Photo: Felix Carroll

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By Felix Carroll (Feb 2, 2010)
There is no delicate way of asking this: Is he delusional? Is he fibbing? Or is he really having visions of Our Lady?

It's one of the three. And it's ultimately up to the Church to decide.

But in the meantime, when 6:40 p.m. rolled around last Thursday at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass., a man with a Croatian accent stood up as scheduled and kneeled before the altar and appeared to be carrying on a two-way conversation with someone that no one else could see. He says it's Our Lady. He spent about 10 minutes in prayer, occasionally nodding his head and speaking softly.

The man, Ivan Dragicevic, 45, is one of the visionaries of the alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Our Lady has reportedly appeared to him daily at the same time since June 24, 1981.

Ivan was the special guest for the Shrine's monthly healing Mass on Jan. 28.

But before the Mass, before the alleged apparition, and before the Rosary began, Shrine Rector Fr. Anthony Gramlich, MIC, set the record straight.

"The Medjugorje apparitions," he told the standing-room-only crowd, "are presently neither officially approved by the Church as being of supernatural origin, nor are they condemned by the Church as being false or invalid. They are, at this time, in a type of middle category of evaluation referred to as non constat de supernaturalitate, which allows for personal belief in the authenticity of the apparitions along with personal, non-diocesan-sponsored pilgrimages to the apparition site, while the Church's official investigation is ongoing."

Father Anthony added, "The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy remains obedient to the final decision of the Holy See and, as with the Church, our position is to wait and see."

A Medjugorje History
Following Holy Mass, Ivan, through an interpreter, shared the history of the alleged apparitions and the message Our Lady has been giving him throughout the years. But first he asked how many in the crowd had visited Medjugorje, where 30 million pilgrims have flocked to ever since apparitions there were first reported.

At least half of the people in the Shrine raised their hands.

He was 16 when the alleged apparitions began. He described himself as a very quiet and shy boy who was attached to his family and who worked grueling days on the family farm and who loved to play soccer with his friends.

On June 24, 1981, on a hill known as Podbrdo, six children, including Ivan, saw what he described as "an incredibly beautiful young woman." The woman didn't speak to them but indicated that they should come closer to her. Though they identified her as Our Lady, they were frightened. Ivan, for one, ran home as fast as he could and shut himself in his bedroom.

The next day, the children agreed to meet once again at the same place in the hope of seeing her again. They were not disappointed.

"Our Lady was already there," Ivan said. "She was waving her hand telling us to come closer."

When one of the children asked her who she was, Ivan said she responded, "I am the Queen of Peace."

Ivan then spoke in general about Our Lady's message these 29 years. She calls for peace, he said. "Peace, peace, peace, and only peace!" he said, allegedly quoting her. "Peace must reign between God and man and between people."

She also continually stresses the need for a return to faith, he said. Conversion is another theme, Ivan said. He said she stresses that without a radical change of heart, mankind will not find peace. For this reason, Our Lady continually calls for confession at least once a month, he said. Prayer is another theme she continually stresses, he said. In particular, she calls for people to pray the Rosary and to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, which helps strengthen our faith and our relationship with God.

She also calls for fasting, which helps us to free ourselves from the slavery to sin, he said.

Our Lady's messages, he said, underline that peace is the greatest good, and that faith, conversion, prayer and fasting are the means by which we can attain it.

Why has Our Lady appeared so often and repeated the same messages? Ivan explained, "Every mother has to repeat things so that her children will not forget."

Here are some other things he said:

"She wants to bring hope to this tired world. She wants to bring hope to this entire mankind."

When he sees her each day, "behind her I can see the light of heaven."

"Our Mother prays for us. She intercedes with her Son for every one of us. She prays for our needs, for our problems, for our troubles, for our crosses, for your families."

'An Enormous Gift'
"My dear friends," Ivan said, "for the past 29 years I have been living in such graces. Truly God has given me an enormous gift." But he hastened to add, "I don't want any of you here this evening to look at me as a perfect man or a saint, because I am not. I have been trying to be better, to be holier."

He said, one question keeps going through his head these past 29 years: "Mother, why me?" he said.

He said he posed the question to Our Lady, and "she smiled and she said, 'My dear child, I am not looking for the best ones.'"

Of being a visionary, he said, "It is not easy and it is not simple to be with Our Lady every day, to talk with her every day ... and then, after meeting with her, return to the reality of this world."

As to his alleged vision that evening at the Shrine, he said Our Lady appeared happy. "She greeted us all," he said. "She opened her hands and prayed over all of us, particularly all who are sick."

One attendee said afterwards, "I believe Ivan, and I was struck by his humility and true heart. Perhaps he claimed he was not the 'best' and was perplexed as to why Our lady had come to him. He speaks with true heart, prays with true heart, and loves with true heart. What could be any better than that? "

In an interview before the healing Mass, Fr. Anthony said, "Even if people come out of curiosity, that's fine! God can work in people's lives when they just crack the door open a little bit in their hearts. I've heard of so many conversions from Medjugorje from people who just went out of curiosity. God accepts any intentions, even if it's just people who are curious.

"We still leave the final decision of Medjugorje up to the Church, and the way the Church discerns a private revelation is to see the fruits of it," Fr. Anthony said. "Anything that bears good fruit comes from God. Anything that bears bad fruit is not from God. There've been so many good fruits from Medjugorje. There have been so many conversions and vocations that have come from it, and the Church considers these in its discernment process. That's why we just need to be open."

The healing Mass was the first major event of the Golden Jubilee (1960-2010) of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy.

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Elizabeth - Mar 19, 2012

The way I see it, nothing is being said contrary to our faith. Asking us to pray and sacrifice. . . sounds biblical. The key to me is the message. The Church will decide in time. Apparitions are always accepted by the faithful before the Church makes her final judgment. Relax and trust in the Lord and his Church. If this isn't from heaven, I think the Lord has proven he will use and has in fact used it for good.

Bill Manzano - Sep 1, 2011

This is the second time I went on this site. In my first visit, I never had a chance to read comments but the article alone. Today it seems we are all in confusion if not in question whether the apparition is authentic or not. But as we sail along the event. I noticed that majority of us leaves behind the real essence of being a devotee or an apostle of the Divine Mercy. And that is to spread God's Love and Mercy. I do not say that we should not give so much emphasis on the Mahjorie. In fact, I encourage all of us to do so. I encourage all of us to pray the rosary every day as we do here in the Philippines. I encourage all of us to do the weekly Block Rosary as we do in our community. But to cling adhesively on the issue and to question the action of the priest seems to stray our way. And I hope we can contemplate on this part of the diary where Jesus said:

Only a Screen
Today, the Lord has been teaching me, once again, how I am to approach the Sacrament of Penance: My daughter, just as you prepare in My presence, so also you make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyze what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light (Diary, 1725).

I hope we can apply this to our current scenario. We may not be in confession, but still the priest is behind this activity. Here in the Philippines especially in our group we have high respect for the priest. Because it is etched in our heart that no matter what they do and what they say, still they are vicar of Jesus and they represent no less than Jesus.

I agree we have to wait for the Rome to decided on the matter and let it happen as all of us wish it to happen. But, time and again LET US STAND FIRM AND BE UNITED FOR THE CHURCH, FOR WE ARE THE CHURCH OURSELVES. Every catholic is a brick of the church the brick that unites, the brick that ties.

Lastly, let us not forget on our main responsibility. To promote God's Love and Mercy. As I had been telling our members/apostles. Trials, pains, issues, sufferings, desolation and everything we will battle. But we should not forget to stay focus. For we are created by God for his purpose. Let us all find that purpose of God for us and as we find it. Soldier on! and accomplish the mission. The mission of spreading God's Love and Mercy.

anna - May 30, 2010

It took the Church many years before aproving of The Fatima message. With medjugorie, I believe there is lot of church politics envolved. Now I pray those that really want the truth will be faithful to see if this is truly from God or men.Remmeber Jesus was crucified because it was expidient for the high priests for our Lord to die. Let us pray for those who are investigating these apparitions, and may our merciful Lord will either bless it or be done with it.

Jo-Ann Pesino - May 24, 2010

Mary ALWAYS leads us to Jesus, and that is what she is doing in Medjugorje. I had the great grace to visit the site in February 2001. What tremendous peace! In February the town was basically empty of pilgrims, but the residents of Medjugorge filled St. James Church to overflowing every night of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and all the masses were overflowing! Literally elbow room only! As I said, these people were not pilgrims, but townspeople! So many conversions, so many prayer groups, so many souls returning to confession after years of being away from God, so many lives changed for the better - all by God's grace through His mother's apparitions and messagesin Medjugorje. Please don't stifle the Holy Spirit! Find out for yourselves, if you dare that your lives may be changed forever for the better.

Mary is the mediatrix and co-redemtrix. - Apr 11, 2010

This has NOT be established as offical dogma, nor is it in the bible. I am concerned that my brothers and sisters in Christ are focusing on Mary and Not on Jesus. Jesus is Mercy himself, not Mary. Open wide the doors to Christ!

Clancey - Apr 2, 2010

What is the matter with these people and their comments?? 29yrs. of peoples' lives being changed for the good of God. My life included, w/o going into detail; suffice it to say that judging and contempt of those who profess promotion of Mary and her Son is a pitiful demonstration of Faith in what is Holy.

erin - Feb 23, 2010

Our Lady brings such Peace and her apparitions thru history have always called for conversion,prayer and fasting for such peace. Have any of you been to Medjugorie? Medjugorie changed my life, I have found that peace and the Joy we know only Jesus and Mary can give to us. One thought, You will know it by it's fruits. We have new vocations, healings physically,spiritually and emotionally and most important conversions and return to the sacraments. Praise God, that our good Father full of Mercy,allows us to know his son Jesus thru Mary. Thank you Father Anthony a devoted Marian priest for allowing this Medjugorie experience

Pat - Feb 15, 2010

Having been to Medjugorje 13 years ago, I can tell you firsthand that it was a place of great peace and prayerfulness. There were elderly Polish women climbing barefoot up Mt. Krizevac as they recited their rosaries. I thought Father Slavko Barbaric was one of the kindest, most prayerful priests I have known. His loss was a tremendous one. Pope John Paul was all for anything that brought people to prayer and to God, especially through the intercession of Mary whom he credited with saving his life through her intercession. Whether it is an approved Marian apparition or not, it has brought many to conversion, many to the priesthood and many to a peaceful place with God in their lives. What could possibly be wrong with that? Additionally, I saw Ivan speak at a conference many years ago in Lowell, MA. I can't imagine anyone who lives in our secular world who would willingly continue to carry the burden of being a visionary on their backs for this many years without having been called to it, unless they were a recluse or had a need for attention. I don't see evidence of that in any of the Medjugorje visionaries. We will all have to wait for the Vatican's decision, but in the meantime there is nothing that contradicts Church teachings in the messages of the visionaries nor is there anything wrong with something that increases our prayers and our relationships with God. Be careful of those who do not support their opinions with facts such as Mr. Jones or the Bishop. And facts are oftentimes twisted and made to look like something other than the truth. Be careful of Satan; his delight is to separate us from God...

A servant of Jesus and Mary - Feb 9, 2010

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what dissent the evil one has caused. Holy Mother Church says to test everything and keep what is good. Bishops are entrusted with many souls. Priests are entrusted with many souls. Bishops and Priest need to feed all these souls as best they can. For all those children who do not like this meal, well, we will pray for you. For all those who like this meal, may God use you as an instrument of His Mercy and Love. All praise be to the Holy Trinity in its infinite goodness, amen.

Mary is the mediatrix and co-redemtrix. Jesus came through her Immaculate Heart and we must return through the same gateway-Her Immaculate Heart. Her way is the easiest and fastest way to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Priests often say "Not everyone receives visions or locutions or any supernatural act. It is by faith that we are to live." History has shown that the evil one can trick people into thinking they are seeing something. But if after testing these things they persist then wait and see - test everything and keep what is good. Human nature is not perfect. God can use whomever he so pleases.

Parents have to repeat themselves more than once. Why should God the Father and Mary Immaculate be any different?

Try it for yourself and see if things change. Be prepared for the greatest struggle of your life because once the evil one feels his grip getting loose, he will try as hard as he can to keep your soul in the state of darkness.

Rest assured the United Hearts of Jesus and Mary will never leave your side.

Peace be with everyone, amen.

Marie-Therese - Feb 9, 2010

This is the 2nd time that I am making a comment as my conversion experience at Medjugorie has turned into a veritable vocation for me-I now work for a divine mercy radio and Tv station, spreading the peace and love that our Lady of Medjugorie wants all God's children to have. I am a good fruit from Medjugorie. Praise be God forever.

Patrick - Feb 9, 2010

I went to Medjugorje in 1986 I was compeled to go anyone who goes to Medjugorje does not go out of curiosity it is a personal invite from a beloved mother.
since then I have fallen many times and she has never abandoned me and never will she is our mother from before we exsisted and will be our mother forever.
momma and only momma can lead you to divine happiness threw the holy Rosary, I seen many personal miracles in Medjugorje,and wish I didn't let her down as much as I do.
If you feel you want to go to Medjugorje she is calling you GO, and don't listen to the prince of lies who will give you every excuse under the sun not to go.

DC - Feb 9, 2010

To compare this man to JEsus or Mary is not apples and oranges but saints and sinners there should be hard questions asked those who were there may felt a presence but as far as i can tell the only one to see anything was the allege visooinary. its too much to ask one to believe which is why the church doesn't require belief in this sort of stuff

Leonard J. Nugent - Feb 9, 2010

If I ever had an apparition I would put myself under the obedience of my bishop. If my bishop did not believe in it neither would I and whoever was appearing to me would just have to go find a diocese that had a bishop who would believe. Bishop Pavao Zanic died in unbelief. Could it be that there is a shortage of tilmas in heaven?

Karen - Feb 8, 2010

Jesus had His detractors throughout His life and crucifixion - and even after His resurrection they said the Apostles stole His body. Our Lady has suffered the same fate from - worst of all - her own, even though Jesus entrusted His work, the Church, to her while He hung on the cross.

SHE is the "Woman" of Apocalypse 12, of Genesis 3,... the "Woman" who initiated Jesus' public ministry (our redemption) at Cana, and the "Woman" to whom He entrusted US at His death. OF COURSE she comes to guide us back to Him when we stray!

Yet, every single apparition - with the same basic requests - is challenged FOR YEARS! Do you know it took 30 years for the Fatima apparitions to reach the USA?
How sad is that? How many died in WWII?
How many died in the following wars?

Our Lady ALWAYS asks us to return to Jesus' teachings, to repent, go to confession and receive the sacraments, and to pray, especially the Rosary.

Why wouldn't she come to each nation? We are all her children. SHE is the one HUMAN BEING who has kept herself entirely for God - the leader of all of us - our Captian - our Mediatrix.

In HIS Divine Mercy, He has given us one who can speak for us - and one who can speak to us for Him.


But OUR pride sees none of this. It judges the Mother of God! How dare she?

Pray the Rosary! POPES promote the Rosary, bestowing many blessings on it. HISTORY proves its power - nations have been saved by it!

Yes, Our Lady comes to us - Thank God!

Erica T - Feb 8, 2010

After all that the Marians have done for Holy Mother Church over the years and most especially in the spreading of the message of Divine Mercy I can't believe anyone would say they would turn their back on them because of this particular gentlemen. Is that how little these holy men mean to you? Is that how little Divine Mercy means to you? The Marians are acting in good faith and as they said from the start, they are awaiting the Church's decision on this matter. I have no doubt that they will respect the decision no matter what the outcome. The people who witnessed the miracle of the sun at Fatima didn't have the official stamp of approval from the Vatican the day they stood in that field, are they just as terrible in your eyes? Let's pray for clarity, try to be understanding of one another and meditate on Jesus' words in Mark 9:40, "For whoever is not against us is for us," before we start crucifying the Marians.

AC - Feb 7, 2010

That seems unlikely. Too many conversions have already happened and 30 million have visited Medjugorje since the alleged apparitions started in 1981.

Leonard Nugent - Feb 7, 2010

I asked a friend of mine, a Dominican sister what she thought the church would do about these apparitions and she told me something I hadn't thought of. She said that the most likely thing is that the church will pass over them without approval or disaproval. They will simply run their course and fade away

Br. Angelo - Feb 6, 2010

Doug, if it is a fraud, it sure has bore a lot of fruit by bringing many souls back to Jesus, like myself, and called many men to the priesthood, like Fr. Donald Calloway and others. In other words, if it is the work of the evil one, he sure is doing a lousy job.

Doug - Feb 5, 2010

Based on the report from their Bishop we have to go with fraud. Sad to see they even let him conduct this without approval of the apparition from Rome.

Wondering - Feb 5, 2010

The problem is that there are many alternative explanations, much more plausible, than the one claimed by the alleged visionaries. This has a a "carnival" feel about it, making faith into a sideshow and distracting people from stillness, solitude, and interiorness.

Br. Angelo - Feb 4, 2010

Leonard, the messages haven't stopped, stopped, stopped because everyone isn't listening, listening, listening so we need to continue praying, praying, praying. This is the time or mercy right now. It's up to each of us to live out our Christian faith the best that we can by becoming apostles of Divine Mercy. Believe me, I'm not there yet and I'm glad I have a mother in heaven who continues to tell me to pray, pray, pray.

Leonard Nugent - Feb 4, 2010

Bishop Pavo Zanic, the bishop of Mostar when all of this started went to his grave in unbelief. The Mother of God has sucessfully eluded any kind of descision by her Son's church for nearly 29 years? When do you suppose the message to pray, pray, pray is going to stop, stop, stop, so the church can decided, decide, decide?

Forrest B. - Feb 4, 2010

Judy -- Well said. Thanks. God bless you all!

judy - Feb 3, 2010

Think a moment you all apparently believe in the message of Divine Mercy which was banned by the Church for sometime. I have for many years but I know many people who think it is "silliness" including many priest. I am not a real preponent of Medjugorje but am too waiting for the Church's final decision on the matter. Please let us be respectful to those who have found value in the Medjugorje message and who have become closer to God through it. As Catholics we have enough critics and detractors in this world we shouldn't be that to each other.

Jim - Feb 3, 2010

Dear Dom, Bringing people to the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy on Divine Mercy Sunday (thereby enabling them to receive the incredible Grace of Divine Mercy Sunday - the complete remission of the temporal punishment due to sin - in addition to all the other graces that the Lord can give for making such a pilgrimage) is a beautiful act of mercy. You would be a tremendous instrument of the Lord's Mercy.

Dom - Feb 3, 2010

I also was disappointed as Leonard when I came on this site and read this article. I personaly have concerns about Medjugorje and am awaiting the decision of the Church. I visited this site to get information on a pilgrimmage I am trying to organize to come there on Divine Mercy Sunday. But now I have to take some time to re-think this.

Leonard Nugent - Feb 3, 2010

I have a list of 14 people who were condemnd by the nazi's. The german appeals courts recommended they be given mery but Adolph Hitler over ruled it and had them executed. I've been enrolling a few every month and I call it my mercy project. I suffered a strong temptation to stop enrolling them here and do it somewhere else because of this recent medjugorje silliness. I suppose the enemy of mankind would enjoy that little victory so I'll continue.

Leonard Nugent - Feb 3, 2010

It's a little disappointing that the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy has inserted itself into an issue not settled by the church. It gives a kind of credibility to it that it should not have.

Jo-Ann Pesino - Feb 3, 2010

The peace Our Lady brought was palpable that night. It cloaked my husband and me and permeated us. That peace stayed with us all of Friday and into the weekend. How beautiful our dear Mother is. How great our God is! Thank you Fr. Anthony for cooperating with God's grace and giving us this most beautiful evening. I pray we all carry this gift into our lives and live our Lady's message of peace, peace, peace each day.

Wondering - Feb 3, 2010

Felix, your lead is terrific: those are the three possibilities here — delusion, fraud, or authenticity.