The last day of the Five Days of Prayer with Our Lady for the Apparitions of July 1-5 was a Day of Thanksgiving for Our Lady’s presence in our Homeland. July 5th was a day to show gratitude to God for allowing Our Lady to come to this nation for its healing and restoration of its friendship with God.
July 5, 2008
On July 5, 2008, several thousand gathered in front of the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages to listen one last time to the encouraging and strong words from the founder of Caritas, A Friend of Medjugorje. This being the last day of the prayer gathering for the consecrations, and with Our Lady’s “marching orders” given the night before to “Be my extended hands in this peaceless world” many pilgrims came with questions to better understand “how” to be the extended hands of Our Lady when they go back to their homes. Speaking from the experience of his own walk with Our Lady these past nearly 25 years, A Friend of Medjugorje gave advice and examples to illustrate how to apply Our Lady’s messages into everyday life situations. He also cast an eye into the future, speaking about the winds of change that are blowing through our nation that will make all of our lives very difficult until the time comes when Our Lady will take back this nation.
Towards the end of nearly 2 1/2 hours, just before the bells were to ring for Rosary to bring together everyone for Our Lady’s apparition, a woman asked about receiving the Special Blessing. Many had asked to receive this blessing and were told that it would be given on the last day of the prayer gathering. This blessing is a blessing of conversion that Our Lady has given on rare occasions in 27 years of apparitions. Once a person receives it, they can pass it on to others, sharing in this gift of conversion. As the bells began to ring, A Friend of Medjugorje said, “Maybe we’ll ask Our Lady if She would give the Special Blessing in the apparition today.” He would ask Marija to ask Our Lady for this grace.
Just before Marija entered the Bedroom, our founder went to Marija with this special request, and she agreed to ask Our Lady. Our Lady appeared in the Bedroom at 11:48 A.M. Marija described the apparition afterwards:
“Our Lady blessed us all. Our Lady prayed over us and She blessed us. She also blessed all those gathered in the Field. She also blessed all of our religious articles. I recommended all of our intentions, especially I recommended all the sick people. And afterwards I said, ‘(A Friend of Medjugorje) asked me about the Special Blessing.’ Our Lady smiled and said:
It touched us that Our Lady smiled during the apparition at the request for the Special Blessing. But it was not just a beautiful gesture that Our Lady made in giving Her Special Blessing to all the pilgrims gathered in the Field, rather this action coupled with Our Lady’s words the night before, “…Be my extended hands…” gave evidence that Our Lady was providing the tools for Her children to extend peace to hearts. Pilgrims were overjoyed to receive this gift directly from the hands of Our Lady. Who can say what the impact will be on our nation, with representatives from all 50 states in the Field that day, who were given the blessing and the words of Our Lady to be Her extended hands the night before. These actions of Our Lady deeply moved many pilgrims and inspired them to recommit to living and spreading Our Lady’s messages when they returned back home. What a beautiful ending to the Five Days of Prayer for the Consecration of Ourselves, our Families and our Nation Back to God.
Having just recently written and released his new book, Look What Happened While You Were Sleeping, about the many hidden agendas that are coming to light threatening our liberties and our rights to live the convictions of our faith, on this last day of the Five Days of Prayer pilgrims wanted to hear A Friend of Medjugorje speak about these agendas, and Our Lady’s expectations on how to live our lives in the face of such difficult obstacles. They wanted his insights into what was just accomplished through the Solemn Consecration of the United States to Our Lady. He had much hope to offer for the future, notwithstanding that as our nation goes through purification, we will have difficult times to live through. However, Our Lady will be with us and that certainty will give us the strength to live whatever She asks of us.
The final day of the Five Days of Prayer with Our Lady, the apparition was in the Bedroom with only the Caritas Community members, at Our Lady’s request. At the special request of Caritas’ founder, Marija asked Our Lady to give the Special Blessing to everyone present that day. Our Lady smiled and then graciously fulfilled the request.
July 5, 2009
July 5, 2009 landed on a Sunday. It was relayed to several members of the community by pilgrims attending the Five Days of Prayer that the Baptist Church a half a mile down the road from Caritas was shuttling Caritas pilgrims back and forth to their cars, some of whom were parked several miles away from the Field. In this area, there is much anti-Catholic sentiment based upon misconceptions that people of other faiths have grown up with in their families and churches. When A Friend of Medjugorje learned that the Baptists down the road were doing this, he immediately sent out the word to the community that he wanted to attend their Baptist service which was at 12:00 Noon, after we had returned from Sunday Mass. A Friend of Medjugorje also wanted Marija to go, and she very enthusiastically accepted the invitation. She said we must bring a gift—and decided upon bringing a bouquet of beautiful red roses that were blessed in the Bedroom of Apparitions. About 20 members of the community arrived at the Baptist church in time for the service. We introduced ourselves and our founder and Marija thanked the pastor on behalf of all of us for the gesture of friendship to our pilgrims. They explained as a sign of our friendship, we wanted to share in their service today, and the pastor and congregation, though a little bit shy, invited us to pray with them.
At a certain point of the service, the pastor invited the congregation to share prayer petitions and any experiences of answered prayer. Several raised their hands to be called upon. Suddenly, we were all amazed to see Marija raising her hand as well. A little reluctantly, the pastor called upon Marija. She stood up and with such love addressed the whole congregation, explaining who she was and in simple terms, explaining her experience with Our Lady. She told them that when Our Lady began appearing to her and the other visionaries, they fell in love with Our Lady. And then, slowly, Our Lady began leading them towards Her Son, wanting them to fall in love with Jesus. It was beautiful to watch Marija invite, with respect and love, these people into her experience and to share with them how dearly God loves His people by sending His Mother. She, again, graciously thanked them for their own witness of friendship and love towards all the pilgrims who have come for only one reason, and that is to pray together for our country’s return to God. The manner in which Marija spoke to them, helped them to overcome their reserve and many of them stayed to talk to Marija, our founder and community members after the service ended.
At Marija’s last talk with the pilgrims before the evening apparition that would end the Five Days of Prayer, A Friend of Medjugorje asks her to demonstrate how Our Lady blessed the crowd in the Field in last night’s apparition. Marija shows that Our Lady lifted Her arms and hands out in a blessing, and then She turned Her body to the right blessing all those behind Her and by Her right side. She then turned Her body all the way to the left to bless those who were on Her other side, all the while looking at each face while blessing. It was a beautiful gesture from Our Lady. Many were in tears as Marija described this. It is obvious that this was also a cause of great joy for Marija.
In this last apparition of the days of prayer with Our Lady, Our Lady requested only the community and that the apparition would be in the Bedroom. Our Lady blessed everyone present in the Field as well. When asked what time the apparition would be tomorrow, Our Lady gave yet another surprise. She said, “I will come whenever you pray.” Marija would be leaving early the next morning to return to Medjugorje, and by Our Lady’s decision, the founder could set the time for the community to come to the house to prepare for the apparition. Our Lady would come in the apparition after the community had the time to prepare in prayer for Her. Just knowing this allowed greater peace, without the pressure of meeting a schedule, giving us the opportunity to be more prepared in our prayer to receive Our Lady. Our Lady had given this grace on other occasions to the Caritas Community, in August 2003 when we were on vacation, and more recently in February 2009, when Marija and her husband Paolo attended one of the community weddings. This gesture of Our Lady was so touching to us, so motherly, because in order to make our life more peaceful, She allowed our founder to decide the time of the apparition. She does not do this except on rare occasions, but in doing it, She acknowledges the activities and events of our lives and desires not to complicate them, but to enter in them with us, sharing and increasing our joy, when we are most free to open our hearts to Her. Because of this, these apparitions are among the most cherished ones of the community.