Members of the “Faith and Light” Community made a pilgrimage to Medjugorje on Saturday the 20th of October, 2007. Their objective was to give a presentation of the activities of the Community to the families living in this area, who experience a similar difficulty: an interactive life with a physically or mentally handicapped person.
The incentive for the foundation of this Community came from Jean Vanier and Marie-Hélène Mathieu during a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1971. These communities gather together people with a handicap, along with their parents and friends, and they meet regularly within their parishes to pray together, to celebrate, to listen to one another, to create solidarity within the community and to help such persons to find their place both in the Church and in society as a whole. Jean Vanier says: “By sharing life with persons with a mental handicap, we discover their deep longing for someone who will enter into a real relationship of friendship and community with them. This is not the same thing as generosity: usually, we are “generous” when we do things for somebody, while at the same time we remain superior towards them. Community means sharing a friendship whereby we become vulnerable for one another. In a relationship of real covenant, we discover authentic celebration and the joy of being together. It is a deep human and Christian reality that we desire togetherness and community solidarity. There is authentic joy in being together, sharing life together and helping the other to grow to the fullness of maturity. This is the foundation of every community. We discover that this relationship and this friendship with the most fragile, with those who are rejected, introduces us into the very heart of the Christian mystery, the very core of the message of Jesus, which is essentially a message of love and community.” (Cf. Glas Koncila, 21.03.2007.)
In Croatia, there are about 20 “Faith and Light” Communities. Sixty eight members from two of these communities, which are active in two parishes in Vinkovci, came to Medjugorje. Two families, one from Mostar and the other from Čapljina, took part in this encounter, as they themselves desire to found such communities in their own parishes.