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Expert Answer Forum

by Catherine Frakas 28 Aug 2001

Medjugorje QUESTION from Jacinta Shillingford December 22, 2000 I recently became aware of the events in Medjugorje and I sought to gather more information on this. I went to the website which was very informative.
The message I took away was that Mary was urging us to do five things: read the bible, pray the rosary, take the Eucharist, go to Confession and to fast. I have since been trying to do so but I'm right in saying that Medjugorje is a private revelation is it not?
Therefore, I would like to know what the official Church teachings are on these issues (or perhaps you could direct me to such information.) For instance, Mary suggests fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays on bread and water. What does the Church say about fasting - how often, when to break fast? How often should we go to confession, or read the bible? How should we correctly prepare for the Eucharist?
I understand that my question is a lengthy one but I have to say that since I read of Medjugorje it has changed my life because it has brought me back to these practices. However I would like to know that what I'm doing is based on church doctrine and not on what those children say they saw.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on March 4, 2001 Dear Miss Shillingford:
You are correct! Medjugorje is a private revelation that has not as yet receoved approval from the Church. Until it does get approval messages from there should be taken cautiously.
The Basic five things Mary has said allegedly at Medjugorie are all great. But the Bible has already told us these five things. If people would spend there time reading God's love letter to us -- the Bible -- instead of chasing apparitions, they would be much better Christians.
As for devotions such as the Wednesday and Friday fast, the Church says nothing about them. This is a personal devotion that is fine to do if people wish to do it.
The Church gives us minimum guidelines on fasting, which is done only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. But a person can certainly fast more often as a religious devotion if they wish.
The Church minumim on confession is to go whenever there is a mortal sin on your soul, especially at the Easter Season, but most devout people go to confession at least once per month, if not weekly.
The Bible is God's love letter to us... we should read it daily.
Prepare for the Eucharist by going to confession if you have mortal sin on your soul, prayer, settling down your mind active on the things of this world and slowing down to prepare to listen to God, read the Readings in advance, study them, fast for at least one hour before taking communion, live your life in the Christ-life.
Apparitions are okay if they stimulate us to get back to the Church and the Bible. Now that you have been so stimulated, read the Bible daily, pick whatever devotions you feel God is calling you to (it does have to be the ones given at Medjugorje), attend Mass as often as your can, go to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, pray the rosary, pray the Divine Office, stay close to the Church and pick out those devotional practices that fit you.
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