This story can be told in many different ways. We could start from the beginning, from the day in June 1981, when six young Bosnians they said they saw the Virgin Mary on a mountain near their town… Or talk about Yozo Zovko, the initially distrustful parish priest who defended teenagers from the incursions of the communist police and who was imprisoned in Tito on suspicion of raising the masses. But we can also start by talking about Jesus GarciaTwenty-five years later, when his newspaper sent him to the scene to investigate the veracity of the phenomenon that would ultimately turn Medjugorje, the city of alleged phenomena, into one of the busiest pilgrimage sites in the world.
The best way to find out everything is to watch the documentary that Garcia has just released. Medjugorje, film, is the fruit of several years of research. He first heard about this place in 2006. Since then, he has published a book and has become one of the leading experts on this phenomenon. “For me, Medjugorje is the greatest story that can be told right now,” he explains to the newspaper. “The documentary is a response to the concerns of journalists. We’re talking about a place where millions of people travel every year. Something is happening there. And in Spain nobody said that. “
In particular, what happened was that a group of young people between the ages of ten and sixteen said that they saw a woman with a child in her arms, who signaled to them to come closer. They said it was the Virgin Mary, and there was no doubt on their faces. Since then, the alleged phenomena have continued to occur, at first on a daily basis and then more sporadically. But during this period, no one, neither the relatives and neighbors who accompanied them in the first days, nor the pilgrims who continued to approach the place, could not determine whether what they were saying was true or a lie. The only ones who continue to see the Virgo are the six seers themselves, who continue to turn their faces and talk for a long time with nothing in front of the amazed eyes of witnesses who want to watch.
First, the news caught the village priest Jozo Zovko, a Franciscan who had been assigned to the parish several months before the first apparition, by surprise. In the documentary, he can be heard recalling those days and the fears that gripped him, realizing that anything could be a ploy by the regime to ridicule his faith and the faith of his parishioners. Nevertheless, the regime had nothing to do with it… In fact, he was just as worried, albeit for different reasons. The communist system that prevailed in Yugoslavia did not forbid religious beliefs as long as they were kept at home. So this increasingly visible movement was perceived as a threat.
The police did not keep themselves waiting long. He tried to take the children, whom he said Zovko was guarding, after he heard a voice warning him of the danger they were in. However, he could not hide them forever. In the end, they were subjected to various tests designed to measure their honesty. They went through psychiatric hospitals, where they were in direct contact with patients, and were even taken to the morgue, surrounded by corpses. Parish priest for his part went to jail, withstood brutal interrogations for over a year and was released on the sole condition that he never return to the city.
Today, as can be seen from the documentary, no seer doubts that the agents intended to destabilize them prior to medical examination, but so far no psychiatrist has been able to determine that they are lying. “For many years I have consulted every possible source,” says Garcia. “There are many archives, both in Medjugorje and in the Vatican, besides the most important source, which is always a direct testimony of the seer.” His conclusion is clear. “They don’t lie… All the experts I have consulted tell you the same thing. There are ways to expose any lie. It is very difficult to keep false readings for so long. That six different people keep him on top, and their versions never contradict each other, and that they have continued this way for forty years, is completely undeniable. “
The alleged apparitions of Mary in Medjugorje have not yet been recognized by the Church. The Vatican, after several years of exhaustive investigations, came to the conclusion that the account of the first seven days of life had its source. However, the fact that they are still occurring has left a definitive conclusion. Garcia sees this as important information. “No one is going to investigate this story more thoroughly than the Church, because it is she who is better off denying it as soon as possible if it’s a lie,” he explains. “They are most interested in finding out the truth.” In addition, he continues to believe that this is a historical event: “This the first incident that can be investigated in real time, without the need to reconstruct the events of the past according to ancient sources. “
Garcia discovered Medjugorje during a difficult life period and assures that the fact that he lived there changed him. “If I came to the conclusion, it was that God exists,” he explains. “God really exists, and He calls us to live in faith, to believe in Him.” He knows that his appeal could condition him when he approached the documentary, but he is not hiding. “The the duty of a journalist is to seek the truth in the news. Medjugorje is news and I did my best to research my best to find the truth. Today, if you ask me, I will tell you that I don’t know if Virgo appears there. I did not see. If I saw her, I would interview her and photograph her. But, in any case, the work of a documentary filmmaker should not change depending on whether he thinks he will be believed or not. A documentary filmmaker’s job is to document what he sees. “
For him, the key is not even visions. “Actually, this is the most anecdotal. The main thing is the message, ”he says. Virgo, according to the alleged seers, launched several. “He calls for peace, prayer, fasting, so that people return to the path of love and follow the instructions of their son,” he says. “It helps us open our hearts to faith.” When asked how difficult it is for an unbeliever to access this message, he answers. “During all this time, I have seen many agnostics and many atheists who have left and converted. But it is true that in order to understand, you must first be willing to listen. You must act without prejudice.and if then it seems nonsense to you, nothing will happen, ”he concludes. Then he adds: “Let’s say that something happens in Medjugorje that mother gathers her children… It is addressed not so much to the unbaptized as to the baptized, who allowed their faith to cool down. This is the re-evangelization of the world from the center of Europe. ” This latest information, moreover, seems important to him. ” The fact that this is happening in a communist country, initially with a predominantly Muslim population, speaks volumes. If I wanted to arrange a fraud, I would arrange it wherever the wind was in his favor, not against him. “
Tamara Falco and the history of conversion
The documentary, which was released yesterday, also includes testimonies of several people whose lives have been changed by Medjugorje. It turns out, among other things, the media Tamara Falco, for example, or the writer Maria Vallejo-Nagera… Also a survivor of the famous Andean tragedy, Nando Parrado. Along with them, many other anonymous people, such as Gonzalo, a companion of Jesús Garcia on his first research trip to this place, tell their stories of conversion and how Medjugorje helped them regain the faith they had abandoned.