After 25 years of the Youth Festival in Medjugorje, the first Youth Festival was held in Poland. Croatia and Poland had many historical connections in the past, most recent one in the character of Holy John Paul II, and now they are connected through Medjugorje as well. Polish pilgrims have been coming to Medjugorje for many years and now this is a new opportunity when Medjugorje travels to Poland and we hope that relationship would be stronger and more fruitful in the future. That is how it seemed during three days of communion young people from Poland and Medjugorje had.
The host town of the Polish Youth Festival was Piotrkow Trybunalski in central Poland, and the event was organised by the Association Divine Mercy that is in charge of the Polish Information Centre Mir Medjugorje. Maciej Zajac, the Director of the Association, came to this idea few years ago after he talked to Fr. Danko Perutina. Both were thrilled with the idea and Maciej began with realising this project. The polish Youth Festival was held with the theme: “Hope does not put us to shame.”
The programme began on Friday, November 14 on the Feast of St. Nicholas Tavelic, the first canonised Croatian Saint and it lasted for three days and it was completely alike to the programme held in Medjugorje, but of course some elements were missing since three days programme can never be like seven days programme of Medjugorje Festival. It was not international, but the most important components were there: Rosary, Holy Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, lectures, music and songs.
The international choir and orchestra, led by Prof, Bunoza were in charge of the music, just like they are in Medjugorje. This programme was a bit shorter than the one in Medjugorje, but nothing less spectacular. Thirty young musicians and twelve animators from the Franciscan Youth, together with their conductor Prof. Bunoza and Medjugorje parish vicar, Fr. Stanko Cosic, travelled for 1418 km from Medjugorje to Poland, just to bring joy, serenity, communion and the message of peace. A group of young people from Italy, Czech republic, Slovakia, Poland and Lebanon joined them there. They enriched the programme with their music, but also the heart of the participants.
The programme was held in the sports centre in Piotrkow Trybunalski. Around 700 Polish from 122 towns arrived. There were young people, older, priests and nuns present. The young ones were attracted in the beginning through the testimony of Muniek Staszczyk, the vocalist of the popular rock group T. Love who gave a short concert as well as the testimony on his way of conversion, where Medjugorje played important part. The famous polish preachers also gave their lectures and spoke to the young people. Members of Cenacolo community spoke about their way out of hell f drugs and new life in Christ. Movie about humanitarian organisation Mary's Meals that is fruit of Medjugorje was shown. Maciej Zajac, the organiser of the Festival gave his testimony as well as few young people from Medjugorje and Prof. Damir Bunoza. The whole programme was simultaneously translated to Polish and Croatian language. The evening Holy Masses were celebrated by various Polish priests, while Fr. Stanko Cosic from Medjugorje gave homilies.
The atmosphere was full of warmth and showed opened and gentle hearts of these Polish young people. Every encounter where God is celebrated touches human hearts, especially if it comes to the heart that seeks for God, that is opened for a change, for love, for healing, peace and joy. The proud organisers of the Festival announced the continuation of this event. We are joyfully anticipating the second Youth Festival in Poland next year! (photos)