As we celebrate thirty years of Our Lady’s apparitions in Medjugorje, Parish Office of Medjugorje parish together with editors of Scientific Bulletin “Herzegovina Franciscana” decided to organise International Scientific Symposium titled “Thirty years of Medjugorje”. This symposium was held on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 in the Hall of Bl. John Paul II in Medjugorje. Respectful and eminent theologians, historians, sociologists and psychologists participated, as well as other speakers who were involved in the events in Medjugorje in the last thirty years. This symposium was opened for the public and parishioners of Medjugorje parish were invited, as well as all of the pilgrims, but in a particular way invitation was directed to the guides and employees of Information Centre “Mir” Medjugorje.
All of the works that were presented during this symposium are going to be printed in the following edition of “Herzegovina Franciscana” that should be ready until Christmas this year, and we are hoping that there might be special edition of all of these works.
Number of Holy Communions: 300.500
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 5441 (181 per day)
The 12th International Seminar for Married Couples that gathered more than 250 participants from eight different languages was held in Medjugorje from 21st to 24th September 2011. The theme of seminar was „Marriage – in faith and with faith“, with prof. Ljilja Vokic as the main lecturer while Fr. Miljenko Steko was the coordinator of the seminar. The programme consisted of morning and afernoon lectures, continued with the evening prayer programme in the church of St. James and there were morning prayers on Cross Mountain and Apparition Hill as well.
The seminar finished on Saturday with Holy Mass at 11 a.m. and Fr. Marinko Sakota was the main celebrant.
Among various participants we met those who came all the way from Alaska, the United States. Ralph and Edith came to Medjugorje for the first time in 2000. Ever since that time they started following all of the events from Medjugorje through the official web site of the shrine. That is how they found out about this retreat for married couples and decided to come with another couple. This is what they said for radio station „Mir“ Medjugorje: „We are happy to be here, this is our first time to attend this retreat, we indeed feel content and welcomed from the moment we first arrived to Medjugorje. We were immediately able to feel that something special takes place here.“ (photos)
The twelfth international seminar for married couples will be held
in Medjugorje from the 21 to 24 September 2011
The seminar topic is:
“Marriage – in faith and with faith”
On Sunday, September 18, 2011, three young Franciscan seminarians, members of the Franciscan Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary from Mostar, made their Solemn Vows during the evening Holy Mass at the altar outside parish church of St. James. Fr. Josip Serdo Cavar and Fr. Mario Ostojic are from Medjugorje parish while Fr. Stanko Cosic is from parish of the Most Holy Trinity from Buhovo. After several years of preparation and spiritual retreat that lasted for one month, their vows were made to Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar, Provincial and the main celebrant at this solemn Holy Mass. Fr. Vjekoslav Milicevic was in charge of the liturgical part of Holy Mass, while young Franciscans of Herzegovina Franciscan Province sang. Fr. Petar Vlasic, parish priest of Medjugorje parish greeted all those present and he congratulated personally these young priests as well as their parents.
The group of ninety pilgrims of different age walked from Lithuania to Medjugorje. They started their journey on June 24, 2011 and there were 29 pilgrims who started their journey and more were joining along the way as well. They all walked 1500 miles on their way to Medjugorje and arrived on September 11, 2011, all healthy and alive, just in time to climb the Cross Mountain for the Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross. They carried huge, heavy wooden cross that they brought in their hands from Lithuania to the top of Cross Mountain.
Fr. Robert Jolic, the main celebrant of the Holy Mass on Cross Mountain, greeted this group in a special way and thanked them for their extraordinary sacrifice and great act of love and devotion. This group walked from Lithuania to Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Pilgrims in this group carried huge and heavy wooden cross in their hands, along with two statues – Statue of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Statue of Blessed Virgin Mary.
On Monday, September 12, the time and schedule of liturgical prayer programme in parish of Medjugorje is changing. The Rosary will start at 5 p.m. and Holy Mass at 6 p.m. After Holy Mass prayers of blessings and healing will follow and it will end with third part of the Rosary. The Adoration of Jesus in Blessed Sacrament is on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 to 10 p.m. and on Thursdays immediately after Holy Mass. Veneration of the Holy Cross is on Fridays immediately after Holy Mass. Prayer of Rosary on the Apparition Hill is on Sundays at 2 p.m., and Way of the Cross on Cross Mountain is on Fridays at 2 p.m.
Ever y first Sunday after the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, parish of Medjugorje is celebrating the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Fr. Robert Jolić is going to be the main celebrant of the solemn Holy Mass at the top of Cross Mountain on Sunday, September 11, at 11 a.m. One hour before the Holy Mass there will be prayer of the Way of the Cross on Cross Mountain. All those who are unable to climb the mountain, they can attend one of the Holy Masses in the church of St. James, in Croatian language at 6, 7, 8, 12 and 7 p.m.
The evening prayer programme is changing to winter schedule from Monday, and Rosary will be at 5 p.m., and Holy Mass at 6 p.m. Adorations of the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesdays and Saturdays will take place from 9 to 10 p.m. Sunday Rosary at Apparition Hill and the Way of the Cross at Cross Mountain on Fridays will take place at 2 p.m.
The number of more than four hundred thousand (406,300) Holy Communions that were given during last August is more than all of the previous statistics in the last thirty years of Medjugorje.
In accordance with that, the number of priests who celebrated Holy Masses in Medjugore was more than seven thousand – 7,280, in average 234 daily. The river of pilgrims continues in the first days of September as well. According to the record of Information Office there are bigger groups of pilgrims from Poland, Belgium, Slovakia, Lebanon, Spain, Argentina, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Ireland, the United States and England.
We met Fr. Frank Gindro from Denmark and asked him to share his experience with us. He said that he feels special presence of Our Lady here, “It is a feeling I did not have for a long time. I pray for people in my country that have lost hope in their lives. I will come back to Medjugorje!”
Number of Holy Communions: 406.300
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 7280 (234 per day)
The famous Italian water polo player, 24 years old Alex Giorgetti came to Medjugorje. He comes from Savona in Italy, and he is offense player of Pro Recco, as well as the member of men’s Italy National Water Polo Team. They were the champions at the World Championship this year. Young Alex had meeting first with Fr. Miljenko Šteko, the Head of the Information Office in Medjugorje and gave him the water polo ball signed by all of the players of Italian team. He later shared his life experience with journalist of Radio Station “Mir” Medjugorje.
At the end of August Medjugorje is packed with pilgrims from all over the world. The Information Office registered numerous groups from: Holy Land, Korea, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, Italy, England, Ireland, the United States, Germany, Austria and of course, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Fr. Pat O’Hagan came from California after having heard of Medjugorje many years ago. “I am deeply impressed with enthusiasm and religion of all of the people who are coming here and I really like this place. I have seen that faith is really strong, that is what I had expected.”
Our journalists met Fr. Anselmo Umoren, member of community of missionaries of Nigeria. He expressed his joy for being here and added: „This place is enabling us to pray, to hope and do penance.“
Lisa came from South Africa, and this is her third time in Medjugorje. She was 15 when she heard about the apparitions for the first time. „Medjugorje enriched my faith and trust in God, here, one can really feel higher power that moves this all. There is not much to say, you simply need to be here to feel and experience all of this. Young people are converting, the ones who are no longer on the right way are returning.“
Fr. Mihovel is a missionary. He has been in Poland ever since the last year and he has been coming to Medjugorje since 1986. „I confessed for seven hours the other day. I came to confess, but I spent all day confessing. I think that each experience is special and unique in Medjugorje, especially in people and their testimonies.“
Each of these testimonies is a new outpoor of grace that has been given to the whole world through Medjugorje for the last thirty years. (photos)
The feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated on Monday, August 15 with thousands of foreign and local pilgrims who arrived to Medjugorje on that day. So many of them, especially young people walked throughout the whole night from their towns and villages towards Medjugorje. Information office registered groups from Brazil, Lebanon, Austria, Italy, Germany, the United States, Ireland, England, France, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Korea, Portugal, as well as from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. Nineteen Holy Masses were celebrated throughout the day, six for Croatian pilgrims. Dr. Fr. Ivan Dugandzic was the main celebrant at 7 p.m. Holy Mass. There were sixty priests who concelebrated at that Holy Mass. (photos)
22nd International Youth Festival that started on Monday, August 1, 2011 with the theme: “Here is the humble servant of the Lord, may it be to me according to Thy Word!” was completed on Saturday, August 6 at 5 a.m. with Holy Mass of Thanksgiving on the top of Cross Mountain. Fr. Danko Perutina, leader of the Festival, was the main celebrant. During the Farewell in song and prayer, that took place evening before, parish priest Fr. Petar Vlasic, invited all of the youth for the next Festival that will take place in August 2012. Dozens of thousands of young people from more than 60 countries and from all of the five continents gathered in Medjugorje during the first evening. Their number was getting bigger in the following days as well as the number of the countries they were coming from. The programme of the Youth Festival would start every single morning at 9 a.m. with lectures, testimonies and prayer until 12 p.m. The afternoon programme would start at 4 p.m. until Rosary at 6 p.m. Holy Mass at 7 p.m. gathered every evening more than 500 priests who concelebrated or were available for confessions at all times during the Festival. Total number of registered priests in those days was more than 600 from all of the continents. Traditional procession with Our Lady’s statue and candles was held on Wednesday evening and it was all around roads of Medjugorje. Thousands of people participated in this event as well. The entire programme was simultaneously translated in eighteen languages. The programme was accompanied with music and songs performed by International Choir and Orchestra that consist of more than 100 members from 20 countries. Their leader and conductor is Prof. Damir Bunoza. We need to say that the entire programme was broadcasted live on various Internet portals and many accredited press members from various countries were registered to monitor these events. (photos)
22nd International Youth Festival in Medjugorje, titled “Here is the humble servant of the Lord, may it be to me according to Thy word!”, started in Medjugorje on Monday, August 1st, with the evening prayer programme at the White Dome at the back of the church of St. James. After prayer of Rosary at 6 p.m., young people from 60 various countries that have arrived up to that evening have introduced themselves. Hosts from parish of Medjugorje, members of Franciscan Youth greeted couple of dozens of thousands of young people, and then Fr. Petar Vlasic, parish priest in Medjugorje parish greeted all present faithful. Fr. Ivan Sesar, Provincial of Herzegovina Franciscan Province was the main celebrant of that opening Holy Mass, as well as in the previous years.
The Festival that is conducted by Fr. Danko Perutina is full of prayer, music, lectures and testimonies that are accompanied by the International Choir and Orchestra with more than one hundred players and singers. This Festival is monitored by numerous press members from all of the continents, and whole programme is simultaneously translated in eighteen languages. This programme is also live broadcasted by radio “Mir” from Medjugorje and many other radio stations, Internet portals and TV stations.
Late Fr. Slavko Barbaric initiated this Festival back in 1990, by gathering around hundred young people in that year with two guitar players and couple of singers. Every year, number of participants was increasing and at the moment, those numbers are far above all of the other events that are taking place in Medjugorje. (photos)