Fr. Lionello Melchiori and Gregorie Ahangbonon came to Međugorje. Fr. Lionello serves in the African missions and he lives in Genova at the moment. He said that Gregorie has special mission from God, it is to seek God in sick people and he found them among those most abandoned ones more than thirty years ago. He was born in Benin but since 1971 he lives in Ivory Coast. He is married and has six children: “I am not a doctor; I am a simple worker, a car mechanic. I can say that I received Catholic education, my father was Catholic and they baptized me when I was born.
October is a month dedicated to Our Lady and numerous pilgrims are arriving every single day to Medjugorje. The Information Office registered groups from Hungary, Germany, Austria, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, France, Italy, England, Ireland, the United States, Belgium, Romania, Ukraine, Switzerland, Canada, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. We had chance to meet Fr. Domagoj Simunovic from Slavonski Brod. He heard about Medjugorje in the very beginning from one of his colleagues and in 1981, he came with a bus of pilgrims from Slavonski Brod.
Fr. Jilles Hodny from Switzerland came to Medjugorje three weeks after he began his journey. He is a parish priest in one valley in Switzerland and he served there for 26 years. It was this summer that his bishop decided to send him to another parish and he decided to come to Medjugorje before his transfer. He came here for the first time 25 years ago. It was just one day trip that did not leave too much impression on him.
Wayne Weldschidt, a priest from Republic of South Africa, came to Medjugorje for his third visit. He told us that his priesthood vocation is a fruit of Medjugorje. It is interesting that he is the Director of Our Lady’s Shrine in Ngome and he sees major connection between the messages of Our Lady of Ngome where she introduced Herself as the Tabernacle of the Most High and messages of the Queen of Peace. One book about Medjugorje that he read changed his life and ever since that time he comes to Medjugorje as to his own home.
The Feast of St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscan Order was solemnly celebrated in Medjugorje on Friday, October 4, 2013. The traditional service “Memoria Transitus” was held after the evening Holy Mass on October 3, 2013 at the White Dome of St. James’ church. Fr. Stanko Cosic celebrated Holy Mass and conducted that service during the Vigil Holy Mass.
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.”