On August 13, a group of 17 pilgrims from the Fethard area travelled to the village of Medugorje which is located in Bosnia Herzegovina, around 25 km southwest of Mostar and close to the border of Croatia.
Medjugorje came to world attention back in June of 1981 when six children from the locality claimed to have had an apparition of Our Lady. Remarkably, three of these children, now adults, still report having daily apparitions ever since. The other three have them less frequently but do still report seeing Our Blessed Mother on special occasions e.g. birthdays, Christmas day etc.
In the intervening years over 40 million pilgrims have flocked to the little village of Medjugorje, a name which literally means ‘between the hills’. Our little group added to that number when we arrived at our lodgings in the Dubrovnik Hotel adjacent to the local parish church.
Our tour operator had local representatives to assist us and accompanied us on the various walks and climbs which are central to the story of Our Lady in Medugorje.
One of the lesser climbs was to Apparition Hill where Our Lady first appeared to the children on June 24 in 1981. Our guide shared the story of the apparitions and of how difficult it was for the young visionaries in, what was then, a very communist community.
All in all we had a wonderful week. People go on pilgrimage for all sorts of personal reasons. Whatever the reason, one thing is certain, that as the days passed the camaraderie and friendship among us grew. Deep chats were intermingled with fun and laughter during the course of our week. Most of those who travelled had never been to Medugorje before, but the general consensus seemed to be that a return trip was definitely on the cards.
Finally, we managed to find premises that aired the Tipp v Cork match in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Semi-Final. Thankfully we made it through to the final. We partially attribute our victory to all the prayers and penances of our group.