June 27th

 

The visionaries in 1982. Left to right: Mirjana, Vicka, Ivanka, Jakov, Ivan and Marija

On the fourth day of the apparitions, the local Communist authorities intervened for the first time. In the afternoon the visionaries were summoned to the police station in Citluk, the municipality capital. Here the visionaries maintained that they had seen the Virgin Mary.

Afterwards they were sent to be examined by the doctor on duty, Dr. Ante Vujevic. However, he only got to examine Ivan and was about to take a look at Vicka when the time of the apparition drew close and made the visionaries leave and go back to Medjugorje. Dr. Vujevic found nothing amiss in his examination of Ivan but aside from that he refrained from drawing any conclusions.

“We would have gone (to the hill) even if we had been told that we would be shot”, Vicka later told.

Once more great numbers of people had come to the hill: Now about 5,000. There was lots of pushing, everytbody trying to get as close to the seers as they could. Two times a spectator unknowingly stepped on the Virgin Mary’s long veil, and on both occasions this made her disappear. The people formed a circle around the visionaries, and when the Virgin came back for a third time, there was sufficient order for the apparition to be lasting longer.

This day, too, the Virgin answered several questions: “Let them believe strongly and guard the faith” in reply to what she wanted from the priests. “Let those who do not see believe as if they see” was her advice to the people at large.

Mirjana was greatly concerned by allegations of sceptics who thought the visionaries were epileptics or had been taking drugs. “My angels, do not be afraid of injustices. They have always existed” was the Virgin’s reply.

Fr. Jozo Zovko in the later 1980s. To begin with Medjugorje’s parish priest did not believe the visionaries. Later he went on to become one of the greatest apostles of the Virgin’s apparitions, bringing the message of Medjugorje to all four corners of the world

That same day Medjugorje’s parish priest returned to the village. For all the days of the apparitions so far he had been conducting a retreat for nuns in Zagreb. Fr. Jozo Zovko, a 40 years old Franciscan with a deep prayer life and a habit of long homilies, was startled to find the church surrounded by cars, trucks, tractors, donkey carts, and a huge crowd. Inside the retory he found a tape recorder in the meeting room, turned it on and listened to interviews with Ivan and Vicka, conducted that same morning by his assistant, Fr. Zrinko Cuvalo.

Fr. Jozo did not like the perspective at all: In Communist, atheist Yugoslavia religious gatherings outside the churches were illegal, and he also feared the apparitions had been set up by the Communists in an attempt to discredit and ridicule the Church. His assistant explained to him that the visionaries would return to the rectory that same afternoon so Fr. Jozo could question each of them.

In talking to the visionaries, Fr. Jozo disliked the ordinary language they made use of to describe their experiences. When he got to 10 years old Jakov, his attitude had turned to irritation: “You did not see her!” he sternly told the boy. “I saw the Madonna! I saw her as if she were in front of me. I saw her like I see you”, Jakov maintained.

Soon Fr. Jozo did not know what to think. On the one hand he found the Virgin Mary unlikely to choose six such ordinary youngsters (and not to any of the eight particularly pious village girls he had brought together as a prayer group). And there were slight differences when the visionaries were to explain what the Virgin had told them.

But on the other hand he was intrigued by the consistency in the physical descriptions of the Virgin offered by the seers: About 20 years old, indescribably beautiful, with blue eyes, black hair and a crown of 12 stars above her head, wearing a white veil and a blueish grey robe, hovering just above the ground and speaking in a singing voice.

See what happened next

Sources:
Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic: “The Apparitions of Our Lady at Medjugorje”, third English edition, Informativni Centar “Mir” Medjugorje 2010

Randall Sullivan: “The Miracle Detective”, Grove Press 2004