Caritas Silver Jubilee: What Happened on February 13, 2009

Caritas Silver Jubilee: What Happened on February 13, 2009


What Happened on February 13, 2009

Again, today, Our Lady smiled. On this day, the third wedding in the community took place, all three of which were just over the past three years. All of the engagements took place in the Bedroom, two of which our Lady appeared shortly afterwards and blessed the couple. These new families are now producing the newest generation, who are being brought up in Our Lady’s way, giving more insight into Our Lady’s choosing the Bedroom for Her apparitions. The weddings of the Community of Caritas are truly an extraordinary and spiritual experience unlike any marriage one has ever attended before. The way in which couples are married in the community came through inspiration to our founder from Our Lady. For several years before the first one in 2006, he had prayed about the wedding ceremony and written down everything he had received through prayer or witnessed. When the first ceremony was performed many people at the reception said they wished they could be married all over again. An hour before the wedding Mass begins, everyone attends an hour of Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. There is a specific purpose for this as part of the wedding ceremony. The purpose of this hour is to give the bride and groom the last hour of the state in life they were born into, to reflect upon their whole life to this point before they change their state in life. Because of the importance of their decision, the last hour of this state they are leaving is spent in council, reviewing their life from childhood to this moment for reflection with the Great Councilor and Healer, Jesus, to give His last and final preparation to each of them. It is a time to first thank Him for what they are about to receive, a sweet, intimate conversation with their Friend, to thank Him for all that He has given them in their past, to say they’re sorry for all sins and consequences of their past and to ask for His blessing in their vocation in marriage. It allows the couple to stop all the hurrying and worrying and anxiety that comes with wedding day preparations in order to reflect and find peace in the presence of God—to invite Him to their marriage ceremony, to make Him their center.

How is it that Adoration happens and the bride and groom do not see each other? The answer was one of the inspirations the founder received one day while he was doing a holy hour himself, asking Jesus how can this be accomplished. The answer was “The Tents of Solitude.” In order for the bride and groom not to see each other before the wedding ceremony begins, two special tents were made by the community to be placed in the Church to keep the couple hidden from each other, as well as out of view from the rest of the congregation, that they can be undisturbed in this hour of prayer and be fully focused on Jesus Christ. The experience of the married couples who experienced this prayer before their weddings was that they were filled with deep peace and joy, having all their cares and burdens lifted so when it came time for the Wedding Mass to begin, they were empty of everything except the love that filled them for their Lord, Our Lady, for each other and all their family and friends who had come to celebrate this day with them. This is the way of life Our Lady gives.

In regards to when Our Lady’s apparition would be on this day, there was felt a heavy weight trying to figure out what would be the best time: at the end of Adoration?, at Communion time?, should we wait until the time of the wedding reception and have all the guests go down to the Field after the wedding? The Founder spoke to Marija. He prayed throughout the night. When he woke, he asked Our Lady to show him what would be the perfect time and for the Holy Spirit to inspire him. Nothing came. He and Marija continued to discuss it. They thought the apparition could occur at the end of Holy Hour and a community member was sent to the veiled part of the tents to tell the bride and groom that this would be the time. But it did not happen because the way the Holy Hour ended, there was not an option for Marija to go up. Marija whispered to the founder, “I will just pray here and have the apparition in the pew.” He responded, “No, Marija. Don’t pray yet. We can’t do that. These people here have Medjugorje in their blood. They will not be aware of Our Lady even coming.” She then suggested after Holy Communion. The founder said he would go talk to the priests to work it out. It was decided that the apparition of Our Lady would be after Holy Communion when Johnny and Annie would go to the statue of Our Lady and consecrate their marriage to Her. During that time the Ave Maria would be sung and when finished, Marija would come up. The couple would separate and Marija would kneel in-between them. There were four priests and one deacon who were present at the wedding Mass, and they knelt on either side of Johnny and Annie. Most of those who attended the wedding were not aware of Marija’s presence. As family and friends arrived, some caught sight of Marija and were just as surprised as the community had been in seeing her here. Just before Mass began an announcement was made regarding the apparition. So another wave of “surprise” swept through those hearts as they began to understand they came to a wedding to find out that Our Lady had come too. You can imagine the excitement and gratitude of those who unexpectedly were being given the gift of being with Our Lady on this special day. It was a beautiful scene. When Our Lady came in the apparition, we learned that She prayed over Annie and then Johnny, with Her hands extended over their heads. She then gave them Her blessing. Marija then recommended everyone in the Church to Our Lady and smiling, She in turn blessed everyone present. When relaying what had taken place after the apparition had ended, Marija greeted everyone and shared with them a little of her connection with the community. For the couple, it will take time to process the great graces that were bestowed upon them in receiving several blessings directly from Our Lady and then having Her pray over them on their wedding day. These gifts reflect not only the purity and prayerfulness in which they approached the Sacrament of Matrimony, but Our Lady was blessing “the way” of formation that young couples in the community are led towards marriage through the inspiration of Her messages. She was blessing this couple, but more importantly, “the way” of entering a Christian marriage that they learned through living the rule of the Caritas Community inspired through Our Lady’s messages from Medjugorje and messages Our Lady has given at Caritas.

Marija’s Description of the Apparition on February 13, 2009
in Blessed Sacrament Church in Birmingham, Alabama:

In the moment of apparition when Our Lady come, Our Lady pray over Annie and after Our Lady pray over Johnny and after She bless Johnny and Annie together and after She bless all us and all that we have in our hearts, and Our Lady smiling, She make Sign of the Cross for everyone.

I am so happy to be here. I am in special way connected with community. Last year Annie have many problems with leg (continues…) Doctor says when we don’t have solution he go cut leg, and so we pray many. And today we have this beautiful joy to see Annie not only with leg but also with husband. (Everyone laughed)

The apparition was two minutes and 40 seconds. Our Lady then said “Tomorrow’s apparition will be in the Bedroom at 10:40 a.m.”


Blessed Sacrament Church in Birmingham, Alabama. This church has always been important to the history of the community because it was the childhood church of our founder, where he received all his sacraments, where he was taught the faith by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, where he was married, and where he often came during his initial conversion in Medjugorje to pray. With this history, it has always been the desire of those being married in the community to have their marriage ceremony take place in Blessed Sacrament. This is the third marriage in the community to do so, but one more has been added to this number .

andrea dressing rebekah up

Marija loved being a part of all the behind-the-scenes of the wedding. Little Rebekah Grace sits peacefully in her lap while Rebekah’s mom attempts to put a little bow in the hair of the youngest little flower girl. Our Lady once called all the visionaries her little flowers.

July 20, 1984

“You are my little flowers. Continue to pray; my task is lighter because of it.”

Though these girls (and one boy) are from four different families, they have become sisters-of-the-heart in the community. Thus, through the unity of the community they become Our Lady’s little flowers.


One of the “Tents of Solitude” can be seen in the background, in the side aisle of the church. The second tent is located on the opposite side aisle. The couple, though separated in the tents, are fully present amongst their family and friends in this sweet hour of prayer in which Jesus in present on the altar to hear their prayers for all of their past, and for all of their future.


In many weddings, the tradition that the groom doesn’t see the bride on their wedding day until she is walking down the aisle towards him has all but been lost. In going towards convenience in having all the wedding pictures taken before the ceremony, the anticipation, surprise and delight is lost for both the modern bride and groom. Today, commercialism rather than the Holy Spirit, dictates how a wedding unfolds. Special moments of surprise, even if they last only seconds, can bring about deeper conversion of hearts. Surprises bring joy. The “Tents of Solitude” were created and named so as to protect this joy for the bride and groom.


  johnny and annie

Archbishop Fulton Sheen once wrote, “It takes three to get married.” During their engagement period, the couple chooses a crucifix for their future bedroom. During the wedding ceremony this crucifix is held by the priest, and then by the bride and groom as they state their vows to each other. The crucifix is then hung above their bed as a testimony of these vows and a commitment of prayer before this crucifix in joys, sorrows, and trials will always keep these vows strong in their hearts. The community gives the wedding format free for all those who wish to use it for their wedding.

crucifix on desk

The crucifix above the bed in the Bedroom of Apparitions has shaped and molded the young people in the community to desire to bring that holiness into their own homes and marriages. Our founder encouraged them each to find a corpus for their crucifixes, but to make the cross themselves. This is one of the cherished traditions that Our Lady inspired among the couples looking toward marriage in the community. To see these young couples search for the perfect piece of wood within our forests, and cut, dry, carve, fashion and mold that piece of wood into a cross, and complete it with the corpus, all the while they are preparing for the day of their marriage, is something very beautiful. The above couple inscribed on the back of the cross for their wedding the following words from Our Lady’s July 25, 1999 message:

“…I desire for my, Jesus’ and your heart to become one heart of love and peace…”

priest in the apparition

For the apparition today, again Our Lady said, “I will come whenever you pray.” The moment of the apparition came just after Holy Communion and the Ave Maria was sung and the couple went before the statue of Our Lady to consecrate their marriage to Her. There were four priests and one deacon who concelebrated the marriage Mass, who also received the surprise of being before Our Lady in the apparition.

medjugorje visionary marija describing the apparition

At the end of the apparition, Marija greeted everyone in the church. She then explained what took place in the apparition. One could not help but think of the wedding Our Lady attended with Her Son, Jesus, in Cana—and the blessing it was for everyone in attendance to have Our Lady at that wedding, who was the key to unlocking the miracle power of Jesus. It was beautiful to hear that Our Lady came also on this day with a smile.

Twenty-three years ago, at the time of this wedding, the Caritas founder knelt before this statue of Our Lady in Blessed Sacrament Church and wrote a petition to Our Lady, asking if the same conversion that was taking place in Medjugorje be allowed to take place here and be divinely spread throughout the entire region. Miraculously, he was given the opportunity to present this question to Our Lady in Medjugorje, through Marija, who at that time, he did not know, and Our Lady told him, “Pray and by your life witness. Not with words but rather through prayer will you attain what your desire is. Therefore, pray more and live in humility.” To have Our Lady appear in this exact location, 23 years later, was a great joy for the whole community. For Our Lady to bless this new couple who have accepted and embraced the “way of salvation” that She originated through the Bedroom and the Field, through the founder and his family, through the community coming together, was a beautiful confirmation of our rule of life, written by our founder, as inspired by Our Lady’s messages. It was a full-circle moment.


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4 thoughts on “Caritas Silver Jubilee: What Happened on February 13, 2009”

  1. Thank You Mother for coming to strengthen us in all our weaknesses. We are indeed made stronger by Your Love and Your Presence.

  2. My mom was a DEMONCRAT, not misspelled, for many years, because she belonged to a teachers union. But, she at some point in my childhood, realized that only Republicans were pro-life. She took me to meetings and protests, that are solid in my memory and moral forming. I could not, as a child, or now, as an adult, understand how anyone could justify abortion, the murder of the unborn. I don’t think either of us would have even conceived how far, how evil, the abortion industry would go, to today, murdering born alive babies. And now….don’t think that there are not people eating babies, like the indiginous people. People do horrible things in the pursuit of money and power. Some sell their souls. Evil will be exposed!

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