PART 2 OF A “VIRTUAL RETREAT” WITH FR. MICHEL RODRIGUE
Fr. Michel Rodrigue ’s Adventures in Medjugorje.
Being a seminary professor well-versed in many fields—Psychology, Dogmatic Theology, Pastoral Theology, Practical Theology—and having studied Church doctrines and Church documents concerning the Virgin Mary and approved Marian apparitions, Fr. Michel didn’t believe in Medjugorje. The Virgin Mary, as far as he knew, had never appeared and given consistent messages for so long and in such a manner.
But Fr. Michel never spoke out against the alleged apparitions in Medjugorje, and instead, kept his doubts to himself. On the day that Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Our Lady appeared to him and asked him to pray, saying that this invasion could start a third World War, but prayer could avert it. Fr. Michel promised her that he would pray for this intention. Because the Virgin Mary looked different than he was accustomed to seeing her, and he was not familiar with how she appeared to the visionaries in Medjugorje, he asked, “Who are you?”
She answered, “I am the Queen of Peace.” Then she added, “I would like you to go to Medjugorje.”
He told her, “But I don’t have the money to go.”
She smiled and then vanished.
The next day he received a check for $3000 in the mail from a payment he was owed and didn’t expect. Even with the political and ethnic tensions in the region, with Yugoslavia breaking up as a country at that time, with war hanging in the air, Fr. Michel had complete trust in the Blessed Mother and felt no fear in traveling there.
Soon after Fr. Michel arrived, one of the Franciscan priests asked him, “Do you speak French?”
“Can you hear confessions in French? Because we don’t have anyone.”
“Yes, no problem.” Fr. Michel proceeded to hear confession, after confession, after confession, after confession . . . Eventually, he said to the Lord, “I need to go to the toilet!” Then someone came and helped him take a short bathroom break. “Thank you, Lord. Oh, thank you, Lord.”
He came back and heard confession, after confession, after confession, after confession . . .
“Father, I am hungry,” he said. Immediately, someone came to the confessional door: “I have a sandwich for you, father.”
Later he needed a drink, so He asked God for one, and someone immediately brought him a bottle.
“Oh, I received so many graces there,” Fr. Michel shared. “One day in Medjugorje, I was walking along the sidewalk and said, “Lord, I would like a sign from you. Yes, Mama Mary, give me a sign. I would like to have a stole, a green reversible one with red. And I prefer to have a one with a chalice. Just after giving them all my requests, I passed by restaurant where someone called out, “Father, father!”
I looked over and said, “Me?”
I’d never seen him before in my life. So I entered.
He said in English, “Father, I have a gift for you.”
“A gift for me?” And he gave me a box with a stole, green on the side, red on the other side, and with the image of a chalice on it—everything.”
I said to Mama Mary, “Wow!” How could I not believe in Medjugorje? It’s impossible. I went on to receive many more signs than that in Medjugorje, I assure you.”
One morning when Fr. Michel was standing near the side of the road, a car pulled up alongside him. “Come with me,” the man said to him in French. We have a lot to do today. We’ll have breakfast.”
“Who is this priest?” Fr. Michel wondered, “and how does he know I speak French? And why am I suddenly spending the day with him?”
The man was Fr. Slavko Barbaric, a Franciscan priest originally sent to Medjugorje in 1983 to investigate the apparitions. He became a fervent believer and later, the spiritual director of many years for the six Medjugorje visionaries. Until his sudden death on Mount Krizevac in November 2000, when he was praying the Stations of the Cross, he was the mainstay of the Medjugorje pilgrims. A trained psychotherapist, who spoke many languages, he tireless organized the daily liturgies, talks in many languages, Eucharistic adoration hours, Rosaries, and authored books on prayer, fasting, Adoration, the Stations of the Cross and Confession. In a unique Medjugorje message just a few days after his death, Our Lady told the visionary Marija that Fr. Slavko was with her in heaven.
Fr. Michel had never met Fr. Slavko before, and knew neither why Fr. Slavko knew who he was nor where he was taking him. Fr. Slavko drove Fr. Michel around Medjugorje, explaining to him the significance of the various sites and the history of the apparitions. He then took him into a room near the Church of St. James Church where file upon file, all documentation pertaining to Medjugorje, including the records of miracles and messages, were kept.
“Follow me,” said Fr. Slavko. Fr. Michel followed him to a place near the rectory. They descended a flight of stairs leading to a room underground, a secret room. Another priest was there.* Fr. Michel noticed that on one side of the room, a Bible was displayed, and on the other side, a book. “Touch the book,” Fr. Slavko said to Fr. Michel, so he picked up the book and turned the pages. Its pages were like parchment and felt like nothing he had ever touched on earth. “What do you see on the pages?”
“Nothing,” said Fr. Michel.
Fr. Slavko then explained how the ten Medjugorje secrets are written on that book’s parchment and how the visionary Mirjana was asked by Mary to choose a priest who would reveal each secret to the world. She chose a priest named Fr. Petar Ljubicic. Ten days before the first one happens, Mirjana will give the book to Fr. Petar, who will then be able to see and read the first secret. Each of them will pray and fast for seven days. Three days before the secret takes place, Fr. Petar will reveal it to the pope and to the world. Then he will hand the book back to Mirjana, who will bring it back to him ten days before the next secret is to occur. “In one way or another, God will guarantee that the message reaches the world.”
“The book comes from heaven,” said Fr. Slavko. It had been studied and analyzed by scientists who said that the material does not exist on Earth.
Fr. Slavko then said to Fr. Michel, “You have a message for us?” Heaven had given Fr. Michel a message specifically for the parish at Medjugorje, and at that moment, he remembered this message: “Yes, I do.” Fr. Slavko knew of this because Mary of Medjugorje had told the visionary, Ivan, that Fr. Michel would come with a message. Fr. Michel imparted the message, and Fr. Slavko filed it away.
The day before Fr. Michel had to leave Medjugorje, he joined the many people in St. James Church to pray the Rosary in the church before the 5:40 p.m. apparition of Our Lady. At that time, the visionaries gathered in a tiny room called the Apparition room each day shortly before Our Lady appeared to them. Only a small number of people were allowed into the room.
Fr. Michel noticed that Fr. Slavko in the front of the church began pointing his finger at something in the back of the church. Fr. Michel looked around to see what he was pointing to, and everyone turned their heads to look back at him. “Me?” he gestured? Fr. Slavko nodded yes.
Fr. Michel walked forward and was escorted to the room of apparitions where a small group of people and all six visionaries prayed, waiting for the Virgin Mary to appear. When Mary did, the visionaries suddenly looked up and began to speak and listen to her, impervious to any pain, earthy lights, or the world around them. In the same moment, Fr. Michel saw Mary in the form of an outline, which lasted the length of the apparition.
When the Bosnian war did break out in 1992, Medjugorje was divinely protected. Serbia launched a few warplanes instructed to bomb St. James Church in Medjugorje, but as the pilots were approaching their target, a large cloud came from nowhere, blocking their vision of the church, and they couldn’t see anything. Despite this, they launched their rockets. Miraculously, the bombs didn’t detonate, and the church was left undamaged.
Click here to read a beautiful handout on the 5 Main Messages of Medjugorje that we are called to live out.
To continue to the next post for the “virtual retreat” with Fr. Michel, click on PART 3: Fr. Michel Rodrigue – Mary Has Already Called the Apostle of the Last Times.
Click here to start at the beginning.
*The author will try to confirm who this was.