June 30th

For the visionaries a very long and tough seventh day of the apparitions got started right after morning Mass when the parish priest, Fr. Jozo Zovko, subjected them to yet another session of hard interviewing. For example, directly accusing the visionaries’ grown-up friend Marinko Ivankovic for having written the alleged answers of the Virgin Mary as well as the questions put forth to her, Fr. Jozo asked Ivanka if it was not better if he, a priest, wrote the answers.

Ivanka in the early days

“He did not write the answers, only the questions”, Ivanka insisted.

Fr. Jozo had equally little success when next he summoned Mirjana to be questioned. “I am not afraid of the state security police. But I am petrified that they might put me in the hospital”, she said, still having her experience from the day before very much on her mind.

“God terribly punishes anyone who misleads people. It may be tomorrow He terribly punishes you six”, Fr. Jozo next told Mirjana. “I don’t think He will”, Mirjana replied. “Why won’t He?”, Fr. Jozo asked next. “Because we are not lying”, said Mirjana.

Pressure came from both sides, clerical and secular alike: Still more determined to put the apparitions to an end, the Communist authorities deployed yet another means on June 30th. Around 2 o’clock in the afternoon, two social workers invited the visionaries to join them for what would be a car trip of just about four hours. All six except Ivan agreed and went along. As for Fr. Jozo, around the same moment he and his assistant, Fr. Zrinko Cuvalo, were summoned to the local Communist Party headquarters in Citluk to offer “an explanation” as to what was going on in their parish. That same afternoon they were threatened that “dire consequences” were to fall upon them in case they did not manage to immediately “extinguish this charade”.

The Hill of Apparitions seen from Cerno where the visionaries had their apparition on June 30th 1981 - and saw the hill and all the people gathered there engulfed in a bright, shining light. The apparition at Cerno would be the first among a countless number to show that the Virgin Mary appears to the visionaries, no matter where they are.

Driving by local towns and villages and going to see the waterfalls at Kravica, too, the visionaries had also been treated with a restaurant dinner when eventually they realized that the purpose of their road trip was one of keeping them away from the Hill of Apparitions. Around six o’clock they were passing through the village called Cerno when the visionaries, sensing that the Virgin Mary was about to appear, demanded the social workers to stop and let them out. Pretending not to hear them, the social workers kept driving, only to hear the visionaries say they would otherwise jump out of the car. Only then did the social workers stop.

The visionaries went a bit off the road. From their position high above the valley, they could see the Hill of Apparitions though they were several miles away from the hill. As they looked towards the hill, the visionaries saw it was bathed in a bright, shining light that completely engulfed it  along with all the now 20,000 people who had gathered. The two social workers also saw the light on the hill. It moved towards the visionaries who then started singing and praying. Next they fell to their knees, and the apparition began.

During the apparition the visionaries asked the Virgin Mary if she was angry with them, now when they were not on the hill. “That does not matter”, the Virgin replied, according to the visionaries. Only the time of the apparition would always be the same, the Virgin told them next.

Having been informed of this, the visionaries asked the two social workers to drive them back to Medjugorje. Not to the hill where the visionaries realized that all the thousands of people had been waiting in vain, but to the parish office. Among the people, all kinds of rumors went around: That the visionaries had fled or had been taken to prison. As people were gossiping, Fr. Jozo, the parish priest, questioned the seers until just about 9 o’clock in the evening.

Marinko Ivankovic, in the earliest days the one local man who did most to protect the visionaries. An unknown mechanic in 1981, the apparitions in his village later earned him invitations to give his testimony at several Marian conferences in the United States

Even then, for the visionaries the day was yet to come to an end. When they heard that their friend Marinko Ivankovic had been arrested, accused of having initiated the apparitions, at 10 o’clock they went to the police station in the municipality capital of Citluk to inform the police that Marinko had not initiated anything and indeed was guilty of nothing: Marinko was equally innocent of having encouraged religious gatherings in a public space, another accusation leveled against him, the visionaries insisted during their encounter with the head of the local police.

“Arrest us if you want, but leave Marinko alone”, Vicka told the chief of police. Threats and accusations were leveled against them, and also against Zlata, Vicka’s mother who was with them: “What an education you are giving your children! This country of Tito which we have freed with much blood, you are going to destroy it!” was just one among a large number. “You keep your Tito. We have Our Lady!”, Vicka boldly answered back.

Only at 2 o’clock in the middle of the night were the visionaries able to go home – along with Marinko.

See what happened next

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

Fr. Janko Bubalo: “A Thousand Encounters with The Virgin Mary in Medjugorje”, Friends of Medjugorje, Chicago 1987

Mary Craig: “Spark From Heaven”, Ave Maria Press 1988

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