Crunch bites in Medjugorje

It seems that not even Medjugorje is immune to the global recession this year. Statistics published by the Medjugorje information office show a 46% reduction in the number of consecrated hosts distributed for the month of March.

In January, the fall was only 2% on the previous year, and 13% in February.

Last year’s March figure of 99,000 was particularly high because of Easter numbers. This March the number of distributed hosts is 53,000 and the Easter feast is celebrated in April.

But indications of the turn-down showed last year when the total number of distributed hosts fell by 15%.

Last year was only the second time in the past 17 years that the communion figures had reversed on the previous year.

The fall-off in pilgrims will have a big impact on the local economy as well as affecting tour operators and travel agents. Accomodation has always been in excess of pilgrim numbers, except on the anniversary of the apparitions and special feast days. But despite this, building work has continued unabated and the explosion of appartment construction has added further pressure to local people who host pilgrims for their living.

Whatever the economic climate, this does not prevent the continuation of conversions. Our Lady is still present. Restoration and reconciliation of souls continue. The graces are still there and good fruits are visible and still grow. The recession does not affect God’s generosity, only our reluctance to accept the gifts the Holy Spirit and Our Blessed Mother wish to bestow.

For those who have been privileged to visit Medjugorje then perhaps now is the time to consider how to bring Medjugorje to those who are unable to travel there, for whatever reason. 
When I once asked the Medjugorje visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti how this could be achieved, she answered, “Be an example, a good example.” 
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