His Devotion to Our Lady of Medjugorje
Saint John Paul II called Medjugorje “the confessional of the world” and said that if he were not Pope that he “would be living in Medjugorje as a priest helping to hear confessions.” On April 6, 1995, he made public his desire to go to Medjugorje and wrote to friends in Poland, “We every day return to Medjugorje in prayer.” He concluded his daily private Rosary in the Vatican gardens with the prayer, “Our Lady of Medjugorje, pray for me.”
He told visiting pilgrims in Rome, “Our Lady of Medjugorje will save America”. He wrote to friends in his own hand, “I thank Sophia 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 from prayer from there. Today we have understood this call better. I rejoice that our time is not lacking in people of prayer and apostles. Medjugorje is better understood these days. I myself am very much attached to that place.”
Mirjana Soldo, one of the Medjugorje visionaries, spoke about Saint John Paul II and Medjugorje. On October 3, 2009, she was asked whether she had ever met with the Pope. Mirjana answered, “I am the only one of six visionaries who was lucky enough, had the honor, to encounter Pope John Paul II. You can imagine how the other five are jealous of me,” she said with a smile.
“I was in the Vatican,” she continued, “St. Peter’s Basilica, with an Italian priest. The Holy Father was walking by and he was blessing us. When he approached me, he blessed me and he just continued to walk. However, this Italian priest loudly said to him, ‘Holy Father, this is Mirjana from Medjugorje.’ ”
“The Pope came back and blessed me again. As he left, I said to the priest, ‘He just thinks I need a double blessing.’ But then after, he received a note, an invitation to Castel Gandolfo, close to Rome, in order to see the Pope. I couldn’t sleep all night because I really loved him and I respected him and I could really feel his love for Our Lady.”
“So the next day when he and I met alone, I was just crying. I couldn’t say a word because I was so excited. He noticed that I was excited. I think he tried to talk to me in Polish because he thought in the Slavic languages there are things in common. I didn’t understand a word!”
“But finally I had enough strength and courage to ask him, ‘What are you trying to tell me?’ Then we talked. Among other things he said to me, ‘I know everything about Medjugorje. I’ve been following Medjugorje. Ask pilgrims to pray for my intentions, to keep, to take good care of Medjugorje, because Medjugorje is hope for the entire world. And if I were not Pope, I would have been in Medjugorje a long time ago.’ ”
“A priest told me that from the very beginning,” Mirjana continued, “the Pope was very fond of Medjugorje because two months before the apparitions in Medjugorje started, the Pope was praying to Our Lady to come again on earth. He said, ‘I cannot do it all alone because Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland etc, are all Communist, I cannot do it on my own. I need you.’ And later he heard that in Yugoslavia, a Communist country, in a little village, Our Lady appeared. Then he said ‘That is a response to my prayers.’ ”
Mirjana concluded, “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."