The Grand Jubilee of Mary - 25 June... 25 years!
The air of Medjugorje is bubbling with joy, faces are radiant, everyone is grateful for being here for this important and long awaited occasion: the 25th Anniversary of Mary’s apparitions at Medjugorje.
Everyone feels grateful, even privileged, as though each had received a personal invitation. Everyone certainly feels loved. It is as though the Gospa had “arranged things” in the life of each person to make it possible for him or her to be here. It hasn’t got to do with favouritism, but of being called. We are all called to become apostles, mediators of a grace that is too big to be contained. It is a gratuitous call by God that ought not make us feel better than others, but only responsible administrators of a good destined for all.
So, on this solemn day each person has become a vehicle of blessing for those he has carried in his heart and prayer. Tens of thousands of people are present in Medjugorje, but many more are those present in spirit, who cannot be seen but by Our Lady alone – and she knows how to reach out to each of her children to bring them the grace and blessing of this special occasion.
Mary was here, waiting for us. No doubt, she too was anxious for the arrival of those who desired embracing their Mother and receiving her embrace in exchange. People came to renew their “yes” and to ask for the strength to remain faithful. Our Lady’s welcome, is as usual, warm and generous. For each person She has a caress, a word, a piece of advice, a confirmation or a correction useful for the journey ahead. Mary’s presence – silent and eloquent – reaches out to every corner of the earth.
Whole groups started to arrive here days ago from all over the planet to live with enthusiasm this event of grace. Prayers in various languages can be heard along the streets, in the houses, in front of the statue and along the stations of the Way of the Cross.
In the days coming up to the anniversary the hill of apparitions was crowded with people. In the early hours of the morning people could be seen climbing up, or sitting down to meditate on the rocks made smooth by the thousands of pilgrims who’ve been coming here for the last 25 years. The Blessed Virgin chose this inaccessible place to be in our midst. It is a place which lacks commodities and attractions but which makes us feel well, with ourselves and with the world – a kind of Mount Tabor where one would like to put up a tent and remain.
The descent, however, is necessary because the seed of conversion received What we have lived today we will demands a response on our part so it can discover with time. Grace was very intense become mission. And the best place to and penetrated deeply into each of us. verify one’s commitment is down in the Which fruits come of this depends on the church in a heart-to-heart encounter with measure of our own response. Jesus in the Eucharist. Every day Mass in the various languages is celebrated in the morning. In the evening, before an enormous Host exposed on the external altar, amid thousands of silent hearts, the common language of Love unites all.
The parish teems with people despite the intense heat. Long lines in front of the confessionals tell of the desire for reconciliation which serves to create within souls the space to receive the peace of the Queen of Peace. She asks us to entrust to her Son every sin, concern and burden, for it is the only way space is made for Jesus.
In the air there’s a certain feeling, everything seems simplified, though pilgrim guides at times arrange days filled with a hundred things to do which aren’t always necessary. For really, the only thing that matters is meeting Her, and for this one needs time and rest.
At 6 pm the esplanade behind the Church is already full. The Rosary begins with the joyful and glorious mysteries. The Hail Marys ring throughout the air, and at the moment of the apparition every voice suddenly stops, and hearts open to receive the Mother. Moments of eternity dilate the soul and allow God to enter.
Children at the Altar during Apparitions celebration
On the altar there are hundreds of priests from all over the world, together with the friars of the Parish who animate the services, beginning with Fr. Jozo Zovko who was parish priest when the apparitions first began, up to the present parish priest, Fr. Ivan Sesar. And of course, it is the Eucharistic celebration – thanksgiving par excellence – that crowns this day of celebration. Here, everything becomes clear, and the response is given to those who still ask the reason for Our Lady’s apparitions: it is to take us to Jesus… in Him alone is our salvation!
Then, at the end of Mass, the visionaries lead the prayer of the seven Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory Be’s. This is followed by the third part of the Rosary. One of the visionaries, Ivanka, received her annual apparition today. In 1985 she received the 10th secret and stopped having daily apparitions. The emotion of the encounter could still be perceived in her voice as she transmitted Our Lady’s message: “Dear Children, thank you for responding to my call. Pray, pray, pray.”
Visionaries Ivanka, Jakov, Mirjana, Marija and Ivan
What we have lived today we will demands a response on our part so it can discover with time. Grace was very intense become mission. And the best place to and penetrated deeply into each of us. verify one’s commitment is down in the Which fruits come of this depends.
The sensation is that a phase has come to a conclusion: a preparatory phase. Now begins the time of action, which isn’t activism, but full participation in the movements of the Spirit to prepare for the triumph of the Immaculate Heart. It will be a silent, yet convinced, courageous and radical participation. It is time for summing up and drawing up balance sheets: what has Mary told us so far, against what have we done so far. What awaits us in the future, and what can already be seen on the horizon?
After all this there remains profound silence in the soul, an absence of words that “obliges” us to plunge ourselves into the mystery and contemplate, without trying to direct it according to personal tastes and expectations. A way has been surely opened: the way that leads to GOD, to the Father, to union with Him, to the fullness of the Trinitarian life where everything is made clear and compre-hensible. As we journey along it, we will understand that we do not need to do anything, but simply be in God and allow Him to be in us. We must go beyond all visions, desires and programmes, even beyond the messages, because it is only this way that He will be able to live in and become life in us.
A new space will open up, in and around us, where Mary will be alive and visible to our inner gaze and will live in our heart. Then, her face will emerge on our own and the world will be able to see Her.
So we do not ask how long this will last; how long will the Virgin continue to appear. We do not fear the end of the apparitions because we shall be Medju-gorje. The Mother will be in us; we shall offer up our own lives, and through us Mary will be given as a gift to the world.