What Happened on January 16, 1989
Today Our Lady began to give messages to Marija again. During this apparition Our Lady, with a wonderful smile on Her face, blessed a newborn baby*** making a Sign of the Cross in his direction. The message:
More of What Happened:
Shortly after Caritas of Birmingham had been established, Caritas founder and his wife learned they were to have another baby, their fourth child. The thought came to go to Medjugorje and have Our Lady bless the baby while still in the womb. They traveled to Medjugorje for the anniversary in June of 1988, and in one of visionary Marija’s apparitions, was given this grace. From the beginning of learning about this pregnancy, it was strongly placed in the heart of the founder to ask Our Lady to name their child. He promised Our Lady that they would wait on Her to give the name.
As it happened, by the end of the pregnancy, Our Lady Herself came to be present in their home in Alabama, through Marija. For 2 ½ months, Marija, who had come to donate a kidney to her brother in a Birmingham hospital, stayed in their home and had apparitions everyday. Though the couple had prayed throughout the nine months for a name for their child, no name had come forth. The due date had passed, and the wife was getting anxious. But a priest reassured her by saying, with the Mother of God appearing daily in your home, you can be sure that this baby will be born on a special day. Christmas came and passed, and then on the Feast of the Holy Family, the birth pangs began to be felt.
Both the founder and his wife were united in not wanting to know if the baby was a boy or girl until its birth. They had three sons, and when their fourth child finally made an appearance, they were blessed with another son—a son with no name. Having made a promise to Our Lady that She could name him, they had to make a solid resolve not to let their faith weaken, when at the 11th hour there was still no name. Two days after the birth of their baby, his wife told him that she did not want to bring their baby home to all those people waiting in her house without a name. He left the hospital and while driving home poured out his heart to Our Lady, again asking Her to name their child. As he prayed, a small holy card fell out of his visor into his lap. It was a picture of the Holy Family. He looked at the picture, then specifically at St. Joseph, and he was touched that if this was a sign from above, Our Lady had chosen the name of Her beloved spouse, “Joseph” for his son. As he pondered this, the name Michael also came to mind, and he began putting the two names together, liking the idea of having the Archangel Michael also as a patron for his son. But suddenly, it struck him that he was naming the baby and he stopped himself, refusing to go further, and asking Our Lady to confirm a name. He arrived home and a friend of his, by the name of “Mary” was washing dishes at his kitchen sink. On entering the house, she turned to him and asked if they had named their baby. He answered, “no,” which prompted her to then say, “Well, I think you should name him “Joseph Michael.” The confirmation had come!! He was elated and couldn’t wait to call his wife.
Meanwhile, after her husband had left the hospital, she had fallen asleep. She had a dream while she was sleeping, that her baby was given a name. Upon waking up she was so moved by the dream that she prayed a Rosary to Our Lady asking Her to reveal to her if this was truly the name She wanted. By the end of the Rosary, such a deep peace had settled in her heart that she knew for certain that “Joseph Michael” was the name of her little son. She couldn’t wait to get on the phone to tell her husband. And to their amazement they both had the same name to tell the other.
It wasn’t until January 16th that they presented Joseph Michael to Our Lady in an apparition because before that time, Marija’s apparitions were taking place during Mass each day, ever since Marija had surgery. But when Our Lady announced on January 15th that She would begin appearing in the Bedroom “tomorrow” it was a great joy to be able to present him to Her in the apparition. As the room was very crowded with people, they had left Joseph in his crib that was in the Bedroom. Marija was kneeling at the foot of the bed, as apparition time was approaching, when she suddenly sprang up and made her way to the crib. She then picked up Joseph, who had been lying on his stomach, and turned him around onto his back. She then took her place at the foot of the Bed again. Curious, the founder leaned over to ask Marija why she had done that. Marija smiled and said that when Our Lady came in the apparition, she had wanted Her to be able to see Joseph’s face. What a beautiful thought.
In the apparition that day, Our Lady had come with a “wonderful” smile on Her face and then blessed little Joseph, And what were Our Lady’s words on this momentous day, when She had given no messages for over a month, outside of on Christmas day? She repeated the words She spoke in the very first message given to the founder, on October 6, 1986, in answer to the question he had asked Her, if the same conversion that was taking place in Medjugorje be allowed to take place here, in his home place. On that day She answered him by saying “yes” and said:
And on January 16, 1989, after She requested to return to the Bedroom, and on the event of receiving the consecration of their child to Her, who had named him, Her words were:
The naming of Joseph Michael impacted them so strongly that for each of their other three children that came after, novenas and prayers were said all through the pregnancies for Our Lady to name their children. Each of their children has a miraculous story of how they received their name. This has carried over into the community in every family—and has become “the way” of the community. There is something so spiritually rich and beautiful when the parents announce their newborn baby’s name for the first time in the community. There is mystery in knowing their name was chosen by God. Their name tells something of who they will become.