The 17th International Seminar for Priests that gathered more than 400 priests, deacons and seminarians from twenty countries began on Monday, July 9th, in Medjugorje with the liturgical evening prayer programme. Fr. Ivan Sesar, the Provincial of Herzegovinian Franciscan Province from Mostar was the main celebrant at the solemn Holy Mass of introduction to the seminar.
The coordinator of the seminar is dr. Miljenko Steko, and the theme of this International seminar that will finish on Saturday, July 14 is “Priest – man of faith.” The lecturer at the seminar is Dr.Fr. Ivan Dugandzic.
The seminar is simultaneously translated to more than ten languages. These international seminars began in summer 1996, at the request of priests themselves and grew with the time into these regular annual gatherings of priests from all over world.
The 17th International Priests Seminar will be held in Međugorje
From 9th to14th July 2012 on the theme of:
''Priest – man of faith''
Members of Croatian Taekwondo National Team, 25 years old sisters Ana and Lucija Zaninovic, came to Medjugorje. Both sisters have received many national and international rewards for their achievements in sport and they have also qualified for the Olympic Games in London in July this year. At the moment, they are preparing in Skradin and decided to come to Medjugorje. This is not their first visit to Medjugorje. “We were really impressed by Medjugorje. We have recently seen some movies about the apparitions and we felt need to come. We were not able to come during the Anniversary and we came a few days later. This is where we find peace that we need so much, peace that only faith and the Church could give”, said Zaninovic sisters, who are about to have new sport challenges.
Number of Holy Communions: 170.500
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 4199 (139 per day)
After Medjugorje celebrated 31st anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions, many groups are still present on their pilgrimages and among them we met a group of pilgrims from Uganda. Fransis is bringing pilgrims from Uganda since 2005, and he brought 40 pilgrims on his first trip. They heard about Medjugorje from one Italian priest who spoke on Radio Maria in Uganda. “I had to take a map to look for this place and then I decided to bring a group of pilgrims together with a priest. It was hard for us to obtain visa since we do not have embassy in this country”, said Fransis.
This year’s Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions was solemnly celebrated in Medjugorje on Monday, June 25, 2012. Besides numerous pilgrims from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, there were organised groups of pilgrims from England, the United States, Portugal, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Italy, Romania, Switzerland, Uganda, Slovakia, China, France, Slovenia and Korea. Many of them arrived by usual transport means, while huge number of pilgrims walked to Medjugorje to fulfil their vows to the Queen of Peace and to thank her for graces they have received. (photos)
The visionary Ivanka Ivankovic-Elez had her regular annual apparition on June 25th 2012.
At Her last daily apparition on May 7, 1985, Our Lady confided to Ivanka the 10th secret and told her that she would have an apparition once a year on the anniversary of the apparitions. It was that way also this year.
The apparition, which lasted 7 minutes, took place at Ivanka’s family home. Only Ivanka’s family was present at the apparition. After the apparition, Ivanka said: Our Lady spoke to me about the 5th secret and at the end said: "I am giving you my motherly blessing. Pray for peace, peace, peace."
Thousands of pilgrims participated in this year’s Peace Walk that took place on the feast of St. John the Baptist, June 24th, just one day prior to the 31st Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions. The Peace Walk started at 6 a.m. from the Monastery of St. Anthony in Humac and ended in front of the church of St. James in Medjugorje. The Guardian Priest of Humac Monastery, Fr. Velimir Mandić, blessed and greeted all pilgrims at the beginning of the Peace Walk. Prayers were said and hymns in the honour of the Queen of Peace were sung all the time during the Peace Walk, that arrived in front of the church around 9.30 a.m. Fr. Miljenko Steko met all of the pilgrims outside the church of St. James and conducted Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as well as Benediction. The original initiator of this famous Peace Walk Hubert Liebherr started this walk. He was terrified with horrors of the war and he wanted to respond to Our Lady’s message when she said that with prayer of rosary even the wars could be stopped.
Medjugorje will celebrate 31st Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions on Monday, June 25th, 2012. The solemn Holy Mass on the Feast of St. John the Baptist, the eve of the Anniversary, will be celebrated at 7 p.m. and Fr. Ivan Dugandzic is going to be the main celebrant. Prayer of the Rosary on Apparition Hill will not take place on Sunday. After the evening prayer programme there will be Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Holy Masses on the Feast of the Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions will take place at 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 a.m. and at 4 p.m. There will be opportunity for confession throughout the whole day. The central evening prayer programme will start at 6 p.m. with the Rosary and will continue with Holy Mass at 7.p.m. Fr. Ivan Sesar, the Provincial of Herzegovinian Franciscan Province will celebrate that Holy Mass, we kindly ask all drivers throughout Herzegovina to be extra careful due to the large number of pilgrims who will walk to Medjugorje. All those who are coming to Medjugorje are kindly asked to remain in peace and prayer at all times.
In the week of Our Lady’s anniversary, the Information Office has registered groups from Germany, the United States, Italy, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Spain, Ireland, Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Poland, Singapore, Portugal and Lebanon. Each one of those pilgrims has his own story regarding Medjugorje phenomenon. Testimony of Fr. Oliver Devine from Ireland is an obvious proof of the grace that is poured on pilgrims who come to this place. He came to Medjugorje in 1985, for the first time, and he said: “This is where I receive new strength and new faith each time. I know that Medjugorje has influenced my vocation as a priest. Whenever people ask me why I decided to become a priest, I always tell them it was because of Medjugorje and because of what I felt here.”
Our press members also met a group of 24 athletics who ran relay race from Bergamo, Italy to Medjugorje. Every person ran for 50 minutes and 4 campers accompanied them at all times. When they left Bergamo with lit torches, they all ran for the first mile together and they did the same during their last mile to Medjugorje. “When we entered Medjugorje, our sports adventure was finished and we started our spiritual journey”, said Marco Previtali from Bergamo, and this is his first visit to Medjugorje.
Novena to the Queen of Peace is starting today and pilgrims and parishioners will prepare for the 31st Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions through prayer of the Rosary on Apparition Hill at 4 p.m. every day. The evening prayer programme starts with Rosary at 6 p.m. and Holy Mass at 7 p.m. Novena is opportunity to thank God for all of the graces we had received through our Heavenly Mother in the last 31 years.
As the 31st Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions is getting closer, we meet pilgrims from all over the world in Medjugorje. We had chance to talk to 20 –years-old girl from Ireland who is in wheelchair. “I would like to thank for the opportunity to be in Medjugorje. My group leader told me that she had a cancellation last week and she invited me to come instead of that person. It is my blessing to be here, one really feels joy here. I hope to bring peace and hope from this place to my home, to those that I know”, said Maebh who shared her story with us, story full of crosses and lots of suffering, but on the other hand, story full of peace and joy.
On Monday, June 11, 2012, after the evening prayer programme, the Franciscan Youth from Medjugorje held a performance titled “It all begins with something” in the hall of the Blessed John Paul II. The author of the piece is Dr. Mile Cavar and 13 members of the Franciscan Youth participated in this play. It is about the life of young people, their problems and ways to resolve those problems. “It is the way of proclaiming the Joyful News, the Gospel through performance, play or drama, it is our way to proclaim the Gospel”, said Fr. Slaven Brekalo, the spiritual assistant of the Franciscan Youth from Medjugorje. Franciscan Youth has been active in Medjugorje since 1995 and with singing, prayer and many other activities, these young people are contributing to the fruitful spiritual atmosphere in this world famous parish.
Number of Holy Communions: 190.500
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 4140 (133 per day)
Diego Garcia Nunez arrived to Medjugorje after five months of walking from his native Cordoba in Spain, through Santiago de Compostela, Rome and Padua. This sixty- four years old pilgrim walked more than 3000 kilometres to fulfil his vow. Five years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer and he decided to walk to Medjugorje to Our Lady if he ever got better. He heard about Medjugorje when he was listening to Radio Maria, fifteen years ago. Exactly a year ago, his doctors told him that his cancer was gone and he decided to walk in thanksgiving to Our Lady, the Queen of Peace.