My Medjugorje Story

So Mark (the Dark Lord Shea-uman) Shea is getting himself worked up into a delightful lather over there at his most illustrious and famous and much loved blog over his skepticism about Medjugorje. He shares that skepticism with a whole team of male, American Catholic bloggers who haven’t visited Medjugorje (and usually can’t spell it)

A Medjugorje devotee from MinistryValues writes:

But across the “Pond” in the United States there is a different view of Medjugorje and the gate keepers of Catholic opinion seem to work almost in a conspiratorial manner to quell any interest or trust in Mejdugorje. The who’s who of Catholic opinion makers, journalist and bloggers are eerily similar in their skepticism and condemnation. Two things the opinion makers have in common – 1. They have never been to Medjugorje and 2. They are all men.

Patrick Madrid, Patrick Coffin, Mark Shea, Greg Kandra, Pat &Matthew Archbold, Jim Akin, Kevin Knight at New Advent, and the editors of Catholic Culture and the National Catholic Register.

Happily I can burst his bubble. I am 1.) a man 2.) friends, colleagues and admirer of most of the blokes listed above 3.) American 4.) blogger type BUT (and it’s a big but) I have been to Medjugorje and I know how to spell it. Furthermore, I had a pretty cool and spooky experience there. For my Medjugorje story and what I make of it Read more.

  • Jonathan Cariveau

    Question for you Father, that with so much misinformation floating about, the answer has been somewhat lost on me. Do the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin at Medjugorje stand condemned by the Bishop of the town? I’ve heard rumors that they have been already and the faithful and some Priests have been bucking it.

    Obviously the Apostolic See hasn’t stepped in to issue a declaration about these Apparitions, but if the Bishop condemned it that’s good enough reason for me to avoid it.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      I am not up to date on the prohibitions by either the local bishop or the Vatican.

      • Chad Myers

        Jimmy Akin just recently (late last year) did a lengthy podcast on the subject recounting all the events since the beginning. He just recently (this month) did a blog post that addresses events that have occurred since that podcast aired. I suggest everyone check that as he does a VERY thorough job going through all the events and the various statements by the various Bishops of Mostar-Duvno and the Holy See on the matter.

        The website of the Diocese of Mustar-Duvno also has up-to-date information:

      • Chad Myers
    • Gladstone

      My dad had gave me his copy of the title cited below. Until completing it, I found myself unable to put this book down. A short time later, during private prayer before falling asleep, I renounced any credence I had ever given to this undertaking. (and frankly, had paid little attention to it in 7 or 8 years, anyway. ) A significant degree of peace was added to my daily life from that moment onward. May the spirit of good Bishop Zanic rest in peace; his defense of the truth and his flock were heroic.
      The Medjugorje Deception – Culture Wars
      E. Michael Jones, Ph.D. The Medjugorje Deception: Queen of Peace, Ethnic Cleansing, Ruined Lives.

    • johnkonnor72
  • Ttony

    “My own opinion is that something authentic happened there at some point, but that it has been infected with human ego, greed and probably a concerted attack by Satan. The waters have been muddied. Bad stuff has now happened to discredit the events. Whatever transpires, I will accept the church’s decision and don’t really mind one way or another.”

    Very, very, wise words, Father, which I and maybe another 0.1% of Catholics interested in the Medjugorje phenomenon sign up to wholeheartedly.

    • William H

      Agreed. And even if the Church decides it is authentic, it does not mean that anyone has to put much belief in a Private Revelation. Case in point; I feel more drawn to Lourdes and Guadelupe than to Fatima. And there is nothing wrong with that.

      • James H, London

        Seconded. I personally know someone healed of the after-effects of a stroke at Medj. Though I think it authentic, I think there may have been some manipulation of the visionaries at an early stage (personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if it involved Tomislav Vlasic).

        I think we shouldn’t put too much faith in any private revelation. Particularly since some of the most vicious, anti-Vatican II Catholics are Fatima crusaders who insist that Russia is still communist.

  • Leticia Velasquez

    I spoke to the superior of a well known orthodox religious order. You know this order. He said privately that he believes that Medjugorje us authentic because he heard confessions and witnessed the authentic fruits of conversion.
    I spent Holy Week 1987 there and had a number of mystical experiences like Father Longnecker. My family and I had a reawakening of our faith which has lasted till the present. I know a priest who received his vocation during one of the apparitions. These priests and I will submit to the judgement of Church authorities, but we remain optimistic that the apparitions at Medjugorje will be approved. No one should judge it unless they have been there.

  • SteveD

    I should be very confused if the apparitions are ruled to be non-authentic. I have had several very strange experiences in that place that confirmed my faith to a degree that I couldn’t not believe in the reality of God even if I wanted to. I can only put the experiences down to supernatural intervention and I really can’t see Satan being interested in encouraging me to have a deeper love for Our Lady, increasing my midweek Mass attendances, saying the Rosary much more frequently and having a much more tender conscience which were among the fruits of my visits. I can also say that some of these experiences were shared with others and so I am convinced were not subjective/imagined.

  • terry nelson

    Thanks Father for your Medjugorje story. I’ve never been there, had no desire to do so, but the phenomenon has interested me, and generally, I see nothing wrong with it – I know the criticism but I have no way to substantiate any of the stories, which is why I await the official conclusions of the Church authorities. I’ve been to many other apparition sites around the world, gatabandal, San Damiano, Fatima, Lourdes, and I can only vouch for Fatima and Lourdes as regards modern apparitions.

    That said, I have heard numerous stories such as yours, and I have met very holy people, priests, laity, religious, who quietly believe in the autheticity of the apparitions and spiritual graces which seem to flow from Medjugorje – which is why I remain open to the possibility that the phenomenon is true. I’m not qualified to pass judgement upon the events, and I would never claim as others do that the works are diabolical.

    Thanks for posting your experience.

  • veritas

    Unless I am mistaken there have been many statements made by the seers at Medjugorje that contradict the teaching of the Church. However, I would not know where to look up all that was said there. I believe it was things to do with all religions being the same etc etc. Perhaps somebody who has more information they me can enlighten us.

    I also have been told that the local bishop has repeatedly condemned it.

    Please be careful about so-called mystical experiences associated with the site. Satan is quite capable of mimicry. What matters is what has been said by the seers.

    • Nell

      Please do not discredit what might be from God by saying you think there have many statements made by the seers at Medjugorje that contradict the teaching of the Church.. Always use correct info when discrediting please. I think you will have a hard time finding this. Conversions are the best fruit from Medugorje!

  • Todd Flowerday

    The witnessing of the sun “spinning” can be duplicated in many conditions. The human eye will adapt to the overload of light, and small eye movements will create the illusion of spinning. A true miracle? That would be a friend’s agnostic wife becoming Catholic and conceiving their first child. But that was the grace of God as much as a particular time and place. The bad fruit? People who returned from Medjugorje as embittered as ever.

  • Observer

    Let me interject. You can see the same thing happening with the Church. She has a supernatural event (though, in my case I’ve went from belief to unbelief. So, I’m only speaking on the premise of who she is, what she stands for, and what was done and said to which Christ put upon the Apostles to today for her life.) – a supernatural event of Christ being present through the once and for all Sacrafice in the Mass. Now, a lot of people do not question nor does the Church say anything contrary on either the level of private revelation or anyone’s conversion to the Church through and by the presence of Christ.

    If you will think for a moment, the Bride is where the miracle occurs. Mary (the model and image of the Church – likened to the Bride’s Mother-in-Law. You could even say the Church similarily is betrothed to Christ as Mary was to St. Joseph and yet espoused to the Holy Spirit. That is, Christ is true God and true man to whom his Bride is fully betrothed through the by-proxy of the Priesthood [as St. Jospeh served.] You could even say a Josephied Priesthood.)

    Anyways trying to steer away from a tangent, the Church stands where the miracle occurs as Mary always is present where Christ is (that God became man.) In the comparitive case of the Church and Mary from which the inquiry stirs upon Apparitions (i.e. the Church appears where the miracle of God’s Salvation occurs as Mary did on the initial point God’s only begotten Son became her’s. She, consquently from point of the event, bears the title of Co-Redemptrix and not the Redemptrix That God afforded Mary the life of espousalship and being full of Grace; she didn’t do this without Him an don her own.)

    So, likewise, the Church inherits the same role, and yet in a totally unique fashion (she is the Bride of Christ; her espousalship is to Christ.) The Holy Spirit through the Espousalship of Mary (a pretext and precursor for the Church) made it so that Christ may become present in the Mass through Mary’s intercession as the Immaculate Conception (her whole life spoke as an advocate to God for the Salvation of Souls, which by the way, entreated the Holy Spirit to her – think of her very description from St. John in Revelation “clothed with the sun and the moon at her feet…and crowned with Twelve Stars – a precursor, image, and model for the Church. Because, she wanted to love and serve God out of absolute true love and fidelity [a pure free gift of free-will. And God knew this as St. Jeremiah understood God knew him even in his mother's womb. God was with her so that He may become with us - Immanuel.])

    Alright, getting to the point, anything which God does is always going to be put into jeopardy by those who do not like (or even hate him.) When the true miracle surrounds the Church where Christ is present, there are all her adversaries (including the devil to do some outrageous and nutty things to and around her. The same with apparitions, God enstrengthen’s our faith and firm resolve to be faithful, diligent, and uncompromising in our faith.

    And so with Fr. Longnecker and many other people’s experience, God, in the midst of controversy, scandal, sin, misinformation, and a whole host of other pandemics set against God’s love and salvation for souls, provides in the fullness of Grace the assistance necessary for the soul to make his pilgrim trip home (as the Prodigal son – all of us are really prodigal children.) Remember, Jesus (God saves) through Mary and His Church (His betrothed Bride through the Holy Spirit) brings about salvation so that He became with us (Immanuel.)

  • Mary Ann Kreitzer

    I’ve been to Medjugorje, I can spell it, and I don’t believe it’s authentic. The Holy Spirit can work through the faith of the people who go there even if nothing supernatural took place. And I wonder how many stories there are of people who came back from M. and lost their faith. Why would you hear about them? Would people who just stopped going to Church, or whose marriages broke up, or who got involved in something seriously sinful after M. be blogging about it?

    Nice stories are great and I’m delighted for anyone whose faith grows after a visit to M., but I can’t believe in a phenomenon that treats the Blessed Mother like a vending machine of fortune-cookie banalities especially when the lives of the seers are so unlike what happened following apparitions like Fatima and Lourdes.
    If the Church says M. authentic I accept it. I wonder what the M. enthusiasts will do if the Church says it’s not.

    • Dave

      Why would someone go to Medjugorje and lose their faith? That’s almost absurd. I know hundreds of people who have been to Medjugorje, and I don’t know a single person who had their faith downgraded due to going there. Not everyone converts, of course, but I don’t know of a case where someone actually LOST their faith going there, though I grant there might be a handful.

      “I can’t believe in a phenomenon that treats the Blessed Mother like a vending machine of fortune-cookie banalities”…..uhhhh, ok. I have found the messages to be considerably deeper than fortune cookies. It isn’t as if the messages of Lourdes, Fatima, and Guadalupe were all that profound. They were simple, and true. Mary doesn’t come to teach Masters level theology courses.

      “the lives of the seers are so unlike what happened following apparitions like Fatima and Lourdes.”
      You mean, they didn’t die young? Please fill us in on the scandalous lifestyles of the visionaries. The worst I’ve heard is that Ivan married a beauty queen, and has a nice house in Massachusetts.

      I’m not certain that the visions are authentic, and am content to wait for the commission to render judgment, but your criticisms here don’t have legs.

    • Elinor Dashwood

      The Church HAS said that the visions are not genuine. The competent authority in the case of a reported apparition is the local bishop. The local bishop said years ago that the visions were not genuine, and that is that.

  • Nell

    Dear Father Longnecker,
    I am wondering what you meant by this:
    “My own opinion is that something authentic happened there at some point, but that it has been infected with human ego, greed and probably a concerted attack by Satan. The waters have been muddied. Bad stuff has now happened to discredit the events”

    Just as Judas interferred with Jesus, we have to expect interferance from the Evil One
    through humans. Interference doesn’t make the messenger wrong or invalid.

    I believe that Our Lady is very present there-both in 1985 for my first pilgrimage and in 2010 for my second pilgrimage.
    I didn’t mind the change in accomadations, especially from a hole in the ground to indoor plumbing !!–I think the villagers and ALL pilgrims appreciate this too! It is true that materialism can interfer with spirituality, we know that too well in the west. Are any of us willing to revert to outside plumbing to enhance our holiness? :)

    The gift shops are numerous now, so are the pilgrims numerous who are looking for religious articles to buy to bring back home to share with loved ones. My friends appreciated my gifts from Medjugorje. The restaurants are plentiful–only one pizza joint when I was there in 1985. Sure makes eating easier especially with the thousands who visit Medugorje daily. All this has helped the people of Medugorje prosper, hopefully like us – all for God’s Glory:) …..

    I describe my first pilgrimage to Medjugorje as being like PM and AM.

    PM-Prior Medjugorje…I prayed once in awhile. I went to Mass every Sunday. I had devotion to the saints and to Our Lady when I wanted something, I asked them to help..not too often though. Like the night sky (PM), I was interested in the stars (saints) and the moon (our Lady, who gets all her light from the sun/son).

    AM-After Medjugorje, it was like the sun came up ! The Son, in the Eucharist was reintroduced to me by His Mother. The Mother of Medjugorje and her messages changed my life. One big change was accepting more children, nine in all. Priorities changed greatly after my pilgrimage to Medjugorje. I would go again in a heartbeat. It’s the most peaceful place on earth–Heaven on earth.
    Nell in Canada

  • sacerdos viennensis

    I was in Medjugorje 1982 shortly after the beginning of the apparitions. The messages of our Lady touched my heart, so I started to pray and to fast. In 2003 I was ordained and I owe my priesthood to Mary and the apparitions. She helped me to find Jesus, the church, the sacraments. Medjugorje is a place where convertions take place, where people beginn to pray. I often go there with groups because the fruits are numerous.

  • Fr. Jay Finelli

    Thanks for your post Father!
    I had also written something about my experiences on April 25th.

  • steve ryan

    Not sure whose “bubble is bursting” Mark Shea’s or’s’
    My charge was most critics of Medjugorje have not been there – Fr. Longnecker, as i read the story, was a bit of a skeptic before going to Medjugorje but returned from with a positive feeling.
    I think this was the point of my article

    stephen k ryan

  • steve ryan is not a “devotee” of Medjugojre. (this where the problems begin)
    We are a Catholic online news magazine and we take what we do very seriously. had over 200,000 unique visitors in 2011

    Stephen Ryan

  • Angela

    “Ascent Of Mount Carmel” by St.John’s of the Cross is the best guide line for me how to see all this supernatural things in a safe way. Please read it!

    • Angela


      • Angela

        I forgot to tell you that I am different Angela who posted “agree!”. As a the third order Carmelite, St.John’s of Cross is a sure guide line for me. I am blessed!

  • raymond king

    All these comment pro , con or otherwise remind me of the storys in the gospel where jesus was going to jerusalem to his passion. during the festival there were questions and comments similar to the above. My question is: Who do you say She is?

    • johnkonnor72

      non sequitur…at that time we didnt have a church with an authentic magisterium and 2000 years of tradition to guide us…hence the abundance of miracles at the time of Christ to provehis point…now we have a church to tell us..guided by the paraclete the church has said through the succesors of the apostles..there is no conclusive evidence of an apparition…it’s not up to me..thank God for the church!!!!