What Happened on February 13, 2009
Again, today, Our Lady smiled. On this day, the third wedding in the community took place, all three of which were just over the past three years. All of the engagements took place in the Bedroom, two of which our Lady appeared shortly afterwards and blessed the couple. These new families are now producing the newest generation, who are being brought up in Our Lady’s way, giving more insight into Our Lady’s choosing the Bedroom for Her apparitions. The weddings of the Community of Caritas are truly an extraordinary and spiritual experience unlike any marriage one has ever attended before. The way in which couples are married in the community came through inspiration to our founder from Our Lady. For several years before the first one in 2006, he had prayed about the wedding ceremony and written down everything he had received through prayer or witnessed. When the first ceremony was performed many people at the reception said they wished they could be married all over again. An hour before the wedding Mass begins, everyone attends an hour of Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. There is a specific purpose for this as part of the wedding ceremony. The purpose of this hour is to give the bride and groom the last hour of the state in life they were born into, to reflect upon their whole life to this point before they change their state in life. Because of the importance of their decision, the last hour of this state they are leaving is spent in council, reviewing their life from childhood to this moment for reflection with the Great Councilor and Healer, Jesus, to give His last and final preparation to each of them. It is a time to first thank Him for what they are about to receive, a sweet, intimate conversation with their Friend, to thank Him for all that He has given them in their past, to say they’re sorry for all sins and consequences of their past and to ask for His blessing in their vocation in marriage. It allows the couple to stop all the hurrying and worrying and anxiety that comes with wedding day preparations in order to reflect and find peace in the presence of God—to invite Him to their marriage ceremony, to make Him their center.
How is it that Adoration happens and the bride and groom do not see each other? The answer was one of the inspirations the founder received one day while he was doing a holy hour himself, asking Jesus how can this be accomplished. The answer was “The Tents of Solitude.” In order for the bride and groom not to see each other before the wedding ceremony begins, two special tents were made by the community to be placed in the Church to keep the couple hidden from each other, as well as out of view from the rest of the congregation, that they can be undisturbed in this hour of prayer and be fully focused on Jesus Christ. The experience of the married couples who experienced this prayer before their weddings was that they were filled with deep peace and joy, having all their cares and burdens lifted so when it came time for the Wedding Mass to begin, they were empty of everything except the love that filled them for their Lord, Our Lady, for each other and all their family and friends who had come to celebrate this day with them. This is the way of life Our Lady gives.
In regards to when Our Lady’s apparition would be on this day, there was felt a heavy weight trying to figure out what would be the best time: at the end of Adoration?, at Communion time?, should we wait until the time of the wedding reception and have all the guests go down to the Field after the wedding? The Founder spoke to Marija. He prayed throughout the night. When he woke, he asked Our Lady to show him what would be the perfect time and for the Holy Spirit to inspire him. Nothing came. He and Marija continued to discuss it. They thought the apparition could occur at the end of Holy Hour and a community member was sent to the veiled part of the tents to tell the bride and groom that this would be the time. But it did not happen because the way the Holy Hour ended, there was not an option for Marija to go up. Marija whispered to the founder, “I will just pray here and have the apparition in the pew.” He responded, “No, Marija. Don’t pray yet. We can’t do that. These people here have Medjugorje in their blood. They will not be aware of Our Lady even coming.” She then suggested after Holy Communion. The founder said he would go talk to the priests to work it out. It was decided that the apparition of Our Lady would be after Holy Communion when Johnny and Annie would go to the statue of Our Lady and consecrate their marriage to Her. During that time the Ave Maria would be sung and when finished, Marija would come up. The couple would separate and Marija would kneel in-between them. There were four priests and one deacon who were present at the wedding Mass, and they knelt on either side of Johnny and Annie. Most of those who attended the wedding were not aware of Marija’s presence. As family and friends arrived, some caught sight of Marija and were just as surprised as the community had been in seeing her here. Just before Mass began an announcement was made regarding the apparition. So another wave of “surprise” swept through those hearts as they began to understand they came to a wedding to find out that Our Lady had come too. You can imagine the excitement and gratitude of those who unexpectedly were being given the gift of being with Our Lady on this special day. It was a beautiful scene. When Our Lady came in the apparition, we learned that She prayed over Annie and then Johnny, with Her hands extended over their heads. She then gave them Her blessing. Marija then recommended everyone in the Church to Our Lady and smiling, She in turn blessed everyone present. When relaying what had taken place after the apparition had ended, Marija greeted everyone and shared with them a little of her connection with the community. For the couple, it will take time to process the great graces that were bestowed upon them in receiving several blessings directly from Our Lady and then having Her pray over them on their wedding day. These gifts reflect not only the purity and prayerfulness in which they approached the Sacrament of Matrimony, but Our Lady was blessing “the way” of formation that young couples in the community are led towards marriage through the inspiration of Her messages. She was blessing this couple, but more importantly, “the way” of entering a Christian marriage that they learned through living the rule of the Caritas Community inspired through Our Lady’s messages from Medjugorje and messages Our Lady has given at Caritas.
Marija’s Description of the Apparition on February 13, 2009
in Blessed Sacrament Church in Birmingham, Alabama:
In the moment of apparition when Our Lady come, Our Lady pray over Annie and after Our Lady pray over Johnny and after She bless Johnny and Annie together and after She bless all us and all that we have in our hearts, and Our Lady smiling, She make Sign of the Cross for everyone.
I am so happy to be here. I am in special way connected with community. Last year Annie have many problems with leg (continues…) Doctor says when we don’t have solution he go cut leg, and so we pray many. And today we have this beautiful joy to see Annie not only with leg but also with husband. (Everyone laughed)
The apparition was two minutes and 40 seconds. Our Lady then said “Tomorrow’s apparition will be in the Bedroom at 10:40 a.m.”