pilgrims, it lasts a lifetime.
The pilgrims who camped out at the Blue Cross were no exception. They stuck together through the night, and when morning came, they experienced an unfortunate reality of Medjugorje: a rush of other pilgrims who were determined to get the best possible vantage to experience the apparition.
As more and more people pushed their way through our group of pilgrims to be in front of them, our group tried to remain kind, remembering what they were there for. Other people who had spent the night nearby were more abrasive, and several loud arguments erupted between them and the newcomers.
"Basically we camped out all night to let other people have our spots," said one pilgrim, noting how difficult it was to feel peace as they were being shoved and stepped on by the newcomers who hadn't sacrificed a good night's sleep to be there.
Still, when visionary Mirjana Soldo reached the Blue Cross at around 8 AM and kneeled to pray in anticipation of the apparition, their peace began to return.
LET NOTHING DISTURB YOU
At around 8:30 AM, Mirjana suddenly took a deep breath and gazed up at the sky, enraptured by something only she could see. The visible pain in her face and body that had been evident just moments before was entirely gone.
Rebecca Phinney, 28, who had joined our group as a first-time pilgrim after reading Mirjana's autobiography My Heart Will Triumph, was enthralled by the experience after the uncomfortable night.
"When I read the book initially," she said, "I had no doubts that Mirjana was able to see Our Lady, but I didn’t realize that the grace of the apparition would be available to everyone physically present at the Blue Cross as well. When Mirjana began her apparition and silence fell over the crowd on the hill, it was evident that all the pilgrims in that place were having a powerful spiritual experience as well."
She and others, however, had not expected to hear several people in the enormous crowd around the Blue Cross start shrieking when the apparition began. As documented in Apparition Hill and our upcoming film Cross Mountain, many times during an apparition, a person will seem to have a sudden reaction to the presence of the Blessed Mother.
If you ask most locals about these disturbances, they believe that most of the people doing the screaming are either faking it for attention, or they suffer from some kind of mental illness.
But, the locals always add, they believe some of the people are demonically possessed. Because evil cannot be in the presence of holiness, they say, the possessed person (or whatever is inside them) acts out when Our Lady appears.
Regardless, the pilgrims on the hill that morning remained calm and tried to focus on the miracle before them, which could be seen so clearly in Mirjana's face and the tears running down her cheeks.
When Mirjana relayed the message she was given by the Virgin Mary, many of the pilgrims who had witnessed the pushing and fighting earlier felt that she was speaking directly to them in one particular part:
"As I am looking at you gathered around me, my heart is sad, because I see so little brotherly love, merciful love."
Let us all pray for more brotherly love to be present during the apparitions, and throughout the entire world.
Below, you will find our video of the June 2 apparition, which, we hope, will give you a glimpse into the beauty of what's happening in Medjugorje. And, below the video, we've posted the entire message given by Our Lady.
Message to Mirjana Soldo on June 2nd, 2018
"Dear children, I am calling you to accept my words which I am speaking to you as a mother, with a simplicity of heart, so that you may set out on the way of complete light and purity, of the singular love of my Son, man and God.
"A joy—a light indescribable in human words—will penetrate your soul and the peace and love of my Son will take hold of you. I desire this for all of my children. Therefore, you, apostles of my love, you who know how to love and forgive, you who do not judge, you whom I encourage, you be an example to all those who are not going on the way of light and love or who have diverted from it. By your life show them the truth. Show them love because love overcomes all difficulties, and all of my children thirst for love.
"Your unity in love is a gift to my Son and me. But, my children, remember that to love also means to desire the good for your neighbor and to desire conversion of your neighbor’s soul.
"As I am looking at you gathered around me, my heart is sad, because I see so little brotherly love, merciful love.
"My children, the Eucharist—my Son alive among you—His words will help you comprehend, because His word is life, His word makes the soul breathe, His word brings about cognition of love.
"Dear children, anew, I am imploring you as a mother who desires the good for her children: love your shepherds, pray for them. Thank you."
BREAKING NEWS: Vatican envoy speaks about Medjugorje
Speaking to the Polish Press Agency today, Mons. Henryk Hoser—who, on Thursday, was appointed by Pope Francis as a special Apostolic Visitor at the parish of Medjugorje—called the famous site of Marian apparitions "a prophetic and charismatic place of prayer for world peace."
Experience Medjugorje in our film Apparition Hill, now available on DVD/BLU-RAY and digital streaming. Click here.