Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Italy: Saint Lucia in Perugia, the church wanted by Our Lady of Medjugorje

The book  La firma del cielo (The signing of the sky)-written by Fr Ignatius Zaganelli- tells the fascinating story of the influence of Our Lady of Medjugorje  on the building of  the  new church dedicated to Our Lady Queen of Peace  in the  heart of the parish of Saint Lucia in Perugia in Italy .The church "Queen of Peace"  had in fact, since the beginning of the project, an unusual "director of business": the Virgin of Medjugorje, the "Lady", the "Kralijca Mira" .

It all began in 1983. In October of that year Father Ignatius went for the first time to Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where since June 1981,  the Virgin Mary  has been appearing
The first impact  was  negative with the priest apparently intending to never return to the place that was already establishing itself as a destination for pilgrimage. But the opposite then  happened, " The Madonna -  writes Zaganelli - made me feel a joy and  a peace. Since then, he says, prayer - which originally was burdensome  and tiring - "became a constant desire." The experience deeply marked the parish priest of Saint Lucia. It was the turning point. It was the conversion. It was the beginning of a new faith. Renewed, Don Ignatius begins to imagine the creation of a new church: the old parish structure had only one hundred seats and  no longer met the needs of a community of six thousand people.

During Easter 1985, they started to conceive what would become the church dedicated to Mary Queen of Peace. The inspiration came from reading the Gospel. The new temple would be in the form of "John Dory". There was the idea but  there was  also a lack of  will and everything else: the land, the engineers, the approval of the ecclesiastical authorities, the money.  It took a strong dose of unconsciousness when the idea began to take shape," writes the former journalist Paul Meattelli Rai in the preface to the volume.

In October 1988  there was a new crucial step. Vicka Ivanovic, one of the visionaries in Medjugorje, arrived in Perugia at the invitation of Don Zaganelli.  The  Madonna communicated to the priest through Vicka. Vicka said  "The Madonna  told me that you will do everything slowly and  you will move  move forward." Providence had intervened.
On June 3, 1990, in the presence of the bishop Antonelli, the first stone was laid. There was no lack of trouble - Our Lady, through the visionary Mirijana "scolded" the parish council for the lack of prayer.  A radical change occurred  the work continued and the site was closed in just two and a half years. The new church dedicated to Our Lady Queen of Peace was opened on Christmas Eve of 1993. A few months later (May 1994) the consecration was broadcast live by Radio Maria.

The building of the church was not the end of the project. Within a few years the other pieces of the grand project: the parish hall, theater, sports (football and volleyball) and the Via Crucis (2007) had seen the light of day. On July 2, in the presence of Monsignor Bassetti,  the  old church of the village-which  was saved from certain disintegration and was elegantly restored -will be inaugurated to start a new life as a centre of the  pro-life movement. The  former parish house will host ten apartments for children -suffering from leukaemia- and their families. All this with "the signature of the sky" and the blessing of the Virgin of Medjugorje.

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