“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit exults in God my Saviour”. With these words every evening after Holy Mass throughout the whole novena, the Medjugorje visionaries, the faithful and the pilgrims gave thanks for all the graces that God has given to Medjugorje and to the whole world during the 26 years of Our Lady’s apparitions.
There have been many days of intense sacramental life, with days of fervent prayer both in the church and on the hills. More than fifty priests heard confessions, hundreds of priests concelebrated Holy Masses in more than fifteen languages, and thousands of pilgrims came from all over the world. From the surrounding districts, both near and far, pilgrims were already arriving by foot throughout the whole of the night.
During the Novena, the Rosary was prayed on Apparition hill each afternoon, while Our Lady’s Magnificat was recited after Holy Mass each evening.
On Saturday the 23rd of June, between the evening Mass and Adoration, Fr. Šimun Šito Ćorić and the Medjugorje Choir of the Queen of Peace, together with the Little Doves of Peace, gave a concert.
On Sunday the 24th of June, the traditional Peace March, which always includes prayers for peace, took place.
The Evening Mass was presided over by Fr. Mijo Džolan, the Franciscan Provincial from Sarajevo, together with 120 priests who concelebrated Holy Mass with him. There was Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the outside altar from 10pm to 11pm which was led by Fr. Ljubo Kurtović. From 11pm to 5am there was silent adoration in the parish church which was filled to overflowing.
On the day of the Anniversary, Holy Masses were celebrated on the hour in Croatian from 5am to 11am. The 11 o’clock Mass was presided over by the Herzegovinian Provincial and parish priest of Medjugorje, Fr. Ivan Sesar. In the afternoon, there was another Croatian Mass, while the solemn Anniversary Mass was celebrated at 7pm. 200 priests concelebrated the evening Mass, which was presided over by Fr. Zoran Senjak, the Hospital Chaplain from Zagreb, who gave the homily. On both days in question, the Masses for the pilgrims were celebrated in 16 languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Vlaams (Nederlands), Portuguese, Romanian, Slovene, Slovak, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Arabic, Korean and Croatian). Pilgrims from about 40 countries and from all continents attended, among them Brazil, Argentine, Tahiti, Lebanon, Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Caribbean, USA Canada, Uganda, India… together with most of the European countries.
The Evening Masses on June 24th and 25th were accompanied musically by the parish Choir of the Queen of Peace, and also by the Little Doves of Peace conducted by Sister Slavica Kožul.
On the day of the Anniversary, Ivanka Ivanković–Elez had the usual annual apparition as promised by Our Lady. After the apparition, Ivanka said, “Our Lady remained with me for 17 minutes. She was joyful and spoke to me about Her life. Our Lady said, ‘Dear children, receive my motherly blessing.’ ”
Marija Pavlović-Lunetti and Ivan Dragićević had the apparition together. Through Marija, Our Lady gave the following message: “Dear children! Also today, with great joy in my heart, I call you to conversion. Little children, do not forget that you are all important in this great plan, which God leads through Medjugorje. God desires to convert the entire world and to call it to salvation and to the way towards Himself, Who is the beginning and the end of every being. In a special way, little children, from the depth of my heart, I call you all to open yourselves to this great grace that God gives you through my presence here. I desire to thank each of you for the sacrifices and prayers. I am with you and I bless you all. Thank you for having responded to my call.”