The 34th Youth Festival will be held in Medjugorje from July 26 to 30, 2023, and the theme of Mladifest, as well as of all international spiritual renewals in Medjugorje next year, is taken from Matthew's Gospel: "Here are my mother and my brothers!" (Mt 12, 49). The Apostolic Visitor with a special role for the parish of Međugorje, Archbishop Aldo Cavalli, and the parish priest of Međugorje, Fr. Zvonimir Pavičić, spoke at Radio Mir Medjugorje about the change in the date of the following Youth Festival.
"All those who are familiar with Medjugorje and who regularly come to Medjugorje know that the Youth Festival is always at the beginning of August, from August 1st to August 6th. However, this year the Pope decided that the World Youth Day in Lisbon would take place on those dates from August 1 to 6, so we had to react immediately and move our date of the Youth Festival, so that it would not be at the same time. Of course, if the Pope invites all the young people of the world to one place, we will not invite them to us, but we will be glad if they can come to Medjugorje and also go to meet the Pope,'' said Fr. Zvonimir Pavičić, confirming that the new date of the Youth Festival will be from July 26 to 30, 2023.
"The Youth Festival will be shortened by one day. We shortened it so that we as a parish could celebrate our patron saint on July 25, the feast of St. James, but also to finish a day earlier so that the pilgrims who will also go to Portugal to meet the Pope can be organized and arrive on time. Other spiritual renewals in the parish follow their set dates. Their dates change from year to year,'' said Fr. Zvonimir Pavičić
In addition to the Youth Festival, numerous other spiritual renewals are organized in the parish for organizers of pilgrimages, for priests, for married couples, seminars of fasting, prayer and silence...
"In the time I spent in Medjugorje, I can see that it is a place of grace, a place where the supernatural meets the natural. People who come here enter that atmosphere of grace. They enter this atmosphere of grace to meet Jesus, to meet the Virgin Mary, to pray... It is a place of grace that the Lord wanted, a place of prayer, a place of conversion... People who come here encounter grace, pray, confess themselves in order to apply their own life for the better.
All these initiatives and prayer meetings developed over time, and they all have only one goal - to act with grace. It is to cooperate with grace to help people to pray and convert through confession, with the help of high-quality confessors. This is the only motive of all our initiatives and projects - to cooperate with the grace of God,'' said Msgr. Cavalli, who referred to the large number of pilgrims who visited Medjugorje this year.
"I really met many pilgrims. They come with pleasure, with satisfaction, because here they meet, and everyone told me, peace, tranquility, they meet the Lord and they are near the Virgin Mary. They meet serenity, cheerfulness and peace. We all need that inside. They encounter the grace of God that enters them. The Lord does not solve their problems, but gives strength, ability, perseverance and intelligence to solve their difficulties. The Lord grants them forgiveness, renewal of life, gives them hope that they can live well. They know that when they return home they will find exactly the same situation as before, but they have changed, they have changed inside. They have changed their attitude and ability to meet the Lord and their problems and to solve them", said Archbishop Cavalli, who at the end referred to the theme chosen for the next year: "Here are my mother and my brothers!" (Mt 12, 49).
This is the thought brought by the three evangelists: Mark, Luke and Matthew. Jesus' relatives, together with Mary, meet Jesus as he preaches and performs miracles. Jesus spoke to his disciples, those who listened to him and said to him: Your mother and your brothers are looking for you. Jesus, looking at the disciples and all those gathered there, says: Here is my mother, here are my brothers, here are my relatives. Whoever does God's will, whoever listens to God's word and puts it into practice, that is my brother and my mother. Mary lived like that. She listened, understood and put it into practice. Likewise, if we want to be part of Jesus' family, we must listen, understand and put it into practice," Archbishop Cavalli concluded.