Međugorje – hometown of prayer
It is a small picturesque place which is known to be one the most famous sanctuaries in the world. It is visited by more the 1.5 million Christians from all over the world. The place became a sanctuary due to the appearance of the Mother of God, that began in the second half of the XX century. This phenomenon isn’t yet accepted by the Church, but millions of believers go on visiting this place in hope for help, support and healing of illnesses.
Recently the world’s interest in pilgrimage has recommenced – people aim to reach sacred places, which are filled with mystique energy, to have a chance to solve internal contradictions, get an answer to vitally important questions and cope with living difficulties. Pilgrimage is known to be one of the perspective trends in world tourism and is called – religious tourism. There are many sacred places in the world. Medjugorje is one of the most famous among them. This is a place filled with peace and quietness, where each person feels the impact of this peacefulness which accompanies them further on throughout their lives.
How it all happened?
Medjugorje was firstly mentioned as a Catholic congregation in 1599. The present day congregation was founded in 1892 and was dedicated to the patron of all pilgrims Saint Apostle Jacob Senior, a church was built here in 1897. During the First World War its foundation was damaged and the church became unsuitable for divine services. A new church was built later on and was consecrated on the 19th of January 1969. Nowadays it is the place where thousands of pilgrims gather for a prayer. The mass takes place indoors in the winter and outdoors in the summer – on a place behind the church. In front of the church there is a monument of the Mother of God – the Queen of Peace. There are 25 cabins for confession near the church.
The first mystical appearances of Mother of God occurred in 1981. 6 children saw a woman with a baby in her hands and she showed them to come closer to her. She announced that she is the Queen of peace and further on her messages were dedicated to World peace, faith, conversion, fast and prayer. Stunned by her messages thousands of people came to Medjugorje to pray but she remained invisible for all the other believers.
The visionaries admit that the Mother of God appears to them until the present day (some once a month, some once a year) to leave them her messages. These messages are recorded and translated to the most popular Worlds languages. Lately the messages are video recorded and exposed to YOUTUBE. Reasonably all these happenings had a large public reaction and the visionaries were tested many times.
These tests only proved that something extraordinary was happening to those people. Medjugorje became a place where miracles happened and illnesses were healed. The priests keep record of these healings in hope that some day they will be proved and accepted by science.
Where the Gospa appeared…
A must-see for the pilgrims is mountain Podbrdo and mountain Krizevac. The first appearance is believed to have occurred on mountain Podbrdo, that is why this is the main place for the prayer. A monument of the Queen of Peace was built here in 2001. On mountain Krizevac the pilgrims put a cross for the 1900 anniversary of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.
A festival of Youth is held in Medjugorje every year and at that time the city is filled with bright colors. Near Medjugorje there is a waterfall Kravice which is without any doubt one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Hercegovina.
Medjugorje is a unique place filled with positive energy, thoughts and peace. Here there is no criminal, violence, rudeness or negativity. It is a place where each and every person can fulfill his living energy ad find motivation for a better life.
1. St. James Church and attend the evening devotions
The Church of St. James is the symbol and the heart of the Parish of Medjugorje. This world-known, two-tower church, was under construction from 1934 to 1969. It is located in the center of the village and it is also the center of the liturgical life of the parish and its original size has never been changed. At the very entrance to the church grounds there is a beautiful Statue of Our Lady, the Queen of Peace. The statue presents Our Lady welcoming all Her children and desiring to take each one of them by the hand and take them to Her Heart, Her Son.
2. Apparition Hill – Pray the Joyful Mysteries to the Statue of Our Lady commemorating the spot where She appeared. The Hill of Podbrdo is the place where the Medjugorje events started. It is on this hill that Our Lady first appeared to six children back in 1981. After that, millions of pilgrims, in a special way, have encountered Our Lady climbing this hill. Ever since the first days of the apparitions, the hill is known as Apparition Hill. Along the steep, rocky path, that leads from the houses further up the Hill, there are 15 bronze reliefs which represent the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. Climbing the Hill you have an opportunity to meet with Our Lady in the most special way, in the place that She has chosen and through Her favourite prayer, the Rosary. As you come to the top of the hill you will see the Statue of Our Lady which was erected there on the 20th anniversary of the apparitions in order to mark the Apparition Site.
3. Cross Mountain – Krizevac
Partake in the Stations of the Cross on Krizevac on Fridays with the Parish at 2.00 pm(4.00 pm Summer Time). The name of the mountain ‘Šipovac’ (šipak = pommegranate) was changed into ‘the Cross Mountain’ when the Parish of Medjugorje erected the Cross on the top of it in 1934. Climbing the mountain pilgrims stop at the stations of the Way of the Cross to pray and reflect on Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. At the top of the mountain there is an 8.56 m high concrete cross in which the Relics of the True Cross received from Rome are embedded. The faithful pray at the foot of the cross, while they also enjoy the magnificent view of the entire village of Medjugorje. According to the visionaries, in the message of August 30, 1984, Our Lady said: “The cross was also in God’s plan when you built it.”
4. Via Domini (the Way of the Lord)
Is a pathway with 5 beautiful mosaics that represent the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. After contemplating the public life of Jesus, you will come to the end of the path where the Statue of the Risen Savior is located. This bronze statue is a work of Slovenian artist, Andrej Ajdič, and the parish of Medjugorje received it as a gift for Easter 1998. The part of the staute which is on the ground represents the tomb of Jesus, and the other part represents the Resurrection.The area around the statue is beautifully decorated for silent prayer, including also the Way of the Cross for people who can’t climb Cross Mountain.
5. Blue Cross – Spend some time in reflections and meditations at the Blue Cross The Blue Cross is a special place at the base of Apparition Hill where Our Lady appeared to the children when they were hiding from the Communist police. It is here that Our Lady still appears to the visionary Mirjana at her monthly apparition (every 2nd of the month) and sometimes to the visionary Ivan when he has a meeting with his prayer group. Sometimes on those occasions all pilgrims are invited to be present at the apparition. The Blue Cross is an easy climb and a very special place for all those who can not climb Apparition Hill but still want to be part of it.
6. Visit the Mother’s Village and St. Francis Garden
Within the village of Medjugorje there is a beautiful settlement established to serve life. This is the village where many souls have found their comfort and sense of life. It consists of a few little communities, such as the Children’s Village, the St. Francis Garden, the Art workshop ‘Queen Catherine’, the Merciful Father Community etc. All these communities are well organized and exist in cooperation with one another in order to provide support to children and adolescents without parental care, and to help lost boys and girls, men and women, to find a good way of life.
7. Local cemetery Kovacica – Visit the tomb of Fr. Slavko
A local cemetery in Medjugorje is a place where you can find not only local people praying, bringing flowers and lighting candles, but also many pilgrims. The reason for this is that the late Fr Slavko Barbaric is buried here. Father Slavko left a big imprint in the hearts of all parishioners and pilgrims of Medjugorje. Many people pray for his intercession because Our Lady said in Her message of Nov 25, 2000 : ‘ I rejoice with you and I desire to tell you that your brother Slavko has been born into Heaven and intercedes for you…’
8. Candle park area – Light a candle
Here people light candles for their loved ones who have passed away, but also for the numerous intentions they bring to Medjugorje. They leave their burdens, hopes and prayers at the feet of the Crucified Jesus. The area is nicely decorated and convenient for silent prayer and meditations.