ColumnistsJaqui Lin

Medjugorje Youth Festival, a call to conversion

During the summer, there have been two numerous youth gatherings, the European Youth Pilgrimage and the Medjugorje Fest, which was attended by more than 50,000 people. We offer the testimony of a participant in the latter event.

September 10, 2022-Reading time: 3 minutes

Three weeks have passed since the best trip of my life. No beach, no pool. No big dinners and meals either. Let alone sleeping in until 12 noon. However, it has been the best vacation ever. 

On July 31, 2022, I traveled to Medjugorje, a village in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the Virgin Mary has been appearing, under the title of the Queen of Peace, since 1981. I took a plane from Barcelona (El Prat) to Croatia (Split), and from there a bus to Medjugorje. I went with a group of young people from Effetá Valencia, and our pilgrimage was To Jesus through Mary, organized by Blanca Llantada and Emilio Ferrando.

I had heard a lot about Medjugorje, I had even seen several videos of the visionary Mirjana. I always said that one day I would go, since it is a sacred place where many graces are received, but it would have to come with time, since I am not one to plan trips far in advance. And it wasn't until this year that Our Lady called me to go. And you may ask, "and how did she call you?". In my particular case it was a birthday present. Every pilgrim feels called in a different way. It is something inexplicable. It seems that you are not organizing the trip, but that you are being called to go. And the Virgin, our Mother, has something to tell you when you get there. 

Something that they warn you as soon as you get on the bus, on the way to the inn, and that I also want to transmit to future pilgrims, is that to enjoy this trip and to take advantage of it, you have to go with an open heart. This is the main motto. Open your heart to everything you can see and everything you can be told. Try to find out what God wants from you, what plan He is asking of you. And for this, it is important to be prepared. Because if you had a plan a priori, such as continuing in "x" job, going around the world or traveling to the Greek islands, it could be totally modified. "Fiat voluntas tua. 

These events will measure the thermometer of our faith. How much do we trust our Heavenly Father? 

Every day we had a Youth Festival program: Holy Rosary, Angelus, Holy Mass, testimonies, catechesis, Eucharistic adoration, and other evening activities such as the procession with the image of Our Lady or the candlelight meditation and prayer before the cross. On the other hand, each pilgrimage organized outings to the most emblematic places: Apparition Hill, Cross Mountain, the cemetery of Mostar, etc. 

It was a week of much activity and in order to get everything done, some hours of rest were disturbed, but it was well worth it. More than 500 priests, confessors, religious, converts, and tens of thousands of young people from all continents gathered there to pray for peace in the world and commend our intentions. 

I experienced incredible homilies, firm, without lukewarmness, of those that seem to be nailing the words in your heart. I would especially like to mention that of Friar Marinko Sakota. 

The sacrament of confession was my great gift. I lived a personal and unique experience. A Franciscan priest confessed me and what we experienced, both he and I, was a gift from heaven. The Holy Spirit interceded between us and we could both see the reflection of Jesus in our eyes. He spoke to me very clearly and gave me spiritual guidance on what I should do from now on. That moment changed part of my life and the rest of the days of my trip. If I did not accept his words with an open heart, nothing made sense. So I listened to him. 

That moment marked the beginning of a deeper conversion of my faith. Now I spend an hour or more every day in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I pray the Holy Rosary every day, I also pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and I meditate on a page of the Holy Bible at random. I try to fulfill the 5 stones that Mary asks of us: prayer, fasting, reading the Holy Bible, confession and the Eucharist.

I have fallen in love with prayer and adoring Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is my favorite time of the day. I speak to Him and He, through the intercession of the Holy Spirit, whispers to me. 

Medjugorje calls for conversion, even of Christians themselves. The journey of faith never ends, it is a long-distance race that must be run daily to get to know the heart of Jesus and that of his Mother, Mary. There I felt that God needs us, each and every one of us. And we must respond to his call. 

I take many things from this trip. I am going to mention the ones that have touched me the most: the great merciful love that God and our Mother, the Virgin Mary, feel for each one of us; the manifestation of peace in every corner of the village of Medjugorje; the graces that are granted during the trip and afterwards, and not only on a personal level, but also in your family circle; having seen that the presence of evil also exists; the power of prayer; and the number of people who accompany you on this journey. We are not alone. 

Now I would shout a Viva Cristo Rey!

The authorJaqui Lin

Singer and attendee of Medjugorje Fest.

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