Medujugorje-Dubrovnik Tour With Stella Davis/CWIA
October 24-November 2, 2012
"Come, says my heart, seek God's face. Your face, Lord, do I seek." (Psalm 27:8)
Our pilgrimage to Medjugorje/Dubrovnik was a wonderful, spiritually rich experience. It is difficult to put into words the impact that such a trip can have. The reasons for going were different for everyone. Some may not have known why they were going. But we all received a special touch from God as we sought Him.
We arrived in Dubrovnik on the afternoon on Thursday, October 25. Our tour guide, Slavenka, met us at the airport and we were immediately impressed by her ease and her upbeat manner. "No problem!" she told us, as we all rooted around for money to give the bus driver in exchange for bottles of water. "You have come to the land of no problems!" What a greeting!
We then drove to Medjugorje from Dubrovnik. The scenery was breathtaking and Slavenka began to acquaint us with the history of the area. As we approached Medjugorje, she talked about its history and the history of the apparitions of our Blessed Mother, and what makes Medjugorje such a wonderful, peaceful, spiritually enriching place. It was clear that she wanted our trip to be spiritually meaningful to us.
We came into Medjugorje after dark, so were unable to see much of the town or surrounding areas, but were all struck by the loveliness of our hotel--more stately and upscale than any of us had expected. Our host and his staff welcomed us with the same laid-back, smiling air with which Slavenka had welcomed us at the airport, and then a delicious dinner was served family style in the hotel dining room. We enjoyed wonderful meals and fellowship in that dining room throughout our stay. And even celebrated two birthdays! The hotel staff made a lovely birthday cake for two members of our group.
On Friday morning we traveled as a group to the orphanage in Medjugorje where, in the courtyard there, we joined many other pilgrims to pray the rosary as we waited for Vicka, the visionary, to speak to us. Vicka's countenance was so filled with peace, joy, and love, that if our pilgrimage had only included that opportunity to see her and hear her speak, it would have been worth the trip. She spoke to us about some of the primary messages of the Blessed Mother in Medjugorje--that the rosary is our strongest weapon, and if we pray the rosary in our families, Satan can do no harm. She encouraged us to open our hearts, add prayer to every day, put Holy Mass in first place, and accept Jesus without any fear and without excuse. She talked also about fasting, about heaven and hell, and encouraged us to pray for peace in our hearts and in our families--from that, peace will spill over into the world. At the end of her talk, Vicka prayed over us intently for a long time. It was beautiful and moving.
We then attended the English-language mass at church, as we did every morning that we were in Medjugorje. Every mass was inspiring and intense because there were so many devout people there, ready to worship the Lord and eager for a touch from Him.
We climbed Apparition Hill that afternoon. It was wonderful to pray the rosary in that place where so many apparitions had occurred, and to end at the statue of the beautiful Queen of Peace. There was such a feeling of peace at that spot. Several of us then returned to church for the rosary and the 6 PM mass in Croatian. Having the mass available in English via earphones was terrific.
The rest of our stay in Medjugorje was filled with wonderful opportunities. We visited the Cenacolo community (the community for those recovering from addictions), where we heard powerful testimonies from two young American men. We visited "the castle," home of Patrick and Nancy, where Patrick entertained us with a beautiful testimony delivered in a very light-hearted way! We visited Fr. Jozo Zovko's church for a private mass on Sunday and were all able to see the famous statue of the Blessed Mother that is associated with Medjugorje. We had wonderful opportunities for adoration, confession, the rosary, mass in Croatian, and to pray the Chaplet of Peace after the evening of mass. Confession in Medjugorje was a very powerful experience for some of us. We were given permission to climb Mt. Krizevac, which some of us did, and got to pray the stations on the way to the top and then see the enormous cross there. We also participated in prayer meetings back at our hotel, within our group, and those were powerful and anointed, as well.
It was difficult to leave Medjugorje, where all of the devotions felt so intense. You had the sense the entire time that you were in a very special place and near to the heart of God and the Blessed Mother.
Our time in Dubrovnik, however, was very rich and enjoyable. We were able to see beautiful churches, the ancient pharmacy, and even took a boatride on the Adriatic, a wonderful experience! We stayed in a wonderful hotel and enjoyed delicious meals. The day trip into Montenegro was also a very blessed experience. The Lord blessed us with lovely weather for much of the day, and the scenery was simply breathtaking.
Our tour was very well-led by Stella Davis and Father John Brady, and by our tour guides. We were all abundantly blessed, and I am sure that we will all see much fruit in our lives as a result of traveling to Medjugorje and Croatia this year.