Our mission has also touched the lives of over 1500 physicians, mostly OB/GYN’s, through doctors’ pilgrimages to Medjugorje, the town in Bosnia-Herzegovina (former Yugoslavia) where it is claimed that the Blessed Virgin Mary began appearing to a group of six children in June of 1981, calling for conversion, prayer and fasting. Since then, thanks to a few generous benefactors, there have been more than twenty nine such pilgrimages.
The weeklong pilgrimages have three main components: prayer, conferences and visits to different communities in Medjugorje. Most of the doctors who participate are Orthodox by baptism, but non-practicing. Very few are Catholic. In Medjugorje they learn to pray the rosary for the first time and attend evening programs that include Mass and Eucharistic adoration, surrounded by thousands of devout pilgrims from all over the world.
The conferences address the issues of abortion, contraception, in vitro fertilization (IVF), embryonic stem cell research and the challenges facing marriage and the family today. They also introduce the doctors to Natural Family Planning. The doctors are much challenged by the truths they hear, because their training and practice have typically accustomed them to being on the wrong side of the life issues. But as the week unfolds, their faces and eyes reflect the softening of their hearts. When they begin to understand that to be a doctor is not just a profession, but a beautiful vocation in which they touch the living bodies of the children of God, they are inspired and gain a totally new perspective on life.