Chat with other believers about Medjugorje.

Moderators: TimHaley, MedjAdmin, Management

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By LittleRed
This is the priest to watch for in the future...I predict he will be up and coming as Marian priests go...that he will become well-known in the Marian movement!! He had wanted to become a NFL player, but God called him to become a priest...His testimony is awesome, to say the least!! He is a huge fellow...and I mean HUGE!! He definitely stands out in a crowd, not only appearance-wise, but as great asset to our Catholic Church...He is from Wisconsin...resides at a parish in Cedarburg, Wisconsin...There will be an article about him in an upcoming issue of Medjugorje Magazine(Sandy Tobin, one of the directors from the travel agency I went with, interviewed him for the magazine)...
I did not know he would be at Medjugorje the same time my daughter and I were there...I had never heard of him...He was with another mission group...his mom is a pilgrim director out of GreenBay,Wisconsin and he was with her group, of course...But his story is well worth buying the magazine and reading it!! :D
I went to him for confession and he was great!! Also, I asked him to pray over me and what an experience!! He truly has the Holy Spirit within him!! Bless, Sharon
User avatar
By MedjAdmin
I read your post and decided to google him... I found this article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel... I'd love to interview this priest.


Lining up with God
Ex-football player picks priesthood

Cedarburg - If it's a Sunday and you see 6-foot-5 and 365-pound Mike Lightner wearing green and gold, you could be forgiven for musing about the Green Bay Packers rather than your own salvation - even if you are in church.

Father Michael Lightner, ordained May 21, is the first priest in 20 years at St. Francis Borgia who is in his 30s, a longtime member says.

You can't ignore the imposing physical features of the nearly bald and bushy-bearded Lightner, a former college football lineman who could also pass as the leader of a motorcycle gang.

Even with the traditional collar complementing his green-and-gold vestments, the newly ordained Lightner isn't a typical priest - but it's because of what he says as well as how he looks.

Lightner says he became a priest after demanding, and receiving, signs from God.

In a day and age when the Catholic sacrament of confession seems all but forgotten, the 32-year-old Lightner, associate pastor of St. Francis Borgia Catholic Church, is preaching for a return to what is now known as reconciliation.

He credits a confession he made - during a trip to what many believe is the mystical place of Medjugorje - with causing him to join the priesthood rather than try out for the NFL.

"If you want to feel the love of Christ," he says of confessing sins, "this is how you do it."

Mike Lightner was 6 feet 3 inches tall and 285 pounds in eighth grade, well before he ever tried out for the football team at Oconto High School.

He had been born and raised in a sports-oriented family in Oconto, north of Green Bay, the youngest of six children whose parents ran a restaurant.

Art of football
Lightner's play as an offensive lineman earned him a scholarship to Eastern Michigan University to play football. He loved the hitting and the teamwork, saying the art of football is "to get 11 guys beating with one heart."

An amateur sculptor and painter, Lightner chose Eastern Michigan over other schools offering scholarships because of its art program, saying he had wanted to play pro football and then teach art.

In college, Lightner enjoyed partying, dating women and working as a bouncer.

"Everyday college guy. It wasn't like he was a saint from the get-go," recalled Barry Stokes, a fellow offensive lineman at Eastern Michigan.

That changed by the time Lightner became a senior.

"You wouldn't drink a beer in (Lightner's) room," said Stokes, a former Packers offensive lineman who plays for the Atlanta Falcons. "You didn't even want to go into that room because it was holy."

In 1994, during his junior year, Lightner's 3-year-old niece found marijuana he had been carrying on a trip home.

His mother, Joyce - whom Lightner said takes Holy Communion and says 15 decades of the rosary each day - was upset and asked him to join one of the trips she led to Medjugorje.

Medjugorje is a small village in Bosnia-Herzegovina where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared and sent messages every day since 1981. It is not officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Lightner said he decided to confess his sins at Medjugorje, but on one condition, telling God: "If you exist, I don't know you. You could be the biggest con the world has ever seen. I can go to reconciliation, but if you don't reveal yourself to me during this week, I'm done with religion."

Lightner said he confessed to misdeeds involving alcohol, drugs and women, and after the priest absolved him of his sins, "it felt like something was standing on my chest."

He said he felt himself pinned to the back of the confessional, screaming in pain, and thinking, "Oh, my God, you're real."

Lightner returned to Medjugorje six months later, in 1995.

He said that as he watched a priest pray over a woman in a wheelchair for more than half an hour, he heard Christ say, "Michael, if I get her out of this wheelchair, will you enter the seminary?"

Lightner said he more or less agreed before watching the woman rise and walk.

Back at school, Lightner finished his senior year and was invited to try out with the Cleveland Browns. He declined.

With his size, smarts and "mean streak," Lightner would have made it in the NFL, said Stokes, who keeps a Medjugorje cross from Lightner's mother in his Mercedes-Benz.

"I think the Lord just grabbed ahold of him," Stokes said. "He figured out who he was and now had to go do it."

After graduating from Eastern Michigan, Lightner worked as a substitute teacher in the Oconto area for a year before beginning his studies for the priesthood.

He earned two philosophy degrees in North Dakota and a theology degree from Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.

Lightner said he was about to submit his application for ordination in the Fargo, N.D., diocese, but was not sure about working so far away from a metropolitan area.

He said he decided to sit on the application for two days, telling God he needed to hear from Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan during that time or he would submit the application to Fargo.

Lightner said Dolan called and approved Lightner finishing his work at St. Francis Seminary so that he could be ordained in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He was ordained May 21 and assigned to St. Francis Borgia.

Frank Messa, a 52-year member of St. Francis who formerly led the parish council and the school board, said if Lightner's physical presence makes him intimidating, it is quickly allayed by his gentle way.

Messa believes Lightner will appeal to youths at St. Francis, which he said hasn't had a priest in his 30s for at least 20 years.

Comfortable in a cassock
Lightner said some of his practices - adding the "Hail Mary" at Mass and wearing an all-black, full-length cassock around church - make some people wonder if he is more conservative than a lot of priests.

He joked that he wears cassocks merely because they are comfortable and "slimming"; notes that he supports progressive efforts such as strong involvement of lay people in the church; and says, "people who know me know I'm not an arch-conservative."

Lightner said he hopes to be involved with kids at St. Francis, perhaps start a group for men at the parish and return to some of his hobbies, including painting and sculpting. He also enjoys duck hunting, deer hunting and fishing.

Lightner said he watches some football and predicts the Packers will go 10-6 in 2005.

More than any particular career path, Lightner said he wants to follow what he believes God's wishes to be.

"It comes to a point where you're almost living someone else's life - and you are, you're living Christ's life," he said. "It becomes a trust in God and what he wants you to do."


User avatar
By LittleRed
Sean, I know Fr Mike has agreed to be one of speakers at the Medjugorje Conference in Clearwater, Flordia that Sandy and Mike Tobin are putting together(they do it every year)...They are looking at the first weekend in November for the conference....I will let you know the specific date when I find out...I am hoping to go there as well...I think by that time my daughter is going to need it...she misses her pal, Fr Joe, who she hung out with the whole time we were in Medjugorje!! :D Fr Joe said he is going to try to make the conference himself too...Fr Joe is based out of Pennsylvania...He is a healing priest!! Bless, Sharon
User avatar
By rogertc
beautiful story of a work in progress, Thank you Sharon.
User avatar
By Pippy
Sean, I am so glad you included this article on the forum...and Little Red, I am so glad you mentioned him on the forum. :D Pippy
User avatar
By puddyhuston
What a lovely Medjugorje story they are coming one after the other now. We need a book of all the stories on here told simply
I get bored if the book is too complicated.
I have just read "Spark from Heaven" some of it is excellent and some boring.
I like short to the point amazing stories about Medjugorje where even a child can read and understand them.
A book with all those stories would be great, obviously with the peoples permission. I would do it myself if I knew where to start

Hey Pippy maybe you should try and it could fund your trip.
Medjugorje Conversions stories told simply for all.

Richard was very impressed by Father Michael's story

God bless
By Sylvia
Hi, I have not had the chance to go to Medjugorje, but would definitly one day love to go. I do have a terrible fear of flying, but, I know my faith must be strong. I am hoping to get there one day.
I have just recently had two surgeries for a detached retina and still undergoing treatment and looking at probably two more surgeries in the future, so as of now, I cannot fly, but, one day soon.
I love hearing your stories on medjugorje, it makes me feel as if I am there to. If anyone can suggest a great book on Medjugorje, please do.
I would enjoy reading all about Medjugorje and its people, and the many stories of faith that have into being.
Thanks all
God Bless
User avatar
By starbright
I would like to know of a book about Medj as well so I'll keep an eye out
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By Pippy
Stella, you're a charm!!! I do want to write picture books for adults on subjects that are important and need attention. It's funny that you said what you said above!! :D Pip....I would have to pray about it and see what the Father says in my heart!
By Brian D
I had a chance to meet Father Michael when I was in Medjugorje last week. I recognized that a group eating at the restaurant The Garden's was American so I was in a good mood and said hello and he was sitting with the group. He definitely is a big man, but seemed like a great man and a great priest.
User avatar
By LittleRed
Tis true Brian, Fr Mike is a great priest...the Holy Spirit resides in that man!! :D Bless, Sharon
User avatar
By cjmg
Puddy and Starbright:

If you are looking for a book about stories of Medjugorje conversion experiences...I just finished A Child Shall Lead Them by Wayne Weible.

You will be interested to read about the conversion story of our own MedjAdmin...Sean Patrick Bloomfield!!
User avatar
By puddyhuston
Thanks Carla I have read it and loved the story about Sean, a couple of the others I had read in his first book and from memory one or two were sad.
Since then we have had some new stories also
God Bless
User avatar
By mariandevotion
I had the priveldge of attending his ordination and traveling to Medjuorje with him. He is a great guy. God will be doing great things with him.

Your brother in Christ,

Ed L.
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By Pippy
Well, Ed, it sounds like he is going to be at the Flordia conference this November!! You could meet up with him again!! I can't wait to meet him! Pippy
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By Aud
Someone mentioned Father Joe somewhere. Is that Father Joe Amalfitano? He prayed over me las t year at a Medj conference in Orlando.

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By LittleRed
Aud, Yes it is the same Fr Joe!! :D Isn`t he wonderful!?! I have so much respect for him...I had the pleasure of getting to know him personally because he was the priest in our pilgrimage group(I was in Medjugorje just last week)...I also had some contact with Fr Mike...he is definitely going to be a forerunner for the Marian movement in the United States!! :D I cannot wait to meet them both in November at the Medjugorje conference in Florida......Bless, Sharon
User avatar
By Aud
yes he is! And such a humble soul. I really like him.

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By Pippy
Aud, Little Red shut down her computer abit ago(I was just at her home) knowing that he will be at the conference, doesn't that make you really want to go that much more??!!
User avatar
By Aud
yep! Do you knw where it will be this year? Last year it was in Orlando which was doable for me as someone form here gave me a ride.

User avatar
By Pippy
Aud, Little Red will post the details when she gets them from Sandy and Mike Tobin who are organizing it! I hope you can come!!! And let's throw in a prayer for our little one, Buckley, to see if he can make it!! Pippy
User avatar
By Aud
will do! I just got their newsletter today. I have to remember to make sure I send in my request to stay on their mailing list...

User avatar
By Pippy
Aud, do you get the feeling are are meant to meet at that conference? Pippy
User avatar
By Aud
sure hope so! That would be pretty neat. I'm going to another one this Saturday & dragging my daughter & another from the youth group. I can't wait! This one is hosted by Barbara Stephens.

User avatar
By Pippy
Enjoy, Aud...and I am 43! So who is saying the extra Hail Mary tonight??? Pippy
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