Mons. Geevarghese Mar Divannasios Ottathengil (54), Indian catholic bishop of Syro-Malankara rite, bishop of the diocese Bathery from Kerala (India), was on pilgrimage in Medjugorje at the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the apparitions. He came to Medjugorje with a group of 25 pilgrims from Switzerland. On Saturday, June 25, the Anniversary of the Apparitions, he concelebrated the evening Mass, which was presided by Fr. Branko Rados, the pastor of Medjugorje.
After having finished his studies in Rome, Mons. Geevarghese went back to India where he was appointed rector of the minor and of the major seminary in his diocese. He was named bishop in 1997. In 2003, during his ad limina visit in Rome, Holy Father said that the syro-malankara Church was one of the fastest growing Churches in the world. The diocese of Bathery exists since 1979. There are about 25.000 Catholics, 98 priests, about 250 religious sisters, 45 seminarians and many vocations. The western relativism is penetrating big cities, but not the countryside, because the religious roots are very strong.
Mons. Geevarghese gave his testimony about Medjugorje to Dragan Soldo for Radio “Mir” Medjugorje.
Mons. Geevarghese Mar Divannasios Ottathengil: I heard about Medjugorje for the first time about 15-20 years ago, but I was doubting. I was not very much interested in coming here, but a friend of mine, a priest from Switzerland, told me about Medjugorje and about his experience. His attitude as a priest had tremendously changed after Medjugorje. He was praying well, and in his relationship with others, he became very human. He is a real priest now! That made me think: There must be something in Medjugorje?! Roman Gruether told me that Medjugorje was different from other places of pilgrimages, that the natural atmosphere is kept, and that people are really praying here. Last year, I made up my mind to come and see. I came now with a group from Switzerland led by Sylvia Keller.
My experience is corresponding to my expectations. These 3 days are a confirmation. One can feel the family spirit here. People who are involved in the service, even the smallest service, do it with love and with joy. This place gives us also the experience of the universal family. Everyone feels here at home, like in one’s mothers house. I met the visionaries; I visited Marija, Ivan and Vicka. I think that they are real visionaries. Medjugorje will be recognised, there is no doubt! Today or tomorrow, maybe little later, 100% sure it will be recognised!
These messages are really needed. Prayer, Holy Mass, penance, confession, fasting, conversion. At any age, they are the fundamentals of spiritual life. Without Jesus, there is no spiritual life. Self-denial, living for God and for others. Often, we are tempted to think that, at the modern age, we are competing with God. But we have to realise that human beings are limited. Catastrophes help us understand our limits. September 11th, or Tsunami… we understand how small we are.
Medjugorje is for our time a real call from God. The people who live here are fortunate. You have a special vocation. You have to keep this universal brotherhood. This is not only for this parish, this region, this diocese… It is for the whole world. You have to promote this universal spirit.