The 35th Anniversary of Our Lady’s Apparitions was solemnly celebrated in Medjugorje on Saturday, June 25, 2016, with numerous pilgrims from all over the world and all continents. Apart from the domestic pilgrims and those from Croatia, there were groups from Guatemala, Lebanon, Korea, Portugal, Brazil, Slovakia, China, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, France, Czech Republic, Sri Lanka, the United States, Ireland and others.
Besides arriving by the usual means of transport, many pilgrims walked to Medjugorje so they would offer their vows and prayers to the Queen of Peace and thank her for all the graces they received. Many priests confessed since the early morning and Holy Masses in Croatian language were celebrated at 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 am, and the central evening prayer programme began at 6 pm with Rosary and continued with the Holy Mass at 7 pm and the whole night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
The solemn Holy Mass at the White Dome of St. James’ church was celebrated by Fr. Branko Radoš, Director of the Catholic Mission in Luzern, Switzerland along with Fr. Miljenko Sakota, Provincial of Herzegovina Franciscan Province and Fr. Marinko Sakota, parish priest from Medjugorje and with 251 priests who concelebrated. Fr. Josip Marija Katalinic led the Rosary at 6 pm.
„Today we are celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Our Lady’s Apparitions, of special presence of God among us, given to us by His and our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of Peace. This is the day that brings into our awareness immense love of God. When God speaks, who cannot but nor hear those words? When the voice of God proclaims, who can close their ears to that sound? There where God places His kiss, the trace remains forever! It is exactly what happened 25 years ago at the Hill of Crnica. Psalmist says in the Old Testament: „Unless the Lord builds foundations, the labourers struggle in vain!“ There where the Lord puts His foundations, where he places construction of his love, there is no earthquake that can shake that, nor wind that can destroy it. There were many earthquakes and storms here, those individual attacks as well as collective oppression to this work of God. There were many attacks and persecutions. The visionaries know that well, as well as the priests and parishioners of this parish. But, this work of God sustained, lived through the time of “youth” and in these days celebrates its maturity with 35 years.
As someone had said, this is the „confessional of the whole world“. I would add: „This is also the central place of numerous homilies“. Every single day, there are several homilies each day in several languages for 35 years. Thousands and thousands of homilies were said here, many of those we really liked, many of those that were „good, smart, thoughtful, profound and theological“ as we like to say.
Somehow, all of that tonight seems to be less important. At the end of the day, those were only human words, weak and lukewarm words. None of that is worth mentioning or even of discussion. It is all nothing comparing to one great and constant homily given to us by the Queen of Peace for the last 35 years. Mary, taken into Heaven, Mary humble servant who listens and ponders on every word of God in her Heart, and that Mary spoke here, to me and to you. She spoke here not in the words of famous and eloquent speaker, wise theologian or expertise journalist, but she spoke here and continues to speak in the language of love“, said Fr. Branko in his homily.
The celebration of the Holy Mass was more solemn thanks to the singing of the parish choir “Queen of Peace” who were accompanied by the Symphonic Orchestra from Dubrovnik conducted by Maestro Domenik Briško. The evening programme was directly broadcasted by radio station Mir Medjugorje and many other radio stations. Fr. Boze Milic, celebrated Holy Mass on the Eve of the Anniversary, Feast of St John the Baptist, with 181 priests concelebrating. The traditional Peace Walk from Humac took place in the early morning on that day. Many faithful and parishioners prepared for this celebration with Novena to the Queen of Peace. (photos)