Part 8 Medjugorie cont. -Special Blessings

10th July:

A Special Mass:

We started off by going to a Mass at 7am in a small chapel in an orphanage which was built by Fr. Slavko who died in 2000.

Chapel at orphanage
Chapel at orphanage

Our Austrian friend from World Youth Day was there and another German friend. The hymn at the end of Mass was in 2 languages. I didn’t understand the first but I recognized the word “Gospa” which refers to Our Lady at Medjugorje. The next was in German which I understood. The words were simple and I was concentrating on what I was hearing. I heard “Mary, my Mother, you are my Mother too.”

Well, the tears just started to roll down my face. It makes me teary just remembering it. I wasn’t expecting this. I often pray to Our Lady as “Mother of all mothers” when I have a motherly problem and ask for her intercession.

It was a special grace from Our Lady to start my time at Medjugorje.

More amazing impressions:

There are always large numbers of priests who want to say Mass. Sometimes there are 20 or more concelebrating. There is the main church which has a 10am English Mass each day and lots of other Masses during the day. There is also an Adoration Chapel which has adoration from 2pm to 6pm each day. The whole complex is run by Franciscans.

Two of our group went to Adoration in the afternoon because they were not able to do the climb on the Apparition Hill. Towards late evening they stayed for Mass even though they had been in the evening. One thing they noticed is that 90% of people receive Holy Communion kneeling, and on the tongue!

We arrived home from our 3 hour eventful climb (more later), came home for a quick clean-up and headed off to the church for the evening’s activities.

Being Friday, after the Rosary, it was Adoration of the Cross. There is an altar which is exposed to the

Outdoor Altar as part of St James Church
Outdoor Altar as part of St James Church

outside as the church inside is not big enough. There were about 2 thousand people there today. There are also about 50 confessionals built on the outside, with bench seats for people to line up. As well as these, there are priests simply sitting on chairs hearing confessions.

BUT the most amazing thing wasn’t any of the above. We joined the people on the outside facing the platform with a huge Cross and a statue of Our Lady near the altar.  There was beautiful music that helped you meditate and various meditations were read – each one in about 4 or 5 different languages. They were simple ones like “Remember me when you come into your kingdom” and a short application of each to our personal lives. There were short breaks in between each one. It went for about an hour.

The amazing thing was that not one person whispered, or spoke or moved around. Not even children could be heard. Not even in a church does this happen! It was really unbelievable.  And afterwards they left just as silently and there were thousands of people.

The presence of Our Lady is evident:

There were people from all different countries – Italian, Mexican, Irish, the locals, German and of course, us Aussies. These were ones we spoke to. There was a holy and reverent atmosphere that was unmistakable. This place has blessings flowing from heaven– from Our Lady “the Queen of Peace”. (She first appeared in 1981 – 10 years before the Bosnian war. Her message was “Peace, peace, peace”)

Pilgrimage Part 8: Medjugorie

Arrival at Medjugorie: Thursday, 9th July.

Our plane from Rome arrived after 6pm. We were picked up by our driver at 6.30pm. It was a 2.5 hour drive from Split to Medjugorje. As we got closer, we saw a huge Cross all lit up on the mountain lighting up the darkness.
One of our group noticed on the way that the clouds were in the formation of God the Father- (just for a minute or two) and then they dissipated.

A surprise was waiting for us.

When we got there, we found a friend waiting for us. He was an elderly, Austrian pilgrim that had come to World Youth Day in Australia in 2008.

At the time, one of our local churches had asked that we pick up 3 or 4 pilgrims each day from the Church Hall in which they slept, take them home for breakfast and a shower and return them by 9am so that they could catch the buses which would take them to the day’s activities.

I had noticed one all alone and asked the church staff about him. They said that, unlike the young ones, he could not speak English. I thought that I could use my very basic child-like German to say “hello”. I then rang my brother who could speak better than I – and that’s where the friendship started! We nicknamed him ‘Moses’ because of his long white hair and beard. There he was, in Medjugorie, waiting for us! He had been waiting for us for 2 or 3 hours.
Another surprise was dinner waiting to be served at 9.15pm! There were also 25 other priests (out of 500) staying at our hotel for a priests’ retreat. One of them had just been ordained a few days before, so we received his special blessing.

Hotel chapel Medjugorie
Altar in hotel chapel with view

The hotel also had a chapel with an altar. The circular window above the altar looked to the skies and to Apparition Hill.

We felt like the blessings had only just begun.

Holy Family Holy Water font at hotel reception
Holy Water font reception
Our Lady of  the Seven Sorrows
Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows
Statues Reception Foyer incl St Anthony and Our Lady
Statues Reception Foyer incl St Anthony and Our Lady