Now living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Wayne has always been a beach person for he was born into a Navy family on the other coast in Long Beach, California on June 26, 1937 the oldest of three children to Martha and Walter Weible. He grew up on the plains of Nebraska when his father was transferred to the heartland, attending grade school and then St. Andrew's Public High School. But wanderlust consumed Wayne and in the tenth grade, anxious to see the ocean again, he dropped out to join the Navy and see the world. It is something he would accomplish but not with the Navy - rather in the service of Jesus and His Blessed Mother Mary.
Before that conversion would come, Wayne struggled with a purpose for his life. But his Navy experience enabled him to take advantage of the GI Bill and, after receiving his high school certificate in the Navy, enrolled at the University of South Carolina where he received his Degree in Journalism in 1964. With ambitions to be a sports reporter he went to work at a paper in Columbia, South Carolina and over the next twelve years moved up the journalism ladder. It was on May 29, 1976 when he made the commitment and said "I do" to his new bride Teresa who was also a Journalism major whom he met on the South Carolina campus. With this journalistic acumen on their resumes, they ventured out on their own buying four weekly news & shopper publications in the Myrtle Beach area where they had settled down.
Over the next nine years they built up the business with one writing articles and tending to circulation, the other handling the advertising and administration. In October of 1985, Wayne first heard of the Apparitions at Medjugorje and he decided he was going to write an article in his four weekly newspapers about these appearances, which had been occurring since June 1981. In doing further research he obtained a video tape on Medjugorje and, while viewing it, his heart and soul suddenly invaded his journalistic skepticism. The result of the clash was startling as this man raised as a Protestant tells it, "I suddenly felt a strong message within my heart that not only was I to write about these events, but I was to devote my life to the spreading of its basic message of reconciliation with God. I just sat there for a moment, completely stunned. I kept repeating to myself, why me? I'm a journalist and journalists demand hard, cold, substantial facts. I knew very little about the Virgin Mary and apparitions."
What he had intended as an objective article showing the pros and cons, turned into something much more profound. He realized his life was changing from that time on and it took some time to convince Terri what was happening to him. He wrote a series of articles, but, by his own admission, "only after spending a great deal of time on my knees in prayer." The following spring in May 1986 he made his initial pilgrimage to Medjugorje. From his reading and praying he realized he wanted to be a Catholic, seeing the the positive results of the fruits from the countless pilgrims going to Confession and Holy Communion. Such Faith. Inadvertently on his last day before heading back home he found himself inside one of the confessionals. Here, he blurted out as he tells it, "All I could remember was a response I had seen in a movie somewhere, 'Bless me, Father, for I have sinned- - -' and then I blurted out, '---and I'm a Protestant but I want to become Catholic.'" Though naturally the priest could not give him absolution, the confessor advised Wayne to see a priest when he returned to the states. Wayne was a little disappointed, not realizing a Protestant couldn't receive the Sacraments, rationalizing that it didn't make sense if this is what Jesus wanted. Therefore, after returning home he began to attend the local Catholic church receiving the Holy Eucharist with the rest. As he points out in retrospect, "I knew it was wrong. But this represented all of my Medjugorje experience and I didn't want to lose it. I need it; thus, I contined to be disobedient."
But the Almighty is a merciful, forgiving God and He knew Wayne's heart. So did His Blessed Mother Mary whom Wayne began praying to for guidance. He contacted a priest named Father Mike in a North Myrtle Beach parish about ten miles from his home. The reason he didn't go to the parish closest to him is because the priest didn't believe in Medjugorje and Wayne felt Father Mike could expedite his entrance into the Church. But that didn't happen right away, much to Wayne's chagrin. After lengthy counseling with this wise priest, Wayne also realized the error of his ways in receiving the Sacraments as a non-Catholic. Wayne realized obedience would bear the greatest fruits and vowed that from then on he would not receive Jesus in the Eucharist until he became a Catholic in name. But it wasn't easy, as he began to travel more and more, giving talks he invariably found himself at Mass and felt the pang of not being able to receive Our Lord. What had to bother him even more was to see so many Catholics ambling up the aisle and taking the Host as if it were a wafer or cookie with no more visible thought to Who they were truly receiving. This tore at him greatly for, though not Catholic, he truly realized and believed the miracle of the Transubstantiation. Yet, through prayer, discernment and studying the messages of Medjugorje he realized these longings were more his own selfish desires and that the meaningful messages of Medjugorje held the true answer - obedience and submission to God's Will. Resolved to this he relates, "One day at Mass I tearfully prayed during the Eucharist, 'Jesus, if You never allow me to enter the Catholic Church...I accept it; I want to do only Your Will.'"
That was a turning point in his life. It wasn't easy for he felt like a man without a religion. Realizing he could not go back to his Lutheran roots and waiting to be Catholic left him in "no-man's land" but he had Jesus and His Blessed Mother to comfort him as he never gave up hope that someday he would be received into the Church. Not that it became easier for him to suppress the hurt and emptiness he felt during Holy Communion, but he filled his life with doing all he could for the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Divine Son Jesus. He had already sold his four weekly newspapers in order to devote his time to spreading the Medjugorje message. Due to an overwhelming number of requests for copies of the articles he wrote, Wayne published them in September 1986 as an eight-page tabloid called the "Miracle at Medjugorje." The newspaper chronicled the events in this remote village in the former Yugoslavia and the messages imparted. From the seeds of 3,000 initial copies over sixty million have been printed and distributed worldwide to date. The paper has also been published in numerous foreign languages. Originally it had been his intention to circulate the paper around Myrtle Beach and to have them with him when he would give talks to church and civic groups while traveling. He had no idea his publication would mushroom to what it is today, but Our Lady did.
In the late 80's he released his first book entitled "Medjugorje: The Message" published by Paraclete Press with more than a half a million sold in the United States and another 300,000 around the world in 13 languages. One of those found its way to a Cursillo this editor's wife Cyndi was attending in May of 1989. Yours truly had attended a very inspiring Cursillo the week before and was looking forward to what she would get out of it. But, due to the fact that the underlying theme of the women's Cursillo was feministic, put together by liberal, radical feminists who recruited a deacon spouting heresies and an eighth sacrament for the single life, Cyndi shuddered and refused to join in the protest of the tenets of the Church she loved so much. Therefore she retreated in prayer and was led to Wayne's book which she read with great interest as she prayed that this weekend would soon be over. It is so wondrous how God works for out of all this malevolent rebellion by modernists at her Cursillo, great good came from it for it prompted our discovering Medjugorje which would forever change our life and ultimately lead to the DAILY CATHOLIC. Disappointed that she had had such a "rotten weekend" she salvaged it by sharing with yours truly Wayne's book and the prediction that we would, within a year, go to Medjugorje. Talk about incredulous! Half way around the world to a remote village in Yugoslavia?!? We hadn't even been to Disney World yet! But, as we said earlier, God has a method to His "madness," and on May 5, 1990, with our spiritual director Father Al Svobodny, OMI, we set foot on Medjugorje soil for the first time, celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary there on May 10th. From that time on our lives have never been the same and you'll hear no complaints from us.
That is just one of the tens of thousands of stories that could be told by others on Wayne's indirect or direct influence on their lives. There is probably no single person more responsible for spreading the messages of Medjugorje than Wayne. In 1991 he released his second book entitled "Letters From Medjugorje" also by Paraclete Press that sold 125,000 copies. It was that same year that he was finally received into the Church. It happened on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception when he and Teresa received the Rite of Initiation and Confirmation at the closing Mass of the Annual Medjugorje Conference in New Orleans. But it wasn't an "all-of-a-sudden" thing for it had taken many painstaking years of preparation and sacrifice.
While in Texas for a talk in March 1990, Wayne was introduced to a mystically-gifted locutionist named Brother David Lopez who is a victim soul as well. In prayer to Our Lady Brother David conveyed to Wayne her words that his acceptance into the Church would be two more years. As Wayne recalls, "It took a few seconds for it to register with me. I felt the impact of the last three words - 'two more years,' but also the relief in that at least I would at the end of that time become a true Roman Catholic." One of those sacrifices in preparation was volunteer chastity between the couple until they were received into the Church. This was suggested by Brother Bruno Corniccioloa, an Italian monk and visionary who had been blessed to see the Blessed Virgin Mary in the forties at a place called Tre Fontana just outside Rome. The fact that both Wayne and Terri had previous marriages that ended in divorce necessitated annulments for both. Terri's came through on June 25, 1990 the ninth anniversary of the apparitions at Medjugorje from the Tribunal of the Diocese of Charleston. Wayne's was a while in coming. When it did, it carried with it the standard provision that he receive counseling from the Tribunal before being received into the Church. Wayne was frustrated and even angry, but Terri reminded him of what Our Lady conveyed to Brother David in Texas: two years. Only a year had passed at that time. Still it was frustrating for Wayne had set his dreams on the two being received into the Church in Medjugorje. Since he was so close to all the visionaries and priests there, he envisioned current seers Marija Pavlovic and Ivan Dragicevic as the couple's sponsors with Father Jozo Zovko, OFM performing the rites (the 29th selection of the TOP 100 CATHOLICS OF THE CENTURY) along with other priests at St. James Church in Medjugorje. But it was not to be and, obediently, after ten months of weekly sessions that both Wayne and Terri attended, they were given clearance the end of October 1991.
Returning from a month-long exhausting speaking tour in Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Singapore, he had one last talk scheduled that year - as a guest speaker at the Annual New Orleans Medjugorje Conference on the weekend of December 7-8. The evening after Wayne had returned from the Orient, Terri treated him to a special Italian dinner on the town; afterwards springing the best news he could receive at the time: a letter from the Tribunal clearing him unconditionally to be received into the Catholic Church. They jointly decided to pray on it and, because of the war in Bosnia, realized they could not be received in Medjugorje. They felt after the first of the year in a quiet ceremony might be the best avenue to follow. As he knelt in prayer during a Tuesday prayer group he heard Our Lady speak to him, "I ask you to enter the Church in front of the people at New Orleans. It is for them." When he told Terri she was scared, advising him to clarify the Blessed Virgin's message because she was too shy to get up in front of all those people. Wayne, the loving husband sensitive to his wife's feelings agreed and said they would do it at an early morning Mass in Myrtle Beach.
When they returned home Wayne called the coordinator of the New Orleans Conference Mimi Kelly to finalize his itinerary and in the process related his experience in what Our Lady asked. Mimi couldn't believe it for she confided in Wayne that she had written just that in a letter to Wayne during the summer inviting him to be received into the Church at the Conference, but never sent it for fear of seeming too presumptious. One thing led to another and before you knew it the arrangements were made. Terri was still set on being received at the local parish and went to her priest who advised her it would be better if she were in New Orleans. She agreed, putting the Holy Spirit to the test because there were no more flight tickets to New Orleans. When a few open seat confirmations appeared Terri knew it was God's Will. This was truly what Our Lady wanted. It was all settled. Father Ken Roberts, a good friend of Wayne's from their mutual admiration and promotion of Medjugorje, handled the Rite of Initiation with retired Archbishop Philip Hannan performing the Confirmation. As an added blessing their eleven year-old son Kennedy, now 19, also was able to get a ticket to the Crescent City where he served the Mass. At 3 p.m. on December 8, 1991 they were both received officially into the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Why did it take so long? Many believe it was so Wayne, as a Protestant, could reach more non-Catholics and the harder his own path, the longer he waited, the more patience was needed and greater merits resulted from his and Terri's total obedience to God even amidst all the frustrating slow red-tape of diocesan procedures. If the Weibles had not been convinced the Catholic Church was the one, true Church we doubt they would have waited out the long, stressful period of annulment processes and counseling. Commitment has its rewards. And, as Wayne has said so many times, "It may take a while for one to say "Yes" to Our Blessed Mother, but when you finally do, you're hooked for life!"
That is definitely true of Wayne and Terri, ourselves and millions of others. Wayne has not let up, continuing his extremely strenuous trips around the world to promote the Messages of Medjugorje. He published his third book in 1995 titled "Medjugorje: The Mission" which has sold more than 100,000 copies to date as well as authoring hundreds of audio and video tapes worldwide in addition to continuing to publish a monthly newspaper called the Weible Columns which are available to order from www.medjugorjeweible.com
This past June he released his latest and most comprehensive book on the events in Medjugorje over the past eighteen plus years yet entitled "The Final Harvest: Medjugorje at the End of the Century" which has already sold over 20,000 copies and is currently being translated into several languages. Today Wayne continues on the go. We talked with him just before writing this profile to update our facts last week. He was leaving the next morning for Medjugorje - his 29th trip overall. We asked him his take on the Catholic-Lutheran pact signed on October 31, 1999 at Augsburg, Germany - 482 years to the day Martin Luther posted the 98 Theses on the door of the Cathedral there - and Wayne shed some light on it from a born-and-raised Lutheran perspective. He called it the "centerpiece" for reconciliation between the two Churches. "It is a significant step forward in the unity of all faiths," Wayne reasoned, "and unification will be a sudden thing." He believes we'll see more entire congregations coming into the Church in the future and the "Sacraments will be the masterpiece." He explained the difference between Catholic belief in the Transubstantiation and the Lutheran perception, called "constransubstantiation" which holds that Jesus is not truly present physically in the bread and wine, but spiritually. Once they can get over that hurdle, "you'll see a rush of conversions" Wayne believes. This will correlate with the events leading to the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart after Our Lady's last appearance at Medjugorje which Wayne isn't about to predict. When asked about the brevity of this month's message, he attributes it to the fact that the Mother of God has said all she can say. He equated it with her 1993 message in which she merely said, "Pray! Pray! Pray!" underlying the urgency to her messages.
Wayne continues to work tirelessly for Our Lady. Besides numerous appearances on various network shows such as the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Sally Jesse Raphael television show, he has been on several regional and local television programs in addition to Mother Angelica's Mother Angelica Live Show. He has virtually lectured in every major city in the United States as well as Canada. Over the past thirteen years he has circled the globe for Our Lady. He takes some time off at Christmas and the summer months of June-July and part of August to spend with the family which includes, of course, Terri, and their son Kennedy and Rebecca, now fifteen. But Wayne has a larger family as well for almost all who come in contact with this dynamic speaker, who calls on the Holy Spirit and Our Lady to guide him in his talks, consider him "family." That would include millions who have heard him speak or read his books and columns. Though today he totally embraces the faith as a Roman Catholic convert, he asserts that, "This message coming from the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje is for all faiths, not just for Catholics - or for that matter just for Christians." As Wayne attests, Our Lady wants to reach all her children and one of her greatest ambassadors is a South Carolina journalist whose career-oriented skepticism turned into total commitment to Mary's cause, the fruits of which may never be totally known except in Heaven.
That took heroism, a heroism that is sadly lacking today. Today heroes are equated to movie, rock and sports stars. Guess what? They aren't heroes or role models, they are simply fallible humans with feet of clay who have cast their lot, for the most part, with satan, not with God. They've taken the easy way out, opting for fame and wealth without taking on the responsibility of truly giving back, of truly accepting suffering, of truly imparting values and virtues that will make today and tomorrow's generation stronger and more worthy to be called children of God.
That sad scenario leaves us terribly void of heroes today. Vocations are alarmingly down in wealthy, advanced nations in Europe and America while they are skyrocketing in poor, third world countries like Africa, Bangledesh, India and South America. Why is that? Because we have not suffered, whereas those in impoverished countries have suffered greatly and grown from it. From suffering heroes are born, not from excess and smooth sailing. A very wise priest once said, "It takes a lot of wind and rain to make a tree grow strong and straight."
So also in a person's life, the more adversity one experiences, the stronger that person will be for it and grow to be a mature, solid citizen both for their country and, primarily, for God. The problems today are that too many within the Church are trying to make things too easy, forgetting what Jesus Christ says about suffering and carrying our cross and being obedient to Him. Compromise and softness have replaced the tough faith of yesteryear in the minds of many Catholics and, were it not for our present Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II who knows how soft the underbelly of the Church might be today. If it were up to the liberals and modernists, you can bet Catholicism would be totally "cafeteria" where the faithful could pick and choose as they pleased. But that is not what Our Lord intended when He established His Church in Matthew 16: 18-19. Nor did He beg and cajole those who walked away from Him when they realized it wouldn't be easy. Being the Son of God He could easily have called them back and explained further what He meant, but He did not compromise, He did not water anything down. And neither should we. In order to be genuine heroes today we must submit ourselves totally to the Divine Will. Then, and only then will we be able to generate the kind of attributes attributed to true heroes.
In the next installment we shall delve further on what the Heroic Act of Charity really is and the Formula for this Heroic Act.