What Happened on February 12, 2009
With all the wedding preparations and the day ending with the rehearsal at the church and dinner afterwards, there was no time for the whole community to come together until the very end of the day. Everyone began gathering at the home of our founder around 9:30 p.m. and there was great excitement, sharing details of what had taken place that day, and what was left to be done before the wedding tomorrow. The bride and her bridesmaids still had their flower bouquets to put together, and a dozen other details needed to be taken care of before everyone could go to bed. Marija was in the midst of all the conversations, tired as well from jet lag, but enjoying the happiness and excitement of the community.
Despite still having much to do, it was incredible to everyone that Our Lady had yet to appear to Marija this day, and that the Queen of Heaven had waited for our founder to decide when that time would be. He had wanted Our Lady to decide, and whatever time She chose, he would direct the community to drop everything, and meet for the prayer of the Rosary in preparation for Her apparition. But instead, Our Lady deferred to our founder, allowing him to choose what time would be best for everyone on this busy day. This particular joy, of having Our Lady present for such an intimate event in the life of the community, as a special guest at one of our weddings, brought a greater joy to everything we did that day.
The apparition took place in the Bedroom around 10:00 p.m. The wedding couple knelt beside the Bed where they had become engaged, also in the presence of Our Lady, seven months earlier during the July 1-5, 2009 days of prayer at Caritas. The apparition lasted about five minutes. The following is Marija’s description of the apparition:
“At the moment Our Lady come, I recommend all our intentions. In a special way, I pray for this young couple getting married and for little Victoria ( the little baby that was born on the 11th). After, I recommend every one of us and Our Lady beginning to smile and She pray for everyone. She watch us all. She look at each of us. She watch us, and after She pray all together and She give blessing. And in beginning when Our Lady just come, She stay...and She...like She have time, so I recommend many people in a special way.”
It seemed that Our Lady was coming with so many gifts in this visit to the community. Whenever Our Lady does something out of the ordinary from Her usual daily apparition, it is a gift, there is a special reason for Her doing so. Her smile was a gift—as She normally comes in a tranquil spirit, but not often smiling in Her daily apparitions to Marija. The fact that She looked around the room, resting Her gaze on each face in its turn was a gift, something that She only does on rare occasions. And when Our Lady stays longer, lingering as if She is in no hurry to go, this also is a special gift as it allows Marija to give to Our Lady more intentions than what is normally possible in the time given to her in her normal daily apparitions. All this was very touching to hear, and we could not contain our joy and our amazement of Our Lady being with us in this time, coming with so many gifts. Our founder, again, asked Marija to ask Our Lady when She would appear tomorrow, the day of the wedding. Our Lady, again, deferred that decision to our founder when She said to Marija:
The church of Blessed Sacrament in Birmingham, Alabama has a long history with our founder’s family, as well as many Catholics in Birmingham. Our founder came to Blessed Sacrament Church in the fall of 1986 before his next pilgrimage to Medjugorje. While praying before the Tabernacle, a desire grew in his heart to ask Our Lady a question. He wrote the question down:
"Dear Blessed Mother, if it is God’s will, we humbly ask that the conversion taking place in Medjugorje be allowed to take place in the Parish of Blessed Sacrament in Alabama and that it ‘divinely’ be spread throughout the whole region. We surrender this Parish to you and ask if there is anything you request."
Interiorly, he was given the confidence to take the question to Medjugorje and to seek to have one of the visionaries present it to Our Lady in an apparition. While flying overseas, he prayed to God, the Father. He asked God, that if this question be His Will, to open the doors to having it read to Our Lady. However, if it was not His Will, then prevent it from being read. In this way he would be confident that this inspiration was not something he originated, but that God was behind. Our founder spent many days going to many different people who had influence on whether his question could be presented in an apparition or not—but with all his efforts, no door opened. He accepted in his heart that this must not be the will of God and abandoned it into His Hands. However, on his last evening in Medjugorje, right before the apparition, he was given an invitation to attend and permission was given for his question to be asked. Marija and Jakov were the only visionaries present. In answer to our founder’s above question, Our Lady responded with a message. She said:
On May 31, 1995, our founder was visiting Paolo and Marija in their home in Italy. He had come for a week to pray and be in Our Lady’s presence. He did not have any questions to ask Our Lady, but just felt the need to seek Her blessing and Her presence. On his last evening, Marija’s husband Paolo was delayed at work, and Paolo’s parents, who live in an apartment a few floors above Marija’s both suddenly came down with an illness, as they were on their way down for the apparition. They returned to their own apartment. This left only our founder with Marija for the apparition. The apparition lasted longer than normal. When it ended, Marija immediately left to go into the kitchen. Our Lady had given a message, Marija said, for our founder and the community.
It had been nine years since our founder had received the October 6, 1986 message. Since that time the Caritas Community had been birthed and been living the “way” of the messages through his vision of the message. This message was not only a confirmation of our way, but a command, from the Queen, to lead “as many hearts as you can…to a way of salvation.” As She said to our founder on October 6, 1986, “…by your life witness…,” She now says to the community with him, “…through your lives you are witnesses…”
The hands above are of the Caritas couple who would be making their wedding vows the next day, and the priest’s hands who would marry them. But more than that, they are “extended hands” of Our Lady, who are embracing the commitment to live their lives as “witnesses” within the community, to raise their own children in “a way of salvation” as lived in the community.
Marija kneels at the foot of the Bed with the community gathered around her at 10:00 p.m., February 12, 2009. Two new beginnings in the community are presented to Our Lady this night; one of a new life that was just born the day before, and one of a couple about to be married. Our Lady smiles, looks at each face in the room one-by-one, and then lingers as if She is not too anxious to leave. We were left with a sweet and amazed feeling to have Our Lady in such an intimate community gathering. Her actions and gestures in this “family” setting continued to confirm the “way of salvation” of the community, fourteen years after giving the above May 31st message, and 23 years after the October 6th message was given to our founder. Whole new generations of families were blooming in the community under the care of Our Lady and Her messages.
More of What Happened on Other Days: