Monday, 20 August 2012

SPES @ Medjugorje Youth Festival Part 1

Deanna and I are not long back from an amazing week in Medjugorje where we attended the 23rd Annual Youth Festival.  We flew out on Sunday 29th July and after a long sleepy journey we arrived safely in Medjugorje at Midnight.  This was Deanna’s second pilgrimage to Medjugorje and a long overdue first time for me.  We were honoured and privileged to join with the group from Craig Lodge community in Scotland (

After breakfast we began each day with a time of prayer.  We prayed the prayers of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary which were dictated by Our Lady to Jelena Vasilj of Medjugorje on 18th November 1983.  We continued our prayer with Morning Prayer from the Divine office and a prayer for Mary’s Meals (, a charity which feeds over 600,000 hungry school children every day.  Following this we had Lectio Divina on the Gospel of the day; this gave us a time to individually reflect on the Gospel and also to share with each other.  For the first half of the week we then went to the 10am English speaking Mass, where each day we were treated to inspiring homilies.

On Monday after Mass Nicky, from Craig lodge, gave us a brief introduction to Medjugorje and the history surrounding it.  We spent some time reading the messages from Our Lady about Prayer and sharing with each other how the messages spoke to us in our lives.  After lunch we visited the Cenacolo Community (, a community which helps those struggling with addictions and brings them close to God.  While at the Cenacolo House two of the community members spoke to us about how the community began and gave their own testimonies.  It was wonderful to hear how God had worked in their lives.

Monday evening we climbed Apparition Hill, where Our Lady first appeared to the visionaries.  As you ascend and descend the Hill there are bronze reliefs depicting the mysteries of the Rosary.  At the statue of Our Lady, which marks the place where she first appeared, we paused to pray for a time.  Although there were many people on the Hill that evening there was a great sense of peacefulness about the place.

After Mass on Tuesday Fr Philip Conner, who was with our group, spoke to us about Mass; how to prepare for the Mass, the great gift that it is, how Jesus is truly present to us in the Eucharist and the love that Jesus has for us.  In the afternoon we listened to Marija’s testimony (one of the visionaries).  She spoke to us about how it felt to see Our Lady and about some of Our Lady’s messages.  That evening we climbed Mount Krizevac (Cross Mountain).  We prayed the Stations of the Cross on our way up the mountain.  At the top of the mountain there is a large white cross which was erected by the parishioners in 1934, many years before the apparitions began, as a sign of their faith.  As we approached the top of the mountain the light was beginning to fade.  It was beautiful sitting up at the large cross in the moonlight.  The climb up was difficult as many of us chose to do it bare foot but the climb down was also tough as it was so dark.  Makes you think what Jesus had to go through as He carried His Cross.

To be continued ……

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