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Denis Nolan's letter to "A Friend of Medjugorje" Terry Colafrancesco, Caritas of Birmingham, Sterrett, Alabama

Other languages: English, Español, Italiano

November 25, 2000

Terry Colafrancesco
Caritas of Birmingham
100 Our Lady Queen of Peace Drive
Sterrett, Alabama 35147

Dear Terry,

It has been brought to my attention that in response to questions coming to Caritas about Fr. Svetozar's recent fax expressing the concerns of the Franciscans of St. James in Medjugorje about your community, people are being told:

1. Sr. Emmanuel has been asked to leave Medjugorje.
2. The priests of the parish are trying to stop the messages from going out.

Both these statements are not true! Be assured that Sr. Emmanuel is not being asked to leave Medjugorje - even though the leader of her community advised her to take a break for a while (which ended last March 1st) in order to release some of the pressure they were experiencing from the previous pastor. But this belongs to the past.

Furthermore, I had several meetings with the new pastor, Fr. Ivan Sesar, earlier this month in Medjugorje. He is trying his best to do good for Medjugorje - to protect Medjugorje. That is no easy task given the attitude of the local bishop. To be telling people that the priests of St. James are trying to keep Our Lady's messages from getting out is simply not true. Such a statement slanders them. Please see that Caritas stops presenting to people this false information.

Given the attitude of the Bishop of Mostar, the Pastor of St. James is in a very difficult situation! I was impressed by his courage and the purity of his desire to do the right thing towards Medjugorje. Terry, instead of slandering them, we should be doing our best to support these priests. During my meetings with the Pastor there were things I had to be open to ask forgiveness for .... and there were things concerning me and Sr. Emmanuel and Children of Medjugorje that he was misinformed about. There was no substitute, though, for having to sit down together and discuss these matters - being open to the possibility of being corrected. Terry, whether we like it or not, we have to work in communion with the Franciscans of St. James. There is simply no other way!

Have you gone yet to Fr. Svet and asked him exactly what it is, from his perspective, that you are doing wrong... why he wrote that public letter - what it is that in his perspective Caritas needs to change? If not, why haven't you?

One thing Fr. Svet can show you if you care to ask is a letter he received from Dr. Adrian Reimers, who use to have the responsibility for translating into English and distributing "Medjugorje Gebetsaktion", throughout the English speaking world (attached).

Terry, be open to the possibility of being admonished. There has been no one on earth who was able to serve God who didn't receive admonition. (This goes for Jesus, Himself! See Hebrews 5: 7 - 11).

It is a mistake to see every suffering, every difficulty, as an attack from the devil. Note Hebrews 12: 5-14:

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him. For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.... For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those how have been trained by it.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with all men..."

(Hebrews 12: 5 - 14).

Terry, Dr. Reimers is correct in his criticism of your book purporting to give the Gospa's teachings on the Sacrament of Marriage. I lived in a community for 13 years here in South Bend that taught exactly what your book teaches. Such teachings may seem to bear fruit in people's lives for the immediate present - for a couple of years. But the Church has centuries of experience behind her teachings, i.e., her understandings of how rightly to interpret Scripture. In the long run the teachings you are putting forward destroy families..... and will eventually cause young people to leave the church. The community I belonged to still puts forward the teachings you espouse in your book. It has become a cult.

Terry, be humble. Be ready to accept admonition. And your zeal to serve Our Lady will bear much greater fruit.

As we come to the close of this Jubilee Year - respond to the admonition given to us all by Sr. Emmanuel in her November 15th report...

The Jubilee Year will end in less than 2 months. Let us not enter next year without having deeply reconciled with everyone, as much as it is in our power, making good use of the incredible graces that are poured forth by Heaven this year. Often the Gospa has asked to dedicate the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the month to do works of reconciliation and confession. She taught the Medjugorje prayer group in this way. As for me, I have been witnessing unexpected and apparently impossible reconciliations lately here. Why not all of us ask the Gospa to clean up all the rest of our divisions, bitterness or rejection by the beginning of Advent? We still have enough time to work on it and what a gift for Baby Jesus when he comes for Christmas!

Today Our Lady told us that a priest of the parish of St. James has been born into Heaven and is interceding for us! We are surely entering a new time - a time of Spring. Terry, there is no way to go around the priests. We must work in communion with them. I beg you to go and seek out Fr. Svet, and with all your heart be open to his guidance. The priests of St. James are the shepherds of Medjugorje. Terry, even when Slavko and I disagreed on a particular issue - we were always able to remain in communion as brothers, i.e., everything I was doing was in the light with him. There is no other way!

God bless you,

Denis Nolan

cc: Marija Pavlovic Lunetti
Steve Shawl



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