This year as well as in previous years, more than ten thousand young people came to Medjugorje for New Year’s Eve from all over the world. Holy Mass of Thanksgiving for previous year took place at 6 p.m. and Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic was the main celebrant. Live Nativity scene followed and members of Cenacolo community recited parts from Gospel, sang and performed the events from Bethlehem. Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament followed from 10 to 11 p.m. and was led by Fr. Miljenko Steko.
Holy Mass began at 11.15 p.m. in Latin language and Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Dr. Christopher Schonborn was the main celebrant, while Fr. Ivan Sesar, Provincial of Herzegovinan Franciscan Province, concelebrated along with 120 priests. International Choir and Orchestra accompanied the whole programme with their music and singing.
Prayer programme was held in the parish church and image and tone were transmitted to the Yellow Hall, green tent and at the White Dome at the back of the church. Programme was simultaneously translated in many world languages. Radio station “Mir” Medjugorje broadcasted whole programme and many other radio and network stations and satellite portals took over the whole evening programme.
As it was already announced, Cardinal Dr. Christopher Schonborn came to Medjugorje on Monday, December 28, 2009 in his private visit and stayed until January 2, 2010. During his stay in Medjugorje, he gave couple of statements to the press members. In his conversation with Max Domej, representative of Austrian media, when asked what has made him come to Medjugorje, amongst other things said: “I know about Medjugorje for many years, not personally because I have never been here before, but in our Diocese and even farer, I do experience fruits of Medjugorje. I always use to say what Jesus has said in the Gospel: “You will recognise the tree by its fruits.” When I see the fruits of Medjugorje back at home I can only say that the tree is surely good.
Speaking, furthermore, about Medjugorje in the Church, Cardinal added: “Supreme authority in the Church is Holy See, Holy Father and his Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and that is the highest authority in all of the issues of faith and morality. Supreme authority of the Church gave us clear guidelines, not directly from Holy Father himself, but from Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith that had clearly confirmed what once bishops from Yugoslavia said, and that doubtlessly is applicable in Medjugorje. I have always repeated that, those texts are very much known, there are three elements that are valid still today, and I can place my visit to Medjugorje within those guidelines. In that sense, my visit is not something that is unusual at all. Holy See, in accordance with the Statement of Bishops from 1991, says the following:
First: Non constat de supernaturalitatae. That is the expression that is rarely used, and means that supernaturality of the events has not been confirmed, and that is classical formulation of the church doctrine. It is not said that supernaturality was excluded, but has not, or still is not finally confirmed, and all because of one simple reason that I fully support. I am the member of the Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith, and it is understandable that I support that, if we were to discuss it. Namely, as long as the phenomenon is still ongoing, it is normal that final decision of the Church is not going to take place yet, because something like that was never done in the past before. Both in Lourdes and Fatima the events first ceased and than Church had its decision about that. Its final decision. Sooner or later that will take place here as well, but in this case we let Mother of God with freedom of choice.
Second, no official pilgrimages are to be organised, which means that I can not organise pilgrimage of my diocese to Medjugorje. That is logically related to what was mentioned in the previous point. So, there is no official recognition yet, but in that formulation it is also said that supernaturality is not excluded. Church has clearly said it is not excluded. It is not confirmed, but it is not excluded.
Third thing that church doctrine clearly states is, also in accordance to statement of Yugoslavian Bishops, that the faithful journeying to Medjugorje require attention and pastoral care. That means that indeed pastoral care of pilgrims needs to exist, and that is the matter that many are trying to serve, Gebesaktion Wien, amongst others, who take care of pilgrims, follow them and help them even after pilgrimages. I think that in that way, Medjugorje can continue well on their journey, with full trust that Church, Mother and Teacher, in this case, is going to continue to monitor their journey. I would advise for patience. Mother of God is so patient with us that for nearly 29 years here, in a very direct way, She is showing Her vicinity and care for parish of Medjugorje and numerous pilgrims. We can peacefully wait and have patience! Twenty nine years is a long period of time for us, but not such a long period to our God!”
Kardinal dr. Christoph Schonborn - Medjugorje, 31. December 2009