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You'll need your passport for this excursion. Medugorje isn't in Croatia, but it might as well be because almost everyone who visits this Catholic pilgrimage site passes through and spends time in Croatia on the way. Roman Catholics in the United States and elsewhere know that Medugorje is the site of purported appearances of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but many people are unclear about where Medugorje is or how this tiny village in the middle of Herzegovina came to be the second-largest Roman Catholic pilgrimage site in the world. It is a popular day trip from Dubrovnik for independent travelers, and it is also a pilgrimage package tour organized by hundreds of Catholic parishes across the United States and other parts of the world.

What Happened at Medugorje?

Medugorje is considered a holy place thanks to the testimony of six children who say the Virgin appeared to them for the first time on June 24, 1981, in Podbrdo, a hamlet of the village of Bijakovici.

Today, the children, most of whom are now in their 40s, say the Virgin continues to appear daily, inviting all people to embrace peace and conversion. During the apparitions, Mary conveys the message that "Peace, peace, peace -- and only peace must reign between man and God and between men." This statement is particularly resonant for the people of this war-torn area. The Catholic Church has not formally recognized Medugorje as a pilgrimage site, but more than 20 million people have journeyed to the shrine since the first vision, many claiming they experienced miracles thanks to their visits.