Two years ago I embarked upon a life changing pilgrimage to a little town called Medjugorie with my local youth B.U.D.S.(Believers Under Divine Spirit) youth group. Getting there was no easy task. The round trip took over sixty hours, but I would gladly go again at the drop of a hat.
The first day we arrived we climbed Apparition Hill, stopping along the way to say the rosary. Apparition Hill is a small mountain on which Mary appeared to several young children and started the apparitions in Medjugorie. We repeated this act several times over the week long pilgrimage. On the second night the power went off in the whole town, and a small group of us decided to climb Apparition Hill by star light. I have never felt as close to God as I felt on that night sitting below the large statue of Mary looking up at the havens.
Whenever I had any free time I went to see the Weeping Knee. The Weeping Knee was on the statue of the Risen Christ. Water would slowly run from His knee, and people would collect it in little bottles. Even in times of great drought when knee still weeps, and it is said that when Pope John Paul II died water flooded from the knee like a river. I loved to set and watch the knee weep.
The one and only part of the trip I would not redo in a heart beat occurred on New Years eve. A small group of us wanted to attend the midnight Mass that was said in Croatian. We were advised to arrive at 4:30 if we wanted a seat, but unfortunately when we got there all the pews were packed. We made our way as far into the Church as we could but is was only about thirty feet. After about an hour or two on our feet we got pretty tired. We wanted to leave but there were about 150 people between us and the closest exit. The only way out would have been to crowd surf but we thought that wasn’t a good idea in a Church. If you can imagine standing shoulder to shoulder with four people and not being able to raise your arm without hitting the person beside you for nine hours, and all the while an old Italian guy is poking the back of your knee. Every time you tell him to stop he yells something in Italian. That was my midnight Mass experience, and the most enduring task I have faced to date.
The day after the midnight Mass we climbed
The trip lasted a week but the memories and inspiration will last a lifetime. They say that 85% of the people who visit Medjugorje return again at some point in their life and I hope I am able to return someday also.
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