With a special liturgy, which is celebrated on October 3rd, the vigil of St. Francis’ feast, the worldwide Franciscan family celebrates the “Transitus” – the moment of Saint Francis’ passing into eternity.
In St. James’ parish in Medjugorje, this rite was celebrated immediately after the evening Mass at the outside altar. The Medjugorje Friars, the Franciscan Sisters, Frama (the Franciscan Youth Fraternity) and members of the Franciscan Third Order took part in the celebration.
In the presence of many parishioners and pilgrims, this year’s liturgy of the Transitus was presided over by the Parish Priest, Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar, and included the participation of the choir of the Franciscan Youth Fraternity and the “Little Doves of Peace” children’s choir.
On Friday, September the 29th 2006, a 600-strong group of the listenership of Radio “Ognjišče“, the Slovenian Catholic Radio Station, visited Medjugorje. They were accompanied by five priests.
This Radio “Ognjišče“ listenership group, together with chief editor and founder of the radio station Fr. Franc Trstenjak,have been spending holiday times together over the last four years. This year, they brought 10 busloads to Budva, and on their way back to Slovenia they included a one-day pilgrimage to Medjugorje. In the afternoon, they concelebrated Mass in Saint James’ Church, and then they individually chose to pray either on Cross Mountain or on Apparition Hill.
Radio “Ognjišče“ also broadcasts on satellite and can be heard in Europe, in the north of Africa and in the Middle East, and they may also be heard across the whole world via the Internet. (See: http://radio.ognjisce.si)
At the end of September 2006, a group of 120 students from the Catholic Franciscan University in Steubenville (USA) made a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, and were accompanied by Fr. Peter, a Third Order Franciscan.
Students from Steubenville spend one semester in a monastery in Austria, and during that semester, pilgrimages are organised to different shrines right across Europe.
Veterans of the recent war, Petar (35) and Vedran (30), walked from Split to Medjugorje, a pilgrimage they undertook to express their gratitude to Our Lady for having been with them in all the difficult moments of their lives.
Petar is also grateful to his own mother, because he is convinced that her prayers brought him back to the God to whom he knows he belongs. Vedran is also grateful to his mother for her prayers, which brought him back to the right path, a gratitude he also feels towards God and the Church.
In the Parish of Medjugorje, the Solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is called “Križevac” and is traditionally celebrated on the first Sunday after the 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. (photos)
Mons. Robert W. Finn D.D., Bishop of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, Missouri, USA, paid a private visit to Medjugorje, together with a group of pilgrims, from the 2nd to the 5th of September 2006. Each day he concelebrated the English Mass for the pilgrims in St. James’ church, and he concelebrated the evening Masses as well. He also heard confessions and visited the prayer places in Medjugorje together with other pilgrims.
The winter schedule of the prayer programme re-starts on Monday, September 11th, 2006.
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.
Holy Communions distributed: 115,600
Concelebrating priests: 3,771
Holy Communions distributed: 255,500
Concelebrating priests: 5,558
During July and August 2006, groups of pilgrims came from 53 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Congo, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Ethiopia, England, France, FR Reunion, FR Martinique, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Kosovo, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia (Voivodina), Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, the USA, Vietnam, Wales.
Mons. Antal Majnek, OFM, Roman Catholic bishop of Mukachevo (Ukraine) visited Medjugorje from the 7th to the 10th of August, 2006. He was ordained a bishop in 1996, and was appointed bishop of Mukachevo in 2002.
This was Mons. Majnek’s third visit to Medjugorje. He is open to the ongoing events here, while back in his own diocese, he supports the prayer movement which is greatly appreciated by the many pilgrims who come to Medjugorje from his diocese.
At the parish office, Mons. Majnek met with the Franciscans serving in Medjugorje parish. He spoke with them about life and their pastoral work in Medjugorje.
Mons. Joseph Vianney Fernando, Bishop of the Kandy diocese in Sri Lanka and president of the Bishop’s Conference of Sri Lanka came on a five-day pilgrimage to Medjugorje in July 2006. On Friday the 21st of July, he celebrated Holy Mass in English and gave a homily. He met the Franciscans at the Parish Office and discussed the Medjugorje events with them. Before leaving, he gave an interview and spoke about his diocese, his country and his impressions of Medjugorje. (Interview: Lidija Paris)
The 17th International Youth Festival took place in Medjugorje from August 1 to 6, 2006. This year’s theme was, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119 :105), in harmony with the theme, which the Holy Father Benedict XVI gave to the youth for this year’s World Youth Day that took place on Palm Sunday in local Churches. (photos)
The 17th International Youth Festival took place in Medjugorje from the 1st to the 6th of August, 2006. This year’s theme was, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119 :105), in harmony with the theme which the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, gave to the youth for this year’s World Youth Day that took place on Palm Sunday in the local Churches. (photos)
This year’s Youth Festival in Medjugorje was honoured by the presence of two bishops.
Mons. Domenico Sigalini, Bishop of Palestrina near Rome, assisted in the opening of the Festival, and gave a catechesis session to the young people on August 2nd.
Mons. Jérôme Gapangwa Nteziryayo, Bishop Emeritus of Uvira (Congo), who has already visited Medjugorje on several occasions, was one of the concelebrants of the evening Eucharistic celebration on August 5th.
On Wednesday evening, August 2nd, 2006, Tatiana Matejaš-Cameron gave a concert at the Youth Festival in Medjugorje, and on Thursday morning, August 3rd, she gave her testimony to the thousands of young people who gathered for the Festival.
This is the first time that Tajči has performed in this region since leaving Croatia in the nineties. She no longer sings pop music, but only spiritual songs and her concerts are thematic: “I Believe”, “Emmanuel”, “I Thirst” and “Let it be”. During the last years, Tatiana has given hundreds of concerts all over the USA, where she found her way to God and where she settled and founded her family. (See: http://idobelieve.com/)
Mons. Domenico Sigalini, Bishop of Palestrina near Rome, spent three days on pilgrimage in Medjugorje. Mons. Sigalini was consecrated Bishop only fifteen months ago. He was the last bishop to be appointed by Pope John Paul II. Before his Episcopal ordination, for ten years he was the delegate for pastoral work with youth. Last summer in Cologne, during the World Youth Days, he was one of the bishops who gave catechesis in this context.
On August 1st, Mons. Domenico Sigalini assisted in the opening of the 17th International Youth festival in Medjugorje. On the morning of August 2nd, he gave catechesis to the young people.