WAYNE'S SEPTEMBER COLUMN
PILGRIM NUMBERS FOR MEDJUGORJE:
UP? OR DOWN?
By Wayne Weible
The latest news concerning the apparitional site of Medjugorje is that the Italian pilgrims have dropped by half since Pope Francis in June of this year made several negative remarks about apparitions where he reportedly stated that Our Lady seems to come at the same time daily and delivers messages “like a postman.”
These reports come from unreliable Italian press coverage, which stated that the Holy Father was referring to Medjugorje. The same story line came from several Italian tour leaders. One such leader stated that that Italian pilgrims have dropped by half since 2013.
The hard, cold fact of the matter, like so much about Medjugorje these days, is that this is not true. On the contrary, the numbers are actually up, not down.
The one true way to measure the number of pilgrims coming to Medjugorje is by the number of hosts consumed each month. Every month, since 1985, the parish has made available statistics about the number of holy communions distributed to pilgrims and Medjugorje residents. This is the only available and consistent guide to the number of pilgrims visiting Medjugorje.
So, for the record, here are stats published before and since the Pope in June reportedly made these negative remarks: June 2015, 213,000 hosts distributed; June 2014, 211,000; June 2013, 211,900. We move on to figures for July for these three months: July 2015, 195,500; July 2014, 188,700; July 2013, 143,400.
This reveals the number of communions distributed for the months of June and July in 2015 is up on the two previous years, a positive indication that pilgrim numbers are also up. As for any dip for the months of July, this is not unusual. The weather is extremely hot during this month and fewer pilgrims go there because of this. What also has to be taken into account is that the June figures are boosted by the anniversary celebrations that take place on the 25th of that month. The bottom line is, pilgrims going to Medjugorje are actually increasing at a moderate rate. Which brings me once again to say to all: What are you waiting for?
The Blessed Virgin has been coming to Medjugorje for 34 years, two months, a week and a few days now. How much longer will she come? All indicators say not for much longer. The three visionaries, Ivan, Marija and Vicka have nine of the ten secrets and could receive the tenth any day now. Then again, it may stretch out for several more years. The point is, no one but God, the Father, actually knows.
What I know as do so many who have gone on pilgrimage to the village, there is nothing like it. There is also nothing in the world to compare to seven days in Medjugorje. So, pray about it. Come! Add to this the spiritual benefit and it’s a no-brainer.
I have our annual All Saints Day Pilgrimage that leaves on October 29, and returns on November 6, 2015 coming up. Once again, I invite you to join me! It is the best time to go for two major reasons: the cost is the lowest at $2,499; there are far fewer pilgrims there at this time of the year and the weather is temperate, with a jacket or a coat in the evening.
I play my trump card by quoting a key passage from the August 25, 2015 message from the Blessed Virgin to Marija:
--The world is in a moment of trial, because it forgot and abandoned God. Therefore you, little children, be those who seek and love God above all. I am with you and I am leading you to my Son, but you must say your ‘yes’ in the freedom of children of God.
If you make pilgrimage to Medjugorje, you become an active member of her army. You say “yes” to her and to God. Come with me; you will not regret it! Call our office today toll free 1-877-896-6061 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The peace, love and grace of Jesus be with all of you.