Unprecedented weekend in Medjugorje
Unlike in Canada, the Feast days of Corpus Christi and Ascension are observed in Catholic countries on Thursday – Corpus Christi Thursday being the day of the week on which Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist, and Ascension Thursday being 40 days after Easter. In Catholic countries, these two are “Holidays of Obligation.” They are public holidays, and all Catholics are obliged to go to Mass on those days. So too is the Feast day of St. John the Baptist a Holiday of Obligation.
This year, Corpus Christi fell on Thursday June 23rd, the Feast day of St. John the Baptist was on Friday the 24th, the thirtieth Anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance in Medjugorje on Saturday the 25th, followed by Sunday on the 26th. That was a very long week-end! The number of pilgrims was extraordinarily large. During those four days, all morning Masses were in the Croatian language for the parishioners and lasted till noon; therefore the English Masses began at 12:00pm. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was celebrated every night during the Novena prior to, and in preparation for, the Anniversary. The overnight Adoration on the Anniversary did not end till 5:00 on Sunday morning.
That was the only time this sequence of events ever happened in Medjugorje. It will be the 114th Anniversary before it will be repeated in the year 2095. The last time Corpus Christi Thursday fell on the 23rd of June was way back in 1859.
Because of the late Easter, the Feast days of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary were pushed back to July 1st and 2nd respectively. As you can see, our pilgrims had many special celebrations in Medjugorje this year, including the big Feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29th. Fr. Kevin characterized that Mass, whose main celebrant was our Fr. Peter Leung, as ‘beautiful’ and a ‘highlight.’