As we announced in the previous Press Bulletin, the auxiliary bishop of Portland, Oregon and the pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, Corvallis, Bishop Kenneth Steiner visited Medjugorje for the first time on a private visit from November 7 – 12, 1998.
Here is what he said, among other things, about his impressions of Medjugorje:
“People are hungry and have to discover the spiritual dimension in their lives, which television, secularism and materialism are killing, and many indeed have lost that dimension. By their coming to Medjugorje pilgrims discover that spiritual dimension and return home helping others also to become more aware of it. It is a real miracle what people experience here and take with them to their families and parish communities. Many cannot come here for various reasons, therefore they need witnesses that can help them find inner peace and discover God. And many only when they have returned home become aware of all that God gave them here. I can say the same thing about myself. I too have become aware that I am truly blessed by coming here. I am completely renewed by coming here. I have become more aware of Christ’s presence in the sacraments, in the Church, in Sacred Scripture and in people in general.
In Medjugorje I received a new spiritual motivation. Perhaps some think that we bishops and priests do not need such renewals. They would be wrong because renewal is very necessary for us. I have met many priests who have come to Medjugorje. They have a better idea of their own priesthood. That is what I personally will take with me. I will tell people that Medjugorje is a place where people can go and be renewed in their faith. I met many people here with deep faith and fervent prayer. I understood that the people, in spite of great sufferings, have stayed faithful to God.
I have discovered God again and for me that is the proof that Our Lady is here. Indeed that is her task. People sometimes come here to look for Mary, but they find God. That is her wish, because she does not want anything for herself, but she does everything for men better to get to know her Son, Jesus. Our Lady wants to spread God’s peace among men, among her own children.
I invite everyone who comes here to become an example for all people when they return home. Let them become a call to peace, prayer and conversion. Everyone that comes here has already met someone who gave him a good witness about Medjugorje and showed a change for the better in his own life. We have to be witnesses, we have to evangelize others. That is our mission: to bring people the Good News and about the God who saves. We have to bring Jesus and Our Lady to this world and help people to understand that life in God is possible and necessary for everyone in this world. We have to be witnesses to those who the Lord has sent into our lives.
I will pray for each one of you and may God bless you.”