On Fire with Love! John Paul II’s 1993 Visit to Denver and Medjugorje: An Answer to His Prayer

John Paul II, we love you! 
John Paul II, we love you! 
John Paul II, we love you! 
I can still hear this chant echoing in my soul. 

I was blessed to be part of the nearly one million souls who welcomed him in Denver in 1993, celebrating the theme: 

I came that they might have life, and have it to the full.”   – Jn. 10:10. 

I was one of nearly a million who proclaimed: 
John Paul II, we love you! … 
over and over and over again… 

No one counted how many times we repeated these words … 
They just continued to pour out in love 
and to this day I can’t say if we shouted out our love for him for 10 minutes or even longer. 

There was hardships 
it seemed like we walked for miles 
in a vast sea of humanity
to find our spot — partitioned into groups of one hundreds (I believe)
we slept outdoors with no shelter 
in the cold 
with little or no food
and the places to relieve yourself were few and far between…

Yet, what I remember most is: joy!
Unfettered joy!

And each person being on fire with love … 
Filled with love and IN LOVE…

IN LOVE with God 
and with the person who demonstrated His Presence, 
spoke His Words, 
and lived His Life so deeply that it was no longer JPII who lived, but Christ who lived in him.  
In this special time of grace, 
we experienced a time of being ONE
ONE BODY in Christ 
one in God’s love
one with the Pope 
and one with each other.
That’s how John Paul II made you feel.

What an incredible grace it was for all who were present!
I’ve tried to explain to friends through the years what it was like to be in the presence of John Paul II. 
What it was like to hear words that pierced your soul and changed you forever from the inside out.  
How his words inspired, uplifted, emboldened and filled you — 
and millions upon millions of others — 
with faith and courage that invited you to give your lives away to the God —
because we were so filled and moved by the glory of God’s love and mercy!

John Paul II had the gift of penetrating us with God’s call – 
an individual and a collective call that echoed deeply within each of us. 

How electrifying his presence was!
Whether in a vast crowd of hundreds of thousands in a stadium 
or stretched across enormous fields — 
even if you were almost a mile away from him — 
you could still feel his holiness. 
Because God’s life poured from him. 

In a crowd so vast that included people from all walks of life – 
from 100 countries across the world — 
John Paul II’s holiness permeated the atmosphere and transformed us.
Hundreds of thousands were in tears …
while at the same time beaming with joy …
Each on fire with God’s love and with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. 
Each clinging to his words. 
Each rejoicing and experiencing God’s love in an incredibly profound and unique way 
that included the whole Body of Christ – the Church. 
Everyone was filled with courage
and we were emboldened to live a life of holiness 
that transformed us and set the world on fire with God’s love.

That was the atmosphere of World Youth Day in Denver in 1993. 

It was one of the most glorious times of grace in my life. 
And yet, this grace has never left me. 
John Paul II’s legacy, his impact, the Truth of His Words and his holiness lives on to today — 
his love continues to inspire me and many millions… 
look around at the truly great Catholic priests and nuns, bishops and Cardinals, lay Catholics and evangelists of our time…
look around at the holy men and women, the mothers and fathers striving to raise holy children… 

The vast majority of these openly cite John Paul’s influence in their lives! 
And I’m convinced that John Paul’s influence will continue to inspire the Church for ages — 
as well as help us NOW 
to endure this tremendous time of trial in which we live and about which he prophesied.
For he helped form in us — and in countless souls — 
an unshakeable faith in the Church and the Sacraments 
This will help us to continue to live fully alive and united in God’s love 
filled with courage and hope 
in such a time of this… 

What an incredible Pope we were gifted with for so many years! 
He, himself, stated all he did was directed “To Jesus through Mary.”

It was Mary’s love that inspired and filled and enabled him to “Do whatever He tells you.”

It was Mary who saved his life from a trained assassin’s bullet. 
And it was Mary, he was convinced, who would conquer, saying: 

“Christ will conquer through [Mary], because He wants the Church’s victories now and in the future to be
linked to her.”

He was also convinced that it Mary was truly appearing in Medjugorje. 
And not only that, 
but that she was coming in answer to his prayers. 

One of the visionaries, Mirjana Dragicevic Soldo, reports: 

“A priest told me
that from the very beginning the Pope was very fond of
Medjugorje because two months before the apparitions in Medjugorje started, the
Pope was praying to Our Lady to come again on earth. 
He said, ‘I cannot do it
all alone because Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland etc, are all Communist, I
cannot do it on my own. I need you.’ 
And later he heard that in Yugoslavia, a
Communist country, in a little village, Our Lady appeared. 
Then he said ‘That
is a response to my prayers.’ ”

Our first night in Medjugorje May 31, 2017

Mirjana also had the blessing of meeting with Pope John Paul II, sharing the following details in a talk she gave to pilgrims:

“I personally had a such a great
honor to be able to speak with late Pope John Paul II. That was so beautiful. I
was in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome with all other pilgrims. [The] Pope as he was
walking by, he was blessing everybody. He blessed me and just walked away. 
then this Italian priest I was with said ‘Holy Father, this is Mirjana from
He came back, blessed me again and he left. And I said to this
priest, ‘Father, you see he just thinks that I need a double blessing’
However, in the afternoon we received an invitation: tomorrow
morning to come to Castel Gondolfo, close to Rome in order to talk to Holy
I don’t have to tell you that I couldn’t sleep all night. Tomorrow when
I reached the place, he saw that I was so excited. We were alone and then he
started talking to me in Polish. He thought I would understand because both are
Slavic languages. H
e wanted to make me feel comfortable but I didn’t understand
a word because it’s not even close to our language. 
However, I was crying and I
couldn’t catch a breath to say a word. So when I finally succeeded to say a
word, I said ‘Holy Father, can we try in Italian?’ [laughter]. 
Then we talked
and among other things he said to me, 
‘If I were not Pope, I would be in
Medjugorje a long time ago. I know everything, I have been following
everything. Ask pilgrims to pray for my intentions. And take good care of
Medjugorje because Medjugorje is the hope for the entire world…’ ”

After John Paul II died, a gentleman brought his shoes to Medjugorje. Mirjana noticed the shoes were present on the hill of apparitions at the time of an apparition of Mary. Mirjana said the man who brought the shoes didn’t introduce himself, but said:

‘It was the Pope’s
desire for a long time to come to Medjugorje.
So I said to him, ‘If you do not
go, I will take your shoes.’ And that is how I brought his shoes, so they may
be present during the apparition.’
And that is how Saint John Paul II’s
desire to come to Medjugorje was satisfied.”

My daughter posing with Pope John Paul II’s shoes in Mirjana’s house

May these remembrances of St. John Paul II and these stories of his love and faith in Medjugorje inspire and renew us in faith, hope and joy. May they help us live unafraid and rooted deeply in Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – confident, no matter the trials, that in the end, Mary’s Immaculate Heart will Triumph. 
To hasten this triumph, may we constantly pray that all Jesus and Mary’s plans be realized and fulfilled.

Pope St. John Paul II, pray for us!  Pray especially for our Holy Father and for our Church and our nation. May God’s will ever be done in us. We ask this through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

For more information about John Paul’s love for Medjugorje see my first article (that I wrote 4 years ago today on St. John Paul II’s feast day):  Saint John Paul II and Medjugorje

See also: 

See also other articles I’ve written on Medjugorje: 
Do the Papal Envoy’s Words Mean Vatican Approval for Medjugorje is Near?
Medjugorje… Over 33 Years of Reported Apparitions – Should We Believe?

© Janet Moore 2018. All Rights Reserved.

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