Sitting here behind the church of St. James in Medjugorje, after Holy Mass and Eucharistic Adoration, with about 42,000 fellow pilgrims, I have the overwhelming sense the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary has begun. God is saving the world through Medjugorje; one by one as we come here to pray, begin the process of conversion and return home to live and share the messages, we become part of God’s plan of salvation. What a wonderful gift!
How do I put into words my experiences over the past few days? Well in all honesty I cannot. It is not the beauty of the place we see with our eyes that makes Medjugorje so special but the joy and love of God we feel inside our souls that makes it so incredible. As I have said so many times before: the veil between heaven and earth is very thin in Medjugorje but this week, I think that veil was lifted completely! Experiencing complete oneness with God is the ultimate fulfillment for a human being on earth. There are many entertainments and pleasures the world tries to offer us to satisfy our minds and bodies but nothing comes close to the feeling of pure ecstasy when we experience the love of God deep within.
Our pilgrimage started with a meet and greet dinner for our group of 33 pilgrims. Sadly, due to weather in Washington DC, some pilgrims did not arrive until the following day. One huge gift for me was that the majority of our pilgrims were visiting Medjugorje for the first time. We also had four beautiful families with girls aged from 14 years to 25 years old. What an incredible week they were about to experience! The next most noticeable thing to mention was the heat. Actually, heat is an understatement. The temperatures for the week were predicted to reach 102 on most afternoons. And it did!
We managed to climb Cross Mountain and Apparition Hill very early in the morning, before the heat, which actually ended up being an added bonus as the sun was rising over the mountains during the climb and the crowds had not yet begun to populate the rocks.
Our afternoons were mostly left open with the exception of a few excursions: one to Tijalina to visit the well-known statue of Our Lady of Grace, another trip to Surmanci to visit the Divine Mercy Chapel and lastly to Cenacolo Community drug and alcohol rehab center. It was in the Divine Mercy Chapel, our group discovered we had a choir of incredible singers in our midst. We had two ladies who had voices like angels and then one family consisting of a father singer/conductor, and a wife and four girls who could sing beautifully and harmonize together. Needless to say, we soon put them to work as the choir for our private mass at Tijalina.
Our evenings in Medjugorje were tremendous. Being at St. James Church with many thousands of people at the International Mass was truly amazing. For those who think our church is dying, it is not. Our church is very much alive and what a gift it is! Most of the pilgrims knelt on the concrete ground for the consecration and about half of the pilgrims again knelt on the ground to receive Jesus on the tongue. It was wonderful to watch so many Catholics in love with Jesus in the Eucharist. After Holy Mass, we had Eucharistic Adoration, which continued throughout the night in St. James Church on June 24 and June 25. Many young girls from our group went during the night to pray with the Lord. What a great grace it was for them. As usual the confessions were full with many waiting for several hours to experience this sacrament in Medjugorje. How the priests managed to sit in the heat for hours is a miracle in itself.
It was awe inspiring to be present among so many reverent believers from all corners of the globe praising God with such devotion, it leaves me with no doubt: Medjugorje will be the catalyst to the conversion of the entire world.
On a personal note, I was able to attend two apparitions of Our Lady on this particular pilgrimage and what a grace it was for me. The second one was on June 26, Wayne’s birthday. I have to believe he had something to do with my being there. We were just a small group. Milanka Lachman, President of 206 Tours and her husband, Charlie were also present and Immaculee Ilibagiza and her family, all of them, very good friends of my dear Wayne. Happy birthday Wayne!
In closing, I say thank you Lord for such a grace-filled pilgrimage, thank you Blessed Mother for coming to Medjugorje for 40 years, thank you 206 Tours for facilitating our trip and navigating all the Covid restrictions, thank you to Slavenka, our guide and thank you pilgrims for making this pilgrimage so special. Without you, we would have no pilgrimage!
-- Judith Weible
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