St. Francis of Assisi Religious Education
Youth 2022 Festival
Justin Kozma is a member of the group of young adults who visited Medjugorje last month on the occasion of the 2022 Youth Festival. His testimony to what he witnessed there is presented here and in two other installments.
“I wrote last week of my experience in Medjugorje during this year’s Youth Festival, witnessing the conversion of my younger brother’s heart and how we shared a new spiritual connectedness. Here is a second encounter from my time in Medjugorje:
This account touches upon various experiences I witnessed with the group while in this town where the Virgin Mary is appearing. Spiritual warfare is considered almost superstitious, something to be joked about in Western society, but the realities of it became apparent as our group had a firsthand encounter during the night of adoration. On the first full day of the festival, after holy Mass at the outdoor part of St. James church, our group of young adults moved to be near the middle of the 50,000+ people kneeling in total silence in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Halfway through the holy hour, a man who was kneeling right next to us, shoulder to shoulder with some of our group, suddenly made noises that led us to think he was getting sick. We started to move a bit away, but he then began to scream and cry out, sounds of general hysteria. We all felt it was something bigger than ourselves, so I ran to the front, squeezing past people, and asked the rows of priests if anyone spoke English, as something was happening back near our group. A lady then turned to me and responded with a smile, “Don’t worry, he is being touched by the hands of Jesus.”
I was in shock, but as I looked back and forth from the Eucharist in the monstrance to the man freaking out, I recognized the reality of Christ’s power over evil. As I returned, the older Italian women surrounding our group had already brought out their rosaries and were calmly praying the Hail Mary, so I followed suit. Eventually, after more noises, with his glasses fogged up, he released what I can only describe as diabolic laughter. The man then began to cry out with joy in Italian or Latin, thanking Jesus for saving him. This experience rattled everyone, but made us a lot stronger in faith as the week went on. God showed us firsthand the reality of spiritual warfare and the power of the Eucharist, the importance of receiving it as often as possible, and being as united as we can with God so that any demons trying to hold us back stand no chance. This deliverance was the most intense one we saw that week. Other smaller experiences occurred scattered throughout our time there, and with those, our faith strengthened in knowing that all were being healed; rather than frightening us, it was actually a beautiful thing to witness.”