The 27th Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions in Medjugorje was solemnly celebrated in the spirit of gratitude for all the graces received.
Spiritual preparation - Novena
From June 15 to 23, groups of pilgrims flocked towards Our Lady’s statue on Apparition Hill at any time of day or night. Every day at 4 pm, under the strong sun, there was the prayer of the Rosary together with the Franciscans.
During the Novena, the evening Masses were presided over by Fr. Anthony Burnside, Fr. Mate Dragićević, Fr. Mladen Rozić, Fr. Miro Šego, Fr. Branimir Musa, Fr. Zoran Kutleša, Fr. Tomislav Pervan, Fr. Ivan Dugandžić, Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar (provincial). Throughout the Novena, at the end of each evening Mass, Ivan Dragićević and Marija Pavlović-Lunetti prayed Our Lady’s Magnificat.
The traditional Peace March from the Franciscan monastery in Humac (Ljubuški) to the parish church in Medjugorje took place on June 24, the Solemnity of St. John the Baptist. This is a penitential prayer for peace that has been taking place since 1992. It started at 6 am with prayer and blessing of pilgrims in front of the Franciscan monastery in Humac. After four hours walk behind the Cross while praying the rosary and singing, all under a powerful sun, the participants arrived in Medjugorje at about 10 am. They gathered in front of the parish church for a short prayer, which ended with Benediction. The Peace March was led by Fr. Danko Perutina and Fr. Vjekoslav Milićević.
On June 24, more about 30.000 pilgrims attended the evening Mass and the evening programme, which lasted from 6 pm to midnight. The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar, provincial of the Herzegovinian Franciscan Province of the Assumption of Mary, in concelebration with 155 priests.
From 10 pm to midnight there was Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, led by Fr. Tomislav Pervan. At midnight, after Benediction, the Blessed Sacrament was taken from the outside altar to the altar inside the church, and exposed throughout the night until the first morning Mass at 5 am.
During the night, thousands of local pilgrims, who traditionally come on foot, continued to arrive.
On June 24 and 25, dozens of priests tirelessly heard confessions throughout each day, in the confessionals, around the church and in the meadow beside the church.
On June 25, 2008, the 27th anniversary of the apparitions, Holy Masses in Croatian were celebrated at 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 am, and at 4 pm. During the morning, Holy Masses were also celebrated in 15 foreign languages. The 11 o’clock Mass was presided by the parish priest, Fr. Petar Vlašić, and the solemn evening thanksgiving Mass was presided over by Dr. Fr. Miljenko Šteko in concelebration with Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar, provincial, Fr. Petar Vlašić, the parish priest, and 161 priests. There were several dozens of thousands of pilgrims. All the spaces around the church were filled.
From 10 pm to 11 pm there was Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, led by Fr. Danko Perutina, after which, as every 25th of the month, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed in the church until 7 am.
On June 24 and 25, about 50.000 Holy Communions were distributed. About 70 local priests, as well as numerous foreign priests who came together with the pilgrims, heard confessions. The choir of the Queen of Peace and the children’s choir “Little Doves of Peace”, under the direction of Sr. Slavica Kožul were singing.
One bishop from the USA and one bishop from Ireland were in Medjugorje during the Anniversary.
Ivanka Ivanković-Elez had her annual apparition on the day of the Anniversary. Ivan Dragićević and Marija Pavlović-Lunetti had the apparition together.
We thank God for countless graces that He is pouring into the whole world through Medjugorje
International dimension of Medjugorje
The evening prayer programme was simultaneously translated into English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Russian, Hungarian, Korean, Arabic, Romanian, Chinese, and Czech. Adoration was also translated into Slovakian and Portuguese.
The pilgrims came from the following countries: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Ivory Coast, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Montenegro, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, England, Philippines, France, Guadalupe, Hong Kong, Croatia, Ireland, Italy, South Korea, Canada, China, Kosovo, Latvia, La Reunion, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Hungary, Macao, Martinique, Mexico, Netherland, Norway, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, USA, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine.