He's a young long-haired man, tall and pleasant looking. Practically unnoticed, he made himself available for the Irish pilgrims all last summer. He accompanied them up Podbrdo and Krizevac. He prayed with them, spoke about himself and his conversion. When asked to sing during the evening adoration he happily conceded, but he never told the Franciscans in Medjugorje that music had been his vocation. When they found out, they asked him to tell them about his life, his rock and roll group, and his experience in Medjugorje. He thus replied to Fra Slavko's questions:
A. Yes, my name's Robbie Hurley. My life is much like that of other young people in Ireland, and perhaps all over the world. You see, I come from a broken family. My parents separated, and their separation caused a deep wound in me and in my brothers and sisters. These wounds cut into me, and they made my infancy an unhappy one. I didn't like studying, but I did finish compulsory school. I received no religious instruction. By nature I am a calm type of person; I like to think and read. I read a lot, you know, and I'm also a bit poetic. Perhaps it was this that helped keep me sane after my parents' separation. I had found a job as a waiter in a pub and I dedicated my spare time to music. Then one day something happened.
A. Sure. A girl came to work in the same pub; we both had the same shifts. She brought enthusiasm into my life. There was something in her that awakened feelings deep down in my heart. I wasn't in love; it was something else. Something new shone out from that girl and lit up my heart. It was they way she spoke, and her smile, and the way she treated people. We spent time talking things over. She brought peace into my life.
A. This was my first impact with the messages of Medjugorje that had been incarnated into that girl. She had never spoken to me about it before. She laughed and said: "I went on a pilgrimage to a village in Jugoslavia where Our Lady - the Queen of Peace - appears. The Blessed Virgin continually invites us to peace and She gives us peace. I've experienced it. Before I went on that pilgrimage, my life was senseless, I was restless and nothing satisfied me. Then all of a sudden, I felt my spirit immersed in a very strange feeling - it was inner peace." I listened to her and believed everything she said. And me? .. I had not been to church for a very long time - at least 10 years. I thought that the things she said were out of my reach. When she showed me the photos of some of the visionaries and I saw that they were normal looking people, I wasn't sure - to me people who see Our Lady had to be saints, with a halo over their heads.
But that girl continued, undaunted, telling me about her experience, and my heart opened more and more ... but it froze when she said that Our Lady speaks about Satan. Yes, Satan exists, but there was a certain resistence within me that didn't want to admit the reality of his activities
A. She asked me to go to Mass, but without insisting... She started telling me about the Mass for youth on Thursdays in Dublin. Her words touched my heart. My idea of Mass was very different to what she had told me. She invited me to go and see, at least once, to get an idea. I accepted because she said she would have come with me and going together with her seemed better. It really was a wonderful experience to see a group of young people pray - it was something strange for me. After two hours they said it was over, but I would have liked it to last for ever, and from then I started going to Mass. For me it was a profound encounter with God - just what I had been looking for.
A. Much time had passed. After all of this, I joined a rock group called Winters Reign - I was a key member. We quickly became popular in Ireland and England, and in Czechoslovakia. According to some, we would have become stars. They loved us everywhere and the young fans thronged around us. But there were also drugs, alcohol and sex, every possible pleasure just lying at our feet...
A. It was very difficult for me - I felt myself caught between two fires: decide for God, who I had discovered thanks to that girl; or turn my back on Him completely. The whole question concerning the group had estranged me from God and I don't know how or how much I had been tied to Satan. All I know is that it was very difficult to pray. When I mentioned the word 'prayer' in a song, my boss screamed at me as if I was a naughty child. Why? he said, We're not in church, this is rock. Concerning the youth, I must say that people who listen to this music, especially heavy rock, cannot pray - it's impossible. It kills man's desire, both of God and prayer. It kills the beautiful and good feelings in man..., and arouses on the other hand, feelings of violence. It stirs up sexual passions and all other passions. That's why many young people turn to drugs and end up killing themselves. I know others who become victims of money and drugs, and end up becoming shattered people.
In the meantime, the desire to come to Medjugorje grew stronger, but I didn't dare ask for a week off because the boss was a severe, calculating type of person. All he could think of were shows and money. But I waited for the right moment, and oddly enough, he gave me a week off. That's how I came to Medjugorje.
A. Here in Medjugorje incredible things happened to me. In church, during Mass, I experienced God. He was so close to me. I was singing: "God I give myself to Thee, You are my Lord..." and in that very moment I fell onto my knees and felt God's presence. My heart felt it would burst. I just cried and cried. I don't know when Mass finished, I just know that when I went out of the church I felt a different person - I felt new, cleansed, and I felt terribly happy. I kept on praying the entire week - up Podbrdo, on Krizevac. I felt the need for silence. I was in heaven.
When the time came to go back home, I felt a strong resistance within me. I wanted to stay. I cried all the way to Dubrovnik, though I tried to hide my tears. Above all, I didn't want to go back to Dublin where I would have had to give a concert that same night in one of the best hotels in town. The thought of it all: you know, the songs, the music, the passion, totally disgusted me. But I had no choice, so I went. And I sang well. The concert was a success, but my soul and heart felt empty. I went to bed very late, and in the morning when I woke I could feel God's presence; He was close to me, telling me: "Would you like to decide for me and live happily and in peace, even amid suffering, and then be with me in Heaven? Or do you want to turn your back on me, and lose the way and be forever lost?" I had to make a decision. I cried and said: "Father, I don't want to be this way anymore. I want you to be the most important thing in my life." I don't know how long this lasted, but I do know that I fell asleep again and that my sleep was tranquil. I decided to give up that risky life.
A. Of course. It was hard; I felt like a betrayer, as I was a key member and the group was losing me. These thoughts worried me, but I was resolute and I found the strength to tell them. I broke with the group and came back to Medjugorje and have been here all summer (1991).
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