Lucija Šalov from Zadar has been bringing pilgrims to Medjugorje for the last four years. She also participated in the 22ndInternational Meeting of Organisers of Pilgrimages, Leaders of Peace Centres, Prayer and Charity Groups held in Medjugorje and this is what she told us about her experience: “I am from Croatia, but I bring Italian groups of pilgrims. During the conference we were able to learn that it is not us who are leading, it is God who does it all, we are only those who are in His service. I think that what we are doing is not a job; it is a mission, a vocation. This is what God gave me for my own growth in holiness, it is not to be used for me to change or convert someone, but it is firstly for my own conversion. I feel that Medjugorje is a huge gift. I always say to pilgrims that we are not aware of how this is God’s gift, that God sends us His Mother every day. It is something that thehuman mind cannot perceive at all.”
The 22nd International Meeting of Organisers of pilgrimages, Leaders of Peace Centres, prayer and charity groups in Medjugorje, that gathered this year nearly 400 participants from 23 countries, we met Karen Carden from Florida and Marie Gastefsen from Portland (USA). Karen has been coming for 17 years now and this is what she told us:
Among the participants of the 22nd International Meeting of Organisers of pilgrimages, Leaders of Peace Centres, prayer and charity groups for Medjugorje, that is currently being held here, we had chance to meet and to talk to Magdalena Kolar from Switzerland. She told us about the activities of the prayer group the Queen of Peace that was created 14 years ago, thanks to Fr. Karlo Lovric, who at that time was serving in their parish in Switzerland.
The seminar of prayer of the Herzegovina Regional Fraternity of YouFra was held in Domus Pacis in Medjugorje from February 20-22, 2015. There were 53 participants along with Fr. Slaven Brekalo, the Regional Spiritual Assistant of YouFra and members of the regional council. “This seminar made strong impression on us at the beginning of this Lenten time and it was the wonderful opportunity to work on ourselves, as well as to meditate on the sacrifice Jesus did for us. Day by day, step by step, we spent time learning skills that will help us in our prayer life. The prayer was obligation to most of us prior to this seminar, but after this experience, we are hoping that would change. We realised how important the prayer is, because God is in prayer and God is the beginning of all”, the participants of the seminar of prayer shared this with us.
The 22nd International Meeting for Organisers of Pilgrimages, Leaders of Peace Centres and Međugorje Prayer and Charity Groups will be held in Medjugorje from the 2nd to the 6th of March 2015. The theme of the gathering is:
"Peace be with you!" (John 20, 21)
In Our Lady's School
Number of Holy Communions: 30 750
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 687 (24 per day)
Millions of pilgrims from all over the world have responded to the invitation of Gospa, the Queen of Peace from Medjugorje. You can read testimonies and personal stories of so many on our web site and all of them spoke about the change of their lives, great gratitude to the Queen of Peace for received blessings and for the beginning of the new life with Christ. Zeljko Kaic from Karlovac spoke recently on our radio and told us the following:
The Croatian Biblical Association, in cooperation with Albanian, Serbian and Macedonian Biblical Associations, organised the football tournament in Medjugorje from February 20-22, 2015, all with the purpose of making the Holy Scripture more popular. The frame of the whole programme was prayer and encounter with the Holy Bible. Prior to the football games, participants were reading the Holy Scripture, and Fr. Ivan Dugandzic, professor of Biblical studies gave lectures about the importance of regular reading and studying of the Holy Bible.
The oldest parishioner from Medjugorje parish, Ruza Vidovic Baracusa, celebrated her 100th birthday on February 21, 2015. Her birthday was truly solemn day for her family, friends, neighbours and all those who came to congratulate her. The parish priest, Fr. Marinko Sakota as well as Fr. Karlo Lovric, priest who takes care of the sick and old people in the parish, were there as well. Fr. Karlo visits granny Ruza on regular basis. She was born on February 21, 2015 in Medjugorje in the family of Ilko and Manda Barac and she married Tadija Vidovic and gave birth to seven children, and four of them are still alive.
The Fifth Lenten Spiritual Renewal of the Third Franciscan Order from Herzegovina was held in Medjugorje on February 21, 2015. The programme began with a talk of the regional minister Ankica Zelenika. Then local minister Jure Cilic, as well as the local spiritual assistant, Fr. Ivan Landeka Jr. welcomed everyone together with the parish priest Fr. Marinko Sakota.
Every Lent we are in a special way meditating on the passion of Christ, especially we do that in the devotion of the Way of the Cross, that we pray in the church and in families. The Way of the Cross in the parish takes place on Fridays at 2 p.m. on Cross Mountain and in the parish church after the evening Holy Mass; at the branch churches (Šurmanci, Vionica, Miletina) at 4 p.m. Devotion of the Way of the Cross began on Cross Mountain in the beginning of Our Lady's apparitions.
Young people from the parish of St. James in Medjugorje decided to live this Lent in a more beautiful way. Every night during the Lent at 8 p.m. they will go to pray Rosary on Apparition Hill. Rosary will not take place on Fridays when the parish gores to pray the Way of the Cross on Cross Mountain, and on Sundays when we all pray Rosary at 2 p.m. on Apparition Hill. “After talking to the priests from the parish, we decided to climb the Apparition Hill every night at 8 p.m.
The prayer – educational seminar for girls from 7th and 8th grade of the elementary schools, was held in Medjugorje from February 13-15, 2015 in Domus Pacis, organised by the Franciscan School Sisters from Mostar. 40 girls participated and these Sisters have been organising similar seminars for 25 years now. After the gathering, the programme began with the evening prayer programme in the church of St. James and what followed was introduction and lecture.
Italian priest Fr. Antonello Cadeddu visited Međugorje. He has been a priest for 33 years and for the last 20 years he has been active in Sao Paolo in Brazil. Along with one other priest, Fr. Enrico, he established community „Alleanza di Misericordia”, that takes care of the poor and abandoned families living in the street. He comes to Medjugorje as a spiritual assistant of pilgrims.
On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, on the day when we celebrate the Feast of Alojzije Stepinac, Holy Mass was celebrated for the killed Franciscans and parishioners from this parish who were killed during the World War II and recent Homeland War. Dr. Fr. Robert Jolic was the main celebrant and Fr. Marinko Sakota, the parish priest and 11 other priests concelebrating. Fr. Robert said in the beginning of his homily, as he spoke about killed priests and people: