The largest physical structure in the world dedicated entirely to the propagation of the Medjugorje messages, the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages took almost three years to build. Each stone was hand chiseled and hewn. The founder’s work, before giving up his business to devote himself fully to Our Lady’s plans, included site development and layout. He was particularly gifted and interested in avoiding “fake” architecture. He believes building designs define who and what you are. Much architecture is a facade of fake material, imitating what it is not. Our whole culture has become such, a Friend of Medjugorje says, because it is dollar driven and not God driven; meaning that in order to save money, it sacrifices quality and beauty by using false architecture.
The Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages
The Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages is his creation, a collaborative work with the Holy Spirit; a gift from the grace of God. The architecture of Our Lady’s Tabernacle is a prayer in and of itself. It is a physical manifestation of a spiritual work of grace. Many years of sacrifice by the founder of Caritas and his family metamorphosed into an ark of stone to house the messages now and into the future ages. The Tabernacle is a living stone from a time of grace, which has come to the world through Our Lady, in this age, and will never come again. A Friend of Medjugorje built the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages as a place for pilgrimage, for community, a place where children could play, for community to work and for all to pray. It has a life within it because it was built for God and for Our Lady to use.
Alongside him during the Tabernacle’s construction was his wife, Annette, who is especially gifted in interior design and beautifully brought to life Our Lady’s building with a spirit of reverence and prayer, and a little bit of whimsy with the cherub wallpapers throughout the building. Those who know her know that Annette always brings “a touch of Our Lady” to every room and every event.
As with everything that gave birth to Caritas, even the construction of the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages involved many battles with the established mentalities of the construction “experts.” Builders and architects of today’s structures are all about giving a look through a facade to make what is fake look real. It saves money but has no spirit that can touch a soul. The Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages is real, not wrapped in a skin to give a real impression to what is not real.
The development of Our Lady’s Tabernacle happened through prayer, and what a Friend of Medjugorje calls, “boots on the ground” inspiration. What began as a metal building on paper, became more and more elaborate and beautiful the more a Friend of Medjugorje led the community in prayer for Our Lady’s intentions for the building dedicated to Her and Her plans for the salvation of the world. For weeks, Caritas’ founder prayed as he walked the grounds to seek from God where the building should stand. He finally decided to build it in a hole to be more in harmony with the natural grades of the land and to hide how large the Tabernacle is on the inside. Today’s architectural experts like straight lines with everything out in the open so everyone can admire their work, creating buildings that look like boxes. A Friend of Medjugorje had to fight for every curve, every niche, every archway, every detail in the stonework that gives the Tabernacle mystery and Old World beauty. Many of the workers rebelled against having to break construction habits of what they do on every other job; but in the end even they were deeply proud of their work and would bring their families and friends out to Caritas on the weekends to admire the beauty fashioned by their own hands.
Just as Adam was created with age, so too the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages was created, appearing to be hundreds of years old from its beginning. Just after the Tabernacle was built, a visiting vendor, admiring the building said, “It’s amazing what you have done to restore this old church. It’s beautiful.” Caritas’ founder built, with God’s grace, the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages on a solid foundation–physically, spiritually and philosophically. This structure, the elements housed within, and its supporting infrastructure, taken together, the most potent and productive machine in the world for the mass propagation and distribution of Our Lady of Medjugorje’s messages and a living witness of our founder, conveyed through the life of the Community, of how to put Our Lady’s messages concretely into life. Our Lady said:
July 25, 1997
Pilgrims visiting the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages are in awe at the beauty of every corner and the closeness they feel with Our Lady when present. When pilgrimaging here, ask the Community members for a “walk-through” and discover the miraculous stories behind the building itself and learn the history of the founding of Caritas.