This is my third time in Medjugorje. It’s actually my third time this year.
I was studying in Rome this past spring, and I had the opportunity to come over for spring break.
Then, I came again in June for the 40th Anniversary, which was amazing. I came with my father actually, who is Jewish. He really enjoyed it. He didn’t have any conversion or anything like that, but he enjoyed the people here.
Now, it’s my third time here, for the youth festival with a couple friends.
They keep getting better, and they’re different. Each time has been for a different reason.
The first time, it was just me here alone, and it was my first experience of Medjugorje and seeing how Our Lady set the whole experience up for me. I met exactly who I was supposed to meet. I came here with very little expectations of what it was going to be like.
The second time, the 40th Anniversary was amazing, so many people, and thinking of the impact that Medjugorje has had on so many people over the last 40 years. Being here to see that moment, the culmination of all of that, was really amazing.
Now, this has been the most fun experience here for me at the youth festival. There’s so much joy, joy of Our Lady. The youth festival has probably been my favorite experience thus far.
I’d been applying to the Dominicans this past spring. I started the application process back in January. Actually, when I was officially accepted into the Dominicans, I was here in Medjugorje, and it was on the evening of June 24th. It was basically the 40th Anniversary when I was accepted. That was, to me, very providential given how important Medjugorje has been to me over this period of time. It was a confirmation.
My mom was Catholic, and so she made sure that I got baptized. I went to a Catholic elementary school so I had First Holy Communion and everything, but growing up, we didn’t go to church really at all.
My dad is Jewish. He’s a secular Jew. It was difficult between my parents to figure out to go to church. It was difficult for my mom, so we never went.
Our Lady brought me back later on in high school. I got Confirmed my freshman year of college. I would say I’m more of a revert to the faith than a convert because I was already technically Catholic, and I had those graces of the initial sacraments. Our Lady had to bring me back to that.
I first heard about Medjugorje on YouTube. I’d seen videos of Mirjana having the apparitions. I was always struck by those. It seemed very real. You could see it in her eyes. Those videos inspired me.
Over time, I started to meet people that had been to Medjugorje. My aunt’s friend, she had been there and told me to go. A priest that I know who has been like a spiritual father to me, he’s an amazing priest, and he credits his vocation to Medjugorje.
The main nail in the coffin that pushed me to come here was this woman I met on a plane. She was sitting across the aisle from me, and she was praying her Rosary. I was so inspired by that, that she was willing to publicly pray the Rosary for a very long time. She was continually praying the Rosary.
I started talking to her, and I found out that she had been to Medjugorje before multiple times. She said I need to go. She gave me a bracelet, that I still have on, of St. Michael the Archangel.
You should just come here and see Medjugorje. It’s an amazing place.
There are so many fruits here. If you come here, you will see that. Most likely, it will be very fruitful for you as well.
On an intellectual level, there are a lot of good resources about Medjugorje. I really enjoyed Mirjana’s book called My Heart Will Triumph where she goes into the whole story of her life. There’s good information about the apparitions and the history of Medjugorje. I would certainly recommend that.
When you see what the visionaries have experienced, the persecutions they’ve experienced, especially under communism, it’s hard for me to believe that they would not be telling the truth.
I’ve now seen Mirjana face to face tell her story. To see her tear up and the grief of not being in Our Lady’s presence, to me it seems very unlikely that she’s lying.
You can look at it on an intellectual level, and you’re going to have good reasons to believe or good reasons to come here, but especially the experiential level, I would suggest that anybody who is not sure comes here and experiences it.
It’s heavenly. To me, Medjugorje feels like you’re touching Heaven because of the way people are here. In Heaven there’s no conflict, there’s no pain or suffering.
Coming to Medjugorje is like a break from the sufferings of this world because of the love that exists here. It’s not only love of neighbor, but most importantly love of God.
Here, the faith is so strong. To see the church filled every day and people’s love for the Eucharist, everybody in silence on their knees before Christ. The fruit of that is there’s so much love and joy here.