Dear faithful readers of my father's Blog site,

It is with a deep sadness that I announced the death of my beloved father on Sunday, December 27th.  He has been dealing with heath issues for quite a long time and died peacefully at home.  He loved Jesus and Our Lady so very much. I will try and keep my dad's Blog site active.

Fr. Edward Sousa, Jr.



Testimony of David Parkes on conversion and healing in Medjugorje

date: 14.12.2020.

After several testimonies of people to whom Medjugorje had changed their lives, and film "Gift of Conversion" on YouTube Channel  ‘Fruits of Medjugorje’, we publish now testimony of David Parkes.

Parkes was professional football player when he got Crohn's disease. Doctors told him he has only two months of life left. He came to Medjugorje. After the miracle of physical healing, the spiritual healing happened too. David continued to build his career in the world of Christian music. From 2001, he lives in Medjugorje working for Marian Pilgrimages. The story on how Medjugorje changed his life, we bring here and his testimony is available on YouTube channel Fruits of Medjugorje. If you wish to find more content, we recommend Facebook page Fruits of Medjugorje, and if you are still unfamiliar with the project ‘Fruits of Medjugorje’, you can do it HERE.


So from that day to this the aches, the pains, the vomiting, the diarrhea with the Crohn's disease had instantly disappeared. First time I heard about Međugorje was in 1989. I heard about it because I was extremely ill at the time and the prognosis wasn't good. And we had a benefit concert to help the family financially and two people were at the concert who ran a travel agency and they invited my wife Anne and myself to come to a place called Međugorje. Yet I didn't want to come because God and I were not partners and the reason for that was that my eldest boy Ken was born with an incurable illness called cystic fibrosis.

And then I was struck down with an illness called Crohn's disease, so I got angry with God and didn't really want to come but as it turned out it was supposed to be my last holiday with my wife Anne. Not really believing I came with a very special priest from Chicago called father Peter Mary Rookey and when I met father Peter Rookey, father Peter reminded me of the old ministers in the cowboy movies, being very loud: Do I hear an 'Amen'? And everybody would say 'Amen' and I was cringing because I'm quite private and, you know, I just thought this was a little bit American.

In 1989 Međugorje was just a one - street town to be really honest with you. The street started from the bridge in Međugorje and ended at the roundabout which, subsequently I learned, were the ruins of the old Catholic Church.

And road left and road right were dirt roads so that impression I didn't want. I wanted to go back to Dubrovnik, I spent my honeymoon in Cavtat so I wanted action, I wanted plenty of action. But for every reason that I had to leave Međugorje my wife Anne always had one reason as to why we should stay a little bit longer. And the ruse was that father Peter Mary Rookey was supposed to be celebrating Mass in the Church of St. James which was a lie.

He wasn't even on the altar and as I left the church of St. James, Anne and I got lost and then I heard Anne scream out:'David David wait, wait' and as I turned around, I saw her coming, running from the door of the church. She said: 'David, father Rookey is having a healing service in the graveyard.'

Now, I turned to her and said:'Well, I hope he has more luck than we had of him supposedly saying Mass this morning. I said: I'm going, I'm too sick, I was in excruciating pain because of Crohn's disease and she said to me: Look, David, on our children's lives, if you come with me to the healing service, as soon as it's over I'll go back to the house and I'll pack the bags and we head off to Dubrovnik.

So, there were the words I wanted to hear so we walked around the side of the church down through the vineyards because the vineyard was right up, close to the church. Down through the lovely grove of trees where the statue of the Risen Lord is and then down to the graveyard.

It was jammed. There were about seven or eight hundred people because father Rookey was so well known that whenever people said he'd be around, people came because he had an extremely beautiful gift of prayer for healing, so we arrived. The place was packed and in the graveyard there's a little paved area in front of the little burial chapel and in the middle of the burial chapel was father Rookey and three Irish priests and he was blessing them as he always did.

And then they dispersed, blessed people and father Rookey came over close to where I was and there was a young adult in a wheelchair and he said, I also remember, he said: Are you prepared to take a step in faith for Jesus? That's stuck with me to this very day and the young adult said 'yes', so he he anointed him and then he went to the next person and he laid hands and then they fainted.

And that's what I would call it. I subsequently found out, it's called resting in the spirit. But I'd never seen this, I thought this was the hocus-pocus pastor doing his thing and he went to the next six people.

They all went down and of course, me being cynical, I turned to Anne and said: Ann, this is histeria! Once one does it they're all going to do it, nobody wants to be left standing, they all have to be seen, to be getting what they're getting on the ground and if they don't, they're going to feel: What's wrong?

So, Ann told me to shut up and I went off. I couldn't stand and watch this thing happening, so I came back about 15 minutes later and then she turned and said to me David: Why won't you have a blessing? And I said: Whoa, remember I'm the atheist!" But you said, it'll do you good, you've been extremely ill! So I left again and I came back and this thing happened over a period of two hours coming backwards and forwards. And then I eventually said: Listen, you're an idiot, you should have had the blessing two hours ago and you could have been off somewhere else, so I stood in line with about 60 people; three Irish priests were now working in front of father Rookey, they blessed me in turn. Nothing happened and I'm looking at the watch thinking how long more am I going to be here and I looked up for my watch and father Rookey, he called himself the rookie priest, he said: I'm just a rookie priest and he smiled at me.

He said to me: David, there's something you want to tell me and I said: Father, I don't wish to speak with you. I said: I'm extremely ill, the pain is excruciating and the doctors say I maybe have two weeks to live so with that he reached into his pocket and took out a crucifix about the size of my span.

Little black crucifix and that crucifix contained seven relics of the seven founders of the Servite Order of the Servants of Mary. That's where they get the father Peter Mary Rookie, all Servite priests have Mary in their name, so he struck the cross in my right hand, then he dipped his thumb in the oil and he anointed my forehead. Then he put his hands on my head and started to pray and then I remember him going to take the crucifix from my hand and the next thing I remember is lying flat on my back and I had been in that state for 20 minutes.

When I got up off the ground, there was a politician with us from Ireland, not a senior politician, but, we have two Parliaments - we have the senior and the junior one. And they are senators, they're not politicians, so he uses that to great extent in America because a senator in America is high-profile.

So, when I opened my eyes and I'm looking up who's standing over me, only the senator Donie Cassidy. And I met him because he was involved in the music business and the first thought when I opened my eyes is: Oh, God, back in Dublin what is he going to tell all the hard – drinking musicians about Parkes lying on his back in a graveyard?

So, when I got up, when I dusted my clothes down, he said to me: Parks, he said, the Spirit is with you very strongly, you've been out for 20 minutes. But I didn't realize anything that happened except there was a burning heat in my body that went from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I've never experienced that since Međugorje or ever before Međugorje, so from that day to this the aches, the pains the vomiting, the diarrhea with the Crohn's disease had instantly disappeared.

I was very fortunate to experience a spiritual healing, the greatest of the two miracles, as most people call them, was the spiritual healing.

I'd been very troubled I had no peace in my life, my eldest boy Ken, as I mentioned, was born with cystic fibrosis, I couldn't come to terms with it. When he was born, I was playing soccer professionally, I had the great honour of playing against Pele, George Best, a representative of my country and the thoughts of a highly trained slim, trim, brimful energy soccer player having a child, an imperfect child. Because, that's what I called him. I used to call Ken my cross, I just couldn't come to terms with it.

And that drove a wedge between Anna and myself, so I left Anne twice, but Anne has an incredible ability to forgive, so she forgave me on both occasions and invited me back to the family home. Thank God we are still together. As we speak we celebrated 46 years of marriage and we're still holding hands because if we let go, we'll kill one another.

But what happened after the physical healing was that the desire to leave Međugorje had gone. Međugorje was just on fire within me and the church of st. James was like a magnet, I could not stop going to the church of St. James. So, we used to go to Mass at 7:30 in Croatian, then we go and have breakfast and then we come back for the the German Mass and then of course we had the English mass and then sometimes we would stay for the Italian Mass.

That's how serious things were and we were sitting one afternoon outside the front of St. James, just sitting but not right, we were not talking, I was just reflecting the few days that had gone passed and a lot of people were going past of different nationalities.

The English people talking about the peace and we could hear some Croatian people saying about "mir" and some people were saying, they experienced this incredible peace upon the hill of apparitions. So I turned to Ann, even though I was still very weak after the two surgeries and convalescent, and I said to her: Would you have me to climb this apparition hill where these people are experiencing this peace, not realizing it was Sunday and we would call it now Divine Mercy Sunday.

So we set off in the afternoon and when we got up to the hill, it was packed because the parish of Međugorje climbed the apparition hill. So when we got to the place where Our Lady is reputed to have appeared for the first time, it was full. So Anne and I sort of came back down the mountain and she found this huge big rock and sat on it.

And I just stood there with my back to the hill, but looking directly down into the beautiful twin spire church of St. James and I didn't know what to do. I wanted to pray but I couldn't, I'd forgotten how to pray and I remember saying to myself, you know, I'll say Our Father and that's as far as I could get. And then I tried to say the Hail Mary and all I could get was this Hail Mary and then Anne, who was sitting on the rock, she told me after that she was looking at me and she saw me getting a bit agitated, because I did get agitated, because I couldn't pray and so she jumped down off the rock and when she hit the ground I instinctively turned from looking at the church to her, I extended my arms and I embraced her and I apologized to her for all the hurt that I'd caused her, all the pain that I had caused our children, our family members and our friends and she started to cry and then she threw her arms around my neck and then, because of that little gesture of love, I started to cry.

So we cried in one another's arms for about ten minutes, but when I stopped crying, I had this most incredible inner peace, inner peace that seemed to allow David Parkes to live with David Parkes. I did not want to leave Međugorje. As the days got closer to departure I didn't want to leave, I was getting too much, I was getting closer to God every minute; my glasses were new now.

I could see what the Lord wanted me to see through my eyes and glasses. So we went to the airport on the day of departure and the flight was canceled. So, I went, I wanted to come back but everybody else, the 165 religious maniacs, as I thought, they would have got a hold of the guide if she hadn't been in for the departure.

She would have been dismembered. And I wanted to go back to Međugorje. And people said: I can't believe her husband wants to go back to Međugorje. At that point in my life I wouldn't be very private especially about the religion and most people knew that I'd been angry because of Ken, but I remember it took six months for my stomach muscles to heal after I had the two surgeries. So when I went back home I still couldn't sing, my muscles weren't strong enough so three days after coming back from Međugorje I went into the band to see them all.

And when I left to go to Međugorje, they had been told that I had two weeks to live so they'd never thought they'd see me well enough. So, when I walked into the room, I was standing up straight now because prior to all this I was crooked over, the pain was excruciating. And there were seven hard – drinking musicians.

Most musicians, you know, if they're fully professional, they sustain their life by drinking, it takes away a lot of pain and so forth. So, when I went in there, they just stood there with their mouths open and just asked what happened. So I told them, they said: Listen, this is a miracle, there's no way, when you left here a week and a half ago, there's no way we would ever think that you would walk in here.

So they went around spreading, I mean, within three days the Musicians Federation were calling me from their office in Dublin. We had the great news, the great story but it's like as if the Lord decided when I was here that he wanted me to do something for him.

Well, when I went back singing roughly six months after; it was all rock and roll music and I did it until September of 1993, but in the whole of September I felt that I had lost the buzz. That's probably the only way I can describe it and I always said to the band: Look whenever I lose the buzz, you know, there's no point in coming because there were seven of us.

And I decided I'd like to do something for the Lord, I just felt that he was, you know, putting little things in my heart that he wanted me to do but how does it manifest itself?

So in June of 1993 this lady, Heather Parsons, who was also a journalist, she wanted to come to Međugorje during the war to do a documentary on Međugorje during the war and she was looking for a volunteer, of course.

Here I am, Lord. And my family were distraught at the thought of going to a war zone to do with a thing on a holy place. So we came anyway and we were shooting outside the sacristy door and at that time father Philip Pavić was coordinating the english-speaking pilgrims. Father Philip, I remember when I was here in 1989, he was the coordinator, he had a lovely voice, always sang, he could have had a Sistine choir here and he didn't matter, he led the music.

So we were doing the piece to camera and right behind was the sacristy door. It opened and of course he came out and with his Chicago accent he says: Can anybody sing here?

I should hope so, but the crew said: Oh, father, he can, he can. I said: I'm sorry, father, I can't sing. I didn't bring my backing tracks with me.

Well, he was a little stoop, but he sort of stood up and said: You don't need backing tracks to sing for Our Lady, so I didn't walk through the door, I went under the door. I felt so small, but at the communion time I sang the Ave Maria a capella and I sat back down and was heading back out to do the shooting when this big tall man about six foot six approached, thin like a rake, and he said to me: Yeah, what are you doing in September? And I said: Who wants to know? And he said: My name is Dr. Sam Worley, he said. I run a Marian conference in Pittsburgh and I'd like you to come and sing the Ave Maria for us.

So that's how the Lord put this whole thing together. So I was invited in September, I sang the Ave Maria, I think probably about twenty four times in three days because whenever there was a break, they'd say: Sing Ave Maria. But there were ten people there who ran ten of the largest Marian conferences around America so I was invited and then over the next couple of years it went from just being a speaker to MC on all of these conferences.

So the Lord had it all planned, you know, all he was looking for was a 'yes' from me to do it. God, I was so delighted, so delighted. I've been working here in Medjugorje since 2001, it was a rather strange episode. I'd been touring America and the world doing Christian concerts from 1993 as I mentioned. At the same time my son Ken was extremely ill, Ken has cystic fibrosis so his lungs were deteriorating over a period of time and there were many times over the years that I would have to abandon the tour and come back because Ken was quite ill.

But there was a gentleman who ran a pilgrimage company, the company I work with now called Marian pilgrimages. And I used to be a group leader so he was to bring groups once or twice a year. And for four years prior to 2001 we would meet every January because he was going to use this new thing called the Internet to promote his business so I would meet him in January and he would say to me: Listen, David, you're going to be in America, is there any possibility you might be able to promote by putting the website, the website never went up so in 2001 in January I got a phone call from Tom to say: When are you off to America? I said: Tom, next... - Oh I need to meet with you before you go. And he said: This is what I'd like you to do. I said: Wait, Tom, I can't do anything for you apart from promoting your website. I said: I have a career. - I know, but you would be able to when you come home, you'd be able to. I said: Tom, I can't do that when I come home.

And then he came back at me four or five times and I always had an excuse and the only way I thought that I was really going to shake him off as I said: Look, Tom, Ken is on a transplant list for new lungs and if he gets a transplant, I am gone. It doesn't matter what I'm doing and I don't know how long I would be away. I said: We'll cross that bridge when it comes. So I left him and I drove back home, five minutes drive and when I arrived Anne said: What happened to you? I was so perturbed by it all, overwhelmed and she said: What do you mean? She said: Did you have an accident? I said 'no', I said: I think I'm about to be off for the job. And she said: Where? And I said: In Međugorje.

Well, she jumped up off the seat in the kitchen, it was like as if she'd won the lotto. Now, in the family room Ken had just come out of hospital on the Friday and he was sort of immobile, he could only maybe get from the sofa to the bathroom if he needed. When he heard all this excitement, he came out to the kitchen and he said: What's going on, what's going on? Anne said to him: Your dad is after being offered a job. Ken said: Where? And she said: In Međugorje.

So he walked over to me and stood right in front of me, he looked me straight in the eyes and he said: And you are taking it, aren't you? I often question myself: Why are you here? I love to sing, I would really love to do a concert every night because I felt that I was healed here in Međugorje, because of the gift of the voice that the Lord gave me and particularly one beautiful song which started my whole ministry, a beautiful song called 'Let me live'. And there are times... Working with the public is different, really, it's difficult because particularly nowadays where they're very, very demanding, as a group of people we want everything instantly and there's no tolerance.

The one thing that I would find from working here is that people arrive here with no hope, absolutely no hope. What was right when we were young is now totally wrong. What's black is now white and so it's very difficult. And the reason I think that the Lord has me here is that I'm very vocal about how generous He is and very vocal about His forgiveness to us and I'm very vocal that we need to stand up for the Lord. We can't be passive anymore, we really need to be his footsoldiers, we really need to walk the walk, no longer talk about it, there's no point, talk is cheap.

So we have to nail our colors to the cross and say: Listen, I'm a Catholic!

Because you go to any other faith whether it be Muslim or Baptist and whatever churches around the world and they are vocal, they're in your face. And yet we Catholics, we have everything and yet we don't tell people. Now, I wouldn't be one that would be knocking on everybody's door, but I would let, I would always try and let people see that the Lord is present in me.

Because I do think that we have the ability to entice people to the faith but equally we've got this ability to turn people away just by what we say or what way we do it. So, for me it's just the greatest gift that I could ever be given, to be part of this amazing place that has changed millions of people's lives, millions of people's lives. And just to be able to see, as I would often say, when we meet with the pilgrims I see me every week coming.

I'm always in the front seat and angry and disruptive and then within two days I see a blessed Mother has taken them along, taken them along as she took me so gently to be with her son Jesus. I think people return to Međugorje because they experience the peace of the Lord, they also experience the love of the Lord. As I said I'm 68 years of age, when I was young all we were hit with in school was the fear of the Lord.

We were terrified of the Lord but when I came in '89, one of the first things I learned was the love of the Lord, how much he loves us and it doesn't matter how far you've been away from him. It doesn't matter what you've done against him. Because I often felt I was a bit like St. Paul.

When I was growing up I was a choir boy in a church called the Church of St. Paul in Arran Quay and as a 11 - year old right behind the high altar was this huge big mural of St. Paul falling off the steed and never realizing that for a couple of years I was like him. I persecuted people and then when I came here, I realized what love of the Lord can do for you and I really think that's why people come back.

We would have to hear people saying: You know, I'm coming back for a fill-up of peace, I'm coming back to to get the peace that the Lord can give me and I suppose that's the greatest compliment that we could pay. One of the wonderful things that, it presses the wrong word to use, but there's nobody here in Međugorje who pushes it upon you.

There's nobody who says this or that asking one: Do you believe me? And I always remember the guides when I came here first. I remember talking the story about young Jakov coming to father Jozo and telling him what Our Lady said but he didn't say to father Jozo: You do believe me?! And that I think is the greatest testimony, you know, I'm telling you this, you do what you want with it.

And my youngest son Gary, when he came, he was terrified coming in here because he thought it was some sort of a machine that you're put in and you are zapped. He came over, I call it the medji - heights, but it's just that you feel loved here.

And the friends that you make here in Međugorje if you're on a pilgrimage, even though you might not meet them again, but it's a friendship that's true. You remember what they said, you remember the hurt, you remember the pain that they had and I suppose most of the miracles that would take place in Međugorje would be around the dinner tables in the houses.

You know, there could be the quietness of people sitting. They've been quiet all week and then maybe the day before you go home they relate a story that's just so mind-boggling and you realize that she's the reason that you're here. You never met her before, but she has the answer that you've been looking for from the Lord. So, Međugorje never ceases to amaze me every day.

There's something new, there's an extra increase of grace and blessings from here.


I'm Here Waiting For You Every Day

 Featured article from February's Spirit of Medjugorje

I'm Here Waiting For You Every Day

By Jane Monica Spurrier

St. Charbel     In 1987, on my third trip to Medjugorje, I purchased a book called Modern Saints by Ann Ball, and therein was a story about St. Charbel. I loved him instantly and discovered, lo and behold, he was canonized on my birthday, October 9th.
     I lived in New York City at the time, and my church was Notre Dame on the upper west side by Columbia University. Daily Mass was said in the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes each day at 8 A.M. One particular Saturday, I woke up late, and was so hungry I ate my oatmeal.....but didn't leave myself enough time to fast before Communion. I kept praying, "Oh Jesus, what miracle could allow me to receive You?" I knew I needed one hour of fast time. This kept on, and when the Consecration occurred, I did not have the required one hour to receive. During this time, a rather odd looking old man entered the side door. He was dressed like a monk, but didn't look like our Franciscans. I was rather annoyed by his appearance, since I thought he was some psychotic New Yorker.
     After Mass ended, I stayed in the grotto to pray. I noticed to my right I could see into the sacristy and there was the priest who just said Mass changing out of his vestments and the "odd" looking monk changing into vestments. The little monk was coming out to say Mass! We never have a second daily Mass, but this visitor was going to say one, and this would give me the chance to receiving Our Lord! I was overjoyed.
     During the Mass, the monk was praying in a language I didn't understand. It wasn't Latin, because I know Latin, but I couldn't decipher what language it was. I was the only one there, and during the Consecration, the monk looked at me and his eyes said, "Do you want to receive?" I eagerly nodded back "Yes!" We both could understand each other without saying a word.
     When Mass was over, I went in to thank the pastor (the first priest who said Mass and functioned as the altar server for the monk). I said, "Father, you don't know what a great miracle this was, that I got to receive Communion!" The monk smiled with a look of abundant joy, happiness and humor – the look of someone who laughs a lot and is very happy. The pastor didn't seem to get my point.

St. Charbel

     The next day I went back again. I saw the pastor and couldn't stop telling him what a great miracle it was for me. Then I said to him, "Father, by the way, who was that priest?" "I don't know," he replied, "I never saw him before." I couldn't believe my ears! What priest would allow another one to say Mass without knowing who he was?
     Several months went by. I opened my book of Modern Saints again. I turned to St. Charbel and honestly, almost had a heart attack when I saw his picture. HE WAS THE MONK!!! He had appeared to say the Mass for me. Can you imagine? I later found out he has appeared numerous times since his death. I was glad I didn't know at the time who he was or I would have had a stroke. St. Charbel had a great devotion to Mass and the Blessed Sacrament.
     Anyway, I haven't seen him since, but I know there is a picture of him in Charlie's store in Medjugorje. I've asked those brothers to sell me the picture, but they declined because it was a gift given to them. I thought the miracle of St. Charbel was so awesome, and then today a voice inside of me said, "But I'm there waiting for you in the Eucharist every day, to show you how much I love you. I sent Charbel so he could carry Me to you…that's how much I wanted to receive you, too."
     Jesus waits for us every day in the Mass. He performed the greatest miracle on earth when He created the Eucharist. A small piece of bread, blessed, transformed into HIS presence, waiting for us. The graces we receive at Mass are incalculable. Don't miss this opportunity to meet Jesus in person...
     Editor's note: This story is a reprint from our October 2003 issue. Jane told me her story while we were on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in 2002, so I asked her to write her story for us. I was excited when my granddaughter picked St. Charbel as our patron saint this year and wanted to share this beautiful story again.