2018 Medjugorje-101

 

Currency in Medjugorje?
The ATM machines will give you Bosnian marks.  It varies but today 500 KM (marks) costs around $300.00 (or 260 euros).
Use ATMs’ at banks or post offices for more security & better rates.

Average income around Medjugorje is close to the rest of Bosnia-Herzegovina; a bit less than 860 KM ($520) a month.  Clerks in the souvenir shops may make about 600 KM ($365) a month.

After the Allied victory in World War II, Yugoslavia was set up as a federation of six republics, with borders drawn along ethnic and historical lines: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia.

 

 

You might have the choice of flying into Split or Dubrovnik.  Both cities are in Croatia; an adjoining country.  Our favorite is Dubrovnik; historic, scenic, exciting.   You can walk along the top of the walls for a small fee!

Dubrovnik City walls run uninterrupted for 6365 feet encircling the City.

There will be a 2 hour ride from either of the two airports to the village of Medjugorje.  On the way you may catch a glimpse of ancient limestone beauty.

 

   The name, Medjugorje, means “between two hills”;  the village is mostly populated with Croatian Catholics; nestled in a country of Muslims and Serbs. The country’s “Constitution” recognizes the Croatian Catholics, the Bosnian Muslims and the Serbian Orthodox.  The Jewish population and the Gypsy population are referred to as “others”.
Medjugorje is the largest of the five villages which comprise the parish (Medjugorje, Bijakovici, Vionica, Miletina, Surmanci). 

The Vatican, in 2010, assembled a commission of theologians, bishops, historians, psychologists, anthropologists and Mariologists to study Medjugorje.  The findings of the commission known as the “Cardinal Ruini Report”  voted 13 to 1 to confirm the supernatural basis of the first seven apparitions that appeared in 1981. The commission did not rule on the thousands of alleged subsequent apparitions.  The commission opted to distinguish between what occurred in the first 10 days and subsequent happenings.
 

St. James (Sv. Jacob) Catholic Church.

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  The Medjugorje commission also recommended that Pope Francis “lift the ban on official diocesan and parish pilgrimages to Medjugorje and that he designate the town’s parish Church of St. James as a pontifical shrine with Vatican oversight”.

This is a pic taken at 7am July 25th, 2017 after an all night Adoration Feast of St. James.

 

 This is the statue of Our Blessed Mother to the right of the main altar.

 There are a number of altars on the immediate grounds of St. James where Holy Masses can be celebrated:
St. James Church itself
Outside Rotunda
St James Chapel
St. John Paul II Parish Hall.

Outside Altar

Eucharistic adoration is scheduled about 3 times a week and can be celebrated on the inside or outside altars.

 St. John Paul II Parish Hall (JPII)

 This JPII hall features the painting of “Our Lady, Queen of Peace” and has been painted based on inputs from the visionaries.

 

The right side of the JPII Altar features the “Image of Divine Mercy”.

In “high season” Medjugorje may welcome priests from more than 60 countries. Pictured are some of the ‘confession lines’.
Priests present their ‘papers, pick out a plaque/plaques indicating their language familiarity and then locate a ‘spot.

 
  With some luck or early arrival the priest may claim one of these 25 confessionals. On the other side of the church you will find confessionals to deal with the more local languages. 

Nearby one can locate the candle area.
Light a candle; find a seat to pray or meditate a while.

 
The Medjugorje Chapel is used for Eucharistic Adoration and for Holy Masses for those countries with fewer attendees.

During our 10 years living in Medjugorje we felt blessed to spend many hours in this Chapel; sometimes alone; only the Franciscan Priests, Brothers or Sisters are allowed to open / close the Tabernacle doors.

 
 

When we first came to Medjugorje we always wondered ‘why just a Cross and not a Crucifix?’Then it finally sank in.

It is a Crucifix; the Body of Christ is in the Tabernacle! How beautiful!

 Near the confessionals is a statue of  Sv. Leopold Bogdan Mandić born in 1866, died in Padova in 1942.   John Paul II declared Leopold a saint in 1983.  Sv. Leopold spent forty years in the confessional, tirelessly confessing for more than ten hours a day.  

 

 

At the front of the church is a beautiful statue of Our Blessed Mother.

 Beautiful in all seasons!

 
Around to the back of the church we walk by (or maybe stop and say a prayer or even the Rosary) the 5 Luminous Mysteries done in mosaics.

  Statue of the Risen Christ Statue.
Created of bronze and copper this statue has become another beautiful symbol of Medjugorje.   Many pilgrims stand in line to collect a water drop that oozes from the right thigh of Jesus.

The local shops do sell small packets of cloth ‘handkerchiefs to enable you to take home your swipes.
 Surrounding the Risen Christ are the 14 Stations of the Cross.

 

  This is an evening picture taken of Apparition Hill; the path has been worn by millions of pilgrims.   Bronze reliefs (by Professor Carmelo Puzzolo) of the Joyful and the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary line the path.
This statue of Our Blessed Mother stands at the location towards the top of Apparition Hill where she appeared to the 6 local children. The apparitions started in 1981.

 This statue was given by a Korean family; the family had pilgrimaged to Medjugorje in the hope that their sick child would be cured.
It did not happen.
Father had to return to Korea; Mother refused to leave until the child received a cure.
It happened!

 In gratitude the family arranged this ‘memento. 

 

Beautiful!

 In June 2002, bronze reliefs (by  Professor Carmelo Puzzolo) representing the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary were installed on the path descending towards the Blue Cross.
This Blue Cross area, still on Apparition Hill but lower on the hill, is the first site where Our Blessed Mother made her appearances to the visionaries.

The Cross was built on the top of this mountain in 1934 by some of the local 90 Medjugorjean families.

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 A relic of the True Cross of Jesus was received from Rome from Pope Pius XI and was built into this cross. This relic was obtained from the larger part of the true Cross that remains in the Church of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem in Rome.

   Locals refer to the mountain as Krizevac.  The uphill stroll can be challenging.

 The Surmanci Church of Divine Mercy is a satellite church of Medjugorje.  It is common for a priest/priests to pilgrimage to this church on Fridays and celebrate a 3:00 pm Divine Mercy Mass, Chaplet and Relic Veneration.

 

Image of Divine Mercy over the Church’s altar.

In 1990, this icon was in the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Trento, Italy.  This is where Ugo Festa was cured miraculously.  As a youth Ugo became ill with multiple sclerosis (MS); then later also with muscular dystrophy (MD) along with convulsions everyday.  Confined to a wheelchair Ugo loses his faith.

 Ugo pilgrimage’s to Rome and there meets Mother Teresa.    He is asked to go and pray at the Sanctuary of  Divine Mercy at Trento, but he refuses.   The next day on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope John Paul II passes by and notices; listens, blesses Ugo’s pictures & icon.  The Pope tells him to “entrust his whole self to Jesus and to pray my Sister Faustina to intercede for you.”

 

  Ugo is struck by the Pope’s words.  Ugo goes.  Before the iconic picture of Jesus Ugo prays for three days; on the fourth day Ugo notices that the picture has come alive and that Jesus is really holding out His arms.   He sees Jesus coming towards him and he hears Jesus who pronounces these precise words: “Get up and walk!” And so he begins to walk.  All of a sudden, all of the serious illnesses that were burdening him disappear, are healed. Suddenly, he is physically healthy as never before in his whole life.  He is bewildered, but happy.
This miracle was one of the three required miracles for the beatification of Saint Faustina.

 The Surmanci Church also has a relic of Saint Faustina which is sometimes placed so that pilgrims can process up to the altar and kiss the relic.

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