In a special liturgy, which is celebrated on the 3rd of October, the vigil of St. Francis’ feast, the worldwide Franciscan family celebrates the “Transitus” – the moment of Saint Francis’ passing into eternity.
The new statue of St. Francis acquired for Medjugorje was exposed for the first time on Monday, October 1st, during the evening prayer program at the outside altar of the parish church.
The Franciscan Minister General, Fr. Jose Rodrigues Carballo, will visit the Herzegovinian Franciscan province of the Assumption of Mary from the 7th to the 10th of October, 2007. He will meet the friars in Tomislavgrad, Mostar, Humac, Konjic and Medjugorje. The central event will be the Canonical welcome of the General in Široki Brijeg on October 9, where he will celebrate Holy Mass in Latin at 11 o’clock.
For Milan Čehovin from Slovenia, his 22nd visit to Medjugorje was a genuine pilgrimage: he came on foot. He started from Ilirska Bistrica on the 17th of August, and arrived in Medjugorje on the 31st of August.
On Sunday, September 23rd, 2007, during the 11 o’clock Mass, the new parish priest of Medjugorje Fr. Petar Vlašić was solemnly inducted into his new pastoral duty.
According to the liturgical rite, Mons. Ratko Perić, the local bishop, gave the keys of the church and of the tabernacle to the new parish priest, who in turn publicly professed his faith in front of the faithful present. With his hand on the Bible, he promised to announce the Good News and to serve his parishioners faithfully, promising fidelity to the Catholic Church and to his bishop.
The association “Nada“ from Široki Brijeg, a club composed of parents from Herzegovina whose children experience difficulties in psychophysical development, visit Medjugorje regularly on pilgrimage to the Queen of Peace. In September 2007, approximately 70 parents together with their children came to Medjugorje in the company of Sister Anamarija Biško.
Franz Gollowitsch Jun., who together with his father has organized almost 450 pilgrimages from Austria to Medjugorje over the course of the last twenty years, cycled to Medjugorje on a personal pilgrimage in September, 2007.
Among the numerous pilgrim groups who came to Medjugorje, there was a group from Kierlikowka (Poland). Twenty-four workers of the ASGA factory, together with the owners of the company, Anna and Stanislaw Lukasik, visited Medjugorje from the 15th to the 23rd of September, 2007. ASGA specializes in sewing liturgical vestments and employs 32 workers.
Every year, the residents of the Center for rehabilitation fra Ante Sekelez from Vrlika, Croatia, make a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. On the 19th of September, 48 residents and workers from the Center visited their beloved shrine once again.
Fr. Francis Farry (41) from Donegal (Ireland) was ordained a priest on July 1st, 2007. Medjugorje was instrumental in his spiritual and emotional formation. This is his testimony:
I came to Medjugorje for the first time in 1995. I was 29 years old and very lost. At that time, I was a taxi driver, and I was financially well off. I also had my own house in Dublin, yet I felt very lost. I was seeking something, but I couldn’t find it. Things seemed meaningless somehow.
Among the many pilgrims who came to Medjugorje for the Solemnity of the Exaltation of the Cross was Stipo Jakovljević from Bešpelj, in the parish of Podmilačje (Shrine of St. John). Not only did he walk here, but he came barefoot. The journey took him four days altogether. Last year also, Stipo walked barefoot to Medjugorje to honour the Feast of the Nativity of Mary.
The winter schedule of the prayer programme re-starts on Monday, September 10th, 2007.
Praying of the Rosary in the Parish church will begin at 5.00pm, Holy Mass at 6.00pm, followed by the usual prayer programme according to the day of the week.
Eucharistic adoration on Wednesdays and Saturdays will begin at 9.00pm. Rosary on the Apparition Hill and the Way of the Cross on Cross Mountain will each begin at 2.00pm.
In the Parish of Medjugorje, the Solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is traditionally celebrated on the first Sunday after September 8th, Feast of the Nativity of Mary. In honour of the Holy Year of Redemption 1933/34, and inspired by their pastor Fr. Bernardin Smoljan, the parishioners, despite their poverty, built a monumental cross, 8.5 m high and 3.5 m wide, on the hill above Medjugorje. Relics of the true cross of Jesus, received from Rome for the occasion, are embedded in the crossbar itself. (photos)
A prayer initiative called “Collaborators of the Queen of Peace” was initiated in November 2004, in Zadar (Croatia). It was inspired by the repeated calls of Our Lady: “Pray, pray, pray”. The fundamental characteristic of this prayer initiative is to find half an hour a day for prayer.
Holy Communions distributed: 128.500 (4.145/day)
Concelebrating priests: 5.985 (193/day)
Holy Communions distributed: 318.000 (10.258/day)
Concelebrating priests: 6.196 (200/day)