The Bishop from
the area issued a bulletin the following morning saying nothing "miraculous"
had occurred at St Joseph's. But since then, dozens of people in attendance
that night have sent written statements to Reverend Smith attesting
to their experiences. Although the Church told Smith not to speak of
these events publicly, he did agree to the following interview before
leaving on his 10th journey to Medjugorje, Bosnia, where visions of
the Virgin Mary have been occurring for the past 11 years.
Share International: Could you talk a little bit about the
background of whatās been happening at St Joseph's?
Reverend Smith: I'm not supposed to say anything. The Bishop
told me not to speak to any media. I'm supposed to be quiet on it. But
thereās no doubt in my mind that Our Lady appeared here. From all the
evidence from the people who were here and experienced what they did,
thereās no doubt that Our Lady was here, and remains here.
SI: Remains there?
RS: Yes. Her subsequent message is that she is going to
remain here. This will be a place of pilgrimage, a place of miracles,
physical as well as spiritual. She didn't say anything about further
manifestations, but she said that she is going to remain here. We feel
that she is still here, because people are coming all the time, praying
in the church, visiting, and having experiences that they donāt have
in other places.
SI: So you're getting big crowds?
RS: I wouldn't say crowds, just people coming day by day.
I can't even get the church locked at night. Its 11 o'clock before I
get the church locked because people come in the evening to pray.
SI: Certain messages were given to you. Are these from the
person in Ohio?
RS: A visionary, yes.
SI: How are you convinced of their validity? Was there something
in the information that convinced you?
RS: When Our Lady first said that she was going to appear
here, she said Father Smith would know by a number of signs that would
be given to him. Those signs were all given to me personally. Nobody
else knew about them. As an example, when Our Lady first gave the message
to me that she was to appear here, she said, through the visionary,
that Father Smith will know that this is all true by reason of the little
gold cross. Two days before I got that message, I had bought myself
a little 14 carat gold cross that nobody knew I bought.
SI: You bought that before the message came?
RS: Two days before. Nobody knew I bought it. And even greater
things than that took place subsequently that Iām not allowed to talk
Love of God and neighbour
SI: Why do you think this manifestation is occurring?
RS: For the same reason she is appearing all over the world
- to get people back to Christ and Christian principles. We recognize
that these principles arenāt present in our society. She sees the darkness
that she wants to bring the light of Christ into. Thatās why sheās coming.
SI: To bring the light.
RS: To bring people back to Christ. To bring people back
to pay attention to Christ's message. His message was a message of love
of God and neighbour. We have forgotten that in our society. We walk
all over everybody to get what we want. She is trying to bring us back
to Christ and a Christian way of life.
SI: The messages are still coming?
RS: She will continue with messages to me, via the visionary,
SI: Do you see any hope that the higher echelons of the church
will take this seriously?
RS: That's hard to say. Of course, these are all private
revelations. The church recognizes them as such.They arenāt matters
of dogma or faith. The church goes very slowly in giving any credence
to these matters. Thatās to be expected. It was 12 or more years after
Fatima that the church said that they believed Our Lady appeared there.
It was the same thing at Lourdes. Look at Medjugorje. Sheās appeared
there for almost 12 years now every day, and the church still has not
SI: I understand that some of the people at St Joseph's are
contacting the higher echelons in the church.
RS: I'm sure they are doing that. The Holy Father was asked
if people should go to Medjugorje. He said: "By all means." What are
the fruits of Medjugorje? Conversion, faith, honouring the blessed sacraments
more, having greater devotion, scripture. All of these things are positive
fruits of Medjugorje. That's the same thing that's happening here. The
fruits are tremendous so far.
SI: One of your parishioners who was present on 31 August
said he first thought the lights against the church windows were caused
by camera flashbulbs from outside. But he later discovered that the
people standing outside were at least 125 feet away from the church.
That would have made it quite difficult for their flashbulbs to be reflected
in the church windows.
RS: There is no way it could have been flashbulbs from cameras.
You should have seen the light show that Our Lady put on. It was unbelievable.
There were a number of non-Catholic, Protestant people out there that
night too, just to see what was going on. After it was all over, one
lady who was not Catholic looked at another and said: "I wonder how
they got that big statue up in the tree." She had seen Our Lady and
didn't even know it. A well-known theologian from Cincinnati, Father
Carter, was here. He saw Our Lady in the tree, as well as all the other
manifestations. He's thoroughly convinced of Our Ladyās presence.
SI: Some people have said that they believe these manifestations
might be a sign of the imminent, or current, return of the Christ to
the world today.
RS: That's very possible because in most of the messages
- from Medjugorje and elsewhere around the world - the message is: "Time
is short. Realize that there will be difficulties and problems, and
that this is not the end of the world - but perhaps the end of an era."
( from Share International, December, 1992 )