Second day of the 33rd Youth Festival: Rosary, testimonies, prayer, catechesis, mass, procession...

date: 03.08.2022.

On the second day of the Youth Festival (August 2, 2022), the program began with the prayer of the rosary on Apparition Hill.  Many faithful and young people from all over the world climbed the Hill of Apparitions early that morning, where at 6 o'clock the prayer of the joyful mysteries of the rosary was held, which was led by the former Medjugorje parish priest Fr. Marinko Šakota and the visionary Ivan Dragićević.  The queues in front of the confessionals were long all day, and since it was the feast of Our Lady of the Angels, many more sought for the opportunity for confession.

The program at the White Dome began at nine o'clock with a prayer led by the former parish priest of Medjugorje, Fr. Marinko Šakota, and then the morning catechesis was given by the Provincial of the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina, Fr. Jozo Grbeš.  The question of the transitory and the essential, the question of simplicity, authentic life, and the values ​​we live, was at the center of his catechesis.

“This spirituality of simplicity tells us that we cannot find meaning in what does not last, but only in realities that remain, that last.  I believe that we often experience this in our daily lives, in the places we live in and in the jobs we do, to feel the transience of things, that nothing is permanent, and then we climb to the realities that remain.  Oh, how important it is to make that distinction between the transient and the impermanent, between what remains and what disappears, because the transience of things creates emptiness in us.  I believe, and I also believe that I am not alone in this, that the biggest problem of our time lies in the gaps, the vanities that create in us a lack of essentials and a great void.  Therefore, the question of the transitory and essential is a question of life.  Being aware of the transitory in realities, events, we become aware of the permanent, and becoming aware of what is permanent, we will understand what is essential and we will understand what is divine in us,'' said Fr. Jozo Grbeš.

The testimony of her life was given by Maisa Araf from the Holy Land, where she lives in a small Galilean Christian village.  This year she is a member of the International Choir and Orchestra.  She said that this is her tenth time in Medjugorje, and her fifth time participating in the Mladifest choir.  She had not heard of Medjugorje until 2013, but then Vicka, the visionary came to visit her country where she witnessed about Medjugorje and the message of the Queen of Peace.  She felt that the distant and unknown place of Medjugorje attracted her.  She says that she has been a member of the Marian movement for eight years, movement established on Divine Mercy.  At the end of her testimony, she gave advice to young people.

"Consecrate yourself to Mary and Jesus every day and you will feel their presence and how they fill you with their gifts and you will have full confidence in them", advised Maisa, after which the auxiliary bishop of the Zaporizhia-Kharkiv Diocese from Ukraine addressed the young people, Msgr. Jan Sobilo.  He emphasized that no one is in Medjugorje by chance, but that each of us is specially invited and chosen by the Queen of Peace.  He felt this when he first came to Medjugorje in the second half of the 90s of the last century.

"I felt the real presence of Our Lady the whole time, who held my hand and showed me all the mysteries of Medjugorje", said Bishop Sobilo.  He shared with the young people the testimony of the many good fruits from the big tree called Medjugorje, which his diocese also harvests. He also reminded them of the difficult wartime that his Ukraine and Ukrainians are going through.

"Soldiers with whom I often communicate lately say that in the most terrible moments when people lose hope, help comes from heaven. They realize that one's prayer, fasting and the mantle of the Most Pure Virgin Mary that is spread over them protects them from injury and death. Our soldiers rely on a very powerful weapon - the rosary,'' said Msgr.  Sobilo.

In the afternoon program, Italian Davide Colono gave his testimony to young people, who talked about his family problems, divorce and reconciliation with his wife, thanks to his visits and prayers in Medjugorje. Then, as every evening, prayer of the Rosary continued, and the central evening Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr. Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General of the Franciscan Order, who said at the beginning of his homily that "with joy and surprise he accepted the invitation to be here with you today, His Holiness  His Excellency Msgr. Aldo Cavalli''.

"I could not imagine, without seeing with my own eyes, a spectacle like this, a scene of crowds, faith and prayer. This is a sign that the Lord Jesus still knows how to fascinate young people and invite them to meet Him, to faith, to follow Him with their whole lives, dear young people, who are full of anticipation for the future, even in this time that seems to be stealing our future from us.

Today is not just any day, but August 2, the day on which we Franciscans, together with the whole Church, humbly ask for and can receive Assisi's Forgiveness.  Our Lady of the Angels welcomed St. Francis in that chapel, in Porziuncola, which he himself loved strongly, and even today receives many who invoke the Lord's forgiveness.  Today, in this Franciscan and parish church, it welcomes all of us, especially all of you young people who are still calling for peace, rest and the true consolation of peace,'' said Friar Massimo, who referred to the evangelical account of the Annunciation to Mary, which he said is "unique and original in the whole Bible".

„Dear young people, when the Word of the Lord Jesus reaches us and wounds our heart, at first we are lost, this is the experience of many of us, because it is a Word greater than ours, it is new compared to what we can say.  This surprise, this lostness and also the fear of the word, which makes us come out of ourselves and directs us towards the face of the Lord Jesus, is good for us.  How can we accept this word of the Lord.  Mary remains focused on the word she hears, she never gets tired of receiving it.  In ancient depictions, Mary is represented with the book of the Word of God in her womb, as she awaits for Jesus.  Mary accepted this Word in her heart before she gave birth to it in her body.  Mary shows us the way of daily listening to the Gospel, pausing in silence next to it and simply accepting this Word in our life as a way of faith.  Is conversion possible?  Yes, but if we live the Gospel every day,'' said Fr. Massimo Fusarelli, who thanked the young people in Medjugorje for their testimony.

''I would also like to thank you for your personal witnessing. You came here from all over the world, thank you for your witness of faith and prayer. The Lord is pleased, the Virgin Mary is rejoicing and I believe St. Francis is here today, smiling at us and helping us to open the doors of Lord’s forgiveness'', were the words with which Friar Massimo Fusarelli concluded his sermon.

Holy Mass was concelebrated by 550 archbishops, bishops and priests, and after the Holy Mass, a procession with the statue of Our Lady and Adoration to Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar were held. (PHOTO)