On Thursday, July 25, we will celebrate the Feast of St. James the Great, patron saint of Medjugorje parish. Holy Masses are going to be celebrated at 7, 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. while the central celebration will be at 11 a.m. in the Garden opposite to the ruins of the old church.
The procession with the statue of St. James will begin at 10.45 a.m. and parishioners of Vionica will have the honour to carry the statue this year. The evening prayer programme is according to the ordinary schedule and whole-night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will begin at 8 p.m. with the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the church until 7 a.m.
The parishioners are preparing for this celebration with the Novena, the prayer programme starts every day at 6 pm with the Rosary and Holy Mass at 7 pm, while rosary is led each day by the parishioners of Medjugorje.
Parish of Medjugorje was founded in 1892, and placed under the patronage of St. James, the Apostle. Only five years afterwards, with huge efforts of parishioners and priests, the first church was built. Although it was quite beautiful and spacious for that time, it was built on the unstable ground and it started sinking and cracking and it was necessary for the new church to be built. Construction of the current, new church began in 1934, and was completed in 1969. Everything was just a simple, ordinary life of small parish until the events in 1981 when this parish became centre of the whole world with millions of people that started coming here.
Patron saint of Medjugorje parish, St. James, the apostle and his brother, John the apostle were sons of Zebedee, who was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. St. James first joined the group of disciples who had followed St. John the Baptist, and later he joined the group of disciples who followed Jesus. James was the witness of Transfiguration of Our Lord together with John, as well as the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter. He was also amongst those who were with Jesus during his time of agony in the garden of Gethsemane. James is one of the first apostles who laid his life for the Gospel, and that was back in either 43 or 44 AD, according to the order given by King Agrippa I.
He is the patron saint of pilgrims and his remains are kept in the shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The statue of St. James, here in Medjugorje church, like everywhere else in the world presents St. James as a pilgrim, saint, carrying walking stick, a little water vessel and a seashell used for drinking water.