For months now, we have been fighting battles on many fronts. One—preparing for Medjugorje visionary Marija’s coming, the apparitions of Our Lady, and the thousands of pilgrims who would be attending. Two—bringing much of the construction of the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages to completion. Three—moving strongly forward with raising the funds still necessary to complete the building and the retooling of all the departments that make up the mission of Caritas of Birmingham. Four—keeping up with a tsunami of orders daily coming into the mission for books, booklets, audio CD’s, etc., by A Friend of Medjugorje. Five—this means not only processing, packaging and shipping the orders out, but even in the midst of construction, being in full production in our print shop and CD processing center to answer the unprecedented demand for Our Lady’s materials. In the 25 years of Caritas’ history, this period of time was one of the most challenging we have lived through, in terms of having to carry such a heavy work load over such a long extended amount of time. With Marija’s visit of March 19-23 and Our Lady’s apparitions just recently over, and the retooling of several main departments of Our Lady’s Tabernacle now completed or nearly completed, we in the community have had the opportunity to take a few days of rest to reflect upon the blessings received during Our Lady’s visit, the progress being made in retooling Her mission, and the peace that both have brought to the life and mission of Caritas.
As testimonies from pilgrims who attended the March 19-23, 2011 apparitions begin to come in, we will be putting together a keepsake edition of Words of the Harvesters, complete with pictures, descriptions of the events, and letters testifying to the spiritual impact of these five days upon the lives of many who attended the apparitions of Our Lady. Many, many pilgrims told us that though they have attended similar events held at Caritas over the years, these five days, by far, surpassed the graces received from other times they have been with Our Lady in Her apparitions here. We believe the 54-Day Rosary Novena and the 9-day bread and water fast leading up to these apparitions certainly contributed to the graces received, but these prayers and sacrifices do not fully explain the outpouring of graces experienced in these five days, nor the miracles witnessed by those attending. And the graces even reached to those who had no knowledge of Our Lady’s appearing at Caritas, but through “divine encounters” were blessed in incredible ways, such as the letter to the right, which was received just after the apparitions had ended.
Similar to this letter, we met a man that lives just down the road from Caritas, who attended the same Mass at the local Catholic Church. Everyone who came to the event at Caritas attended this same Mass, as the man from the handwritten letter below. He was met and became part of the crowd gathered at the 7:45 a.m. Sunday Mass, and asked why so many were in attendance. He was surprised to discover that all these people, plus thousands of others, had been gathering on his road, further down Bear Creek Road than he had ever ventured before. He ended up coming to check out the events and the mission. He came up to some of the community to tell us how impressed he had been, and that we would be seeing him more often in the future. Though he was just down the road from Caritas, we had pilgrims from as far away as South Africa, Great Britain, France and Ecuador attend these apparitions, and people from all over the world who were staying connected and following the events through the Caritas website, Medjugorje.com.
Everyone who attended seemed to take home with them their own special graces of Our Lady’s presence such as the following letters show:
Dear Community of Caritas, March 26, 2011
We just want to thank you for the wonderful five days with Our Lady. It was a beautiful, spiritually rewarding time that will live in our hearts for a lifetime.
Thank you for the countless hours of hard work and little sleep to get The Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages back in operating condition and all the work it took to pull this event together. The Tabernacle is beautiful; the new equipment is first class; the talks were thought provoking; the rosaries, music, and time with Our Lady were awesome.
Witnessing your lives as you live Our Lady’s messages is such an inspiration for us to try harder to live the messages. A couple of family members came this year that had not ever visited Caritas before. We are hoping that Our Lady showered them with graces to continue their conversions.
Thank you again from our hearts,
Dear A Friend of Medjugorje and Community,
We had such a great week. Thanks for opening your home to all of us. Each visit we experience a deeper conversion and it gets harder to leave. We love you all and will continue to pray daily for you as you do for us. We are so blessed to be a part of this mission. Thanks again. May God be with you all, Jesus, our Lord, and Mary our Queen, forever!
Palm Coast, Florida
Among the many graces received, there were physical signs and miracles also experienced by the thousands of pilgrims in attendance, and one incredible miracle, that we have just recently learned about, that was given to a family who was present in the Bedroom of Apparitions during one of Marija’s apparitions in March. The details of these miracles will be coming in the next Words of the Harvesters.
Though the March 19-23, 2011 apparitions have ended, it is not the time to relax or take a rest. After a four day break from the mission to rest, pray and contemplate Our Lady’s visit, Caritas’ founder called for a community retreat—to set the course for what follows Our Lady’s visit. He did not speak so much about our work as he did our prayer life. The first thing, he said, we must always be successful with is our prayer—and with months of working day in and day out, it was time to strongly recommit to family prayer in every home, and to increase not only the amount of prayers but the fervency of our prayers. He offered to us many messages of Our Lady in which She called for family prayer. We include here just a few that were presented to us in our retreat. It is a good course set for us. We share this with you as an incentive to join with us for the next few months with a greater commitment to family prayer—both in frequency and in fervency.
September 27, 1984
June 23, 2002
July 3, 1989
August 15, 2008
We are over the mountain top in regards to the retooling of Our Lady’s Tabernacle, but while we are on the downhill slide, there is still much to be accomplished. Please keep this in your prayers, and whenever you are able to help, we would greatly appreciate your assistance in bringing the retooling to a close. At the same time, we are always in need of your monthly Field Angel donation to keep Our Lady’s presses moving forward, and the new book binder continually in motion. Many people commented that they “could not believe their eyes” when they saw the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages and the new equipment. The changes and improvements were much greater than what they imagined or anticipated. Many others were moved to tears in seeing the new ability to spread Our Lady’s messages through the expansion. We look forward to sending you an update also on the retooling effort, and thank you from our hearts, on behalf of Our Lady, for generously responding to our pleas for the retooling. We are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. All of you, our Field Angels, were in our prayers in a special way during Our Lady’s apparitions. We know that the blessings given by Our Lady during these days of prayer in March were bestowed upon all of you as well, for being faithful to Her mission. We send to you Our Lady’s love, freshly given, from five Bedroom apparitions and two Field apparitions.
With the Fresh Love of Our Lady,
The Community of Caritas
P.S. For all those who attended the March 19–23, 2011 apparitions, we encourage you to write down your experiences. Your testimonies will help to bring conversion and faith to others, and perhaps move them to go to Medjugorje to experience Our Lady’s presence themselves. Also, there are many who weren’t able to come to Caritas for these days of prayer with Our Lady, but who joined in the spirit of the event through their prayers and sacrifices. We also encourage you to send your testimonies of graces received connected to Our Lady’s apparitions here in March. Please do not delay in writing down your experiences. We would like to include as many as possible in our next Words of the Harvesters. Thank You.