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Town of Medjugorje Site of Alleged Apparitions of the Virgin Mary

By Catholic Online
March 18th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Medjugorje or "Between the Hills" is a village in the southern part of Herzegovina in the present-day state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The area is famous due to a series of reported visions of the Virgin Mary that began in 1981 and continues today. Although the apparitions have not been validated by the Catholic Church, the Shrine of the Queen of Peace at Medjugorje attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists each year.

LOS ANGELS, CA (Catholic Online) - The reported visions at Medjugorje began on June of 1981. Near the area now called Apparition Hill, six Croatian children saw a beautiful young woman with a child in her arms. She was silent, but gestured for them to come closer.

The following day, four of the same children and two different ones returned to the hill in hopes of seeing the lady again. There was a sudden flash of light, and the lady appeared again, this time without the child. The children kneeled and prayed the rosary, and the lady prayed with them -- except for the Hail Mary.

On the third day, the vision identified herself as the Blessed Virgin Mary. On the fifth day, a large crowd gathered for the vision, but only the children saw it. On the sixth day, a miraculous healing occurred. On the seventh day, the Virgin appeared to the children away from the original apparition site.

Each of the visionaries has also reported that the Virgin has disclosed either nine or 10 "secrets" to them. The three visionaries who have received all 10 secrets no longer receive daily visions, but annual visions on their birthday, anniversary of the visions, or Christmas, respectively.

Unlike most reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary, the children of Medugorje reported that she appeared to them regularly for more than a decade, no matter where they traveled. None of the visionaries has become a monk or nun. Several of them are married with children, and one lives part-time in Massachusetts.

The parish church of St. James was rebuilt and consecrated on January 19, 1969. After the apparitions began in 1981, the church and the surrounding area were gradually developed and expanded.

The St. James Parish Church of Medjugorje is the focus of worship and prayer for both the local parish and visiting pilgrims. A marble statue of the Queen of Peace, which became a symbol of the Medjugorje Shrine, was erected in 1987 at the square in front of the church.

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