The 17th International Youth Festival in Medjugorje 2006
August 21, 2006
"We have the same attitude towards God when we do not put Him in the first place and when we do not pray. We are far removed from the source of the spring and become frustrated. Grace is given to us through our relationship with God -
The 17th International Youth Festival took place in Medjugorje from August 1 to 6, 2006. This year's theme was, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Ps 119 :105),
About 30.000 young people from all over the world gathered together in Medjugorje in order to encounter Jesus in Mary's school of peace and joy... They came from all the continents and from the four corners of the earth... flags of about 50 countries were fluttering in the rhythm of the songs...
17th International Youth Festival Medjugorje Young People
The 17th Youth Festival began in the evening on August 1, with the Rosary and Holy Mass at the outside altar of St. James' parish church in Medjugorje, and ended on August 6, with the Rosary and Holy mass at dawn around the cross on Cross Mountain. The opening was marked by young people from about 40 countries who, before the beginning of the Eucharistic celebration, greeted in their languages young people from their countries who came for this meeting (Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, the Czech republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales), France (as well as young French from the departments over the ocean -
The Lebanese, who have been faithful and active participants of the Youth Festival during many years, could not come this year because of the war. Their absence was felt in a painful way.
Mons. Domenico Sigalini, Bishop of Palestrina near Rome, on pilgrimage in Medjugorje.
On August 1, Mons. Domenico Sigalini, Bishop of Palestrina near Rome, assisted in the opening of the Youth festival. Holy Mass on that first evening was presided by Fr. Ivan Sesar, parish priest, in concelebration with Fr. Slavko Soldo, Herzegovinian Franciscan provincial, and 265 priests. On other evenings, Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Jozo Grbeš, Fr. Sretan Curcic, Fr. Mario Knezovic, and Fr. Branko Radoš, former parish priest of Medjugorje. On the last evening of the festival, one of the concelebrants of the Eucharistic celebration was Mons. Jérôme Gapangwa Nteziryayo, retired bishop of Uvira (Congo), who has already been several times in Medjugorje.
From August 2 to 5, the programme began with Morning Prayer that was coordinated by Fr. Ljubo KurtoviC (psalms, quotations from Holy Father's letter to the youth for the WYD 2006, prayers of the faithful, Bible readings), followed by testimonies (morning and afternoon). The central encounter of each day was the Eucharistic celebration in which, every evening, numberless pilgrims from Medjugorje and from the surroundings joined the youth. Days ended with Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament (August 1), Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and a Concert of spiritual music (August 2), procession through the parish and whole-
On Wednesday evening, after the Adoration, Taiana Cameron gave a concert of spiritual music. On Thursday evening, there was a procession with the Crucifix through the parish, in which young people were carrying lit candles, flags and names of their countries. The procession was longer than 2 kilometres, and it ended by half-
Eucharist Celebration during the International Youth Festival in Medjugorje
Young people are coming to Medjugorje because they want to encounter Jesus through Mary. Thousands of young people also this year went for confession: several hundreds of priests were hearing confession from dawn to late in the night. Hearts freed from burden of sin and purified by prayer were singing and dancing...
Also this year, Radio "Mir" Medjugorje adapted its programme to the Youth festival: it broadcasted live one part of the programme, so that as many local faithful as possible may take part in this exceptional gathering. The entire Youth festival (in German translation) was broadcasted live by "Radio Maria" Austria.
Thanks to the effort of about 20 interpreters and a whole crew of professional technicians, simultaneous translation was done in 16 languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Russian, Romanian, Hungarian, Albanian, Korean, Chinese and Croatian. The entire programme at the main altar was led in Croatian. Languages, which were not simultaneously translated, like Hebrew, Portuguese, Dutch/Flemish, Ukrainian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Creole (La Reunion), Macedonian, Bulgarian, Dene (Canadian Indians), Aramaic and Malayalam (India) were expressed through the prayer of the rosary and the prayers of the faithful.
About hundred young people form the Parish Medjugorje and seven volunteers from Karlovac (Croatia) helped that the Festival may go on in order, peace and joy.
About 90 young people from about 20 countries gathered together in an international choir and orchestra. The Parish Office has put at their disposal the house of prayer "Domus Pacis" where they were lodged, and where they could have their musical rehearsals. The director of this unusual orchestra gathered together for this special occasion was Prof. Martin Pero Boras from Ljubuški.
On the first day of the festival, Mons. Domenico Sigalini, bishop of Palestrina near Rome, gave catechesis to the young people. Other witnesses from different profiles also spoke to young people: priests, religious, lay people. Taj?i -
Also this year, young people came to Medjugorje without knowing who the speakers would be. They came because this is Medjugorje -
Source: © Information Centre "Mir" Medjugorje ( www.medjugorje.hr )