The 80th anniversary of construction of the cross on Cross Mountain celebrated

date: 17.03.2014.

On Sunday, March 16, 2014, we celebrated the 80th anniversary of construction of the cross on Cross Mountain and of the first Holy Mass that was celebrated at the foot of that cross. During the Holy Mass at 11 a.m., celebrated by the parish priest Fr. Marinko Sakota, all faithful remembered the Franciscans and parishioners who participated in the construction. The solemn academy was held in the evening and the documentary about the construction of the cross was shown. The scenery of this film was written by Dr. Ivica Sarac and the author of the film is Mario Vasilj Totin. Fr. Marinko said during the Holy Mass in his homily: “One small hill became the hill of transfiguration. Today, we remember that great event, when hill Sipovac was renamed to Krizevac (Cross Mountain) after the construction of the cross. The change and transformation took place. It was not that only the name was changed, but especially since 1981, that hill became the hill of transfiguration. Many have experienced transformation of their lives at that hill.” At the beginning of the solemn academy, the Provincial of Herzegovina Province, Dr.Fr. Miljenko Steko, welcomed all parishioners and pilgrims saying that he feels a bit awkward to speak about the reality that we are not aware of completely. “It is obvious that God had intended a great mission for you and for us. It was all in God’s providence. That God’s intention touched the heart of Fr. Bernardin, his parishioners and is touching our hearts today. We are proud of those great men who had spirit like Fr. Bernardin who himself was brutally killed in the river Neretva together with our other Franciscans in February 1945. All of that was gathered in one sheaf of pain, suffering and above all love and all those invisible realities that Krizevac presents.” Retired university professor, Dr.Fr. Ivan Dugandzic, spoke about a cross as of the symbol of life and salvation for Christians. He said that Fr. Bernardin Smoljan raised this cross with his parishioners and none of them could have ever expected the role that cross would play in the future, nor they were aware that cross was in God’s plan. Historian, Dr.Fr. Robert Jolic, shared few interesting information regarding cross on Cross Mountain: “The idea for the cross came from Vatican. Holy Father Pius XI had desire that faithful build on hills as many crosses throughout the whole world as possible to commemorate the 1900th anniversary of Christ’s passion and death. One of those who had accepted that idea was Fr. Bernardin Smoljan, parish priest from Medjugorje. He announced that idea to his parishioners in January 1934, and the parish of Medjugorje embraced that project very gladly. They carried heavy loads on their shoulders and in more than one month, the construction of the large, concrete cross was completed. It was on this day, eighty years ago, when the parish priest blessed the cross and celebrated the first Holy Mass at the top. This event was more solemn thanks to the singing of the choir of Medjugorje parish and their leader Sr. Irena Azinovic.