An Evening with Medjugorje Visionary Ivan
By Michael K. Jones

On November 26, 2000, Ivan was the guest speaker at St. Thomas of Villanova Church, in Wilmington, MA.

The evening started singing Hail Mary Gentle Woman. This was followed by reciting the Joyful and Sorrowful mysteries. The Eucharistic Liturgy was by Celebrant, Father Phillip B. Earley, pastor of St. Thomas. The Liturgy Readings were, 1st, Daniel 7:13-14 and 2nd, Revelations 1:5-8. The Gospel Acclamation was, John 18:33-37. Several songs were songs throughout the Mass.

After the Mass was the Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The Church smelled heavy with the fragrance of frankincense and we all recited, O Saving Victim and Down in Adoration Falling. This was followed by Benediction and Divine Praises.

Father Giordano Bellavich, OFM, Croatian Relief USA, was to be the translator. Father flew in from New Jersey but due to a plane delay was not there when Ivan was to speak. So in a rare and unusual event Ivan spoke in English. He did well with his English.

Ivan started off by telling us that he is not a saint. He made this very clear saying, he does not understand why Our Lady picked him. He went on to discuss the first days of the apparition in Medjugorje, starting on June 24, 1981.

Ivan was on his way home from playing soccer, when Vicka called him from a distance saying, "Come and see Our Lady." Ivan went but being very shy, upon seeing Our Lady, he quickly ran for home locking himself in his room, asking himself, "Why should I see these things?"

Ivan also makes account that in the following first days of the apparitions, he and the other visionaries were transported over bushes and brush to the apparition site. There standing on a cloud the Blessed Mother was holding the baby Jesus. She motioned the Medjugorje children saying, "Come closer, do not be afraid."

Ivan goes on to tell us about the requests that Our Lady makes of often. These are the messages we have heard over and over, prayer, fasting, peace, penance and reconciliation. I will share only a few points as so much was discussed it is difficult to retain it all.

Ivan tells us we must pray from the hearts. He say's, "Do not look at your watch worrying what time it is when praying. When you pray, seek deep prayer, through such prayer we receive grace."

So many times Our Lady of Medjugorje, in Her messages, has said, "Pray, till prayer becomes joy." Scripture tell us also that we access gifts from God, or grace. St. Teresa of Avila tells us in one of her writings, …"Whoever makes a habit of prayer…will be favored by God's greatest gift and will make the quickest progress in the interior life." Sister Teresa goes on to add, "Do not imagine there are other secrets. All our good consists in this."

Ivan say's that fasting on bread and water is best, but notes that not everyone can fast in this way. Some are sick, and some have a difficult time offering such a sacrifice. In these cases, he suggest we offer another type of sacrifice. He gave examples such as, cigarettes, alcohol, and sweets.

Ivan makes some points on family that I believe we should all take time to consider. He mentions that in the world today there seems to be so little time. Parents are always working and there is no quality time spend with the children. He asks the families to find time to pray together. He asks families to read Scripture together and to pray the Rosary together. This he say's will bring a family closer and create a good bonding and devotion.

Some Questions for Ivan that evening.

Q: You said you have seen the Blessed Mother holding the baby Jesus, have you ever seen the adult Jesus?
A: No, I have only seen the baby Jesus

Q: Father Slavko recently passed away on Nov. 24th, was he the priest who was chosen to release the secrets in the parchment?
A: No, Father Peter in Medjugorje is the chosen priest to release the secrets.

Q: In Our Lady's message on Oct. 25th, 2000 she talks about a "New Spring," what does this mean?
A: Our Lady is talking about the Spirit of a person, like in springtime when everything starts to grow. We need to be like a new spring. We need to grow in the Spirit.

Q: Do all the visionaries receive the message on the 25th?
A: No, only Maria.

Q: Could you tell us about the book Vicka was instructed to write and when it will be published?
A: Vicka has been told the life of Our Lady, she has written a book about it as Our Lady's has requested. The book will not be published until Our Lady say's that Vicka is to publish it.

Q: Have you seen both the visions of Heaven and hell?
A: I have only seen the vision of Heaven, I did not want to see the vision of hell.

Q: There is talk that Vicka is very sick, can you tell us anything about this?
A: I talked with Vicka 3 days ago, she was happy. She has gone to Italy for some tests.

Q: Are you and the other visionaries still close.
A: Yes we are still close.

Here Ivan goes on to tell us about the passing of Father Slavko. Many of us already knew this as this information quickly circulated throughout the world. Ivan says, "when Father Slavko reached the top of Cross Mountain, he was having chest pain. Father went to sit on a rock, shortly after he died."

In an interview with C. Margaret Sims, (retired nun) founder of Marian Messengers, Framingham, MA. She said that Father Slavko was despondent and did not seem to be aware of what was going on around him, when sitting on the rock.

The current information out of Medjugorje as of Nov. 27, 2000 suggests that Father Slavko slipped, fell, and had a heart attack. With this current information, it seems that Father was in fact experiencing the effects of a heart attack before his slip and fall.

Apparition that evening
Ivan tells us that during the apparition Our Lady was happy to see us all there. She came with angels. She wore a blue gown, white veil, dark hair, with blue eyes. She was very beautiful. Our Lady extended Her arms to all in the Church. She blessed everyone and also all religious items.

Ivan say's, "It is difficult for me to visit with my Lady."
He say's, "After 19 years it is still very difficult to spend time with Our Lady, when you see a piece of Heaven, it is very hard to return to this world."

We ended this blessed evening with a few songs and proceed to the Church basement for refreshments. Ivan joined us for awhile and talked with anyone who approached him, shaking hand, answering some question and filling requests. Ivan was very friendly and down to earth.

On a personal note I would like to thank the Parish of St. Thomas, priests and lay people, for making me feel so welcomed and part of their parish family. They clearly worked very hard to make this a very special evening for all that attended. It was a blessed night for all.

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