Friday June 8, 2007
Corpus Christi - Thursday, June 7, 2007
une 7, 2007 was the Feast of Corpus Christi. Traditionally, in the Catholic Church, this feast day includes a procession of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the streets of the towns and cities of every parish church around the world. It brings the blessing of Christ to our streets, neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and homes. Sadly, this is one of the traditions that have gone to the wayside in today’s secular world. But not in Medjugorje. After the evening Croatian Mass, pilgrims from around the world stood side by side with Medjugorje villagers and formed a corridor from the front doors of St. James Church to the street out in front, for the Blessed Sacrament to pass through. As Jesus Christ, in the form of the Sacred Host, passed through the crowds, people fell on their knees, creating a sensation of a “wave,” as one group of people after another would, in almost a synchronized pattern, bow before their Lord.
As the pilgrims and villagers fell in step behind the Most Blessed Sacrament and the many priests who had just moments earlier filled the altar for the evening Mass, the main street in Medjugorje soon filled, forming a line more than a mile long, with pilgrims walking side by side each other, spilling off onto the sidewalks on either side of the street. Soon, we began to see little shrines set out along the street on both sides. Small tables made into altars, with a statue of Jesus or Mary on top, a candle lit beside them, along with a vase of fresh flowers. Beside the altar stood villagers outside of their homes and businesses, who silently watched the procession go by. Others just had candles lit in their windows, or on the railings of their porches. The lights in restaurants were turned off, and everyone came out to venerate Jesus as He passed by. Because the procession was so long, you could hear different groups of people in the procession praying the Rosary in their native tongue, singing songs of worship, while others prayed silently to themselves.
We, in the Community of Caritas, also with Caritas’ group from America making a pilgrimage, followed the procession through streets in Medjugorje that most pilgrims from around the world have never been before, and who were surprised at seeing so many new buildings that had arisen in recent years. The procession gradually brought us back to the front of St. James Church, and the “line” of the devoted followers of Christ, formed into a semi-circle around the Blessed Sacrament, filling in the entire plaza area. As the priest began the final blessing, one by one, we fell on our knees, waiting for the Blessed Sacrament to be turned in our direction. The evening ended with beautiful hymns to Jesus and Mary, under a sky that was beginning to fill with many stars. No one wanted to leave.
Back at the pansion (hotel), during dinner with our Caritas pilgrim group, who were spending their last night in Medjugorje before leaving early the next morning to go home, one pilgrim asked a question. She had been told by friends, before leaving on her pilgrimage, that when it was time to leave Medjugorje, she wouldn’t want to go home. Sure enough, that was her feeling in these last hours of her pilgrimage. She asked us why we thought this was such a common feeling among pilgrims who came to Medjugorje. We said, every pilgrim would have their own answer to that question, but certainly a large part of the loveliness of the experience of Medjugorje is to be in a place where Jesus Christ and His Mother are so loved and honored. The singing at every Mass not only fills the church, but overflows into the very streets of Medjugorje. The evening Adorations are packed with pilgrims. In fact, the restaurant seats empty while the pews fill up in St. James Church. Everywhere you turn, the conversations all center around Jesus and Mary. Everywhere you walk, the Rosary can be heard being prayed. There is peace, joy, and smiles on everyone’s faces. Every night lines and lines of people going to Confession, one Mass after another being said throughout the day, every time of the day and night, pilgrims climbing the mountains seeking an encounter with God and Our Lady. It also explains the attraction of why those who come to our mission in Alabama and to the Field, refers to it as Medjabama, because they get a taste of Medjugorje. Medjugorje is a place between Heaven and Earth. It’s a little bit of Heaven, a glimpse of what awaits those who strive to live their lives within the will of God.
From the Mission House, Medjugorje
The Community of Caritas
Dear Medjugorje Friends,
Why do pilgrims not want to leave Medjugorje? The visionary Jakov can shed light on that question. He, along with Vicka, once had the experience of being taken to Heaven with Our Lady. This is one of the things pilgrims always want to ask the visionaries. What is Heaven like? Better than the physical description of what they saw in Heaven, Jakov offered a very simple explanation of what that experience meant to him. He said that he couldn’t think about Heaven too much, because if he did, he would die of loneliness.
With years of experience, and more so in the last few years, when pilgrims leave Medjugorje, they know what awaits them – a world in which God is forgotten, neglected, mocked, scorned, rejected or re-made to fit everyone’s own comfort zone. A pilgrim in Medjugorje, for one week, gets to openly love and worship their Lord among other believers whose soul purpose in coming to Medjugorje is to do just that. Walking the streets of Medjugorje in the Eucharistic Procession, we have heard through the years so many pilgrims say, “Oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to do this back home.” In Medjugorje, pilgrims are reminded of what the rest of the world lost – holiness. When one leaves Medjugorje, they understand, at least a little bit, the loneliness that Jakov speaks of when he thinks of Heaven. For many pilgrims, the only thing that soothes that loneliness, is the thought of being able one day to return to Our Lady’s village of Peace.
It is why we so strongly tell you to drop what you are doing and go to Medjugorje. But don’t just go, make sure you go with those who will guide you to the heart of Our Lady and Her messages. Caritas/BVM Pilgrimages was founded and has continued for 21 years. It exists for this purpose. Spend some time on our pilgrimage site. Go in and out of the different pages and sections of our site on going to Medjugorje. Pray and make plans that cannot be compared to anything or trip in the world you can make. Click to explore and plan a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Or call 205-672-2000 extension 218.
With the hope and love for you
to encounter Our Lady,