Br. Greggy Espejon, Br. Andrew Krische, and Fr. Félix López were en route from Barcelona Airport to Croatia this past May 29th, with a group organized by Alberto, a seminarian from Madrid. We traveled with four deacons and two priests from the Bidasoa Seminary in Pamplona (Spain). Our group was a living image of the Catholicism of the Church, with representatives from various countries: Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, El Salvador, Philippines, USA, and Spain. Eight different countries were represented within a group of 10 people.
We spent the first two days in Dubrovnik, a breathtaking coastal city, full of history and spirituality. St. Blaise, famous for being the patron saint against troubles of the throat, is buried there. His feast day is February 3rd.
With Matt, a seminarian from our diocese, as our tour guide, we could visit the cathedral and both Franciscan and Dominican convents founded back in the 13th century. The Dominicans had a library with extremely old books and codices of the Bible. We were received by one of the five novices that the Dominicans have: Brother Mark, a young novice full of enthusiasm for the Church and the Dominican Order.
Finally on May 31st, the Feast of the Visitation, we arrived at our final destination: Medjugorje. We were fortunate enough to be able to stay at a wonderful house, owned by a couple named Patrick and Nancy, who had both had profound conversions thanks to Our Lady of Medjugorje´s messages. That is why they have dedicated their lives to taking in priests and seminarians on pilgrimage, in order to share how God has been merciful to them.
While we were there, we were able to visit the most important apparition sites, such as Apparition Hill. The devotion to Our Lady was palpable everywhere we went.
Every afternoon we took part in the parish´s activities, run by Franciscans. It was amazing to see every day long lines of people waiting to enter one of the thirty confessionals. When the priests are done hearing confessions for three or four hours, they´re worn out but happy. They all agreed that the people had been sincere in their confessions, with a profound spirit of repentance. Quite a number of the penitents had not been to confession in years.
Another highlight of the trip was the Holy Hour in the parish. For an hour, between 10 to 12 thousand people silently adored the Body of Christ in the Eucharist. The calming songs helped to create a spirit of devotion and prayer.
Our Lady of Medjugorje has been asking for prayers, frequent confession, fidelity in going to mass and adoration, and reading the Bible. Experience has shown that the people who accept and live these messages experience a huge change in their lives and they grow closer to God with indescribable joy.
One day, we got up a few hours before sunrise in order to be able to pray the Stations of the Cross, found on Cross hill, in silence and solitude. After slowing contemplating the mysteries of Christ´s Passion, we were able to enjoy a long time of silence on the hilltop, before the constant and massive flow of pilgrims began.
We arrived back in Spain on June 9th, our hearts full of gratitude to Our Lady and all the people who had made our trip possible thanks to their donations. To make the most of our stop in Barcelona, we spent June 8th and 9th holding two different family encounters with families who often come to the Home of the Mother meetings in Barcelona or whose kids are going to our upcoming summer encounters. We want to thank Manolo and Olga, Luis and Raquel, who warmly welcomed us. May God bless them for their generosity!
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