Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, is unusual in that apparitions of “Mary” have supposedly been occurring daily to four visionaries since 1981. Some experts who have visited this site to investigate remain skeptical. Others have been convinced of the validity of the apparitions. Such was the case with a team from the University of Montpellier, France, led my Henri Joyeux, member of the French Surgeons’ Academy and recipient of international medical awards. Another group was led by Marco Margnelli (a skeptic and avid Marxist at the time), Italian specialist in investigating visions. So convinced was Professor Margnelli of the validity of the apparitions that he converted to Catholicism. The Roman Catholic Church, however, has not given its approval to Medjugorje.
“Mary’s” image is appearing everywhere, even in such unlikely places as on the glass exterior of a Tampa, Florida bank, and on the floor of one of Mexico City’s busiest subway stations, where an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe began creating chaos early in June 1997. Although about 20,000 Marian apparitions have been reported through the centuries, “less than a dozen…have been officially recognized by the Church.”
Some Catholics charge that the Medjugorje phenomenon is being exploited by the Franciscan Order. The Franciscan University of Steubenville (with which the Promise Keepers men’s movement has been closely involved) is a major sponsor of trips to Medjugorje, where more than 16 million pilgrims now visit annually.
Pope John Paul II reportedly said to the Superior General of the Franciscan Order, “All around Medjugorje bombs have been falling, and yet Medjugorje itself was never damaged. Is this not perhaps a miracle of God?” Inside the Vatican considers the site to be—
“the scene of an exceptional spiritual revival. More confessions are heard in Medjugorje than in any other parish of the entire world; more than 150 confessors work without interruption here every day. In the year 1990 (before the outbreak of civil war), 1,900,00 people took Communion; 30,000 priests and bishops have visited the site. Many conversions are reported…. In the USA 600 Medjugorje prayer groups have been formed; in Austria 500; and several hundred in Italy.”