Medjugorje Journal, June 1996
15th anniversary

This was my second trip to Medjugorje. My first was in September of 1994 during the war, and the crowds were not quite so big. It was great to see all the people this time... in fact, the 15th anniversary mass was attended by around 35,000 people. 270 priests concelebrated the mass with 3 bishops (2 from Uganda and one from Australia). The picture on the left is a night shot of St. James church.

Our group consisted of 8 people from Michigan and 1 from Boston. We met up with MIR Peace in New York and had quite a challenge getting to Split, Croatia due to overbooked flights. It all added to the pilgrimage experience and everyone arrived safely with Our Lady's guidance (the statue of Mary in front of St. James is shown here). Our traveller from Boston missed the New York flight, and ended up travelling solo from Zagreb to Medjugorje... he had some interesting stories!

Here is Gustavo, in a nutshell, on our trip. This was our first miracle... I met Gustavo in a windsurfing course at Stanford back when spending time praying the Rosary was the last thing on our minds. By God's will we both ended up in Michigan on different occasions. When I had returned to Michigan last year, he knew nothing about my experiences at Medjugorje, nor did I know that he had been suffering with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for the previous year... but it sure showed. He wouldn't last an hour out of the house before wanting to take a rest. To make a long story short, he has been cured, and this guy now has more energy than the apostles after the Pentecost... but I guess that's my cross to bear. His cross was all this photographic equipment that never left his person (not even on Krizevac)!

This picture was taken inside St. James before one of the morning masses. It was crowded for all the masses during our visit, in the pews, the aisles and on the altar. On this particular morning, we stood through the Croatian mass in order to maybe have a seat in the English mass. I felt like I might be intruding on the Croatian mass in the morning since it was already so crowded, but an elderly woman who couldn't communicate with me in verbal language move her feet over and motioned for me to sit on the kneeler at the edge of the pew. I was very touched by her display of hospitality and concern for a complete foreigner. After I sat down she even began to fan me off seeing that I was hot (as we all were). It just made me think about how rarely I see such hospitality and caring in our modern day to day living.

This was at the evening mass before the 15th anniversary. Fr. Jozo is one of those tiny silhouettes on the altar. This was just after the consecration, the sun was pulsating, and all those around us were staring at it and admiring it. While the miracle of the sun is a beautiful grace, the greater gift is the miracle of the conversion of the bread & wine into the body and blood of Christ that occurs at every mass.

Probably the most beautiful sight during the trip (but isn't all of God's creation beautiful?) was this morning of the 15th anniversary, about 6:30 am. We were on our way to Mt. Krizevac, and the rays of the sun shone down upon the valley in such a magnificent way... the picture hardly does it justice.

At the top of Mt. Krizevac, here is Gustavo, myself & Joanna, along with a Sheila, who we just happened to meet at the top of the mountained. She was a pilgrim from the place where Gustavo & I met in California - Palo Alto. Despite the wet trek, everyone was filled with the Holy Spirit! What amazed me the most was the number of people who took on the very rocky terrain with bare feet, and it's about a 45 minute climb... even longer with the crouds and the slippery conditions. Only by God's grace could you have tens of thousands climbing in those conditions and not need a fleet of ambulences. We saw a few who couldn't even walk with three or four people literally carrying them. All the faith and devotion was just so incredibly inspiring!

This is an example of the crouds at the 15th anniversary mass...

Simply a night shot of the cross atop Mt. Krizevac. We had climbed up late one evening just to pray on that beautiful Bosnian evening. Kind of ironic to find such beauty and peace amid a country that had just been through such a terrible war. If only there were more who would grasp Our Lady's message of peace, prayer and conversion... messages that echo the gospel... we could heal our world a little more. It's no wonder she has been coming for 15 years now to plead with us... what else is a loving mother to do?
God bless... and please... PRAY PRAY PRAY!!! Live the message! Peace can only be among us if we let it begin with us.

Posted 7/27/96