The 24th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions was celebrated in Medjugorje and all over the world. Spiritual preparation for it was a novena on the Apparition Hill in which participated the faithful from all over the world. From June 15 to 23, large crowds of parishioners and pilgrims were climbing the Apparition Hill at any time of day and night. The Medjugorje Franciscans were leading the Rosary every day at 4 pm, and the visionaries were praying on the Hill together with the faithful every evening at late hours of the night. During the whole novena, Ivan Dragićević and Marija Pavlović-Lunetti were praying Mary’s “Magnificat” after the Evening Mass.
On June 24 took place the “Peace March” from Humac to Medjugorje, in which several thousand pilgrims from all over the world took place. In front of the Franciscan monastery at Humac, Fr. Ivan Landeka blessed the faithful. Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic and Fr. Boze Milic were leading the march, and numerous priests-pilgrims from the whole world were carrying the crucifix. The visionary Vicka Ivanković-Mijatović also joined the Peace March. In Medjugorje, the Franciscans welcomed the pilgrims. We are especially honoured by the presence of an Indian catholic bishop of Syro-Malankara rite from Kerala (India). In front of St. James’ church, Mons. Geevarghese Mar Divannasios Ottathengil, bishop of the diocese Bathery, joined Fr. Branko Rados, the pastor of Medjugorje, who addressed to the faithful warm words of welcome. After the concluding prayer, Fr. Danko Perutina gave the blessing with the Blessed Sacrament.
On Friday, June 24, Feast of St. John the Baptist, the evening Mass was presided by Fr. Valentin Vukoja in concelebration with Fr. Slavko Soldo, Franciscan provincial in Herzegovina, and Fr. Miro Sego. 163 priests concelebrated with them. From 10 to 11 pm, there was Eucharistic adoration at the outside altar, and from 11 pm to 6 am, there was silent adoration in the church.
During the night, multitudes of pilgrims were coming on foot to Medjugorje to join in the celebration. Some of them made dozens of kilometres. Croatian Masses were celebrated at 6 am, 8 am and 11 am.
On Saturday, June 25, the Anniversary of the Apparitions, the evening Mass was presided by Fr. Branko Rados, the pastor of Medjugorje, in concelebration with Mons. Geevarghese Mar Divannasios Ottathengil, bishop of Bathery (Kerala, India) and Mons. Jerome Gapangwa Nteziryayo, retired bishop of Uvira (Congo). 205 priests concelebrated with them. After Mass, Fr. Branko Rados blessed the crown for Our Lady’s statue, which was – for this special occasion – carried from the church to the outside altar. The crown (interview: preparing) is a gift of a group of Spanish friends who - at the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the apparitions - have also offered to the Shrine the Great Monstrance.
During the evening adoration from 10 to 11 pm, there were about 20.000 faithful.
In these two days, Masses were celebrated in about 15 languages, and more then 40.000 communions were distributed. Dozens of priests were hearing confessions in the confessionals and on the meadow near the church.
On the day of the Anniversary, Ivanka had the yearly apparition only in the presence of her family. Vicka had the apparition at home, and Ivan and Marija came together for the apparition. During the apparition, Our Lady prayed with them the Our Father and the Glory Be, and she gave her message to Marija, as she is doing every 25th of the month.
On Saturday, June 25, a French team of specialists performed scientific tests on the visionaries Ivan Dragicevic and Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti, who had the apparition together.
We thank Our Lady for 24 years of her fidelity and we thank God for numberless graces, which, through Medjugorje, go into the whole world - and we remain united in prayer.