The Holy See has been monitoring Medjugorje with the great interest. Ever since the Holy Father has approved the official pilgrimages to Medjugorje, I received the invitation from the Apostolic Visitor with the great interest.
As we know, one branch of the New Evangelisation has pastoral responsibility for the shrines in the world. Even though Medjugorje has still not been officially recognised as the shrine, this place is the destination for millions of pilgrims each year. Since we too have the responsibility for pilgrimages, I received this invitation with great gratitude, as it has brought me here.
Yet, above all, my coming here is the further step in estimating and evaluating presence of the millions of pilgrims here, particularly in this situation when so many youth are here, said Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation, in his interview for Medjugorje Bulletin after the Youth Festival.
As he admitted himself, he was struck too by the atmosphere of prayer and this is what makes Medjugorje different than any other place where prayer is held at the places of the apparitions, in churches or in front of the statues or icons of saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
-Here, the climate of the prayer is extended wider. One cannot notice that pilgrims walk all over this place with rosary beads in their hands and they pray, as they walk in the roads, as they climb the hills, everywhere…I believe this is one really positive sign that will be taken into consideration when Medjugorje is evaluated in all its specific aspects.
I was also impressed by the great number of youth here. Yes, this was the 30th Youth Festival, however it felt for me as I was again on the World Youth Day. I think this is one really important event that defines Medjugorje and involves so many people. Not only in accommodating all these young pilgrims, but also in formation they receive. The prayer programme is enriched with catechesis and dialogue, something of great importance in New Evangelisation in these times
Prayer is at the first place, in its peak in the Holy Eucharis and the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I need to emphasise that the event that took place on the last evening is really significant. After two hours of the intensive Eucharistic celebration, we could witness the profound silence of so many youth and 800 priests who remained in the Eucharistic Adoration.
Those are the elements of the New Evangelisation. We should also not forget that the Christian life becomes visible in the other moments of the charity love and to witness that is crucially important for our way of life. Then we need to be able to communicate the Faith, so the others would become partakers of our Faith. Usually, I would say that as much as we are able to do gestures of welcome for those who come to our shrines, we also need to be able to make gestures, even liturgy, something that would be for pilgrims returning home, said Archbishop Rino Fisichella who celebrated the last Holy Mass and gave catechesis to the youth on purpose of life that lies in allowing others to be loved by them.