A pilgrimage to Medjugorje offers opportunities to attend English and International Mass, spend time in Eucharistic Adoration, receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, hear spiritual talks by a talk by the visionary Vicka or other talks at the parish, and enjoy the unique experience a visit with visionary Mirjana . Pilgrims may also find a place for prayer and quiet contemplation among the gardens, paths and alcoves in the area. JMJ Pilgrimages are always scheduled to include being present at the time of Mirjana’s apparitions.
Orientation Talk in Medjugorje
We generally begin our pilgrimage with an orientation talk given by Miki. This presentation will be at the church where Miki will give us an overview of the origins of the country, the local culture, the development of the parish, and the effect of the apparitions in the parish. He will use the large placards in front of the church to familiarize us with the layout of the surrounding area and identify for us where everything is located. This presentation typically lasts for about 2 hours and is extremely informative.
Medjugorje Walking Tour
Part of one day we will take a leisurely walking tour with Miki where he will show us the original soccer field where the boys would play at the base of Apparition Hill. We will continue along the former village boundary and he will explain where each of the visionaries lived. This clearly shows the distances involved during the first apparitions. We will have an opportunity to go inside of Vicka’s original home and to see Ivanka’s original home which is now abandoned. We will continue to loop around to the garden where the Virgin appeared and allowed villagers to physically touch her garment.
Apparition Hill (Podbro)
One day we will climb Apparition Hill with Miki. He will guide us and lead us in praying the joyful mysteries of the rosary as we progress along the stations. He will describe each of the large plaques for each of the mysteries in wonderful detail as we go along our route. His deep spirituality and great insight add significant depth to the spirituality of the pilgrimage. He will explain the significance of the blue cross, the single cross, and the statue at the top of Apparition Hill. The climb, although rocky, is not particularly difficult and is done at a slow pace as we pray one decade of the rosary.
We will attend a presentation by two members of the Community Cenacalo during one of our days. The community was formed by Mother Elvira many years ago and is a rehab center for those suffering from various forms of addictions. The community has the highest success rate of any facility in the world. The testimony of the men who present to us is both powerful and motivating.
Cross Mountain (Crizevac)
One of our days we will climb Cross Mountain while we pray the Stations of the Cross. Miki will lead us in our prayers and will describe in rich detail the plaques for each of the stations as presented by the artist. He will add additional detail as shared by priests and others in the religious community. His descriptions bring relevance and meaning to praying the stations as we climb the path.
Daily English Mass
There will be daily Mass in English at St. James (the only church in the valley). It is typical to have anywhere from 2 to 30 priests concelebrate this morning Mass. Masses are on the hour with a different language each hour. English Mass is at 10AM. Religious articles are blessed at the end of every Mass. Confessions are available daily. There are 24 confessionals to the left of the church and are marked with the language the priest speaks. There are 36 more confessionals on the other side of the church for the Croatian people.
Daily International Mass
There is an evening Mass in Croatian which is translated into 16 different languages over FM radio so that all in attendance can listen in their own language. Everyone gathers an hour before Mass for 10 decades of the rosary (2 full mysteries), then Mass. Mass is followed with healing prayers, blessing or religious articles, peace prayers, and finally another 5 decades of the rosary. This entire service lasts for three hours and is generally very crowded. During the summer months the outdoor altar at the back of the church will be used and as many as 15,000 will be in attendance.
Evening Eucharistic Adoration
There is a beautiful hour of Eucharistic Adoration beginning one hour after the end of the evening service each Wednesday and Saturday. The adoration is immediately after Mass on Thursday. The hour of adoration includes multi-lingual reflection, song and periods of quiet reflection. The conclusion is benediction.
Daily Adoration of the Eucharist
There are a couple of hours every afternoon where the Eucharist is exposed in the chapel behind the church for private adoration. Silence is maintained in the chapel. This opportunity is for those pilgrims who want to pray in quiet reflection.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart House of Prayer
When available we will gather at this special facility to hear a presentation from Patric Latta about his particular conversion, the impact of the rosary on both his and his family’s lives, and the importance of the sacrament of reconciliation. Many pilgrims find his witness to be extremely relevant and motivating. The house of prayer is a retreat center for religious visiting Medjugorje.
We will have a presentation by Miki at Mother’s Village, the local orphanage. His presentation will cover the history of the area, more detail about the history of the apparitions at Medjugorje, and the development of the orphanage. Miki will explain the difficulties the visionaries experienced under Communist oppression and will his views having lived and grown up with them. There will be an opportunity to visit the orphanage gift shop and, weather permitting, take a brief tour of St Francis Garden which is an amazing reclamation of land.
Visit with Mirjana
We are always hosted by the visionary Mirjana. One of the days we will have a private time with her where she will tell us of her experiences beginning with the first apparition, through the times of communist oppression, and to current times. She will speak in Croatian to prevent accidental misrepresentation in English. Miki will provide translation in English as she speaks to us. There will be time following her presentation where we will be able to ask her questions on a one-on-one basis. She understands and speaks English very well and will often respond to questions in English.
When she is available we will take a taxi to a neighboring village to gather either in the church or in the courtyard to hear a presentation by the visionary Vicka. She describes her early experiences with the apparitions as well as the time that Mary took her and Jacov by the hand and showed them the existence of heaven, purgatory, and hell to confirm that all three are real. Her presentation will be in Italian and Miki will translate into English for us. Following her presentation she will pray over all who are present. Vicka is one of the three visionaries who is still having daily apparitions.
During our stay in Medjugorje there will be opportunities to attend different talks at the parish which are given by various presenters which occasionally includes visionaries. The normal presenters include Father Marenko, the pastor, Father Leon, the coordinator of visiting priests, other visionaries as they are available, and other inspirational speakers.
Prayer at Risen Christ Statue
The Risen Christ statue is behind the main church. The wounded right knee of the statue began to weep on the 20 anniversary of the apparitions and has continued to weep over the years. There are stations of the cross surrounding the statue. The area is maintained in silence to foster an atmosphere of prayer.
Prayer at Grave of Father Slavko
Father Slavko was a parish priest at the time of the apparitions. He is the only person who has been named during any of the apparitions when Mary reportedly said following his death: “I rejoice in telling you that your brother Slavko is in paradise with me this day.” Many choose to pray quietly at his tomb for his intercession.
Prayer at Vigil area
There is a beautiful vigil area alongside the church where pilgrims can light a candle and offer their prayers. There is a full size crucifix in the center of a number of olive trees and the area is beautifully lit at night.
Rosary along the Luminous Mysteries
There is a series of alcoves behind St. James church where the Luminous mysteries are displayed in beautiful mosaic art. The alcoves are spaced to allow prayer of the luminous mysteries as we walk from the rear grounds of St. James church to the Risen Christ statue.
Being Present During Mirjana’s Apparition
JMJ Pilgrimages are always scheduled to include being present at the time of Mirjana’s apparitions. While we are not normally able to be immediately adjacent to her, we are able to be close on the hill where we can often see her face during the apparition. How close we get depends on the crowd size and how early we get on Apparition Hill.