Holy Week, the highpoint of the Lenten preparation for Easter, begins with Palm (or Passion) Sunday. We contemplate Jesus and the greatness of His almighty Love, in which He says: “I lay down my life - only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.” (Jn 10, 17-18)
In her messages, Our Lady spoke several times about this spiritual preparation.
“I invite you to decide again to love God above all else. In this time when due to the spirit of consumerism one forgets what it means to love and to cherish true values, I invite you again, little children, to put God in the first place in your life. Do not let Satan attract you through material things but, little children, decide for God who is freedom and love. Choose life and not death of the soul, little children, and in this time when you meditate upon the suffering and death of Jesus I invite you to decide for life which blossomed through the Resurrection, and that your life may be renewed today through conversion that shall lead you to eternal life.” … “Also today I am with you in a special way contemplating and living the passion of Jesus in my heart. Little children, open your hearts and give me everything that is in them: joys, sorrows and each, even the smallest, pain, that I may offer them to Jesus; so that with His immeasurable love, He may burn and transform your sorrows into the joy of His resurrection. That is why, I now call you in a special way, little children, for your hearts to open to prayer, so that through prayer you may become friends of Jesus.” …. “I call you to prayer with the heart. In a special way, little children, I call you to pray for conversion of sinners, for those who pierce my heart and the heart of my Son Jesus with the sword of hatred and daily blasphemies. Let us pray, little children, for all those who do not desire to come to know the love of God, even though they are in the Church. Let us pray that they convert, so that the Church may resurrect in love. Only with love and prayer, little children, can you live this time which is given to you for conversion. Place God in the first place, then the risen Jesus will become your friend.” (March 26, 1996, February 25, and March 25, 1999)
In Medjugorje, the liturgy of Passion Sunday begins with the reading of the Gospel and the blessing of the branches, and is followed by a procession from the site of the old parish church, culminating with the celebration of Holy Mass in the current Parish Church.
On Sunday, March 16, the liturgy was presided over by Fr. Karlo Lovrić and Fr. Tomislav Pervan, and the parish choir, under the direction of Sr. Slavica Kozul, sang the Passion.
Numerous pilgrims from the neighbouring areas, and from abroad, joined with the parishioners. Especially numerous were the pilgrims from Croatia, Austria, Italy and France.