Parishioners of Medjugorje, along with pilgrims from all over the world celebrated this day – 38th Anniversary of Gospa’s apparitions in the spirit of prayer. Many pilgrims have been coming to Medjugorje in the last few days, some of them after several days of walking. Places of prayer – St. James’ church, Apparition Hill and Cross Mountain are packed all the time with pilgrims who also say that the sacrament of confession is one of the most important parts of their pilgrimage here and there were many priests available all the time for this.
Along with pilgrims from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, registered groups also came from 27 countries such as: Germany, Austria, England, the United States, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Ukraine, France, Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Sweden, Korea, China, Belgium, Hungary, Slovakia, Taiwan, Puerto Rico, Moldavia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand and Martinique. 16 Holy Masses were celebrated during the day and the central celebration was at 7 pm, with dr. Fr. Miljenko Steko, the Provincial of Herzegovina Franciscan Province along with 276 priests concelebrating and dozens of thousands of pilgrims being present.
Fr. Miljenko Šteko said at the beginning that “we wish to praise God for our holy Church, that recognised all fruits of Medjugorje and became specially present here through the Apostolic Visitor Archbishop Henryk Hoser, who entrusted me with the celebration of this Holy Mass and whose greetings I would like to pass on.''
Fr. Miljenko Šteko said in his homily that Mary forwards us to the strength and power of the Holy Spirit, not to our own strength. She directs us to be opened to God’s grace, to completely surrender to it, so this grace can be reflected in us.
The entire communist regime stood against the witnesses, children, to silence them, as well as to all of the people who observed things “with the eyes of the faith”, and began to walk in their bare feet to Medjugorje, impressed strongly with all these events that began to took place. The communist regime was after all of the priests who came to help the parish priest here with confessions for all those who were coming. All of that was in vain, as no force could have prevented man on his way to his Mother. Not the police forces, not registration of people who were coming here, not even terminations of work contracts, threats along the school and universities, not even public or secret services, nor terrifying court convictions of the Franciscans, absolutely nothing and no one.
So, here we are after 38 years had passed. What happened in Medjugorje? What happened in Herzegovina? What happened in a country that believes and loves the Blessed Virgin Mary, country that bore so many religious vocations? The eyes of the faith were never closed.
So many wondered what this all meant, but pilgrims from all over the world answered in their continuous coming here. The first they would seek for would be a priest, for confession and that is how the rivers of mercy began to flow and radiate peace from this place.
Reflecting on the fruits Fr. Miljenko said who could have counted countless people waiting for confessions here, or all the tears shed at this place, all the conversions that took place here, all the ways that were amended here? Who could have counted all spouses who were reconciled here or count the vocations that grew from this place. We need a miracle of conversion, we need to be in the pace with the risen Christ so He would be recognised in breaking of the bread, in the Eucharist, so we would live again fed with His Body and Blood.
Medjugorje, in all of these years restored us to the genuine Christian devotion and to praxis, taught us to pray and to fast again, to celebrate Holy Mass with the heart. Medjugorje will continue to whisper the prayer again and all hands will still be holding the rosary beads, as it had been the case for nearly 40 last years, concluded Fr. Miljenko Steko at the end of his homily. (photo)