The Feast of St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscan Order will solemnly be celebrated in Medjugorje on Friday, October 4 with Holy Masses at 7.30 and 8 a.m. and at 6 p.m. Holy Mass at 8 a.m. is specially for members of the Third Order of St. Francis. The traditional solemn service of “Memoria Transitus”, will take place after the evening Holy Mass on the eve of this feast, on October 3, 2013. Numerous pilgrims who arrived from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, England, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Mexico, Brazil, Vietnam and Lebanon are preparing for this feast with Three-day Prayer programme that began on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Rosary is at 5 p.m. and Holy Mass is at 6 p.m. Parish office invites all parishioners for these prayer meetings, especially all those belonging to the Franciscan family: Franciscan School Sisters, members of the Third Order and the Franciscan Youth.
Number of Holy Communions: 242 500
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 4880 (162 per day)
Bojan Zupanz, young man of 29 from Zagreb, arrived to Medjugorje on Sunday, September 22, 2013 after having walked for ten days. He began this pilgrimage of gratitude to the Blessed Mother for everything She gave him in his life. He did not make any accommodation plans and it was all in the hands of God’s providence. Bojan came to Medjugorje last year for the first time: “”That trip was beautiful, Holy Masses, homilies, climb of Apparition Hill but it is nothing comparing to the experience I just had”, said Bojan who thanked all who helped him on his pilgrimage.
Numerous pilgrims have said how they were mostly impressed by the devotion of the Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. From October 1, 2013, this devotion will be held on Tuesdays from 9 to 10 p.m., not on Wednesdays as it was the case up to now. All parishioners and pilgrims will be able to participate in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9 to 10 p.m. and on Thursdays immediately after the evening Holy Mass.
The 2nd Pilgrimage for Persons with Disability was held in Medjugorje from September 20-22, with theme “Live your faith”. This pilgrimage gathered more than 460 participants who were hosted by parishioners of Medjugorje. This was opportunity for them to show their big hearts once again and it was another proof to Our Lady’s choice of this parish in a very special way. Most of the programme was held in Mother’s Village that together with the parish of Medjugorje and association “Susret” from Citluk is the main organiser of this event. The idea for this pilgrimage came from Sr. Rastisalva Ralbovsky who was coming to Medjugorje for many years with community of people with special needs from Djakovo. The whole programme was full of workshops, lectures and prayers.
The pilgrimage for persons with disability “Live your faith” will be held in Medjugorje from September 20 – 22, 2013. Similar to the last year, most of the programme will be held in Mother’s Village that together with parish and association “Susret” from Citluk is the main organiser of this event. All participants will gather in the Thursday afternoon and the programme will be filled with workshops, lectures and prayers. Prayer on Apparition Hill will take place on Saturday and this pilgrimage will be concluded with Holy Mass on Sunday morning.
The Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross was solemnly celebrated in Medjugorje on Sunday, September 15, 2013, and many pilgrims and parishioners gathered in Medjugorje on that day. Five Holy Masses in Croatian language were celebrated in the parish church, at 6, 7, 8 a.m. and 12 and 7 p.m. Solemn Holy Mass was celebrated on Cross Mountain at 11 a.m. and Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic was the main celebrant. All pilgrims prayed Rosary before the Holy Mass. Fr. Ljubo said in his homily: “This place in a special way is filled with God’s and Gospa’s presence, with Her vicinity and She invited us and still invites us to come to Her Son, invites us to pray before the cross for great graces are given from the cross. This hill is filled with efforts of all parishioners who made this cross nearly 80 years ago.”
This feast is also the time of the change of the evening prayer programme timetable and from Monday, September 16, 2013 Rosary will begin at 5 p.m. and Holy Mass at 6 .m. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesdays and Saturdays will be held from 9 to 10 p.m. Rosary for parishioners on Apparition Hill will take place on Sundays at 2 p.m., and Way of the Cross on Fridays at the same time. (photos)
Change in time of the evening prayer programme takes place in Medjugorje on the first Monday after the celebration of the feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross. That change will start from September 16, 2013 and Rosary will be at 5 p.m., Holy Mass at 6 p.m., Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesdays and Saturdays will be from 9 to 10 .m. Rosary on Apparition Hill on Sundays will be at 2 p.m., and Way of the Cross on Fridays at the same time. Croatian Holy Mass at 1 p.m. will only be celebrated on Saturdays.
The Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross will be celebrated in Medjugorje on the first Sunday after the feast of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Solemn Holy Mass on Cross Mountain will be celebrated on September 15, 2013 at 11 a.m. All pilgrims who are not able to climb Cross Mountain can take part in one of the Holy Masses that will be celebrated in the church of St. James at 6, 7, 8 a.m. and 12 and 7 p.m. The cross was built in 1933, when the world celebrated 1900th Anniversary of Our Redeemer’s death on the cross. Parishioners prayed and gathered there once a year up to 1981, when after the apparitions it became the place of prayer for all of the pilgrims from the whole world.
Pilgrims from all over the world are in Medjugorje this September, from: France, Italy, England, the United States, Canada, Lebanon, Belgium, Spain, Panama, Slovakia, Malta, Albania, Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Ireland and Poland. We met a group from Poland who wore special gowns and they participated in the evening prayer programme on Sunday, September 1, 2013. Christina Georgotas from New Jersey told us how Gospa completely changed her life from the moment when she heard about Medjugorje in 2008. “I have never heard about Medjugorje and I did not know anything about the apparitions because I did not believe. My mom played a YouTube video from Mirjana’s apparitions and something happened in me in that particular moment. I wanted to come here and I came in June 2010 for the first time. This is where I feel peace and love. It is impossible to come here and remain untouched with all those stories of conversion, love and Gospa’s invitations.”
Number of Holy Communions: 374 200
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 7492 (241 per day)
Fr. Charles Colazzi comes from New Jersey and this is his ninth time in Medjugorje. He spoke about his life, priesthood vocation and experience of Medjugorje. He came here with a group of young people when he was sixteen and it was the time when he truly experienced the beauty of this place. “As a young man, I went to the church but did not particularly like the faith. During my visit to Medjugorje I had strong experience of prayer that completely changed me. After I returned home, I started loving prayer, I spent time Adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and I prayed Rosary every single day.” Four years afterwards, he went to the seminary and became a priest during his next visit to Medjugorje. “That is all really beautiful experience. I would say that I fell in love with Our Lady, with Jesus. Everyone experiences something different, weather it is inner healing, feeling of love and intimacy, or perhaps miracles because we all feel something different. Confessions in Medjugorje are very significant; people are really different when they return home. Usually people who confess here feel something, very often their life changes completely and they feel strength of good confessions that happen after twenty or thirty years of wondering around. For me as a priest that is a highlight here in Medjugorje because that is so beautiful and useful”, said Fr. Charles.
Andrea Cunningham, who came with her family, husband and five children from Northern Ireland, was one of many pilgrims that we met and had chance to interview. This is her fifth visit. She thinks that Medjugorje is indeed a special place and she keeps coming back here because this is where she feels at home. “This indeed is a special place. I heard about the apparitions in the beginning of 90’s and I arrived here for the first time in 1994, at the time I got married. How does Medjugorje help me? It keeps my relationship with God, strengthens and renews my faith, gives me strength. I think it is really easy to become part of hectic life, stress of everyday living, we are easily distracted by other things, and when you come to place like Medjugorje, that means return to the nature, return to the personal relationship with God”, said Andrea who thinks that young people always seek for something, and they actually seek for God. “It is wonderful to see so many young people here who walk around and pray Rosary and they all look so natural, since it is easier for them to do that here than back home. It is hard to be like this at home because there is general opinion that something is wrong with the people who pray and do not do some other things. I do not know what will happen in the future. I can only say that Medjugorje is a little piece of heaven on this earth, and that is what we are all longing for, whether we were aware of that or not. We are longing towards that, and here you get the feeling that it is possible to achieve that.”
The Second International Meeting of Persons with Disability will be held in Medjugorje from September 20 to September 22, 2013. Similar to the last year’s programme, most of the programme will be held again in the facilities of Mother’s Village, which together with the parish and Association “Susret/Encounter” from Citluk, is at the same time the main organiser of this event. All participants will be gathering in the afternoon on September 19, 2013 and accommodation and food are free for all participants. All who would like to take part in this Meeting can do that by sending the exact number of persons with disability, persons with wheelchairs and their parents or those who will come to accompany them, at the e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. The programme of this Meeting will be filled with workshops for children and parents as well as with the lectures and prayer meetings. Prayer on Apparition Hill will take place on Saturday morning, and this whole event will be concluded with Holy Mass on Sunday at 11 a.m. in the parish church of St. James.
The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Heaven was solemnly celebrated in Medjugorje in the presence of numerous pilgrims from our country and from abroad as well. Majority of pilgrims were youth, many of them arrived throughout the whole night, confessed and participated in the Holy Masses that were celebrated from 6 a.m. in the church of St. James’. Pilgrims from Germany, the United States, England, Ireland, Kanada, Italy, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Croatia were in Medjugorje in those days. Holy Masses were celebrated in Croatian language and in many other languages, while the central Holy Mass in the evening at 7 p.m. was celebrated by Fr. Stanko Cosic with 66 priests who concelebrated at that Holy Mass. It was on August 10, 2013 that one married couple from Poland arrived to Medjugorje and they came after 82 days of walking and 1500 km of their journey: Andrzey, who is 69 and Kararzyna Sieminscy, who is 60. Karazyna told us: “I decided for this trip on February 28 when Holy Father Benedict XVI resigned and I felt strong desire to walk to Rome again, but I decided to come to Medjugorje first. We thank all people that we met on our journey who have expressed their love to us. Gospa blessed each of our steps.” (photos)