Our Lady said of the Cross on Križevac in Her message of
30th August 1984
“Dear children, the cross was also in God’s plan when you built it. These days especially, go on the mountain and pray before the cross. I need your prayers. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
In 1933, Pope Pius XI proclaimed a Holy year to mark the 1900th anniversary of the crucifixion and death of Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour. He had the desire to erect crucifixes on elevations throughout the world to mark this anniversary.
Fra. Bernardin Smoljan was Parish Priest in Medjugorje and on 21st Jan 1934 decided to build a cross to commemorate the anniversary and to respond to the Holy Father’s call.
The parishioners worked with such dedication and motivation, in bitter climate and completed the 8.5-meter cross within 52 days, on the 15th March 1934. An entry in the parish archives revealed that the parishioners performed this difficult task “in order to leave to their descendants a clear and visible proof of their deep faith in the Redeemer”. The cross was blessed on 16th March 1934 and the first Holy Mass was celebrated there.
Fra. Bernardin Smoljan, the Parish priest wrote in his report, about those days:
“On 16th March 1934 a great group of people in procession started their journey towards the Mountain from the Church, and amongst them, members of the Franciscan Third Order, who carried the flag of their brotherhood proclaiming the Name of Jesus, school children, priests and numerous people. The bells in the church rang all the time. Men were shooting in the air with their festive guns, people prayed the Rosary, sang Litanies of Blessed Virgin Mary, and this procession moved slowly towards the Mountain top that was already packed with people who were looking at this procession, as well as the other groups that approached from different sides. The Holy ceremonies began at 10 a.m. I gave the appropriate speech to the people, read a letter from His Eminence the Bishop, as well as other speeches of congratulations and regards from different sides. After that, I performed the solemn blessing of the Holy Cross, and then with huge ovations from the people I changed the name of mountain from Šipovac to Križevac (Cross Mounatain). After the blessing, I celebrated Holy Mass and the Homily was given by parish priest from Studenci Fr. Grgo Vasilj.”