Alfred Heck from Germany participated in the international meeting for group leaders, organisers of pilgrimages and prayer and charity groups regarding Medjugorje. He also took part in the first such meeting that he gladly recalled: “There were around 50 of us from various countries. We had genuine family atmosphere. My personal experience is that in these years various Franciscans have been with us to guide us, but each one of them left the impression of love and sincerity in conducting this seminar.
On Monday, March 3, with registration of participants, the 21st International Meeting for organisers of pilgrimages, leaders of peace centres and Medjugorje prayer and charity groups, has began in Medjugorje and there are 250 participants from 17 countries: Italy, the United States, England, Ireland, Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, France, France, Spain, Korea, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The theme of this meeting is "Behold, your Mother", and the lecturer is Fr. Marinko Sakota, the parish priest of Medjugorje parish. The participants, besides lectures and discussions with the lecturer, they are also participating in the evening prayer programme in the church of St. James, and they will also climb Apparition Hill and Cross Mountain. Fr. Marinko, as he spoke about the theme of this seminar, said that Mother was given to us and She is with us: " She guides us and we would like to become aware of that because so very often we forget that She is here. She is our mother who guides us and loves us and that is why we need to hear and follow her. As Jesus said to Ivan "Behold, your mother" in the same way we need to hear what is that She is saying to us. That will be theme of these lectures."
Number of Holy Communions: 28 800
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 623 (22 per day)
The 21st International Meeting for Organisers of Pilgrimages, Leaders of Peace Centres and Međugorje Prayer and Charity Groups will be held in Medjugorje from the 3rd to the 7th of March 2014. The theme of the gathering is:
“Behold, your Mother” (John 19, 27)
On Saturday, February 15, 2014, the postulants of the Franciscan Province of Bosnia Argentina visited postulants of Herzegovina Franciscan Province. Eight postulants from our province together with their leader Fr. Stanko Mabic met all postulants from Visoko and their leader Fr. Danijel Rajic.
Danko Kustura from Split came to Medjugorje for the first time soon after the apparitions have began and continued coming at least twice a year ever since. He lived all of his life as a Christian, but it was the apparitions in Medjugorje that have strengthened his faith. He regularly reads Catholic newspapers, and despite his modest pension allowance, he gladly gives a gift of annual subscription to “Glasnik mira”, monthly bulletin from Medjugorje, to his family and friends. He said that news about Medjugorje have spread so fast in the very beginning and he came here on April 10, 1983 for the first time.
Holy Mass for all killed Franciscans during and after the World War II, as well as for all parishioners killed in the First, Second and recent Homeland War was celebrated in the parish church of St. James on Monday, February 10, on the feast of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac. Up to this day, graves of so many killed persons have remained unknown, but memory on them is still alive in hearts and prayers of faithful. Fr. Ivan Dugandzic celebrated the evening Holy Mass with six priests that have concelebrated.
The members of band “The Apostles of Peace” from Zagreb/Madjarevo were in Medjugorje not long ago. During their visit they came to radio station “Mir” Medjugorje and shared their personal experience of Medjugorje, as well as their own testimony of praising God with song. They said how every time they come to Medjugorje, they feel peace that cannot be described in words. “It is always nice to come here, to recharge our batteries and later on to return to everyday life, to obligations we have, but every time with Mary’s blessing that is present on every step. One can feel here really special joy and special love.” This band for spiritual music was founded in 2000, and so far they have performed at many prayer meetings.
Clemens from Martinique came to Medjugorje for the first time with a group of pilgrims from France. He heard of Medjugorje long ago and wanted to come earlier, but there were obstacles every time that prevented him from coming. He said how Medjugorje is a world famous place: “There is a radio station called Radio St. Louis and it is religious radio station where they speak a lot about Medjugorje and now everyone knows about this place. I would like to thank people in Medjugorje, people of this country for their way of accepting everyone who comes here, for preparing to meet more people because this is the only place where we can talk to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus. She gives us beautiful message for the time we live in, and that is peace. After all of the sufferings from this world are gone, what is left for us is peace, peace and love”, said Clemens and added that it is easy to live messages of the Queen of Peace if we surrender to be guided by Her heart. “Medjugorje is a sensation of peace; I personally have feeling of respect towards people that I see praying Rosary as well as towards you who are receiving us here. Let us maintain that spirit, because the enemy would like to interfere everywhere and always. Let us maintain the spirit of love and peace. Every place of the apparitions gives us different sensations, but this place here fills us with love.”
On Sunday, February 2, in the church of St. James in Medjugorje, young people, members of the Franciscan Youth, had ceremony of solemn promises during the evening Holy Mass at 6 p.m. that Fr. Slaven Brekalo, regional spiritual assistant, had celebrated in con-celebration of 11 other priests. It was Sunday of Presentation of our Lord, and Fr. Slaven had combined those two events into his homily.
A member of Croatian Salesian Province of St. John Bosco, Josip Petricic, is a frequent pilgrim in Medjugorje. He comes from Zagreb and he is 25 years old. He graduated in high school for graphics. As a young boy he was thrilled with priesthood, because his uncle is a priest. “During the summer, I was going with him to help him out and I was thrilled with that because it made me content and fulfilled to help others. It was a little fervor that moved me to go to priesthood. But, I did not know which order to choose. I shared that with my uncle and he told me that he could see vocation growing within me. He advised me to join the order of Salesians that I heard of for the first time at that time”, said this pilgrim and added that he came to Medjugorje for the first time while he was in the seminary. “I was thrilled when we climbed Apparition Hill during the night. I was also thrilled to see such a great number of young people who were seeking for the Lord and found Him here. It was a family atmosphere that was created among us and all pilgrims. We did not differentiate because of our nationality, but were all united.”
We would like to inform all groups of pilgrims that the 25th Jubilee Youth Festival will be held in Medjugorje from July 31 – August 6, 2014, which means that it will begin one day earlier than in the previous years. We hope that you will be able to organise and reserve plains and buses for this event on time. The Youth Festival was initiated by late Fr. Slavko Barbaric in 1990, when he gathered around 100 young people, two guitar players and a couple of singers, while the whole programme was held in the green tent behind the church. The number of participants increased each year and in the last few years, that event is the greatest of all Medjugorje events. We are looking forward to your coming!
Number of Holy Communions: 50 000
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 870 (28 per day)
Young people, members of the Franciscan Youth from Medjugorje, will give their solemn promises during the evening Holy Mass at 6 p.m. on Sunday, February 2, in the church of St. James. The Franciscan Youth is active in Medjugorje since 1995, and it grew out of the prayer group that late Fr. Slavko Barbaric led. The first meetings were held oon Fridays, after the evening Holy Mass and that remained the same in all of these years.
Numerous pilgrims visit Medjugorje every year and their testimonies are like little pieces that form beautiful mosaic, picture of Medjugorje. Married couple, Neli and Igor Kanizaj emphasise that every visit to Medjugorje is for them great joy and new, deep experience. Igor got to know Medjugorje in his young days, while he was a member of the Franciscan Youth, and each of his visits was bringing him something new, primarily peace: