What Happened on August 25, 2003: Caritas Silver Jubilee

What Happened on August 25, 2003: Caritas Silver Jubilee


Apparition of August 25th, 2003, Monday


The Apparition of Our Lady on August 25th, 2003, took place in Room 504 of the Embassy Suites in Atlanta, Georgia, near the airport.

Our Lady came on the 4th Hail Mary. The apparition lasted 4 minutes and 25 seconds.

Marija and Paolo flew into Atlanta from California early this morning. Our founder, his wife Annette and their family, Marija & Paolo’s children, their friend Maggie, and two community members left late the night before (around 11:00 PM) to drive to Atlanta, get a hotel room, so as to have the children be able to get some rest before leaving on their trans-Atlantic flight back to Medjugorje. This also gave Paolo and Marija a little time to rest as well in the hotel room. This is why the apparition for the August 25th message took place in a hotel room in Atlanta.

Friends of the mission, who live in Atlanta, were invited to come and attend this apparition with their children. The original plan was to have the apparition at their house, but because of the distance away from the hotel, and realizing there would not be enough time to make it back to the airport for checking in Paolo and Marija’s family, the plan changed to stay where we were for the apparition. This caused a problem in that we hadn’t planned for anything to dress up an altar for Our Lady. The hotel room itself offered no inspiration, and the small gift shop in the hotel also had little to offer, with the exception of two votive candles in the shape of peaches.

Our founder grabbed a small baby blanket to try and hide the television. Annette walked into the room at that point and thought that would never do. She grabbed a sheet, which was longer and wider and covered the whole TV stand, but it was drab, and served only as a covering, but not as an altar. She thought back when she was packing up the cars last night, dragging out blankets and quilts for the kids to sleep on for the ride over to Atlanta. She had pulled out a pretty quilt that her grandmother had made, with the wedding ring design, but decided she didn’t want to chance messing it up. Instead, she grabbed another one that was hand-made by her grandmother, but was a hodge-podge of color. How she wished she had now packed the first quilt. That would have made a beautiful altar cloth. The one they brought was bright and very colorful. However, she thought, surely it would be better than this drab sheet. She went to get it from the car. But she had second thoughts once she got it in the room. It seemed too much color. Marija was sitting on the couch and our founder was also in the room. Annette asked their opinion, saying at the same time she thought it was too much for an apparition. Our founder said Our Lady likes color, and besides the quilt is hand-made with love while the sheet is machine made. There was no choice to be made. The quilt won out in the end.

But still there was nothing to place on the quilt except the two candles found in the gift shop of the hotel. Marija remembered having just bought a set of pretty tea-light candles for a gift for someone back home, and offered them for the altar. Just about this time, our friends from Atlanta arrived. They had thought to bring a statue of Our Lady and a small beautiful vase full of fresh white roses. And then Annette remembered the two wooden candlesticks Marija’s boys had made as a gift for their parents the day before in our St. Joseph’s Shop. These tall candlesticks ended up on the altar as well, but without candles. Annette went out searching the hotel, asking the personnel to help her find two candles to go in these holders. She came back 30 minutes later with two used candles. Finally the altar was complete.

In the midst of all this happening, a few phone calls were made back home to let the rest of the community know what was happening with the apparition so they could also be in union with us in prayer. Our founder asked everyone to go to the Field early to prepare for the apparition. They had just finished celebrating Holy Mass. Our founder asked everyone to be praying that Our Lady would give us something special in the message for our community during today’s monthly message to the world.

Just after the apparition, we prayed the Magnificat and one Glory Be. Marija, immediately after the prayers were finished, got up silently and left the room. She was gone 10-15 minutes. We waited in prayer for her return. When she came out she asked for the number in which to contact Medjugorje to relay the message. She handed Paolo her hand written copy of the message in Croatian. From that copy he translated the message for us in English. The following message was as Paolo read it the first time. He would stop and ask Marija questions about certain words or expressions. At one point the two seemed to discuss a certain word or expression.

“Dear children, also today I invite you to give thanks to God in your hearts for all the graces He gives you through the signs and the colors that are in nature. God desires, wishes to get you close to Him and helps you to give Him glory and thanks…and inspires you to give Him glory and thanks. And so I invite you again, little children, pray, pray, pray and do not forget I am with you and I intercede in front of God for each of you till your joy would become full in God. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

When we heard the message, it immediately brought us joy as we recognized words that were “just for us” in Her message. “..give thanks to God in your hearts for all the graces He gives you through the signs and the colors that are in nature…” For those in the room who were involved in the evolution of the altar, these words brought a great joy in believing that Our Lady had “heard” our conversation about the color of the quilt. But also, so many beautiful memories from the past two weeks being with Our Lady in nature—the sea, the altar in the Beach House, the 12 starfish, the flower display around Our Lady’s statue, the cosmos blooming in the Field, the cool wind the night of the 21st of August’s apparition, the hunting for the mushrooms, the finding of the little deer just before Paolo and Marija’s visit, etc.. Our whole time with Our Lady there had been signs in nature given to draw us closer to Her heart and God’s, the beauty of nature and its colors were potent. So there was no doubt that this message was given to us specially—though it was also given to the whole world, but for us this message will always bring back fond memories of this August spent with Our Lady and Marija’s family on our vacation.

A few side stories. Our founder had past a young maid from a foreign country in the hallway of the hotel with a familiar dialect. He stopped and asked her where she was from…Slovenia she said. He asked if she was Catholic and if she knew of Medjugorje. She replied “yes” to the first question and “of course” to the second. Through much effort on his part, he convinced her to come to the apparition that would be taking place. He explained how Marija was here and even went to this girl’s boss to get permission for her to come to our room at this certain time. A little shy, when she saw us gathered, he had to practically pull her into the room, but she was able to see Marija up close for the apparition. She left soon after it was over. Our founder had found her crying in the next room over. She had been very touched. He said that the message “get hearts close to my heart” (May 31, 1995) kept coming to mind all morning as he worked on this girl to have her come to the apparition. In the end she was very grateful.

Also in this apparition there were specific prayers being said for a young mother in our church parish of Our Lady of the Valley who was dying from cancer, leaving behind her a husband and four children, the youngest being a 10 month old baby. This woman, with her husband had come to our founder’s home the night before, on August 24, to pray in the Bedroom. She had just gotten word that she had only two weeks to live and her dying request was to be able to pray in the Bedroom. They stayed for nearly an hour. Our founder explained before they left about the apparition the next day. He invited them to write petitions to Our Lady. They stayed a good while doing this. They both had felt something strong in the Bedroom. Our founder explained all this to Marija before the apparition. When it was time to start the Rosary, Marija offered the Rosary for this woman and her family, having made a comment that their story is a very sad one. When we returned back to Caritas, we called them and told them about the message. The mother had taken a turn for the worse that day, but her husband came out to Caritas with some of his family members to pray and get a copy of the message. She died within the week. The August 25th message was also “just for them” as it was “just for us” as it was “just for everyone”—perfect for everyone’s specific situation. Our Lady knew this mother was going to be called Home, and in these last days, she was preparing for her eternal life. Having their petitions presented to Our Lady in this apparition, Our Lady said:

“…God wants to draw you closer to Himself and moves you to give Him glory and thanks… I intercede before God for each of you until your joy in Him is complete…”

The story of this family had touched so many people in the parish, and their witness of faith as they faced death brought God glory, even as He prepared her to have her joy in Him complete through her death. At her wake, we were moved to find Our Lady’s August 25, 2003 message on a beautiful card we had given her husband, placed prominently in her casket for all to see as they passed by.



Did Our Lady plan this hand-made quilt, so bright in its colors, to show how tangible Her messages are to everyday decisions? Even choosing this quilt? We, in the community, do not just think so, we know so. As we have repeatedly seen the actions of Our lady, such as the circumstances of this quilt, its colors and Our Lady’s message, “…colors that are in nature…”

August 25, 2003 Monthly Message to the World

“Dear children! Also today I call you to give thanks to God in your heart for all the graces which He gives you, also through the signs and colors that are in nature. God wants to draw you closer to Himself and moves you to give Him glory and thanks. Therefore, little children, I call you anew to pray, pray, pray and do not forget that I am with you. I intercede before God for each of you until your joy in Him is complete. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

alter set up for medjugorje visionary marija

Looking at the details of this altar we are more amazed today then we were the day of Our Lady’s apparition on August 25, 2003 because through reflection, you learn more of what Our Lady did or said—there is more mystery unfolded. On this Monday of August 25, our time with Our Lady officially ended with Marija returning to her home across the sea. We prayed that Our Lady would give the community a special message through Her words to the world on this 25th day of the month. The words She left us with was to be thankful for all the graces we had experienced with Her in these special apparitions. She said, “…give thanks to God in your heart for all the graces which He gives you, also through the signs and colors that are in nature…”

Looking at this altar we are amazed at the “signs” left there for us to find. The statue brought to the apparition by a friend was one that was carved in wood, as were the candlesticks that Marija and Paolo’s boys fashioned with their own hands in our St. Joseph’s carpenter shop as a surprise for their parents. We had not come prepared to make an altar for Our Lady as our original plan was the apparition would take place at the home of our friends. So, we weren’t planning on using these wooden candlesticks. Our founder’s wife only remembered they were packed away after we could not find other candles in the hotel gift shop. When one plan didn’t work, we had to set out to think of another plan, which brought to mind the candlesticks that the boys had made just the day before.

We weren’t conscious, at the time, that all the things that we could find to go on the altar were things made by hand from what nature provided, or that brought to mind something from creation. The only candles we could find in the gift shop were peach shaped and colored candles. The only covering that could be found for Our Lady’s altar was a hand-made quilt made by Annette’s grandmother who had lived in the country her whole life. Annette had grabbed this multi-colored quilt at the last moment before leaving the house the night before, for the kids to cuddle under while making the three hour drive to the hotel during the night. As the altar covering it brought to mind the rural agrarian life where every day you are dealing directly with nature and what it produces. And even the picture hanging on the wall was of country birdhouses.

It was an entirely different look from the altar in Dune Haven but everything about it brought to mind nature and creation. What was the most amazing thing about this is that Our Lady, knowing what the message was already going to be, led us on a scavenger hunt for Her altar just as we had done for the altar in Dune Haven. It was only after the message was given that our actions had significance—and made us realize that Our Lady had been guiding our steps, even to the extent of having certain things placed in our car the night before, such as the quilt, that we would not normally have had. All this in order to help us understand that “…God wants to draw us closer to Himself…” and so He gives us “signs” through the “colors that are nature” so that we will “…give Him glory and thanks…”

statue of our lady for medjugorje visionary marija


This is exactly what happened with our altar in Dune Haven…we all went looking for special items to go on the altar…not knowing at the time that they were “signs” Our Lady was giving us. Even the angel pedestal that Annette, our founder’s wife, had found to add to the altar scene foreshadowed the angels that would surround Our Lady on the feast of Her Assumption, spreading out to even the peripheral vision of Marija so that it was all that she could see.

alter at beach for visioary marija of medjugorjes apparition with community of caritas

All the rest of the Caritas Community was back in the Field of Apparitions, praying in union with our founder and his family with Marija. We had called earlier in the morning to let them know when the apparition would be, and our founder wanted everyone to be praying to Our Lady to say something special in Her message of August 25 to the community, as well as to have our hearts full of thanksgiving for all the graces Our Lady had bestowed upon us in these past two weeks. Our Lady’s parting words in Her message of the 25th will always be held dear to our hearts.

medjugorje visionary marijas boys

While Marija and Paolo were gone over the weekend, their boys were busy in Caritas’ St. Joseph’s shop learning to use some of the carpentry equipment as they took a block of wood and transformed it into beautiful candlesticks as a surprise gift for their parents. This machine is a lathe, and the boys are holding sandpaper to their candlestick to smooth out all the rough edges. The Caritas kids, at very early ages, have the blessing to grow up with equipment that they learn to operate and then make whatever their creative minds come up with. St. Joseph’s shop, a couple of weeks before Christmas, is transformed into a regular Santa’s elves workshop, and we are utterly amazed on Christmas Day to see what gifts have been created by our youth.

medjugorje visionary marijas boys

The finishing touches are put on the candlesticks. Not bad work for an afternoon in St. Joseph’s Shop. The boys were so proud of their accomplishment, and beamed when watching their parents open up the wrapped package. What makes youth feel accomplishment in today’s culture? So many parents have bought the lie that youth should have this period of their lives only to have fun, not to have to work or have responsibilities. But youth grow bored when they have no purpose in their lives except for entertainments and pleasures—which leads them down dangerous paths. The work of our youth contributes to their own future and the future of the community. Working with adults, side-by-side, develops social skills out of their age range and is fun. They experience satisfaction and accomplishment when the job is finished. They learn to enjoy working—which will lead them to a lifetime of contentment because they will find contentment in work. This all contributes to leading them safely through the pre-adult years, avoiding the pitfalls that many of today’s youth fall into. Work is holy.

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1 thought on “What Happened on August 25, 2003: Caritas Silver Jubilee”

  1. Thanks my dear friends of Medjugorje for sending this message to me and to entire world. It is love of Mother Mary, to come on exact day in every month.Thank You mother, and our Lord Jesus For the love for us sinners. When I read this I felt sweet inner harmony. I can imagine what a great happiness you all are receiving. May God Bless You all!

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