I awoke from a peaceful sleep and was the only one awake in the house except for Mama. We soon began a conversation which was basically half Croation and half English. I told her I had a picture of Padre Jozo, and she was interested, so I ran up to my room and brought it to her. As I looked at it, I began to cry. I was missing him and the retreat family as well. I could still feel his tender heart so close.
Mama understood my tears, and smiled warmly. I told her I was a member of the IIPG that was begun by Nedjo. I asked if she had any pictures of him. She got some family albums out and showed me pictures of his wedding day. She began to tell me how holy he is, and what a good man he is, and she began to cry. Both of us were tearful together. There was a strong connection that occurred between us at this time. I really have a love in my heart for her. She said she would have me meet Mirjana, Nedjo's wife, while I was there. I was delighted. I told her I was planning on going to his grave site and putting flowers there on behalf of the IIPG and Mike Sepal, who had shared with me the wonderful work of his good friend. She said she would show me how to get there. We dried our tears, and hugged warmly.
Since it was the First Friday in Lent, I said I was fasting, so I had some bread and tea, and left to attend the 10:00 am English Mass. I walked the well-worn path again, and prayed from the heart thanking God and Our Lady for each and every grace and blessing. As I walked, I wept, and through tearfilled downcast eyes, I saw in the path a chaplet rosary lying on the ground. It was a small 7x3 chaplet, meaning it had 7 sets of 3 small stones, and earth from Medjugorje in it. The cross was the Trinity Cross with the image of God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit on it. As I picked it up, I knew Our Lady was instrumental in me finding it. I kissed it and began praying with it. I felt so incredibly blessed in this find. I felt it was a gift from Our Lady, a great gift. As I continued on the path, I noticed a large crucifix on a tree in a field. I walked over to it and prayed silently before Jesus. It was very beautiful.
Then I arrived at church. When I knelt in the pew, a woman approached and asked if anyone would like to do the reading for Mass. Immediately I raised my hand! A chance to assist at Mass, in St. James Church, in Medjugorje, on the First Friday of Lent!!! What a gift!!! What an honor!!! So I read at Mass, thank you God, again!! There were several people who had attended the retreat at Mass also, and it was comforting to see familiar family again. I had wanted to assist at a Mass with Padre Jozo, but now I saw it was better to be patient!
Some of the people that had been at the retreat were able to be present for Mirjana's March 2nd apparition and were so moved that they were blessed to be there. The message Our Lady gave was this,"I bless you, go in my peace. Be a brotherly support to one another."
After Mass, I hooked up with my wonderful Irish friends. They were going back the next day, so this was my last day with them. I was going to miss them, and especially the warm accent of David. I loved to hear him speak! We did some shopping and stopped in and had Masses said for people at home. I had some serious shopping to do as I had a First Communion and Confirmation I wanted to get mementoes for. It was great fun!
At 2:00 p.m. we went to Cross Mountain to attend the Stations of the Cross. This was very sombering, remembering Fr. Slavko dying after he had finished, just four months ago. There was a large crowd that had gathered and we prayed together. The rocky steepness was more difficult as it had rained, and was very slippery. This was my first ascent to the top, and I was winded by the time I got there! But the view was incredible, and the cross immense. I prayed for my family as I stood at the top, and thanked God for all the goodness in my life. The descent was treacherous with the slippery conditions, but no one was injured. We went back to Dena and David's place and had some bread and tea before going to the 5:00 p.m. rosary and Mass. This was the first time in my life I had attended Mass twice in one day. And it felt so good, so right. That is why I was in Medjugorje. At Mass I finally could see the little girl with the magic voice. She was beautiful! And to hear her sing was to hear the angels!
After Mass, I again did the Stations of the Cross, but in St. James Church this time. And the church remained packed. The devotion is awesome in these people. After stations, I bid a fond farewell to the fine Irish folks, as they were returning home in the morning. And I returned to Mama.....
(End of Part 14)