From August 1 to 6 took place in Medjugorje the 19th International Youth Prayer Meeting under the title, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8).
The program began on Friday, August 1st at 6 PM with the prayer of the Rosary in different languages. Fr. Petar Vlasic, the Pastor, opened the Festival with an introductory word, after which young people from 60 countries welcomed their compatriots to Medjugorje in their own languages. Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Ivan Sesar, the Franciscan Provincial of Herzegovina, in concelebration with more then 300 priests.
After Mass, there was an hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament led by Fr. Danko Perutina, followed by the presentation of the Community “Merciful Father” from Mother’s Village. They performed a scenic and musical play about how the community helped them to become free from drugs, and then one married couple gave a testimony. The community “Merciful Father”, which was founded by Father Slavko Barbaric, who was also the initiator of the Medjugorje Youth festival, was presented by Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic, Director of Mother’s Village. The program of the first evening ended at 11 PM.
On Saturday, August 2, the program began at 9 AM with prayer led by young people from Medjugorje. During the first morning, 3 testimonies were given.
The Hungarian famous and largely rewarded actor Eperjes Karoly spoke about the role of faith and prayer in his life. The visionary Vicka spoke abouit her encounters with Our lady and about what Our lady asks and expects from us. Mons. Sigallini, bishop of Palestrina near Rome who is actively involved in the organization of the World Youth Days, gave a catechesis on the theme, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). In the afternoon, Roland Patzleiner from Italy testified about his conversion thanks to Medjugorje and the call to a consecrated life. Jakov Čolo shared with the youth his experience of Our Lady’s apparitions and the importance of faith and prayer in the life of his family. Stefan Neubacher from Germany said that prayer, that he discovered in Medjugorje, helped him to establish the right rank list of values. He had taken part in a German TV show “Germany’s Superstar” and arrived among the best 20, and then fell out… Today, he is working for the German Catholic Radio Horeb ans chief of the marketing.
On Saturday evening, Fr. Tomislav Pervan led Adoration at the outside altar, after which the Blessed Sacrament was exposed inside of the church for the whole night silent adoration.
On Sunday, August 3, during the morning, Holy Masses were celebrated in different languages, and the Festival program continued in the afternoon, when Hubert Liebherr from germany, member of a large family Firm which employs several dozens of thousands of people, gave his testimony. He spoke about a radical call to leave his work and his heritage and dedicate himself to the spreading of the Medjugorje message. Today, he is director of the largest German Medjugorje Information center, and gives speeches all over the world. Fr. Rene-Luc, a priest from France, also spoke to the youth. He did not know his own father. His stepfather was a criminal who died in front of his eyes. God saved him. He founded the first Christian rock-band in France, and then became a priest. Toda, he is in charge of a parish and is preaching 10 days a month, especially to young people, in France and abroad.
On Sunday evening after Holy Mass there was a two-hours procession through the parish. Young people from all over the world, carrying torches, flags and names of their countries, walked through the parish praying the Rosary and singing. The Visionary there was a two-hours procession through the parish. Young people from all over the world, carrying torches, flags and names of their countries, walked through the parish praying the Rosary and singing. The visionary Vicka joined this procession of joy, which ended with the Eucharistic Blessing at the outside alter.
On Monday, August 4, after the Morning prayer led by the Medjugorje Franciscan Youth group, sister Elvira and members of the “Cenacolo” community spoke to the young, including a married couple and a priest ordained for the community.
In the Afternoon, Jelena Vasilj-Valente spoke about how Our lady is leading us to the depth of the interior prayer of the heart. Jelena studied theology in order to try to grasp with her intelligence how God was working in her sour… She is married and has four children. Ana Maria vecej from Hungary also spoke on Monday. From Budapest to Medjugorje she came walking. In the same way, she also went to Compostella in Spain. Marija Pavlović-Lunetti who is transmitting Our Lady’s monthly message, spoke about 7 years of daily encounters with the Gospa. She underlined how Our lady is close to us, how she knows us and respects our freedom. Brother John-Paul Mary, religious in Saint John’s community in France, formerly known as Paddy Kelly, testified publicly for the first time after joining the religious life how he lest the show business and began a life of contemplative prayer. After his testimony, he took a guitar and sang a spiritual song.
On Monday evening, the Cenacolo Community performed a scenic and musical show, “Do not be afraid”.
On Tuesday, August 5, the visionary Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo spoke to the youth. She underlined that all – believers and unbelievers – are God’s children, and that the unbelievers are in fact those who do not know the love of God, and that we should pray a lot for them. Brother John-Paul Mary gave the second part of his testimony, and – accompanied by a brother from his community – sang one more song. Fr. Mike Leithner from the USA shared about his vocation: he fought with all his strength against a call to priesthood, but today he is a happy priest. Silva and Ivo Vrdoljak, hagiotherapeuts and members of the community “Prayer and Word” from Croatia, led young people through a meditation. Marija Husar, former pop-singer in the group “Divas” in Croatia, today solo singer, told her life story, and whart God means to her. Fr. Joerg Mueller, a pallotine priest and psychotherapist from Germany, transmitted with a lot of humor some important messages for the life of young people. Fr. Ivan Matic, a Franciscan priest from Croatia who lives in Rome, in charge of the Franciscan Youth Fraternity and the Franciscan Third Order in the whole world, brought the greetings of young people who gathered some weeks before around the Holy Father in Australia.
The last evening of the Youth Festival ended with Adoration of the Blessed sacrament, after which followed a farewell in songs. The frequencies for the simultaneous translation became silent, the interpreters came to the altar, and young people could see the facers of those who were translation for them during the preceding days into 15 languages… When the music stopped, young people started to climb the Cross Mountain where on Wednesday, August 6 at dawn – Solemnity of Transfiguration – was celebrated the concluding Holy Mass.
About 90 young people from 21 countries formed the International choir and orchestra under direction of Prof. Martin Pero Boras, which was accompanying the Festival with music and singing.
Radio Maria from Austria transmitted the whole program in German translation live. The live transmission of the festival went also through Internet in German (www.kath.net i www.kathtube.org). in this way, other more then 45.000 visitors took part in the Youth festival of Medjugorje. The Mexican catholic television Maria Vision also recorded the festival. Radio Mir Medjugorje also transmitted the program.
During the whole Festival, from early in the morning to late at night, hundreds of priests were available for Confessions.
Some statistics from the Youth Festival 2008
Participants from 60 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, BiH, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, DR Congo, England, France, Germany, Guadeloupe, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, La Reunion, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Kenya, Kosovo, Macedonia, Malawi, Malta, Martinique, Mexico, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Populo Roma, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Trinidad i Tobago, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela, Vietnam.
Every evening, Rosary and prayer of the faithful was prayed in all together 27 different languages: Arabic, Czech, English, French, Hebrew, Croatian, Chinese, Korean, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Macedonian, Malayalam, Maltese, Dutch, German, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Serbian, Spanish, Italian, Ukrainian.
22 interpreters were simultaneously translating from the Croatian into 15 languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Russian, Hungarian, Romanian, Korean, Arabic, Chinese, Slovene)
During the festival, there were about 375 concelebrating priests at Mass per day.
More then 20.000 communions were given per day.