Senior Vatican representatives joined the first officially approved Church festival at Medjugorje, three months after Catholic pilgrimages to the site in Bosnia-Herzegovina were authorised by the pope.
“We are called to share the difficulties of our contemporaries and we have a responsibility to care for them,” Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation, told 60,000 young people from 97 countries on 5th August.
“For something to happen, we have to offer something: our poverty, our misery, our borders, our contradictions. But God will change all that because God works miracles,” he said during the final evening of Mladifest, or Youth Festival.
Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, papal vicar of the Rome Diocese, formally opened the event on 2nd August. Fourteen archbishops and bishops and about 700 Catholic priests joined the festivities, which concluded on 6th August.
Meanwhile, the pope’s apostolic visitor to Medjugorje, Archbishop Henryk Hoser, who presided over the festival on 3rd August, said the hilltop shrine had become “a place of meeting and knowing,” adding that “the secret of Medjugorje” was “an invisible reality, but intense and very present.”
More than 40,000 apparitions have been claimed over 38 years at Medjugorje, where six teenagers reported first seeing an apparition of Mary on 24th June 1981 while herding sheep.
Picture: The sun sets behind a statue of Mary on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this file photo, dated 26th February 2011. Senior Vatican representatives joined dozens of bishops and hundreds of priests at the first officially approved Church youth festival at the site from 2nd to 6th August, three months after Catholic pilgrimages were authorised by the pope. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).