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Medjugorje, the site of reported apparitions of Our Lady, attracts thousands of pilgrims

It all started here, a village in the heart of communist ex-Yugoslavia, the current Croatian part of Bosnia Herzegovina. It's called Medjugorje. On June 24th, 1981 six young people saw for the first time a woman who called out to them. They say she was beautiful, had blue eyes, and looked to them with affection. She identified herself as Our Lady, the Queen of Peace, her message is one of reconciliation and forgiveness.  Prayer gathering take place here every evening at 6 pm, the same time when the alleged apparition took place.  SAVERIO GAETA Author,  "Medjugorje: The Last Prophecyâ? "The message of Medjugorje is to put God at the center of humanityâ?.  With time, more apparitions have been reported. Some of the alleged witnesses, say they see Our Lady daily, others once a year. During one of the apparitions, it's said that she revealed 10 secrets. SAVERIO GAETA Author,  "Medjugorje: The Last Prophecyâ? "There are some secrets that will verify if the apparitions are deemed authentic, because they will be revealed three days before they happen.â? Nowadays the official position of the Catholic Church is the one they gave bishops of the ex-Yugoslavia back in 1991: "Non constat de supernaturalitate.â? This means that a supernatural element cannot be verified, but it cannot be excluded either. Because of this, official Church pilgrimages cannot take place, but every year thousands of pilgrims make the journey to pray there. The Vatican has called for them to be well taken care of when visiting.  To deal with the issue, back in 2010, Benedict XVI organized a committee presided over by  Cardinal Camilo Ruini, who has already completed his work.  CARD. CAMILLO RUINI 10th January 2013 "We are an advisory committee, we offer our opinion to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. It is they who will decide if and when they make an official decision.â?  For many years, the Vatican has analyzed the Medjugorje investigation, starting with the credibility of reported witnesses. Saverio Gaeta thinks that for the alleged witnesses, it would have been easier to deny what happened. SAVERIO GAETA Author"Medjugorje: The Last Prophecyâ? "The first year of the appearances, the parents of these children worked abroad. The government told them: "If you don't stop saying you see Our Lady, your father will not be allowed to come back from Germany,â? which for that family meant starvation.â?  Salvatore Perella, a Mariologist expert and member of the committee, didn't speak of the Medjugorje case, but detailed other factors which are looked into, to see if the appearances are authentic.  SALVATORE PERRELLA Mariologist "There can't be contradiction between the essential biblical revelation, Christ and the Gospel, with the alleged messages that are given by the Our Ladyâ?. Apparently, the investigation has been concluded. The Pope recently said that the Vatican is in its final stages of the investigation and is expected to make a decision soon.  But since more alleged apparitions are taking place, it's likely that the Church will only rule on the first stage of the apparitions.  SAVERIO GAETA Author "Medjugorje: The Last Prophecyâ? "The important thing is to know if  the Mother of God appeared at least once. When that is determined, judgments on other apparitions are not that relevant.â?  The Vatican must take into account the high number of spiritual conversions that have taken place in Medjugorje. A place, which for now, is officially just a parish. But perhaps, it's one of the most visited in the world.  JMB/RMR/ATO/KLH  RR VM - PR Up: MPI