Medjugorje, the apparition site in Bosnia-Hercegovina, continues to draw tens of thousands from around the world despite the world's increased secularization. A record crowd is expected next month when pilgrims celebrate the apparition's 20th anniversary. Those who have recently returned report that despite heavy commercialization in the area, the feeling of peace -- and of Mary's presence -- is as intense as ever. There are conflicting accounts about seer Vicka Ivankovic. Some say that she goes to Italy for treatments of some sort and according to one report a priest in a nearby town allegedly is mentioning that she is battling a disease but informed sources in a position to know say that she is not seriously ill and that the weight she lost was from dieting. Recently she slipped on a step and hurt her hip but as always offers up such suffering with a smile. We have unconfirmed reports that the bishop of Mostar remains antagonistic and is trying to turn the Vatican, which has assigned a low-level review, against Medjugorje. Healings continue to be reported, and the new pastor, Ivan Sesar, is said to have brought a holy and open atmosphere. Meanwhile, a Marian Day of Prayer largely founded on Medjugorje drew about 3,500 last weekend in Toronto. Auxiliary Bishop Pearse Lacey of Toronto said Mass (using the words "I believe" to begin the Creed) and speakers included Mike Tapajna, Scott and Kimberly Hahn, Sister Emmanuel from Medjugorje, and author Michael Brown.

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