Celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Sarajevo Sanctuary

A solemn Eucharistic celebration took place on the evening of August 15th at the Stup settlement and the parish and sanctuary of the same name in Sarajevo, marking the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The service was led by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Vrhbosna, Msgr. Tomo Vukšić.

Concelebrating with him were about 10 priests, including the host, the parish priest of Stup, the custodian of the sanctuary, and the dean of Sarajevo, rev. Miroslav Ćavar.

Due to adverse weather conditions, the outdoor altar for the traditional Holy Mass was not used, and the faithful gathered inside the parish church. Consequently, the introductory procession with the venerated image of the Virgin Mary was omitted.

Archbishop Vukšić welcomed the gathered believers, who filled both the Stup church and the area outside, by inviting them to see the rain as a form of penance for their own sins, a part of repentance at the start of the Holy Mass, as a step towards their personal conversion. "We will pray for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary so that every day we may grow in conversion and sanctification on our journey towards the Assumption into Heaven."

After the scripture readings and the proclamation of the Gospel, Archbishop Vukšić delivered a fitting sermon. He began by reflecting on the well-known thought : "No, I will not die, but I will live and proclaim the works of the Lord."

"This is the core message of this feast, rooted in the truth of Jesus' resurrection and the Easter celebration. It is a message that says: 'I will not die, but I will live, and I am sent, you are sent, to proclaim the works of the Lord in this world.' These two foundational thoughts (...) should guide this reflection (...) Thus, I will live, not die – this is the message of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Just as she lives forever, regardless of what we call biological and earthly death – which is only a transient aspect of the journey from this form of life to a different and eternal existence. The source of this (...) is the truth of Jesus' resurrection (...) because he is the 'first of those who have fallen asleep,' precisely because he rose after dying (...) With this feast (...) we remember not only Jesus' resurrection, but we also remember that among those who belong to him, Mary was the first to be assumed into Heaven, and all the others who belong to him await the call, like the Blessed Virgin Mary, from what we call the end of earthly life in the human body, to join their immortal spirit and live forever where the sun forever shines", emphasized Archbishop Tomo.

He went on to say that to rightfully knock on the doors of heaven, to genuinely hope for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to humbly anticipate one's own resurrection, life must be lived in such a way that it proclaims, speaks of, testifies to, and preaches the works of the Lord. "This world is filled with the works of the Lord, of which each of us is a part. And together, we contribute to a multitude of the works of the Lord – alongside many others in this world. It is our duty to recognize them, serve them, and maintain a friendly relationship with them, treating all people as brothers and sisters and bearing witness to the works of the Lord", said Msgr. Vukšić among other things.

Before the final blessing, rev. Ćavar, the parish priest, expressed gratitude to all who participated in organizing the feast over the past few days. He urged everyone to come together, as was inevitable in the crowded Stup church, which was too small to accommodate all those who came to pilgrimage to Our Lady.

At the conclusion, Archbishop Vukšić recited the litany and blessed those in attendance before the image of the Virgin Mary.

The choir of young people from the Stup parish enriched the Holy Mass with harmonious singing.

It's worth noting that this year, the parish community of Stup prepared for the feast by holding a three-day novena. On the actual feast day, additional Holy Masses were celebrated at 7 AM – led by Professor at the Sarajevo Catholic Faculty rev. Mario Bernadić, at 9 AM by the cathedral parish priest and professor at the Catholic Faculty, rev. Oliver Jurišić, and at 11 AM by Canon rev. Marko Zubak.