80,000 praise God at Youth Festival
Young people from more than 70 countries attend the 23rd annual Youth Festival this week in Medjugorje. About 80,000 people are present. With all rooms in Medjugorje booked, late comers seek out nearby towns. The entire festival is live streamed as audio and video in several languages.
Medjugorje is the world’s youngest city this week. Youth from all over the world have been pouring into town for the 23rd annual Youth Festival. The estimated 80,000 participants are having a good time.
“The young people have continued to sing and dance late into the night praising God under the starry sky of Medjugorje” local news portal citluk.net reports.
Second in size only to the anniversary in June, the young people’s six days of sharing until August 6 constitute some of the busiest days of the year in Medjugorje. Youth from “more than 70 countries” are present, the parish website informs, adding that 422 priests concelebrated the opening Mass.
“The organisers in the sanctuary of the Queen of Peace expect more than 80,000 young people” the news portal Dalje reported on Wednesday. Jabuka TV gave the same expected number while Brotnjo Info estimated between 60,000 and 70,000 attended the opening ceremony. On Friday, citluk.net estimated 80,000 people to be present.
All rooms in Medjugorje are booked, and late participants have been seeking out accomodation in cities and towns in the proximity of Medjugorje.
During the opening ceremony, a greeting was read from Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna:
“To the countless young people who have come to Medjugorje today, I send my cordial greetings and blessings. It fills me with joy and admiration that you take all the trouble to come to this so hot and secluded place where you do not expect a sea beach or a pool, but where a Mother is waiting for you, Our Lady, whom each of you know and love” the Cardinal stated, according to the Catholic news agency kathnet.
“I wish you to experience Our Lady’s loving closeness and the joy of reconciliation in the Sacrament of penance. And a wonderful time of fellowship in the Church that is alive and gives us a home” Cardinal Schönborn added.
Including lectures, Mass and Eucharistic Adoration, the entire festival can be followed online where it is being live streamed in video and audio alike. The parish website has a list of links to the transmissions in various languages.
Early on Thursday, the participants gathered for a welcome from Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic who spoke of the festival theme, “Lord, increase our faith”:
“My dear young believers, dear Christians, you have come here to experience religion and faith. These days in Medjugorje we will hear many personal stories and experiences of people who once were far, far away from the faith” the Franciscan said, according to Brotnjo Info.
“They will tell us what they mean for them to return to faith and new life in faith.”
Medjugorje Youth Festival 2012, August 2
Production: TV HercegBosne
Priests and participants celebrate outdoor Mass
Production: Media Mir Medjugorje
August 2: Fr. Svetozar’s welcome and video # 1 added
August 3: Cardinal Schönborn’s greeting added
August 4: Headline and abstract revised, photos and info bits added
August 5: Video # 2 added