Coming to Medjugorje and having the best stay:
Insurance: Travel Insurance for Bosnia, Europe
Flights: Flights to Dubrovnik, Zadar, Sarajevo
Things to do: Sightseeing around Medjugorje
Forum: FAQ about Medjugorje: 200+ topics
Gifts: Medjugorje rosaries and statues
Cars: Rent a car in Medjugorje
Rail Europe: Train to Medjugorje
Books: Medjugorje books and guides. See the book from the visionary Mirjana Soldo – My Heart Will Triumph
Dear readers, we have been to Medjugorje two years ago and we would like to share our story about this wonderful place of prayer. This is our experience. Like to one we have written what to see and do at Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal.
Warning: We are not getting into the endless debate why apparitions are not approved or if they are real or not. On the other hand, acknowledged by the Catholic Church like in Fatima or Lourdes. If you want that, there are millions of other articles, writing about this topic.
We know that Catholic Church always approves or maybe not, the miracles, canonisations of saints, and apparitions after the apparitions are over. Or the candidates for the blessed and the saints are already passed away. St Faustina Kowalska, St Therese de Lisiseux, Padre Pio were proclaimed for saints years after their death. So Catholic Church doesn’t hurry. It takes its time.
We know that the Zadar Declaration in 1991 is and remains the only official declaration of the Church on the events of Medjugorje. All subsequent declarations of the Holy See refer to this Declaration.
- The final judgment on the supernaturality of the apparitions and revelations remains open. The events are still happening and have to be examined by the Church.
- The “especially suitable liturgical-pastoral directives” envisaged by the Declaration of Zadar have still not been given.
- Nothing is known about the existence of the envisaged Commission, supposed to “continue to keep up with and investigate the entire event in Medjugorje”.
- Private pilgrimages to Medjugorje are allowed under condition that they are not considered as the recognition of the events which are still occurring, and which demand to be examined by the Church. The Church does not forbid priests to accompany these pilgrimages.
We are writing here about what we’ve discovered and what we’ve seen. Moreover, in which matter this place helps the individual to find, strengthens and shares his faith. In addition, goes back to his daily life with love, joy and stronger faith! Therefore this article is about spreading faith and Divine Mercy.
So where is Medjugorje located?
The Parish of Medjugorje is situated in the southern part of Herzegovina in the present-day state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Herzegovina is situated between two regions: a mountainous region to the north and a coastal region to the south.
The population of Medjugorje currently numbers about 4300 people. All are of Croatian nationality, speak the Croatian language, write with the Latin alphabet and are Catholic.
How to get to Medjugorje
- Medjugorje is 25 km southwest of Mostar. You can get there by yellow public bus. It runs about every 45 minutes to an hour.
- For foreign travelers, the easiest way to get into Medugorje is to fly into Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina (airport code OMO), which is only 20 km from Medjugorje.
- Alternatively, fly into Split, Croatia (airport code SPU), or Dubrovnik, Croatia (airport code DBV). There’s a daily bus from Split/Dubrovnik to Medugorje.
- It’s easy to make a day trip from Split by car. Take the A1 motorway in the direction of Dubrovnik to the exit at Vrgorac (as of July 2013, the last motorway exit), and then follow the signs to Međugorje via the Crveni Grm border crossing. From Dubrovnik, take the coastal D8 road towards Split until the sign for the border town of Metković, or alternatively through Herzegovina: Brgat-Trebinje-Ljubinje-Stolac-Čapljina-Međugorje. Any of these trips should take about 2 hours.
History of Medjugorje Apparitions
For those of you how are not acquainted with the history of apparitions in Medjugorje here is a quick recap,
On June 24, 1981, at about 6pm, six young parishioners from Medjugorje: Ivanka Ivankovic, Mirjana Dragicevic, Vicka Ivankovic, Ivan Dragicevic, Ivan Ivankovic and Milka Pavlovic, saw on the hill Crnica (on the place called Podbrdo) an apparition, a white form with a child in her arms. Surprised and scared, they did not approach.
The next day at the same time, June 25, 1981, four of them, Ivanka Ivankovic, Mirjana Dragicevic, Vicka Ivankovic and Ivan Dragicevic, felt strongly drawn towards the place where, the day before, they saw the One who they had recognized as Our Lady. Marija Pavlovic and Jakov Colo joined them. The group of Medjugorje visionaries was formed. They prayed with Our Lady and talked to Her. From that day onward, they had daily apparitions, together or separately. Milka Pavlovic and Ivan Ivankovic have never seen Our Lady any more. Apparitions continue to this present day.
Places to see in Medjugorje – Apparition Hill
This is how the area of Podbrdo, above the village of Bijakovici is referred to – Apparition Hill. This is where the visionaries claim to have first seen Our Lady. This happened at the end of June back in 1981.
We advise you to go up there very early in the morning, at 5.00 or 6.00 am. Because you will have more time for yourself and silence all around. After 7.00 am already groups of pilgrims go there so it’s quite a lot of traffic there.
To get to the foot of Podbrdo you need about 30 minutes walking from the church of St James. Then cca. 2o minutes to go up to top, where the statue of Our Lady marks the place of the apparition.
On the ascent, you will see images in cast bronze, and you can pray the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of the rosary. At the foot of Apparition Hill is also the Blue Cross, placed there in 1985. At this place, Ivan the visionary’s prayer group gathers regularly, ever since July 4th, 1982.
Don’t leave there your rosaries or flowers or any kind of objects at the statue or at the blue cross. Because they are removed daily, as the sanctuary wants to have it clean and respectful for every pilgrims who comes there. See other European Shrines and Basilicas.
Krizevac – Cross Mountain (520 m – 1706 ft)
Krizevac is the hill above Medjugorje. Here, in 1934, the people of the village of Medjugorje erected an eight-meter high concrete cross.
Cross Mountain (Krizevac) has become the “Calvary” of the shrine where pilgrims remember the passion of Christ.
Again, go there very early or very late, if you want to have peace and quiet for yourself. This is a steeper hill then the Apparitions hill – Podbrdo and it takes one hour to get up there. Take your warm clothes, jackets, as it can be very windy there.
You will see also many pilgrim there going bare foot. The parking lot is cca 2 km from the St. James church. Relics received from Rome for the occasion are embedded in the cross bar itself.
The Parish St. James Church and the Confessionals
The church as well as the Parish is consecrated to St. James. You have twenty-five confessionals and an outdoor altar was erected for larger gatherings.
It is absolutely astonishing to see so many young and old people waiting for confession. We haven’t seen such interest when we were in Fatima. You can see here up to 20 people in a row in front of every of the 25 confessionals.
Amazing. If you can, take with you a small folding travel chair or a blanket to sit on, because it can take time to get to you turn to have a confession. 🙂
Statue of Our Lady of Medjugorje – the Queen of Peace
The marble statue of the Queen of Peace, is practically a symbol of the Shrine. There are people there nonstop praying, giving roses. It’s in front of the church, this is your first stop when you come to Medjugorje. Come to offer you thanks and prayers to Our Lady.
Statue of the Risen Saviour
At southwest of the church there is a big bronze statue of the Risen Saviour. It is like a place for personal and group prayer of the Stations of the Cross for those who cannot climb Cross Mountain. You will see there people waiting in line in front of the cross with their handkerchiefs and wiping the knee of the statue. Why? Small drops of water are coming from the knee and pilgrims want to take a memorabilia form this site.
Here are the official Guide-lines and Information for Pilgrims from official Medjugorje information center:
Holy Mass is celebrated only in the parish church. It is possible to celebrate Mass in the Adoration chapel, with the prior permission of the pastor. According to an official diocesan directive, it is forbidden to celebrate Holy Mass in pensions, in private homes you are staying in, on the hills and in any community or chapel located in the parish of Medjugorje. For any explanation or information, please contact the Information Office in the sanctuary.
Prayer meetings within the parish can be organized only with the permission of the pastor.
Only priests working for the parish have the permission to meet pilgrim groups and give conferences in the church area. All others have to obtain the permission of the pastor.
No one has the permission to “pray over” any person either in or around the church area.
If you are a priest, you are invited to concelebrate at the evening Mass (bringing what is necessary: alb, stole, celebret…), and – if you have the permission to hear confessions – to be at the disposal of pilgrims for confessions in your language, or in the language you speak.
Leaders of pilgrim groups must arrange their meetings with priests of the parish or with visionaries through the Parish Information Office.
Each pilgrim group should employ a parish-trained and qualified guide during their stay in Medjugorje. The service of a parish-trained guide should be requested at the Information Office.
Pilgrimage group-leaders should announce the arrival of their group and the number of participants by phone/fax + 387 36 651 988 or by e-mail: informacije(at)medjugorje.hr
You are asked not to make any other arrangements during the evening prayer program in the church.
The area around the church, on Apparition Hill and Cross Mountain, are places of prayer. I ask you to please respect them as such, to behave in harmony with their significance and to dress appropriately, as to not disturb prayer and meditation. I ask you also to preserve the cleanliness of these places.
No candles are to be lit on Apparition Hill or on Cross Mountain. They may be lit only at the place provided on the west-side of the church, near the Wooden Cross. Votive offerings, religious articles, photos – nothing should not be left on Apparition Hill or on Cross Mountain.
Smoking is not allowed in and around the church.
Conscious of the presence of God, and in order to protect the atmosphere of prayer and meditation, it is not allowed to take photos during Mass and during Adoration.
It is forbidden to solicit any money, apart from the offerings during Holy Mass. If you notice anybody trying to do this, please contact the Information Office of the Sanctuary.
Mass intentions, pledges or donations for the maintenance of the Sanctuary of the Queen of Peace are to be given to the Parish Office. Thank you! With God’s blessing, – Dr. Fr Ivan Sesar, OFM, pastor
Holy Mass in Medjugorje
You have numerous masses every day in Croatian, German, English, Italian and French language. The best time for us was to attend the evening program. You start with the rosary with the joyful and sorrowful mysteries, the Holy Mass and again the rosary the glorious mysteries.
Immediately following the Mass, everybody says:
- the Creed, seven Our Fathers, Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s – kneeling.
- A blessing of religious objects follows.
- Afterwards there is prayer for the sick and the third part of the rosary.
So take your time, this evening ceremony takes two and half hours. We think this is so beneficial for everybody that comes here. You are not running around like a crazy tourist what to see and which picture to take.
The activities are here so numerous and when you attend one of them, you start to feel how important they are for building your faith. Faith without prayer is weak. When you usually go to the regular mass, it takes what…? 30 minutes and you are already in your everyday routine. Here is something else, 2 -3 hours you can really emerge and connect with the prayer within and with the community.
You have also special reciting or gatherings that are every week.
- Community reciting of the rosary on Sundays at 2 p.m. on Apparition Hill. (4 p.m. in summertime)
- Community procession of prayer up Krizevac (Way of the Cross) on Fridays at 2 p.m. (4 p.m. in summertime)
- Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9 p.m. (10 p.m. in summertime)
- Eucharistic adoration, as thanksgiving after the Thursday evening mass.
- Adoration of the Cross, as thanksgiving after Friday evening mass.
The International Youth Festival is from July 31st to August 6th
Yet the best time to come is on second or the 25. of the month, because those are the days when the apparitions are at the Apparition Hill and numerous people are there with visionary Mirjana.
“Dear children! Today, I am calling you to prayer. May prayer be life to you. Only in this way will your heart be filled with peace and joy. God will be near you and you will feel Him in your heart as a friend. You will speak with Him as with someone whom you know and, little children, you will have a need to witness, because Jesus will be in your heart and you, united in Him. I am with you and love all of you with my motherly love. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
You don’t how to pray the Rosary? In Medjugorje you will learn it fast. The rosary is one of the most popular devotions of the pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Before and after the evening mass people are praying the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries with a short introductory meditation before each mystery.
People pray rosary also on Apparition Hill on Sundays. Everywhere you turn you will see people with rosaries in there hands. In the church, on the streets, at the Podbrdo and Krizevac. There are numerous shops where you can buy them, but little advice, buy them in the Official souvenir shop, there are the original ones, made in Medjugorje.
If you want to learn how and why to pray the rosary you can download our guide here.
The Cenacolo Community
Sr. Elvira Petrozzi founded it in order to help drug addicts. The main goal of the community is to discover and to live true values of Christian life. According to their words, their therapy is Jesus Christ, and the way of healing is prayer, work and friendship.
Sr. Elvira opened two houses here in Medjugorje: a house for boys called “Field of Life”, in 1991, and a house for girls called “Field of Joy” in 2000.
We went there to listen those boys and their stories of conversion and liberation from drug addiction. It’s one hour long and you can ask them questions and its really fascinating and overwhelming to hear how did they overcome this drug addiction and what this place has done for them.
The parking lot for cars and busses is on the west side of the Shrine. It’s big so don’t worry, there is always a place to park there.
Souvenir Shop – as we have told you here is everything you ever wanted to know or buy something about Medjugorje. Rosaries, books, videos, statues, medals, you name it, they have it. Very nice and tidy place. They don’t have any special water like Lourdes water.
Don’t forget to go to the Adoration Chapel. Due to the lack of prayer space at the Shrine, Holy Masses in different languages are celebrated there during the morning, but it is open for personal prayer during the afternoon. It’s on the east side of the Church.
Conclusion. Now you know where is Medjugorje. 🙂 Many people told us, even if the official statement from the Catholic Church will be negative regarding to the Marian Apparitions in Medjugorje, that wouldn’t change nothing regarding their faith or why they are coming here. They come here for Prayer, the Holy mass, Confession, the way of the Cross. They try to be a better person in everyday life and spread love to their close ones.
John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Let us remain close in the same prayer!
May the Lord bless you abundantly!