Hundreds of Catholics devoted to the messages of Medjugorje — prayer, fasting, conversion and peace — are set to converge on Phoenix Aug. 23-25 for the annual Marian conference.
Judy Webber, who’s been involved with the Arizona Peace Center for more than 20 years, said the conference draws people from all over the state and beyond for a weekend of inspiration and prayer.
“Everybody has to have their faith renewed,” Webber said. “The purpose of the conference is to draw people closer to Jesus.”
As in past years, several well-known speakers will address attendees about the themes of prayer and conversion.
Tom Peterson, founder of Virtue Media and creator of the Catholics Come Home series of commercials, is one of those slated to speak. The ad campaign has helped 350,000 people return to the Church.
Peterson, an award-winning ad executive, experienced conversion during a men’s retreat years ago, leading him to found Virtue Media, a pro-life apostolate that reaches out to women with sanctity of life messages. Those commercials have aired on local and cable television stations such as MTV and BET.
Copies of Peterson’s new book, “Catholics Come Home: God’s Extraordinary Plan for Your Life,” will be on sale at the conference.
The weekend begins with a procession, communal penance and Mass Friday evening. Eucharistic adoration will be available throughout the conference and Mass will be celebrated all three days.
Four priests — including two from the Diocese of Phoenix — are among those who will also speak at the conference. Fr. Doug Lorig, pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish, has been the spiritual director of the Arizona Peace Center for 22 years and will emphasize the role of Mary as the model of faith.
The other priests who will address participants include Fr. Charlie Goraieb, pastor of St. Timothy Parish and host of a program regarding prayer on En Familia Radio, a Spanish-language Catholic radio station; Fr. Jozo Grbes, OFM, head of Croatian Franciscan Friars of the United States and Canada; and author, speaker and radio personality Fr. Larry Richards.
The Arizona Peace Center’s website, mirarizona.org, includes the following disclaimer about the messages of Medjugorje:
“The alleged apparitions of Our Lady of Medjugorje are presently subject to Church inquiry as to their authenticity. This is the case of any supernatural phenomenon. In the meantime, the messages which have come from Medjugorje are consistent with the Gospel and the Church’s call for prayer, fasting and peace. The Mir Center will humbly submit to the final authority of the Catholic Church.”