The fourth day of the 33rd Youth Festival gathered tens of thousands of young people from over 70 countries around the world. The plateau of the White Dome of the church of St. James is where these catechesis and testimonies were held, and even the strong sun and hot weather conditions did not prevent young people from actively participating in the morning and afternoon programs.
The coordinator of the program, former parish priest of Medjugorje, Fr. Marinko Šakota, led the morning prayer. The catechesis was then held by psychotherapist Ankica Baković and Franciscan School Sister Dominika Anić, a reality psychotherapist.
Ankica Baković spoke to the young people about the diseases that modern people face, and that she encounters in her work. Many offer their solutions, especially to the youth, said Baković, because the time of youth is the time of questioning, inner development, and that's why the most offers are given to young people, but the question is what choices we make.
She said that it was easier for her to work with people who are believers and who have some sort of relationship with God. It is important to be in a good relationship with your neighbors, because peace and all other good things come from that, but he also emphasizes the importance of living an authentic life.
"To be living an authentic life following the teachings of Jesus Christ today, unfortunately, in society means being more and more different, and therefore experiencing resentment, maybe sometimes even non-acceptance from others, and we have to ask ourselves the question again: Who do I want to be accepted by? It's a personal choice. If you want to be accepted by the world and by some trends, you simply do what they expect from you, and you will be accepted. If you want to be accepted by Jesus, if you want to be at peace in your soul, you are always accepted by Jesus. If you want to accept the way of Jesus, then you should follow his paths. People come to me distracted, because on the one hand they want to follow Jesus, and on the other hand they want to please the people. We must decide and make a choice. It is unrealistic to expect to be liked by people and to expect to have inner peace. Peace must be fought for. Jesus calls us to struggle and action. We have to do something, we cannot be passive observers of our life waiting for satisfaction and happiness to come to us by themselves. Happiness is not something that falls from the sky. Happiness is not something that can be bought. Happiness is not something that others can give you. Happiness is the result of the style of my life, the way I live, what I do and what I believe,'' said Ankica Baković.
Sr. Dominika Anić, a Franciscan nun, gave catechesis to the young people. She told the young people about the program of God's love, she asked the young people: "Why are you here, why did you come to the Youth Festival? What is it that you are looking for in your lives?'' Then she offered an answer.
"I would say, on behalf of all of you, that you have come to touch again your own longing, to come in contact with your deepest being, which is called love - the love of God that has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. You have come to learn about peace and to seek peace. You are learning here about peace. You have come to learn from the Creator of Peace,'' said Sr. Dominika, and after her, another nun witnessed to the young people during the morning program.
Her name is sister Marija Benedikta Nina Krapić from Croatia. For many years she was engaged in theater acting and journalism. She worked as a presenter and journalist at radio Trsat. She discovered her calling to religious life by gradually reflecting on and seeking God's will for her life, and the impetus for change was precisely the visit to Medjugorje. She joined the Sisters of Mercy in 2014, after completing her law studies. In 2016, she entered the novitiate and took the religious name Marija Benedikta. She witnessed about the change in her life and the path to the vocation of a nun, she told the young people to place themselves in Her hands on this holy ground so their hearts would be changed.
The morning part of the program was concluded with the testimony of a priest from France, Sebastien Brier. His priestly vocation is also related to Medjugorje, and in everything he emphasized the guidance and protection of Our Lady, the Queen of Peace. He said that this year he is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the great work through the intercession of the Queen of Peace. Namely, in December 2002, he arrived in Medjugorje for the first time.
The afternoon program continued from 5 p.m. with the testimonies of young people from the Cenacolo community, followed by the evening prayer-liturgical program, then the rosary was said, and at 7 p.m. the Holy Mass was celebrated, led by the bishop of Mostar Duvno Diocese and the Apostolic Administrator of Trebinje-Mrkan Diocese, Msgr. Petar Palić, who began his sermon with the words of Pope Francis, reflecting on the bishops. Pope Francis says that the bishop "sometimes will go forward to show the way and keep hope alive in the people, other times he will simply be among his people with his simple and merciful closeness, and on some occasions he will have to go after his people, to help those who are left behind and - above all - because the herd has its own feeling for finding new ways." (EG 31)
"I am here today as the bishop of this diocese so that I can be among you with a "simple and merciful closeness" and so that together, like the apostles gathered with Mary, we can hear what Jesus wants to tell us," said Bishop Palić, who referred to one of the questions Jesus asks today in the Gospel: "And you, who do you say I am?" He offered an answer.
"Let's rephrase Jesus' question: "Why do you follow me? Why did you leave everything you know? Who do you say I am?" It would be worthwhile to allow other questions to echo in our hearts: Why are you here today, at this Holy Mass? Why did you come here, and you are not in the church in your town, with the young people from your parish? Why do you want or have you decided to follow this Galilean? Why are you in his way?
The answer is simple: I'm looking, that is, we're looking! Yes, man is a one who seeks. He is looking for good living conditions, he is looking for a good job, he is looking for a good wife, a good husband, a friend. Man is also looking for the meaning of his life, he is looking for an answer to the question of the meaning of suffering, suffering, dying. Man is looking for his identity, he wants to find himself. We will only find ourselves if we find Jesus,'' said Msgr. Palić, and there were 524 priests concelebrating with him at this Holy Mass.
At the end, Bishop Palić said that this meeting of the youth takes place close to the date of the Feast of the Transfiguration.
"The Lord showed Peter, John and Jacob his reality, but also their future, through his transfiguration. When you return to your homes, families, schools and colleges, workplaces, let it be seen that your encounter with Jesus Christ has transformed you too. Let us be transformed by every Eucharist, every encounter with Him,'' invited us the young Msgr. Palić, but he also invited them to put in their prayers before the Lord "all the priests who have supported you on your life's journey and who accompany you".
After the mass, the Cenacolo community movie "Celebration is for you" was presented. (PHOTO)