“We came to adore Him” (Mt 2,2) was the title of the 16th International Youth Prayer Festival – Mladifest – which took place in Medjugorje from August 1 to 6. This encounter, which intentionally had the same title as the World Youth Day that will soon reunite young people around the Holy Father in Cologne, was one of the forms of spiritual preparation for the meeting with the Pope.
The “Mladifest” began on Monday, August 1st, with words of welcome pronounced in about twenty languages, just before the evening Mass, which was presided by Fr. Branko Radoš, pastor of Medjugorje.
This year’s Mladifest brought together about 30.000 young people from all the continents, among whom young people from China, Korea and some African countries. The encounter, which was centred around the outside altar, was simultaneously translated from the Croatian into 15 languages thanks to 26 interpreters (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Russian, Hungarian, Romanian, Korean, Arabic, Albanian, Slovenian). The Adoration was translated also into Chinese. The programme began with Morning Prayer at 9 am, followed by conferences, witnesses, presentation of communities and movements in the Church. The first catechesis and meditation was led by Fr. Zvjezdan Linic, ofm, director of the House of Prayer “Tabor” in Samobor near Zagreb. Other speakers were: Fr. Francesco from Italy, Magnus McFarlane-Barrow from Scotland presented the project “Mary’s Meals” and the “Craig Lodge Community”, Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic and the members of the “Community of the Merciful Father” from Mother’s Village in Medjugorje, Chiara Amirante spoke about the community “Nuovi Horizzonti” that she founded in Rome some ten years ago, sister Elvira Petrozzi and the boys from “Cenacolo”, Fr. Maurizio de Sanctis, Marion Caroll and others who experienced God’s intervention in their lives. This year’s “Mladifest” was attended by almost 500 priests who were from morning to evening hearing confessions. On private pilgrimage came also several bishops. The whole festival was accompanied by an international choir and orchestra directed by Prof. Martin Pero Boras. The 90 musicians came from 20 different countries. Rosary and Prayer of the faithful was said in 24 languages. About 90.000 Holy Communions were distributed.
Fr. José Rodriguez Carballo, ofm, Minister General of the Franciscans who came these days for an official visit to the Franciscans serving in Medjugorje, spoke to the youth on Friday, August 5. He gave a talk about the meaning of life with Jesus Christ in the Church. In the evening, he presided Holy Mass and gave the homily, in concelebration with 325 priests, among whom were dr. Fr. Šime Samac - Definitor General, dr. Fr. Željko Tolić - provincial from Split and Fr. Slavko Soldo – provincial from Mostar. Other evening Masses were presided by Fr. Dragan Ružić, Fr. Mario Knezović and Fr. Ivan Matić.
On Monday and Tuesday, there was Eucharistic Adoration. After the “Tantum Ergo”, priests went down to the faithful with the Blessed Sacrament, and at the end gave the Eucharistic blessing. On Wednesday evening, in spite of the rain, there was a procession with the crucifix through the parish. Young people were carrying candles, flags and names of heir countries. The procession was longer than 2 kilometres and ended by half an hour Adoration at the outside altar. On Thursday evening, the “Cenacolo” community gave a scenic and musical show called “Bread of life”. They showed some details from the life of Jesus, culminating with the crucifixion and the Resurrection accompanied by bells. On Friday evening, the last evening of the Festival, after Mass and Adoration, the was a musical farewell, after which young people, while praying the Rosary, climbed the Cross Mountain where they waited for the dawn and assisted Holy Mass of the Solemnity of the Transfiguration, presided by Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic.