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Christmas and New Year's Eve in Medjugorje 2008

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Christmas in Medjugorje

In the Christmas night, numerous faithful from the neighbourhood, as well as from distant parts of the world, join the parishioners of Medjugorje to celebrate Christmas here. This year, there were pilgrims from different European countries, as well as groups from Hong Kong, Macao and Korea.

The preparation for Christmas was marked by the Novena on Apparition Hill. Every day at 2 pm, the parishioners and the pilgrims were praying the Rosary on Apparition Hill, and from 5 pm onwards, priests were hearing confessions. Many faithful have the desire to make their Christmas confession precisely in Medjugorje. This is why numerous priests of the Herzegovinian Franciscan province came to help in this parish. Many pilgrim priests were also hearing confessions. Every day at 6 AM, there was the early morning Mass, and every morning, the church was full.

On Christmas Eve, between the evening Mass and Christmas vigil, the “Cenacolo” community presented “The living manger”, a half-an-hour musical and scenic performance offered by the boys and girls who used to be, and those who still live in the community, trying to learn how to live in a new way, after the hell they have experiences through drugs. About hundred members of this community present each year in Medjugorje three performances: on Christmas Eve, on the feast of Holy Innocents and on December 31. The first Christmas Manger was made by Saint Francis of Assisi in one grotto in Greccio, in Italy, in 1223. Very soon, this has become a custom in the Franciscan order, and since the 16th century, in the entire Church.

Many pilgrims are coming to Medjugorje becaue they want to experience Christmas in recollection and simplicity, far from the city noise and the secular way of celebrating this feast. For this, the Living manger can help them a lot, because suc a scenic performance helps to imagine how it could have been 2000 years ago… At the end of the performance, the faithful – especially children - may enter the stage like shepherds hurrying to the manger…

The Vigil began at 10 PM with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It was led by Fr. Danko Perutina and Fr. Vjekoslav Milićević. A group of young parishioners was singing. The midnight Mass that followed, was presided by Fr. Miljenko Šteko, and sung by the parish choir of the Queen of Peace. The events in the church were transmitted on a large screen in the yellow hall for all those who could not find place in the church. Radio „Mir“ Medjugorje transmitted live all the prayer programme of the night. On Christmas, Holy Masses were celebrated in about 10 languages.

New Year's Eve in Medjugorje

Several thousands mostly young pilgrims from all over the world came to Medjugorje in order to enter with prayer into the New Year 2008. The Prayer Programme began at 10 pm with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Fr. Vjekoslav Milićević and Fr. Miljenko Šteko led it. Meditations were translated into English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Polish, Slovak, Czech, Romanian, Korean, Arabic and Chinese language. Holy Mass, presided by Fr. Svetozar Kraljević, and concelebrated by about 100 priests, began at midnight and finished about 1.30 am. The résumé of the homily was translated into English, French, German, and Italian.

This New Year’s vigil was musically accompanied by an international choir and orchestra gathered for this special occasion, under direction of Prof. Martin Pero Boras.

All the area around the church and around the outside altar was full, and the entire programme was transmitted on a large screen in the new hall and under the tent. Radio “Mir” Medjugorje broadcasted live the entire Night Prayer Programme from St. James’ church in Medjugorje.

After Mass, young people stayed long time in front of the church singing and dancing.



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