Happy looking young people from 25 parishes of Ossory, members of the Kilkenny Medjugorje Youth Group in Medjugorje for the 29th International youth Festival there
A group of 132 Kilkenny teenagers, many facing the Leaving Cert next year, recently returned from a trip to Medjugorje, a place of pilgrimage for Catholics since 1981 following the 'alleged appearance of the Virgin Mary there.
Many went skeptical but returned, much to their own surprise, with a renewed faith after a week of prayer, Masses, testimonies sand generally meeting up and taking a look at life outside of their home surroundings.
In an era where it is the norm to make fun of people and their beliefs, there is something comforting about the trip organised by the Kilkenny Medjugorje Youth Group and its leader, Joe Malone, the local public representative.
Just to set the background, Medjugorje is a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s been an unofficial place of Catholic pilgrimage since the Virgin Mary ‘allegedly appeared’ on Apparition Hill in 1981. There is a “Queen of Peace” statue marking the site of the 1st apparition and one in front of the St. James Church. It is claimed that; ‘Liquid has dripped from the “Risen Christ” statue near the church. A concrete cross tops Cross Mountain, to the south.
This wasn't a holiday for the young people and they were up early every morning for Mass and visits to the hill and there was lots of praying. However, most of all it was fun and they had a great time together and 25 parishes of Ossory were represented.
Joe Malone was delighted with the manner in which the youngsters behaved themselves on what was the 12th annual pilgrimage. It was great to see them explore their faith and to open their minds to a new place and things.
“From my feedback, the young people enjoyed it and the week had a wonderful, positive impact on them in a world where there are so many competing interests like social media and peer pressure and if this helped in some way to clear their minds, it was worth while,” he said.
The trip coincided with the 29th Medjugorje International Youth Festival and all the pageantry that involved with young people there from all over the world.
Spiritual leaders were Fr Ray Dempsey and Fr Willie Hennessy.