Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Medjugorje: In St. John Paul II’s Own Words

St. John Paul II

Medjugorje: In St. John Paul II’s Own Words

When speaking with people regarding Medjugorje, I often find that people either know little to nothing about the reported apparitions of Mary that have lasted over 38 years and that continue to this day…

Or, they have a vague negative perception fueled by things they once heard or read many years ago.

I’ve also found that most have no idea that St. John Paul II personally believed in Medjugorje and spoke highly about it with Bishops and priests, stating such things as:

·      Mary’s coming to Medjugorje was an answer to his prayers.

·      Medjugorje is the continuation and extension of Fatima.

·      The fall of Communism in Poland should not be credited to him; but it is the work of Mary in Medjugorje and Fatima.

·      Today people have lost the supernatural. They find it in Medjugorje.

·      Medjugorje is “the Spiritual Heart” and “the Hope of the World”.

·      "Our Lady of Medjugorje will save America!"

Yet, these are, in fact, accurate representations of his thoughts. This article will verify each of these statements plus many others.

But, let’s first address the most fundamental question:

What is Medjugorje?

Medjugorje is a small village in former Communist Yugoslavia, (what is now currently known as Bosnia- Herzegovina) where it has been reported consistently and undeniably that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, has been coming to earth – first to six children – now to three of the six children (who are now adults) who still report seeing her to daily. In the reported messages, Mary calls herself the “Queen of Peace” and asks for: Peace, for her children to convert and have strong faith through centering our lives on the Eucharist (adoring and going to Mass daily if possible), reading Scripture and praying the rosary daily with the heart (with our family if possible), fasting twice a week and confessing once a month. Up to 50 million people have made pilgrimages there. Out of these millions, hundreds of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, as well as, countless conversions and miracles have been reported - resulting in thousands who describe Medjugorje as a place where "heaven touches the earth"!

As mentioned above, most have no idea what Pope John Paul believed regarding these events that began in 1981 and lasted through the end of his pontificate and beyond (again, according to continuous reports).

In response to this, I provide here a comprehensive account of what St. John Paul II said regarding Medjugorje privately to many priests and bishops.

Their testimonies, placed here in chronological order, not only give insight into John Paul II’s beliefs, but also provide a compelling look into the history of Church’s response regarding the reported apparitions as well; particularly, as it regards its unprecedented stripping away of the authority of the local bishop to make judgments regarding Medjugorje. This is why those holding to the local bishops’ opinions and purporting them to be the Church’s official response do not represent the Church or the reported apparitions accurately or fairly.

Now, on to Medjugorje in St. John Paul II’s own Words:

1984: Pope John Paul II to Bishop Hnilica: “Medjugorje is a continuation, an extension of Fatima. Our Lady is appearing in communist countries primarily because of problems that originate in Russia.”

·      This was said while discussing the Consecration of Russia with Bishop Pavel Hnilica, who was speaking to the Pope of how he was able to enter Communist Moscow at the risk of further imprisonment (he had already been imprisoned for six years in a Communist work camp alongside tens of thousands of others), in order to Consecrate Russia as it’s bishop in union with Pope John Paul II’s Consecration on March 25, 1984. (See testimony here of his time in prison and how he was able to enter Moscow

·      This Act of Consecration was made to fulfill the request of Our Lady in Fatima - who, Pope John Paul II was convinced - saved his life from the trained assassin’s bullet on May 13, 1981. (See full interview:,1132.html)

On April 2, 1986 reported by Fr. Ivan Dugandzic, OFM, during a meeting with the Holy Father. The Holy Father told him that he follows the events continuously. "You can tell everyone that each day I pray for a happy conclusion to these events."

June 1986: Response to a group of twelve Italian bishops seeking pastoral advice on people making pilgrimages to Medjugorje. "Let the people go to Medjugorje if they convert, pray, confess, do penance and fast."

1987: Fr. Gianni Sgreva, who was discerning whether to help with the foundation of a new Community, which stemmed from the conversion of several young people in Medjugorje.

“…Before founding the community I spoke with Cardinal Ratzinger. He listened to everything attentively and instructed me what to do. For Medjugorje he told me,

"Don't you worry about the tree, you worry about the fruits, the vocations, and Medjugorje is our concern."

I spoke also with the Holy Father. I talked to him about the community and the vocations connected with the experience of Medjugorje. The Holy Father listened to me, drew close to me and right in my ear said to me, reminding me not to forget:

"Don't you be concerned about Medjugorje, because I'm thinking about Medjugorje and I pray for its success every day. You be concerned with the vocations and pray for me every day"

·      Passionist Fr. Gianni Sgreva speaks in regard to the origins of the Oasis of Peace Community, whose history began with “the events in the famous Bosnian village of Medjugorje. Here, in the year 1987, several young men and women were touched by the presence of the Queen of Peace. They began to try and live the messages of Our Lady - prayer, penitence and conversion - transforming them into a lifestyle compatible with consecrated life.” It is now “composed of brothers and sisters from all parts of the world and is present today in Italy, Cameroon and Brazil.”

1987: In a private conversation with the visionary Mirjana Soldo the Pope said:

"If I were not pope I would already be in Medjugorje confessing."

·      Mirjana further attests and writes in her book, My Heart Will Triumph, about her time with Pope John Paul II. In the course of the conversation, saying:

·      "Please ask the pilgrims in Medjugorje to pray for my intentions."
"I know all about Medjugorje I've followed the messages from the beginning. Please, tell me what it's like for you when Our Lady appears."

·      "Take good care of Medjugorje, Mirjana. Medjugorje is the hope for the entire world."

·      "If I were not the pope, I would have gone to Medjugorje a long time ago."

·      She writes: “I will never forget the love that radiated from the Holy Father. What I felt with him is similar to what I feel when I am with Our Lady, and looking into his eyes was just like looking into hers. Later, a priest told me that the pope had been interested in Medjugorje from the very beginning, because right before our apparitions started, he had been praying for Our Lady to appear again on Earth. 

·      "I cannot do it all alone, Mother," he prayed. "In Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland and so many other communist countries, people cannot freely practice their faith. I need your help, dear Mother."

·      According to this priest, when the pope heard that Our Lady had appeared in a tiny village in a communist country, he immediately thought Medjugorje had to be an answer to his prayers.  

·      [John Paul II was shot on May 13, 1981 - the reported Marian Apparitions in Medjugorje began on June 24, 1981 - just a little over a month later.]

1988: "Pray for me in Medjugorje. [...] Medjugorje is the spiritual heart of the world." (Pope John Paul II to bishop of Florianopolis (Brazil), Maurillo Kreiger)

·      1988: Mons. Maurillo Kreiger visited Medjugorje four times. His first visit was in 1986. He writes as follows: "In 1988, I was with eight other bishops and thirty three priests on spiritual retreat in the Vatican. The Holy Father knew that many of us were going to Medjugorje afterwards. After a private mass with the Pope, before leaving Rome, he said, without having been asked anything, "Pray for me in Medjugorje".

·      On another occasion, I told the Pope "I am going to Medjugorje for the fourth time". He concentrated his thoughts and said, "Medjugorje, Medjugorje, it's the spiritual heart of the world". On the same day I spoke with other Brazilian bishops and the Pope at lunch time and I asked him: "Your holiness, can I tell the visionaries that you send your blessing?" He answered: "Yes, Yes.” and embraced me.

·      "Medjugorje is a great center of spirituality." Pope John Paul II to Bishop Murilo Krieger (National Catholic Register, April 29, 1990)

August 1, 1989 address by the Pope to a group of Italian physicians dedicated to defending unborn life and to making scientific and medical studies on the apparition, [at which they lamented to Pope John Paul II of the Bishop Zanic’s rejection of their findings]:

"Today the world has lost the supernatural. Many people sought it and found it in Medjugorje through prayer, fasting, and through confession."

Reported by Bishop Paul Hnilica, SJ, Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, who then added: “For me personally, this is the strongest explicit witness about Medjugorje…The Pope, for his part, recognized … supernatural events are really at work in Medjugorje. Through many sources, the Pope came to the conviction that God can be experienced in this place.”

Aug. 1988: "The pope spoke very favorably about the happenings at Medjugorje...To say nothing is happening there is to deny the living, prayerful witness of hundreds of thousands who have gone there." (Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer, Pastoral Letter of August 5, 1988)

·      Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI, Bishop of San Angelo, Texas, National Catholic Register, April 15,1990: "During my Ad Lumina visit to Rome with the Bishops of Texas in April 1988, I asked our Holy Father his opinion about Medjugorje during the private conversation I had with him. He spoke very favorably about the happenings there, pointing out the good which had been done for people. During the lunch which the Texan bishops later had with the Holy Father, Medjugorje came up for further discussion. Again His Holiness spoke of how it has changed the lives of people who visit it, and said that so far the messages are not contrary to the gospel."

1988:  "Medjugorje? Medjugorje? Medjugorje? Only good things are happening at Medjugorje.  People are praying there.  People are going to Confession. People are adoring the Eucharist, and people are turning to God.  And, only good things seem to be happening at Medjugorje." Archbishop Henry J. Flynn of St. Paul Minneapolis related this response Pope John Paul II gave to Bishop Stanley Ott of Baton Rouge, La., who asked him: "Holy Father, what do you think of Medjugorje?" during the Louisiana bishops’ "ad limina" visit to the Holy Father in Rome.

May 14th, 1989: ‘Yes, it’s good for pilgrims to go to Medjugorje and pray and do penance. It’s good!’ Bishop S. Treinen, Bishop of Boise, Idaho, related this reply Pope John Paul II gave to him during his Mass Homily at the Notre Dame Conference on Medjugorje, when he told him: ‘Holy Father, I have just come from Medjugorje. There are wonderful things going on there… That’s first hand, I heard him say it myself.”

April 21, 1989: "If I wasn't the pope, I’d be in Medjugorje already!" - Reported by Bishop Paul Hnilica, SJ, Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, after having been admonished by the Holy Father for not stopping in Medjugorje on his return trip to Rome from a meeting in Moscow on behalf of the Pope.

August 1989: "Let them go [to Medjugorje]. They are going there to pray. When you get there, you pray for me." (Pope John Paul II to Archbishop Patrick Flores, Message de Paix, Montreal, 11/12/89).

Nov. 11, 1990: Regarding the liberation of Poland from Communism:

"No, this is not my merit. This is the work of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as She had predicted in Fatima and in Medjugorje." (Pope John Paul II to Msgr. Angelo Kim, President of the Korean Bishops' Conference)

1990: John Paul II sent his friend and confidant, Bishop Paul Hnilica, S.J., then Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, to accompany Marija Pavlovic, another Medjugorje visionary, on a visit to Russia. Bishop Hnilica continually told Marija how much the pope wished to visit Medjugorje.

February 1991: "There are bishops, like in Yugoslavia for example, who are against this. But it is important to look at the great number of people who are answering her invitations, the amount of conversions... All this is underlined in the Gospel... All these facts have to be seriously investigated." (Pope John Paul II to Archbishop Kwangju, L`Homme Nouveau, 3. February 1991.)

·      “The CDF has taken an unprecedented position by stating that the bishop's negative convictions of Medjugorje is merely "his personal opinion".

·      [They issued two letters, one in 1998 and again in 2018 stating, in part]:

·      1998: The secretary of the CDF, Cardinal Bertone, states in a letter to Bishop Aubry on the status of Medjugorje stating (complete text);

"What Bishop Peric said in his letter to the Secretary General of FamilleChretienne, declaring: "My conviction and my position is not only 'non constat de supernaturalitate', but likewise, 'constat de non supernaturalitate' of the apparitions or revelations in Medjugorje", should be considered the expression of the personal conviction of the Bishop of Mostar which he has the right to express as Ordinary of the place, but which is and remains his personal opinion."

·      2008: Cardinal Bertone, secretary of the CDF, re-iterates the previous statement of the CDF with the following;

“Bishop Peric’s statement expresses a personal opinion of his own. It is not a definitive official judgment on the part of the Church. The Church defers to the Zadar statement issued on 10th April 1991 by the bishops of the former Yugoslavia and the statement leaves the door open to further investigations of the affair. So the process of verification needs to move forward” 2

·      “If we are to be honest with ourselves about the implications of this statement, we must then dismiss anything the bishop says on the matter as not holding any authority, since it is based on his personal opinions (as opposed to an official pronouncement). This includes his many writings against Medjugorje, the numerous articles, his appearances on public television condemning the apparitions, the commentary on his diocese website, and so forth. None of this can be given any more authority than if a layperson were saying the same.”

July 20, 1992: The Pope said to Fr. Jozo Zovko: "Busy yourself with Medjugorje, look after Medjugorje, don't tire. Persevere, be strong, I am with you. Watch over, follow Medjugorje."    

·      Fr. Jozo met with Pope John Paul II in 1992, in the midst of the wars in the former Yugoslavia. John Paul II’s words to Fr. Jozo were striking: “I am with you, protect Medjugorje! Protect Our Lady’s messages!” The passion and urgency of the Holy Father’s words for the protection of Medjugorje make clear how much the holy site, as to millions of Catholics, meant to him.

Rome, November 24, 1993: The Bishops of the Indian Ocean Regional Episcopal Conference asked about Medjugorje during their ad limina meeting with the Holy Father, Pope John Paul answered: 

“As Urs von Balthasar put it, Mary is the Mother who warns her children. Many people have a problem with Medjugorje, with the fact that the apparitions last too long. They do not understand. But the message is given in a specific context, it corresponds to the situation of the country. The message insists on peace, on the relations between Catholics, Orthodox and Muslims. There, you find the key to the comprehension of what is happening in the world and of its future. (The Triumph of the Heart; Sr. Emmanuel; pg. 196)

1994: "Our Lady of Medjugorje will save America!" (Pope John Paul II to Bishop Hnilica, National Conference, Notre Dame)

November 1994: The Archbishop of Paraguay, Mons. Felipe Santiago Bentez, asked of the Holy Father, the Pope, if he was right to give approval to the faithful gathering in the spirit of Medjugorje, especially with the priests... The Holy Father answered: "Approve all that is related to Medjugorje".

Feb. 1995: Pope John Paul II, in response to a question asked by the Archbishop of Asuncion, La Paz, Bolivia. "Authorize everything that regards Medjugorje."

March 22, 1995: Vicka Ivankovic, reported visionary of Medjugorje, accompanied 350 wounded and crippled Croatian soldiers to Rome where the Pope gave them a private audience. She was the translator (Italian-Croatian) and the Pope immediately recognized her: "Are you not Vicka from Medjugorje?" he asked her. Vicka then offered him a rosary saying: "I guess you have many rosaries already, but this one is special as it was blessed by the Gospa during an apparition."

The Pope said to her: "Pray to the Madonna for me, I pray for you."

He prayed over her a long time and blessed her.

April 6th, l995: A Croatian Delegation, which included the President Tudjman, the Vice President Radic and Cardinal Kuharic from Zagreb made an official visit to the Holy Father. The Pope read his official statement and afterwards, as he often does, he spontaneously added a few words of his own. "I want to go to Split, to Maria Bistrica and to Medjugorje!"

·      March 15, 1997: Dr. Franjo Tudjman said the following: “Again I repeat that on the occasion of my last conversation with him Pope John Paul II said that, on the occasion of his visit to Bosnia-Hercegovina, he would like also to visit Medjugorje."

·      The visit of Pope John Paul II to Bosnia-Hercegovina April 12 - 13, 1997. While the Pope prayed with those gathered in the Sarajevo cathedral he prayed twice referring to the Queen of Peace for Bosnia-Hercegovina. Many of those present interpreted it as having recourse to the Queen of Peace from Medjugorje.

·      At his papal general audience on the Wednesday immediately after the Sarajevo visit. According to reports of the news agencies, the Pope on that occasion said: "In the course of the war pilgrimages of the faithful to the Marian shrine in Bosnia-Hercegovina did not stop as also not in other parts of the world, especially in Loreto, in order to request the Mother of Nations and the Queen of Peace to intervene in that suffering region."

Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel once spoke about John Paul II in an interview, saying: “I can tell you for a fact that the pope loves Medjugorje from afar and would go there in a minute if the theologians would let him.”

August 24, 2002: "I grant from the heart a particular blessing to Father Jozo Zovko, O.F.M., and I invoke a new outpouring of graces and heavenly favors, and the continuous protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary".  Signed letter to Fr. Jozo,

Private Letters From JPII About Medjugorje

In October 2005, letters between Marek and Zofia Skwarnicki and the late Holy Father John Paul II were published in Marek’s recent book: John Paul II : Greetings and Blessings – Private Letters from the Pope, published in October 2005 by Bertelsman Media, Poland.

Marek Skwarnicki first met Karol Wojtyla in 1958. Marek was the editor of the catholic weekly “Tygodnik Powszechny” and of the monthly “Znak” published in Krakow. He was also a member of the Pontifical Council for Laity and journeyed often with the Pope.

The following letters are taken from this book:

1st Letter:

+ Dear Mr and Mrs!

I cordially thank for the joint letter from the Skwarnickis: Zofia and Mark. I also thank for the Easter wishes. I return them with all my heart to you and the Young Generation (the Children and Grandchildren), and, eventually, to the Weekly and the whole Society. I trust that our Mother of Jasna Góra (the Bright Hill) will help me on the route of my pilgrimage in June. I do ask you for your prayer. I also remember in my everyday prayers about Father Andrew B. And I am sending a special blessing for Monica on the occasion of her First Holy Communion. And may everything work out fine on the Medjugorje to Rome journey.

With a heartfelt blessing, John Paul II

Vatican, March 30th, 1991

(in handwriting)

May the Peace of Christ reign in your hearts (Colossians 3, 15)


Blessingly, John Paul II, the Pope

Easter 1991

2nd Letter:

May 28, 1992:

Dear Mr. Mark Skwarnicki,

“…And now we everyday return to Medjugorje in prayer.” (p. 102)

3rd Letter:

December 8, 1992 (this letter was written in the pope’s own handwriting) :

“Dear Mr. and Mrs. Skwarnicki,

“…I thank Mrs. Zofia for everything concerning Medjugorje. I , too, go there every day as a pilgrim in my prayers: I unite in my prayers with all those who pray there or receive a calling for prayer from there. Today we have understood this call better. I rejoice that our time is not lacking people of prayer and apostles…” (p. 107)

John Paul II

4th Letter:

February 25, 1994:

“I thank you very much for the both letters. Mrs. Zofia is writing me about the Balkans. I guess Medjugorje is better understood these days. This kind of “urging” of our Mother is better understood today when we see with our very eyes the enormousness of the danger. At the same time, the response in the way of a special prayer – and that coming from people all around the world – fills us with hope that here, too, the good will prevail. Peace is possible – such was the motto of the day of prayers of January 23rd, prepared by a special session in Vatican in which Mr. T. Mazowiecki also participated.

Perhaps it is thanks to this as well that Europe is coming back to its senses. People in Poland get back to their senses, too, as follows from your writing. Maybe it will become easier for them to come to terms with the Pope who has not preached “the victory of democracy” but reminded them of the Decalogue…” (p. 119)

With blessings,

John Paul II

There is even verification of St. John Paul II’s affection toward Medjugorje following his death:

Reported visionary of Medjugorje, Mirjana Soldo, tells the following story of how John Paul II's desire to come to Medjugorje was symbolically fulfilled after his death:

·      On the Mount of Apparitions, I saw a pair of shoes of the Pope in front of me. After the apparition, the gentleman who brought these shoes (he didn’t introduce himself) said,

·      "It was the Pope’s desire for a long time to come to Medjugorje. So I said to him, 'If you do not go, I will take your shoes.' And that is how I brought his shoes, so they may be present during the apparition.”

·      And that is how Saint John Paul II’s desire to come to Medjugorje was satisfied."

·      [I personally heard this talk and have a photograph of my daughter with the pope’s shoes from our 2017 visit to Medjugorje]

Like so many whom I speak with today regarding Medjugorje, I, too, didn’t know what to believe for many years. After traveling to Medjugorje in 1991 and experiencing great miracles, I put all things regarding Medjugorje aside following negative things I heard. I knew my faith didn’t rest in Medjugorje and I didn’t think about it for nearly twenty years, until I felt a great call within me to look again into Medjugorje around the year 2008. It was then that I began researching Medjugorje in earnest again because I, too, had no idea what to believe based on the limited and often false reporting that I came across.

Thus, I began to research all I could find in search of the truth regarding these ongoing reported daily apparitions. What I found, first of all, were countless miracles of conversion as I read books devoted to sharing how people’s lives were transformed by their encounters with Mary in Medjugorje. I share some of these miracles in the following article:

But, even so, I continued to research, because its extremely important to me to never to speak of something without first having researched it thoroughly - especially as a theologian, a speaker, retreat leader and a teacher in my diocese – and as a writer whose words millions all over the world can read and access.

I do not want to be held accountable for leading anyone astray.

Therefore, I’ve continued to exhaustively research Medjugorje over the past decade.

I believe this article is the most comprehensive and concise overview of the Church’s response to Medjugorje that I have been able to achieve - along with the article that complements it, that reports on the most current facts about Medjugorje: These two articles, as well as the dozens of others, represent countless hours of research in response to the call I received to find out and spread the truth regarding Medjugorje.

I pray that this information is helpful to you in your discernment of the reported apparitions of Medjugorje.

May each of us ask St. John Paul II to guide and lead us to all Truth, Who is ultimately Jesus Himself, and to the truth of Medjugorje. Asking, if this is of God that may we respond accordingly. We ask this in Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

Our Lady, Mary, Queen of all Hearts and Queen of Peace, pray for us!

St. Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family and of the Church, pray for us!

All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Pope John Paul II's quotes on Medjugorje were referenced and compiled from various sources. Some were referenced above; others were verified and found here:

·      Why He Is A Saint, the Life and Faith of Pope John Paul ll and the Case for Canonization, p. 168,

by Msgr. Slawomir Oder, Postulator for his Cause of Sainthood

·      "Medjugorje and the Church", Denis Nolan, Queenship Publishing Co., 1995, p. 23-30


Although not updated since 2017, the following sites were also invaluable to me in my research.

© Janet Moore 2019. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. God Bless you for putting this wonderful information together