SHORT MEDJUGORJE GUIDE
compiled by Dave Sheehan
(any errors contained herein is due to me- your help in correcting them is greatly appreciated)
Medjugorje is an unusual place. No where in recorded history has there been a place on earth where the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, has been reported to be appearing for so long a time. The pilgrim is advised to get as much information about Medjugorje as she or he can, before setting out on the pilgrimage. If a map of the village can be obtained beforehand, all the better. Maps of the village are sold in the Franciscan bookstore just adjacent to the church of St James.
This short guide is meant to highlight some of the finer points of Medjugorje.
Croatian Mass at 7:30am Weekdays
The little Franciscan Bookstore sells a small Croatian English Mass book that will allow you to follow the Croatian Mass. I rise early in Medjugorje around 6 AM. I try to have my cup of tea and my rosary by myself before the day sets all sorts of traps for me to get into trouble. The 7:30am weekday Croatian Mass is for the workers in the area. It will go for about 30 minutes.
For those who like to go to Mass twice in one day, it is a nice Mass to go to and return home for breakfast. The English Mass is usually said at 10:00am during the week.
The Information Office (http://www.medjugorje.hr/ )
If you want to know what is going on that day, check in with the information office close by the church. The day’s events are posted and the staff is always there to help you.
The office opens at 9:00am.
Have your rosary in hand and be ready to do the mysteries of the Rosary. We will start with the Joyful Mysteries. As we ascend, you will see a cross on your right. See June 26, 1981 below for its significance. When we have completed the joyful mysteries, we have a choice of going to our right toward where Our Lady first appeared on June 24, 1981, or to continue to the left and upward and say the sorrowful mysteries. The sorrowful mysteries will swing us around the top and on the other side of the apparition site of June 24th.
In either case, it is advisable to spend some quiet time there where the statue of Our Lady marks the spot of the first apparition.
On the way down, we will complete the mysteries of the Rosary and then come by the Blue Cross area. For those who cannot ascend Apparition Hill, Blue Cross will more than make up for missing the climb.
June 24, 1981
The first apparition takes place in the afternoon. It is a silent and
distant silhouette on the summit of Podbrdo which later would be
called Hill of Apparition or Apparition Mountain. The second
apparition of the day takes place around 6:00pm.
June 26, 1981 - Cross marks spot in the vicinity of the 2nd and 3rd Joyful Mystery on your right as you ascend the mountain.
While Marija goes down the mountain, she is mysteriously pushed to the
side of the trail by an unseen force. She sees the Virgin again. Our
Lady is carrying a wooden cross and is crying. "Peace, Peace, Peace!
Be reconciled! Only Peace. Make your peace with God among yourselves.
For that, it is necessary to believe, to pray, to fast, and to go to
The Blue Cross area is just above the “Apparition Hill” road. In the early days, the visionaries used to meet there for their apparitions. They were able to do so and avoid the Communist police. To accommodate the larger crowds, you will now see two areas there for prayer and meditation.
Meadow at Gumno
August 2, 1981
From Marija's room, Our Lady asks her and 40 others: "All of you together go to the meadow at Gumno. A great struggle is about to unfold. A struggle between my Son and Satan. Human souls are at stake."
[At Gumno] "Everyone here may touch me." [When Our Lady's dress became stained, Marinko invited all to go to confession.]
I believe that the meadow of Gumno is between Apparition Hill and St James Church. This should be confirmed with a local guide or the Church information office.
Cenacolo has a beautiful chapel with a larger than life icon on the way of the Risen Christ grasping the hands of Adam and Eve, pulling them out of the graves. The icon is symbolic of what Christ has done for these young men in pulling them out of the death of drugs.
Usually, the main part of Cenacolo is not open to the public, but if you continue to walk a little ways, you will find a small amphitheater and also the new gift store.
The amphitheatre is where the men give their testimony. The gift store helps support their work. Their music is great.
Cross Mountain/Mount Krisevac
Built by the villagers in 1933 as a commemoration of the 1900 years since the Crucifixion, this is one tough mountain to climb.
You may want to visit the Water Closet that is to the left and behind the shops at the foot of the mountain before you begin your climb. Give yourself enough time, 45 minutes to an hour to reach the summit. Try to climb it in dry, cool weather. Have a Stations of the Cross pamphlet with you. If it is sunny, wear a cap, have drinking water and a good set of climbing shoes with you. I wear work gloves to help me grasp the rocks and tree branches during the climb.
Be courteous of other pilgrims and try to climb the mountain in silence or with a minimal of chatter. You are walking the Way of the Cross.
Just before you reach the summit, you will see on your left a marker where Father Slavko Barbaric gave his soul back to God on November 24, 2000. He had just climbed the mountain with about 70 pilgrims and was bringing them down when he suffered an apparent heart attack. This took place about 4:00pm in the afternoon local time.
Message of November 25, 2000 "Dear children! Today when Heaven is near to you in a special way, I call you to prayer so that through prayer you place God in the first place. Little children, today I am near you and I bless each of you with my motherly blessing so that you have the strength and love for all the people you meet in your earthly life and that you can give God’s love. I rejoice with you and I desire to tell you that your brother Slavko has been born into Heaven and intercedes for you. Thank you for having responded to my call." 11/2000
Once you have reached the top, still be mindful that you are in a holy place. Some people will leave photos of loved ones or petitions under the rocks. Others will just pray and enjoy the view.
When you go to leave, you have the option of going down the way you came or going down the back way. I prefer the back way.
The back trail down from Mt. Krisevac
If you walk around the top of the mountain, you will notice a trail starts to form on the back side of the mountain. You can follow this and it will take you back to the bottom. Just be careful as the descent is steeper than the regular trail and the brush is closer by. This path is taken by the minority of people so it is not as well trod.
The advantage to it is that if you are with a small group, you can relax and talk a little bit without disturbing any of the pilgrims ascending the mountain. They are on the other side. Our group saw blue and white butterflies on my descent on June 15th, 2006. We took the back side trail down until it joined the main trail at the 3rd station.
Mother’s Village (Majcino selo) and nearby petting zoo
Mother’s Village is on the north outskirts of Medjugorje and is an orphanage started by Father Slavko Barbaric (r.i.p.). There is a small art workshop there called “Queen Katarina” shop there where you can buy souvenirs and aid in the support of this worthy endeavor.
Nearby there is a little park with some animals that you can pet. The park is called “St Francis Garden” and yes, I have gone down the slide there.
Close by to Medjugorje are some beautiful falls. Be prepared; the water is cold but the trip is more than worth it!
Odds & Ends
Our Lady of Grace Statue is in St. Elijah Church in Tihaljina, Bosnia-Hercegovina
When Father Jozo was released from prison, he was sent to this church. When people came there to see him, they noticed the beautiful status of Our Lady of Grace. It is this statue that has become so well-known with Medjugorje.
They have an interactive map
Comments and Suggestions
I am always looking for ways to update this Medjugorje Guide. Please send me your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks and God speed!