Sister Isabel Bettwy is both founder and director of the Merciful Mother Association, an association devoted to giving honor to Mary through prayer and education. One activity of the association was the arranging of pilgrimages to places of Marian devotion throughout the world, the main one being Medjugorje. Sister Isabel came to Medjugorje the first time in October 1983 and began bringing pilgrims to Medjugorje in 1984 while fulfilling the obligations of Director of Franciscan University Journeys.
The summer Prayer Programme schedule in Medjugorje begins on May 1st.
Praying of the Rosary in the Parish Church begins at 6.00 pm. Holy Mass is at 7.00 pm, followed by the Prayer Programme according to the day of the week. Eucharistic adoration on Wednesday and Saturday is at 10.00 pm. Both the Rosary on Apparition Hill and the Way of the Cross on Krizevac begin at 4.00 pm.
On Monday, April 24th., 2006, Mr. Pier Luigi Bianchi-Cagliesi, a representative of the Italian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, visited Medjugorje with his wife. At the Italian Embassy, Mr. Bianchi-Cagliesi is responsible for Communications and for the Office of Development Cooperation.
At the Rectory, Mr. Bianchi-Cagliesi met Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar, the Parish Priest, and talked with him about the life of this parish, and especially about the Italian pilgrims who visit Medjugorje in large numbers.
The Feast of the Merciful Jesus (Mercy Sunday) was solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter, on April 23rd., 2006, in Surmanci, in one of the filial churches of Medjugorje Parish.
Fr. Sandro Overend Rigillo OFM, Secretary General of the Franciscan OFM Order, visited Medjugorje in April 2006, for Holy Week and for Easter. During his stay in Medjugorje Parish, he acquainted himself with the pastoral work of the Franciscan Brothers that are serving in Medjugorje, and with the life of St. James’ Parish.
Again this year, Easter and the Sacred Triduum of Holy Week attracted numerous pilgrims from all continents and from various language groups to Medjugorje: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Czech, Slovak, Latvian, Romanian, Netherlands, Maltese, Arabic (Lebanon and Egypt) and Croatian speaking pilgrims. (photos)
The seventh International Seminar for Married Couples will be held from the 1st to the 4th November 2006. The theme of the seminar is: “The family called to forgiveness and holiness” (“…I invite all of you, little children, that before all else forgive in the family…let your family be a place where holiness is birthed…”, from Our Lady’s message from 25th January 1996 and 24th of July 1986)
Bring with you: a small FM radio with headphones (for simultaneous translation) and a Bible.
Participation per couple: 40 €. You may make reservations by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax +387-36-651-999. The number of participants is limited because of the available space in the Hall, se we ask you to send your registration as soon as possible, latest by the end of September. All the participants are invited to individually provide their accommodation in Medjugorje. (Program)
Holy Week, the highpoint of the Lenten preparation for Easter, begins with Palm (or Passion) Sunday. In Medjugorje, the liturgy of Passion Sunday begins with the reading of the Gospel and the blessing of the branches, and is followed by a procession from the site of the old parish church, culminating with the celebration of Holy Mass in the current Parish Church. (photos)
At the beginning of April 2006, Michael Kelly, a journalist with “The Irish Catholic”, the longest running Irish Catholic weekly newspaper, came to Medjugorje. This popular periodical is preparing a series of articles about Medjugorje as a place of prayer. First published in 1888, it currently sells 31,000 copies, which represents about 100,000 readers. It publishes information about the life of the Church both in Ireland and in the world at large, and desires to offer a balanced alternative. “The Irish Catholic” considers that Catholic media should contain positive content and bring hope, as many organs of the Irish media mainly emphasize depressing news.
The 17th International Youth Festival - Mladifest 17 – will take place in Medjugorje from August 1st to August 6th, 2006. The theme of the encounter is, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119 :105) (“Dear children … witness with your life that you believe and live the Word of God. - Message of January 25, 2006) (Program)
The visionary Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo had daily apparitions from June 24th 1981 to December 25th 1982. During the last daily apparition, Our Lady gave her the 10th secret, and told her that she would appear to her once a year, on the 18th of March. It has been this way through the years.
Manoj Sunny, international coordinator of the catholic organisation “Jesus Youth” from India (Kerala) and engineer by profession, came on pilgrimage to Medjugorje in the beginning of March 2006. George Ettiyil, a member of the organisation, and Lufthansa airport manager in Chenay, accompanied him.
A team from the French Catholic Television Station KTO, led by Richard Boutry, Director of Information, visited Medjugorje from the 6th. to the 8th. of March 2006.
They came to make a documentary entitled: “Medjugorje, Analysis of a Phenomenon”. It will contain the witness of French speaking people who have been working for several years now with the pilgrims. It will try to answer the following questions: Why such apparitions, to whom, how? What are the messages? Why is Medjugorje experiencing such growth? What are the pilgrims seeking? Why has the Holy See not given a directive as yet?
Footballers and leaders of the “Croatian Volunteer” Club assisted at Mass for Stepjan Spajic, the departed former President of their club, in St. James’ Parish Church in Medjugorje on Friday, March 3rd, 2006. The Eucharistic celebration was concelebrated by 10 priests, presided over by the Parish Priest, Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar. One hundred and ten of the senior, junior and novice members of the football club were present in the church. After Mass, the Parish Priest offered them a statue of Our Lady, together with some wooden rosaries, as a permanent souvenir of Medjugorje. On the previous day, all the players and leaders of the club climbed the Hill of Our Lady’s apparitions. (photos)
At the end of February and the beginning of March 2006, nine priests from the Philippines, members of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, came to Medjugorje to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their priestly ordination. This pilgrimage was led by Fr. Alejandre Vergara, SOLT, Regional Priest Servant. The Society was founded in 1958 in the USA, and its membership is comprised of priests, religious women, married deacons and families.