Giovanni Maria Leonardi is an 82-year-old Capuchin priest. Born in Pesaro, Italy, he entered the Capuchin novitiate in Camerino at the age of fifteen, for several years he was the regional leader of the Renewal of the Holy Spirit group. But Father Leonardi was also a famous exorcist.
In the book “How to pray the liberation prayer” , author Don Marcello Stanzione interviews this priest.
“My service as an exorcist was quite special. Since I was responsible for Renewal in the Spirit groups in those years and some special cases were happening to me, I personally introduced myself several times to some bishops in the region, expressing myself more or less like this: “You have weapons to fight the enemy. I want to be… armed and defended”.
The bishops who were most attentive to the ministry of exorcist usually assigned me this task. However, I did not let anyone know that I had been given this power. I was waiting for the right moment to act with the authority given to me by the pastors of the Church. During that time, I attended various exorcist meetings, both in the country and abroad. These were the first conferences organized by some exorcists. It was in the eighties and nineties of the last century, that is, before the great jubilee of the year 2000. We still had to choose an exorcist manager at the international level who would officially represent us in front of the whole Church”.
Episodes of demonic presence
Before the great jubilee in the year 2000, “when Don Dino Foglio still organized summer meetings for young people of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit, a priest from Marka performed the service of exorcist at one of those gatherings.
“I remember very well that girl (I haven’t forgotten her name to this day) who collapsed on the floor in the middle of the meeting. Her head seemed to be falling to pieces from the violence. So much was heard! Instead, nothing happened!
A man who, being provoked, joined our little group for deliverance prayer, suddenly felt the attack of the devil: the spirit of evil passed from her to him. Terrified, the man cried out in fear. Humbled in his insolence, he was soon freed by the merciful hand of God”.
Singing to the Lord
Another time, during a prayer meeting, “the enemy let loose with obvious signs against a woman. Everyone was gripped by fear. I calmly asked those present not to leave. On the contrary, I suggested that a song be raised immediately in tongues to the Lord. That poor woman, possessed, slowly fell to the ground as if exhausted, but liberated.”
Father Leonardi says that he has never suffered any diabolical “prank”. “God defends his preachers. Once, even though I knew that this man was dangerous because of the devil’s presence, I welcomed him nicely, because he wanted a holy mass said for him.
I led him into the sacristy. At that moment, I felt the desire to test him in one way, so I quietly said his name. I said: “Medjugorje.”
At that moment he began to grind his teeth terribly.
He gnashed his teeth at that word for a long time!
Then, when we were again at the altar where the tabernacle is, I wanted to greet him with a simple sign of the cross over him. As soon as I raised my hand, the evil spirit was released.”
“Thank God,” recalls the exorcist, “a barrier was created between me and that possessed man. With the force with which he is possessed by the devil, he tried to reach me, but he couldn’t, he couldn’t just grind anything. It felt like they were scratching on unbreakable glass. Then, exhausted, he collapsed to the ground.”
Who does not believe in the devil
Finally, the priest tells don Marcello Stanzione that “he who does not believe in the existence of the devil, not only does not believe in Jesus and his Gospel, but does not have a correct perception of reality, which – he adds – is often still under the rule of the prince of evil.”
Hell on Earth for demons
Don Ambrogio Villa, also an exorcist, tells what the devil reported about Medjugorje during the exorcism. “She cries for her children. He loves his children. And that place is our hell on earth.”
Namely, after several hours of prayer during the exorcism, he decided to play a song dedicated to the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje:
“During exorcisms, the priest releases in the name of God with the power of the blood of Christ and the power of Mary. The devil is afraid of Maria, he hates her, but he is afraid of her in an incredible way. I prayed, this exorcism lasted for 3 hours and the demon did not leave because he believed he was more powerful.
And so I played the song “Gospa Majka Moja” (the hymn of Medjugorje) on my mobile phone. After two lines, you hear: “there is no one there”. The demon speaks through the voice of the possessed person. So I calmly tell him: “since you are a cheater, it means there is something there”. And he, having completely changed, says: “She cries for her children.” She loves her children. And that place is our hell on earth.”
In another episode, the same exorcist placed a bag containing earth from Pdbrd, the place of apparitions, on the head of a possessed man. The demon reacted violently and said: “Remove that earth”. I asked why: “Because she is blessed!” But possessed people don’t know what’s in the bag, they don’t know that those stones are inside and where they come from,” testified the exorcist Villa.