Vincent McGeever UK
My story starts many years ago, well into my childhood. My parents married in 1975 and had me and my twin brother a year later. We lived in the town of Hemel Hempstead which was enjoying huge properity around that time. Although my parents are of an Irish Catholic background, my dad had faith but never practiced but my mum goes to mass regularly and took us every Sunday. My dad had a gambling and drink problem, he was paid very well but what he was paid on Friday was gone by Sunday. Although my dad lived with us, myself and my brother hardly saw him, he would arrive home after we were in bed and woke up and left for work before we woke. My mum sought anulment of the marriage in 1982 and dads bags were left outside one night.When he came home that night he broke in and the police were called and took him to his mothers where he lived until she passed on. Every other night he would call and the phone would ring and ring and kept me awake with fear and there were other times when he would attempt to break in again. I was a light sleeper and while my mum slept through a lot of this I was aware and frozen with fear in bed. My mother had enough and brought us to Ireland away from this in 1987 my mothers family were from a border town in the troubled North of Ireland. We had been there on holiday a few times and it seemed an ideal move. I went to the local school and was bullied heavily for my English accent and I had moved from a prosperous English town to a deprived area of the world where hardly anyone worked. And it was a bit of a culture shock for me especially. I was a young 13 year old boy in 1989 when my mum on one evening washing my hair found lots of hair was washing in to the sink. I went to the doctor and he said I have alopecia, but said it will grow back soon. I went totally bald on the head after a few months and 23 years later I still alopecia. I covered my head as I was not strong enough to be bullied further and stopped going to mass as I would not remove my head covering. I felt that my religion no longer wanted me, many long years of depression and hurt ensued. I moved back to England in 1995 after leaving school without qualifications due to the stresses of schooling there and lived with my dad, who I loved despite the trauma earlier in my life. The first year living with him was terrible but it got progressively better. I moved out after I met someone and lived with her and our child came along a little later. I missed my religion terribly but my years living with my dad was filled with weekends of drinking and the odd relationships with women. I felt my religion could not fully accept me now. I lived in a loveless relationship with the mother of my child for many years in a town unfamiliar to me and we drifted apart as it all happened too quickly and we weren't really compatable. I am now in a new ralationship, she is Brazilian and she is wonderful. She is devoutly Catholic and prays and reads the bible more than I have seen anyone do before. She loves the Virgin Mary in a way that I have never considered. I started going to mass and I felt a certain acceptance. During Lent this year I gave up drinkin, I had not been a big drinker since living back with my dad but a few weeks in I signed the pledge as I wanted to change fullly. On St Patricks Day I confessed for the first time since 1989. I poured out everything to the priest I was shaking and crying, I told him I want to come back home to catholicism.I could not believe what was happening to me,I had never been this emotional, it was a total release of energy and pent up guilt and negativity, the priest was patient and fantastic. I really started looking into Catholicism, learning more and more and surprising myself about the content and beauty of my given religion. Many Catholics who left the church must realise that Jesus never abandons them. Never. And the Rosary has an immense power to it and there are hundreds of chaplets you can pray on Rosary beads. . Personally I pray the four rosaries daily and I pray different other chaplets daily too. If anyone suggested I'd be doing this a year ago to me I would look at them strangly and 'know' they were joking. But I love praying and I know its the most powerful way of changing the course of the world. I heard before about Medjugorje and I felt strongly that I should go there. I booked up and flew out alone. I flew to Split, arranged a transfer to the bus station in Split and then caught a bus to take me the four hour journey to Medjugorje. I finally arrived and collapsed in my hotel room elated at reaching there alone without sleeping the previous night. I woke up early one morning and ventured out at 4 in the morning towards Krisevac mountain, I wanted to reach the base of the mountain at dawn so I could see the rocks that I'd be climbing. As I walked through Medjugorje I seemed to pick up every yappy dog that chased after me. I felt terrible that I could be waking the locals, I ventured on and after shaking of the first dozen Jack Russells I walked past another house, I looked in the drive and saw two small dogs and a much larger dog, I thought 'well I am for it now!' But they seemed destracted by something, but suddenly the two smaller dogs turned around and bounded out towards me, they were puppies that jumped up at me and nipped and played with each other. The bigger dog joined them and nudged them every so often, I realised this must be the mother. I turned at the junction towards Krisevac and the big dog stayed with me. With every dog that came out to bark at me the big dog saw it off. I reached Krisevac and a German group were praying the first station of the cross there already. I look around and the dog was gone. The next morning I went to climb Krisevac again. I sat by the Christ is Risen statue that weeps at the legs and prayed, it was about 3 in the morning. Then I got up and said 'Jesus, please, I am not good with the dogs here. I dont want the dogs making a fuss again.' I set off walked all the way to Krisevac absolutely unchallenged by any dog! I did not even see one! Medjugorje is a town of minor and major miracles that occur daily. Our Lady has brought us something very special with the grace of God and its a must for everyone.I plead with every luke warm Catholic and non practicing Catholics that we truly have a gift. Us Catholics have a gift, there are things that have happened to me that I will not go into here as theres not enough room. But remember what I said about if someone mentioned that I'd be doing what I am doing now I'd think they were joking. Since taking up Catholicism again I have been given so many signals of recognition of my devotion that it beats the material world hands down. Come home Catholics, the door is open and Jesus and Mary are there with open arms. Medjugorje is a time of grace so don't let the opportunity go.