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The Story of Medugorje What is said to be one of the world's most holiest places, Medugorje has not only came through to keeping this title but will always be remembered for what had happened and what is still to come in the up coming future. Medugorje, a city is situated in the southern part of Herzegovina . Up until 1981, Medugorje was an unknown village of the Citluk County district of West Herzegovina. It belongs to the area known throughout history as "Brotnjo". It was not different from the surrounding villages and settlements. Because it was the biggest of the five surrounding villages (Medugorje, Bijackovici, Vionica, Miletina and Surmanci), Medugorje was the name used to cover the whole area as a Roman Catholic Parish. The name Medugorje is from Slavic origin, and means, the area between the hills. The region where the parish of Medugorje is situated has its' own type of plateau, because it's neither high (200 metres above sea level) nor level. It is a rugged area, with a fairly low vegetation and dense evergreen. It has very little real forest land. Towards the south east it is bordered by Krizevac (Sipovac) and Crnica (now called apparition hill). The centre area of the parish, around the church, between the village of Vionica, Bijakovici, Medjugorje, and Miletina, is a beautiful and fruitful plain, the most fruitful area of Brotnjo. Medugorje is one of the religious world's greatest tourist attractions of the twentieth century. It attracts people of all races, religions, and colours. People journey thousands of miles hoping that they too, will witness the miraculous work of god that was witnessed by two young Catholic girls in the afternoon of June 24th of 1981. It was a warm summers day of June 24, 1981, when two girls, Ivanka Ivankovic (15) and Marjana Dragicevic (16), from the Bijakovici section of Medugorje were returning home from a long walk. Looking towards the hill called Crnica, Ivanka saw a bright silhouette of a woman. She said to Mirjana, "It is the Gospa!" (Our Lady). Marijana would not look out of fear. The two girls trembled for a second and than they both ran off in fear. That evening around 6:00 PM they returned with four others. They all saw her on the hill above. The didn't quite understand what was happening so they all decided to tell their families and friends. They laughed at them thinking it was some kind of prank. On June 25, the following day, the two girls and four others: Vicka Ivankovic (16), and Ivan Dragicevic (16), who were present at the second apparition of June 24, plus Maria Pavlovic (16), and Jakov Colo who came for the first time went to the same hill hopping for the "Gospa" to be there again. Fortunately she was there again. She told them to approach. The six of them were seen to run up the hill so fast that it were as if they had been carried up the hill by some mysterious force. None of them could recall what had happened to them once they reached the top of the hill, but to this day forward it is said that they have changed their lives living excellent examples of Christian lives. Since that day, sixteen years ago, the Blessed Virgin Mary has continued to appear to the children almost every day since and sometimes more than once a day. As part of our Lady's appearances, she has promised to give ten secrets to each of the seers. After the apparitions have ended, the secrets will be revealed to the world. The third secret concerns a visible sign that will be left on the hill as a proof of her visitations. On Christmas of 1982, Mirjana received the tenth secret, with the announcement that the apparitions would end for her, and on May 6th & 7th, 1985, the same happened to Ivanka. However, the Blessed Virgin promised each of them that she would appear to them once yearly: for Mirjana, on her birthday, March 18th, and also for Ivanka. On the anniversary day of the first apparitions on the hill, June 25th. Mirjana received special apparitions in August, 1984 to help her prepare to reveal the secrets to a Priest. Apparitions have been appearing to many people as the have visited the very hill named Podbrdo where the original apparitions occurred. Some have different that others but all are similar. A couple have even been captured on film. There is a photograph that shows the large wooden cross on the top of Podbrdo glowing. This photograph has been analysed by professionals and has been concluded as inexplicable. During the war in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, small towns were heavily besieged in and around Medugorje. Incidents have been recorded where Serbians attempted to bomb and destroy the sacred church but for some miraculous reason not a bullet nor shell scratched or chipped the paint of it. Three Serbian bomber planes flew over top of the church dropping bombs which actually hit the church, but for some inexplicable reason not one exploded. Throughout these miracles and apparitions the "Gospa" has been sending people messages. Her messages are telling people to concentrate on conversion, faith, prayer, fasting, peace and reconciliation. By telling us to convert she is actually telling us to turn our lives around and away from those things that keep us from loving and serving God . Faith means have faith in God. This is a major importance. By saying prayer she is encouraging us to pray, because without prayer we can not expect to grow in our relationship with God. Mary said that we must pray for our own conversion, the conversion of sinners, for peace, and for protection from the devil who seeks to destroy as many souls as possible. Our Lady wants us to pray the entire rosary every day (15 decades). Our prayers must not be rambling on, but we must pray with the heart. She also requests that we pray 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys, 7 Glory be's and the Creed daily for peace; reading of the Scriptures and personal communication with God. The Virgin Mary asks that we fast on bread and water on Wednesday and Friday. If we can not fast on bread and water, we should fast from other pleasures, such as television, and things that distract us from prayer. Fasting and prayer together are necessary to help us convert. It shows us our dependence on God and opens our hearts to his grace. Mary has told the children that she is Queen of Peace and she invites us to peace in four ways: peace in our hearts through reconciliation. This is done through monthly confession; peace in our family by making God the center of our homes; peace in the community by love and forgiveness of our neighbour. Finally, peace in the world by conversion and union with God. We must be reconciled with one another. Our Lady also call us to monthly reception of the Sacrament of Penance. She said if all people did this the Church would be healed. Many other things have been said by Our Lady to others. She will probably keep returning and help us sinners until the end of the world. Her ways will guide us in the path of true fulfilment and everlasting love.

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