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55,000 Catholics gather in a stadium … for a Pentecost prayer vigil! 


Chad Kirchoff | Unsplash CC0

Francisco Veneto - published on 06/16/22

The Eucharist was exposed for adoration and long lines formed for confession.

The images of the Pentecost vigil held last Saturday in Zagreb, capital of Croatia, inspired millions of Christians around the world. About 55,000 Catholics packed the Maksimir Stadium to participate in the vigil, organized by a partnership between the Apostolic Nunciature and Laudato TV, the Croatian affiliate of the US Catholic network EWTN, founded by Mother Angelica. The ACI Digital news agency, also affiliated with EWTN, reported on the event.

Part of the vigil was the sixth “Look Through the Heart” concert, featuring 17 main artists and their bands, including a total of more than 100 musicians.

The essence of the gathering, however, was eminently spiritual: the Blessed Sacrament was exposed for Eucharistic adoration, and throughout the vigil there were lines of people seeking confession, with dozens of priests available in the confessionals.

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A post shared by Laudato TV (@laudatotv)

On the concert’s Instagram profile, the organizers recount:

While working (…) at the historical concert, we made sure that all the priests had a place to confess. There were hundreds of people in the ranks. But I met a young Franciscan, in the aisle, leaning against the entrance wall to the field, so I asked him, “Do you need any information, a place for confession or any help?” The priest replied with a smile on his face, “No, I’m waiting for a person to be brought to me who has not confessed for 30 years and now he wants to do so.” If it was only because of such situations — it would be worthwhile to organize a “Look through the heart” [event].

ACI Digital reports that Pope Francis made himself present through a message sent on Saturday by the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin:

Young people, let yourselves be conquered by His gaze of love that invites us to engage in encounter with others, to action, to tenderness, to fraternity. Gathered in faith and in thanksgiving for all the gifts of God, especially for the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus invites you to look at the world and at your brothers and sisters with hearts open to hope. Renewed in the Spirit, carry with you the mercy of God, walking with courage in newness of life, in a world that needs witnesses of Christ’s love.

The message ended with Pope Francis offering his prayers, entrusting everyone “to the constant protection of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Kamenita Vrata, and of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac.”

As at any large event, there was a medical team present. In the event’s official Instagram account’s post thanking them, it is revealed that the team included religious sisters:

Laudato TV’s Luka Radocaj pointed out that this memorable Pentecost vigil demonstrates the strength of faith in a world where Christians have been fiercely persecuted, whether overtly, under regimes of communist or Islamic fundamentalist ideology, or subtly, under secularist Western governments:

“During this period of evident persecution of Christians in the world, when they are not allowed to freely express their own belief, this event unites Christians to bring about positive change for the Glory of God.”

It should be remembered that for decades Croatia suffered anti-Christian persecution directly imposed by its own communist government, when the country was part of now-defunct Yugoslavia.

But nobody defeats the Holy Spirit.

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