23rd International Youth Festival
The 23rd International Youth Festival that started on Wednesday, August 1, 2012 with theme: “Lord, increase our faith”, ended on Monday, August 6, 2012 with Holy Mass of Thanksgiving on Cross Mountain. Holy Mass began at 5 a.m. and Fr. Danko Perutina, the coordinator of the retreat was the main celebrant. Festival gathered dozens of thousands of young people from more than 70 different countries, while some were here for the first time, like group from Ruanda. The programme would start with Morning Prayer at 9 a.m. and lectures, testimonies and hymns would last until noon. After recess, the afternoon programme would start at 4 p.m. and Rosary would follow at 6. The central part of each day was Holy Mass at 7 p.m.
Fr. Miljenko Steko, the vicar of Herzegovina Franciscan Province was the main celebrant on the first evening, Fr. Danko Perutina was the main celebrant on second day. Two newly ordained priests from Herzegovina Franciscan Province were the main celebrants on Friday and Saturda, while Fr. Branko Rados, former Parish Priest in Medjugorje and Dr. Fr. Ante Vuckovic, Professor and Dean at Theology University in Split gave homilies on those nights.
Sunday Holy Mass was celebrated by Provincial of Herzegovina Franciscan Province, Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar and Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic, educator of Franciscan seminarians, was the main celebrant. Largest number of priest that concelebrated at Masses was on Thursday night when 591 of them were there!
Traditional Procession through the parish took place on Friday night, after the evening prayer programme, when thousands of young people followed Our Lady’s Statue with candles in their hands. Cenacolo community had their performance spectacle on Saturday night. Priests from every single continent were available for the Sacrament of Confession during the whole programme.
The International Choir and Orchestra with participants from 22 countries, conducted by Prof. Damir Bunoza accompanied every event of the Festival with their music. Along with programme in Croatian language, the Youth Festival was simultaneously translated in 17 languages and 36 interpreters were assigned for that work. Numerous journalists were present, from various press houses throughout the world and they reported about this event, while the whole programme was broadcasted through live streaming service by various portals and media in the world.