What Happened on May 31, 1995 A.D.
Our Lady Commissions the Caritas Community
In the spring of 1995, the founder of the mission and community of Caritas felt a strong desire and need to be in the presence of Our Lady in the apparitions. He had no specific needs or questions he wanted to ask or present to Our Lady, but there was an overwhelming impulse to seek to be in Her presence for his own personal spiritual life and for whatever plans Our Lady was forming with the mission and community. He wanted to soak up the graces available in the apparitions to strengthen him in his calling. Being close friends he contacted Marija who was living in Italy with her husband to tell her he would like to come for a week. She was happy to have him visit. Marija lived in the same apartment building as her husband’s parents. Every evening they would come down to her apartment for her daily apparitions. During the week of our founder’s visit there was never a time when he was alone with Marija in the apparitions. Marija’s husband, her in-laws, and her children were there each day. This was their normal daily routine.
However, on the last day of our founder’s visit, May 31, 1995 A.D., when he came back to her home after attending Holy Mass in the local church, he found Marija alone. She explained that Paolo had to stay late at work and that her in-laws would be coming down and they would begin the rosary in preparation for the apparition. When Paolo’s parents began to head down to Marija’s they suddenly both felt very ill. They called her to tell her that they couldn’t come that evening, even though they both had felt fine all day. Marija went a few floors up to make sure everything was okay. When she returned, Marija said to our founder, “It’s so strange, they were fine and now both are in bed sick.” That left only Marija and our founder. The date was May 31, 1995, the Feast of Our Lady’s Visitation. Because of what happened in the apparition on this day, the community firmly believes it was God’s Providence that arranged for this private apparition with our founder. Following is the description of the May 31, 1995 apparition:
May 31, 1995
On the Feast of the Visitation, the founder of the Community and Mission of Caritas of Birmingham was with Marija in Italy at her home. There were only the two of them present for the apparition on this day. The apparition lasted longer than normal. At the end of the apparition, Marija immediately left to go into the kitchen but said to him to remain in prayer and to recite the "Magnificat". It was a privilege to pray the "Magnificat" in closing the apparition on the feast day in which Our Lady Herself recited it before Elizabeth. He knew something happened during the apparition because of its length and realized when Marija sat down immediately with pen and paper that Our Lady had given a specific message. Though for years he had been around the apparitions and many times received messages, never had he experienced Our Lady giving an individual a message without being prompted by a question first, and then, too, of the many who asked, rarely an answer was given. Marija then relayed that the message was for he, his family, and the community. This message he understood, by a special grace during the apparition, was a clear mandate; that Our Lady had brought this mission and community to a special point by trials and the purifying fire of tribulations in order to now be used by Her in a special way.
Our Lady said to literally "get souls" close to Her heart and bring them to God. She wants of him and the community to be Her extended hands, Her tools which She desires to use just as any craftsman uses his tools. Our Lady said:
Marija was very surprised by this. She knew immediately by Our Lady’s intimacy in saying "Little Children" that it was also for the community at Caritas and its mission. Marija was questioned by the one who was present at this apparition about "to a way". Marija said specifically Our Lady meant "to ‘a’ way of salvation". This was important to him because of the spirituality at Caritas and what it is he believes Our Lady has shown by way of this path of salvation, namely of turning away from certain ways and things the world offers. He had already written many writings about “a way” including I See Far and How to Change Your Husband. By Our Lady’s words, he understood clearly Her desire to lead others along this way, and that She was strongly endorsing and blessing this path. After She spoke this message, Our Lady gave a blessing before returning to Heaven. He understood that he and the community were not to frown on or look with indifference on other paths of salvation, but to be strong in gathering hearts and showing them what Our Lady has taught them at Caritas and how She has guided their mission and the community. It had been eight and one-half years since Our Lady had given the very first message to this same individual on October 6, 1986. The advice and encouragement She gave to him then, is now extended through this most recent message, to the community of Caritas who is following in this "witness", this "way of salvation". (See October 6, 1986 message).
Our founder realized that Our Lady had put the impulse in his heart to come be in Her presence because She wanted to convey this message to him. She was asking of him and the community a deeper commitment in witnessing to Her messages and to boldly go after hearts to lead them to God through the way of life being shown him through Our Lady’s messages. It has been 16 years since Our Lady gave this message and it can’t be argued that Our Lady has given everything necessary to assist the founder and community of Caritas in doing their best to fulfill these words throughout the years. The retooling and expansion of Our Lady’s Tabernacle is the latest ongoing project that is designed to “get hearts close to my heart”—not just hundreds, or thousands, or tens of thousands, but millions of hearts in the future—pointing them to Our Lady, pointing them to the messages, pointing them to “a way of salvation” as lived out by the Community of Caritas, through the direction of our founder, A Friend of Medjugorje.
In Regards to the Above:
When someone approaches us at Caritas about the constant persecution against Caritas and our founder, known as A Friend of Medjugorje, wanting to know what we think about it, the above experience as well as all the history our founder, his family and the community has had with Our Lady of Medjugorje is our answer. We explain to them that this history is why we face what we face. Review the history of Caritas in this Silver Jubilee section of Medjugorje.com and continue to come back to it as more of our history is shared the rest of this year and you will be able to understand that this level of persecution we suffer from is to be expected as it correlates to the level one is commissioned by God. Church history shows this. Marija herself has stated that it is fueled by jealousy. Scripture teaches to embrace it. Our Lady, through Marija, even gave our founder a message concerning persecution in what She, Our Lady, expected of him of these poor souls who slander and wish for his destruction.
May 6, 2004