Several thousand pilgrims, most of them young and from all over the world, came to Medjugorje in order to enter with prayer into the New Year 2006. Groups from all the continents began arriving several days earlier, and by Thursday and Friday, the church was already too small to accommodate all of them.
On the Feast of Saint Sylvester, the Evening Thanksgiving Mass was presided over by Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic in concelebration with 45 priests. After Mass, the “Cenacolo” community presented the Living Manger.
The Night Prayer Programme began at 10.00pm with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Fr. Boze Milic led it. Meditations were translated into English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Polish, Slovak, Romanian, Korean, and Chinese. Holy Mass, presided over by the Pastor Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar, and concelebrated by 120 priests, began at 11.15 pm and finished about 1.00am. His words of welcome and his homily were translated into English, French, German, and Italian.
In his words of welcome, the pastor reminded the faithful that, in this place and through the Queen of Peace, God has touched the earth in a special way, and that, in this parish, He has given to the pilgrims countless graces. We have gathered to thank Him for all the graces that we have freely received. We are here to enter into the New Year with Jesus and his Mother Mary.
In his homily, the pastor transmitted to the youth the text of Holy Father Benedict XVI's address on the occasion of the World day of Peace: a call to the construction of a more human world. Let us be available to Jesus, let us listen to Him, let us be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. May our first duty be to follow Jesus and to listen to Him, and – according to our personal circumstances – reproduce His life in our own life. Only in this way can we expect a better and more beautiful New Year.
All the area around the church, around the outside altar and under the tent was full, and the entire programme was transmitted on a large screen in the new hall.
This New Year’s vigil was accompanied musically by an international choir and orchestra gathered for this special occasion, under the direction of Prof. Martin Pero Boras.
The entire Night Prayer Programme from St. James’ Church in Medjugorje was broadcast live by Radio "Mir" Medjugorje.