Međugorje is at the moment preparing for Christmas. Along with the spiritual prayer preparation of parishioners and pilgrims at the early Holy Masses at 6 a.m., boys from Cenacolo community are also very busy constructing Betlehem scene outside the church of St. James that will be used for the live nativity performance starting with the Christmas Eve. This community has been doing this for many years now and it is something that all parishioners and pilgrims are looking forward to.
Fr. Pietro Paterlini, the Italian priest from the Diocese of Reggio Emilia Guastalla came to Medjugorje. He heard about Medjugorje for the first time in the 80's and his first visit was in December of 2009, when Fr. Pietro visited Medjugorje with one small group of pilgrims from his parish. „I wanted to come sam to Medjugorje, because I visited before Our Lady's shrines in Italy and France. I found a very profound atmosphere of prayer here in Medjugorje. Once you come here, you begin to pray simpler way. In a special way, I was really impressed by Apparition Hill where we pray Rosary and by Cross Mountain with the devotion of the Way of the Cross. I would call Medjugorje the great school of prayer "– said Fr. Pietro and added that he witnessed many fruits of conversion in Medjugorje.
Number of Holy Communions: 61 000
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 1264 (42 per day)
After 25 years of the Youth Festival in Medjugorje, the first Youth Festival was held in Poland. Croatia and Poland had many historical connections in the past, most recent one in the character of Holy John Paul II, and now they are connected through Medjugorje as well. Polish pilgrims have been coming to Medjugorje for many years and now this is a new opportunity when Medjugorje travels to Poland and we hope that relationship would be stronger and more fruitful in the future. That is how it seemed during three days of communion young people from Poland and Medjugorje had. (photos)
On Sunday, November 30, the Advent, time of preparation for Christmas will begin. Starting with Monday, December 1, early Holy Masses will be held at 6 a.m. in the parish church, every day but Sundays. Those Holy Masses will be broadcasted live on radio Medjugorje. The morning Holy Masses at 7.30 a.m. will not be held, masses for dead will be at 6 a.m. every day. This is traditionally quiet time in Medjugorje and there were groups from Poland, Latvia, the United States, Italy, Slovakia, Korea and Austria.
The Regional Council of the Franciscan Youth of Herzegovina for the first time organised the seminar for all their members who gave the first vows. The seminar was held in Medjugorje from November 7-9, 2014 at the theme: “Lord, what do you want me to do?” and 37 young people from 16 fraternities participated. Those members of the Franciscan Youth who gave their first vows or were just about to give them, had chance to learn more about the meaning of vows, their purpose, to whom they give them and why and they meditated on this great step as for them and for their fraternities.
Croatian Dominican Province in association with the youth from the parish of the Queen of the Holy Rosary from Zagreb organised in the beginning of November the spiritual retreat and the youth pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Fr. Ivan Marija Tomic and Maja Maric, parishioner of the parish of the Queen of the Holy Rosary, were the main organisers of this year’s pilgrimage. Young people climbed Apparition Hill and Cross Mountain and also participated in the evening prayer programme in the parish church. Upon their return homes, some of them gave testimonies about the graces they received at this pilgrimage.
On Monday, November 24, 2014, Medjugorje remembered the 14th anniversary of death of Fr. Slavko Barbaric. Fr. Stanko Cosic was the main celebrant of the evening Holy Mass along with 25 priests concelebrating. In his homily, among other things, Fr. Stanko said: “Today, we remember man who united his heart with the motherly heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary and who encouraged men to return to their hearts. Fr. Slavko, with his own example, was trying to pray, fast, celebrate Holy Mass, to confess and to talk, but also to be silent with the heart. As every prophet of his own time, he did not have answers to all of the questions, but he was facing many issues in his search for the truth. Fr. Slavko was discovering that treasure hidden in the depth of one’s heart and he invites us all to search for it as well.” Medjugorje parish also remembered Fr. Slavko on Cross Mountain when many faithful gathered to pray the Way of the Cross. Mother’s Village, the institution founded by late Fr. Slavko also commemorated the death of its founder.
Father Paulo Sergio Correia was in Medjugorje with a group of pilgrims from Sao Paolo in Brazil. This is his fourth visit to Medjugorje. He said that he heard about Medjugorje in the very beginning, but decided to come only in 2012: „Some parishioners were coming earlier and they were trying to bring me to come here. Now. I came to thank the Queen of Peace for all She gave me. I think the most important message of Medjugorje is the message of peace. I thank all for the hospitality I gained here” - said Fr. Paulo.
Married couple Jim and Silvina Curran came from Ireland in the last few days. Their life in the recent years is a journey from Medjugorje, Ireland and Argentina, but the most important is that it was changed completely all thanks to Medjugorje and the messages of Gospa, the Queen of Peace. Silvina said that she came to Medjugorje in 2009 for the first time: “When I first came, I did not know what to expect. But, as soon as I arrived here, I felt peace and something special in regards to this place. I loved Medjugorje from the beginning and we feel this is our home.”
Number of Holy Communions: 200 500
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 4075 (131 per day)
On the Feast of All Saints and All Souls’ Day we all go to graveyards so we would remember and thank our beloved departed ones as well as pray for all of them. On those days, Holy Masses will be celebrated at various graveyards in Medjugorje parish. Many parishioners who are living outside Medjugorje come to their homes for these two feasts, and there are also many pilgrims who came from various countries. The Information Office registered pilgrims from Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, England, the United States, Ireland and Latvia.
Fr. John Chisholm, the Holy Ghost priest from Ireland, long-time Medjugorje pilgrim died on Thursday, October 23, 2014 in his 93rd year of life as a consequence of a heart attack. Fr. John was ordained as a priest in 1946, and he spent six years in Medjugorje from 2000 to 2006, serving to God, Gospa and English –speaking pilgrims. While he was once with his mother, he heard about the events in Medjugorje and felt desire to come to this place. Soon after her death, he received invitation to come to Medjugorje with a group of pilgrims. In that week, he completely fell in love with Gospa, in love that he faithfully served to until the last breath of his earthly life.
The Third International Pilgrimage for Persons with Disability ended with Holy Mass at the White Dome of St. James’ church and the pilgrimage was held with the theme “In Mary’s School” and gathered around 1380 participants. The parishioners from Medjugorje – 85 families (pansion houses, hotels and family homes) gave free accommodation to all pilgrims that arrived from Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Italy and the United States. This pilgrimage was organised by the Association “Susret/Encounter” from Citluk, parish office Medjugorje and Mother’s Village. Jasminka Vasilj, the President of Association “Susret” said at the end of this pilgrimage: “I am proud of our parish, everything went well, we had 1380 pilgrims with disability, their parents and volunteers who were here for three days and on Saturday there were around 150 people from the area that joined the pilgrimage.”
The Third Pilgrimage for Disabled Persons “In Mary’s School” that is being held in Medjugorje, gathered more than 1300 participants. This pilgrimage was created as the fruit of pilgrimages of Sr. Rastislava Ralbovsky with the community of persons with special needs from Djakovo. “I am strongly convinced that this is Our Lady’s plan that I was aware of from the beginning. I moved slowly in the process and I can see it is the work of God”, said Sr. Rastislava and emphasised that Medjugorje was in her heart from the very beginning. Magda Kaliterna, volunteer from the church of St. Phillip Neri from Split said that they came for the pilgrimage last year for the first time. “We came last year not knowing what to expect, but everyone from volunteers to parents were thrilled. Some young volunteers who were 18 – 19 years old returned home and told their parents that they had spent the four most beautiful days in Medjugorje. Our volunteers are young people and we would like to form and raise them in the Christian spirit so they would understand that serving is the most important thing in their lives.”