In the 1980s, a number of young people in a small town called Medjugorje (in what was then Yugoslavia, but is now Bosnia and Herzegovina) began to see apparitions of the Virgin Mary. News of this event struck a chord with a man in Alabama named Terry Colafrancesco, who decided to take a pilgrimage to the village.
Upon returning from his pilgrimage to Medjugorje, Colafrancesco began to work promoting travel to Medjugorje. The charity he created before his first trip to Medjugorje called Caritas of Birmingham, sponsored some of the first groups of pilgrims from the United States.
Terry Colafrancesco continues to be strongly associated with Medjugorje and has hosted one of the Medjugorje’s visionaries, Marija, at his home on a regular basis since 1988. Thousands of pilgrims make the journey to Birmingham to witness the apparition, and many conversions take place.
The community of Caritas, which operates the Caritas mission is affectionately called “Little Medjugorje,” and is a small village town near Birmingham that continues to grow rapidly under Colafrancesco’s direction. He advocates a return to more agrarian ways of life, which is apparent in the life of his community.