The Franciscan Youth of Medjugorje is contributing to the spiritual atmosphere of Medjugorje in many different ways. As we are approaching Easter, they organised sale of their products at the stands close to the church of St. James. Zdravka Sego, the President of YouFra Medjugorje, spoke about this event:
Number of Holy Communions: 87 000
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 1405 (45 per day)
Many pilgrims were in Medjugorje in the last few days and among them we were specially moved by a group of 45 pilgrims from the distant Pacific island Tahiti. Pierre Anlgaux, the group leader, said that he first came to Medjugorje in 1996:
Palm Sunday or the Sunday of the Lord's passion introduces us to Holy Week, the peak of the Lenten preparation for the celebration of Easter. As is the tradition, the liturgy of Palm Sunday began in the grounds of the old church at 10.30 a.m. The liturgical procession started with the Gospel reading of when the Lord entered Jerusalem, and after the blessing of palm and olive branches, the altar boys, readers, choir and the priests led the faithful towards the church of St. James. (photos)
The four day promotional screening of the documentary "IN ODIUM FIDEI – Out of hatred towards the faith “, produced by Laudato MediaCcentre, ended in Medjugorje on Saturday, March 28, 2015, when the film was shown in the Hall of St. John Paul II.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (March 30-April 1, 2015): Holy Masses are at 7.30 a.m. and at 6 p.m. Confessions are before the morning Holy Masses and from 4.30 p.m.
Kathy Nolan, from Indiana in the United States, arrived in Medjugorje at the beginning of March. It was the first time she had participated in the seminar for group leaders and organisers of pilgrimages. Kathy told us about her work with pilgrims:
A married couple, Yvette and Armand Joseph Grah from the Ivory Coast, have been bringing pilgrims to Medjugorje. Yvette heard about Medjugorje from a book she was reading and decided to come on a pilgrimage with her husband. Yvette recalled the first organised pilgrimage from the Ivory Coast to Medjugorje in 2007:
Medjugorje was busy during the last few days due to a large number of pilgrims from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. We would mention particularly the pilgrimage of people from the parish of Sts. Phillip and James in Vukovar which took place from March 21-22, 2015. Their parish organised this year’s pilgrimage to Medjugorje for the parents of children who will receive the Holy Communion and Holy Confirmation for the first time. “This pilgrimage is the spiritual preparation for those parents whose children will receive the sacraments. Also this year we arrived in two buses and immediately upon arrival, we greeted the Queen of Peace outside the Medjugorje church and then we climbed Cross Mountain. Another bus from Slavonia joined us there – The Union of Croatian Police. Later, we visited the Cenacolo community where the boys shared their life testimonies with us. It was really interesting to listen to them, I believe that many parents found it very educational as well. On the second day we also climbed Apparition Hill and joined the parish for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist”, said Fr. Ivica Jagodić who was the main celebrant on Saturday, March 21, 2015, here in the church of St. James, with all of the pilgrims from Vukovar participating.
The documentary “IN ODIUM FIDEI – Out of the hatred towards the faith“will be shown in Medjugorje on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 7.30 p.m. in the Yellow Hall (Hall of St. John Paul II). The film was produced bv Laudato, with Ksenija Abramovic as the executive director. The director is Nada Prkacin. The duration of the documentary is 60 minutes and the central theme is the murder of 66 Herzegovinian Franciscans during World War II and the post-war period.
As has been the case for many years and in the past, the whole week from the 5th Sunday of Lent, until Palm Sunday will be offered in prayer to prevent curses and blasphemous language in our people. All parishioners and pilgrims are invited to offer their prayer intentions, especially the Way of the Cross on Friday and to present these to the Lord in atonement for all the pain He receives caused by slandering and blasphemous language. Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and is the highlight of preparation for the Easter celebration.
Fr. Charlie Nakouz comes from Lebanon and he visited Medjugorje for the first time in 1997, but since 2001 he has been coming here three times a year as the group leader of pilgrims who come from Lebanon. Fr. Charlie told us: “It was long ago when I had the chance to meet the late Fr. Slavko and the visionaries Marija and Ivan. Whenever I would ask them to pray for me so that I would be able to discern my vocation, their response was always the same. They would tell me to pray to the Queen of Peace to lead me in my life.
Sr. Biserka Jagunić, a Franciscan School Sister from the Bosnian – Croatian Province of Christ the King, arrived durig these early spring days in Medjugorje. She told us that this is the 214th time she has come here and she is in the parish of Remete in Zagreb at the moment. The first time she came was in 1982 when she came with the parish priest and a few other nuns.
On Wednesday, March 25, we will celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation and Holy Mass in the Croatian language will be at 8 and 11 a.m. and at 6 p.m. On Wednesday, as on every 25th of the month, we will have Eucharistic Adoration from 9-10 p.m., followed by silent adoration until 7 a.m.
The Annual Meeting of the Herzegovinian Regional Fraternity of the Third Franciscan Order was held in Medjugorje from March 20-22, 2015 in the Franciscan House of Prayer – Domus Pacis. Members of the regional councils, ministers of the local fraternities, representatives of the fraternities as well as the regional president of YouFra, participated in this meeting.