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Picks and Pans Review: The Madonna of Medjugorje

updated 08/15/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/15/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

PBS (Fri., Aug. 12, 10 p.m. ET)

No, kids, this isn't that Madonna, but the original Virgin Mary. In 1981 six children in the village of Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, reported seeing and talking several times with the Holy Mother on a nearby hillside. As word spread of the visitation, Catholic pilgrims began arriving en masse, creating Medjugorje's first tourist boom. Every day the six young people, who are now teenagers, gather together at a church to pray to the Madonna. They claim she sends them messages, which they pass along to the eager crowd outside. This documentary produced by the BBC explores the sticky dilemmas that have arisen within the Catholic hierarchy and the socialist state over this phenomenon; a local priest was even sentenced to a year in prison for sheltering the children from the police. Fascinating fare.

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