Medjugorje Youth Festival – Youth Celebration of Faith and Prayer

Bestselling Christian author and Caritas of Birmingham founder Terry Colafrancesco has been instrumental in spreading the message of the Medjugorje visions throughout the globe. Through his faith-focused writings and books, Terry Colafrancesco was able to reach out to nearly 120,000 households, thereby bringing tremendous hope into countless Christian communities.

Colafranceso is also deeply involved in various Medjugorje-centered events. Colafrancesco, along with Ernest Williams, founded the first Medjugorje Youth Festival, which initially attracted nearly 5,000 English-speaking youth from the US and other English-speaking countries. To get the youth festival off and running, Colafrancesco dedicated $50,000 to fund and promote the first event, and to put groups together. Colafrancesco met with Fr. Slavko, a resident priest in Medjugorje, to explain the planned schedule of events, his ideas, and what he would need from the parish in terms of offering the daily Mass and Confessions for the youth. Slavko agreed to make himself available for their event. With that foundation, today, the Medjugorje Youth Festival (also known as “Mladifest”) is a popular international event that attracts nearly 50,000 young people from all over the world for a week-long celebration of faith and prayer.

This year, the Mladifest was held from July 31 to August 6, and featured religious lectures, testimonies, and music. Next year’s festival will be held on the same date.

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Terry Colafrancesco Writes Words from Heaven

Ever since a turning point of his faith journey at Medjugorje, Terry Colafrancesco has sought to spread awareness of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s messages to the world. As part of his efforts, he writes under the name of A Friend of Medjugorje. He founded Caritas of Birmingham several months before visiting Medjugorje, and the organization became one of the leading organizations focused on spreading her words of peace and conversion. Terry Colafrancesco has also published several books on the apparitions, including Words from Heaven.

Known as the definitive guide to the messages given in the apparitions of Our Lady of Medjugorje, Words from Heaven recently reached its 13th edition, which includes updated messages and an expanded index. The book provides readers with a comprehensive introduction to her message, but also fruit for prayer and meditation.

The messages focus around the central themes of prayer, fasting, peace, and penance, presenting these as the essential elements for achieving true peace in one’s heart, family, and throughout the world. Those who have undertaken to employ these messages in their everyday lives have reported their powerful transformative effect. They witness to how Our Lady speaks to them through these messages, drawing them and others closer to their heavenly goal.

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Terry Colafrancesco and Our lady of Medjugorje

Before Terry Colafrancesco was intimately involved with Our Lady of Medjugorje (a village in what is now known as Bosnia and Herzegovina), he was successful in the landscape and excavation business in Birmingham, Alabama. Terry Colafrancesco founded Caritas of Birmingham, one of the biggest non-profit organizations in Alabama, in 1986 in order to promote Christian values.

Around this time, Colafrancesco became aware of sightings of the Virgin Mary, who is said to have appeared to a number of youth in Medjugorje, and became convinced that the appearances there were related to God’s call for a spiritual renewal throughout the world.

Because of this, Terry Colafrancesco adjusted the Caritas of Birmingham newsletter to reflect on the messages that were delivered to believers at Medjugorje. He also began to write the Words of the Harvester, which is a monthly publication. He eventually used his other experiences to write many books, including Words from Heaven, which chronicles messages delivered by Our Lady of Medjugorje, as well as many national bestsellers like Look What Happened While You Were Sleeping, and the most recent, the highly popular book, They Fired the First Shot 2012.

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Terry Colafrancesco and the Birth of Caritas

In the 1980s, a number of young people in a small town called Medjugorje (in what was then Yugoslavia, but is now Bosnia and Herzegovina) began to see apparitions of the Virgin Mary. News of this event struck a chord with a man in Alabama named Terry Colafrancesco, who decided to take a pilgrimage to the village.

Upon returning from his pilgrimage to Medjugorje, Colafrancesco began to work promoting travel to Medjugorje. The charity he created before his first trip to Medjugorje called Caritas of Birmingham, sponsored some of the first groups of pilgrims from the United States.

Terry Colafrancesco continues to be strongly associated with Medjugorje and has hosted one of the Medjugorje’s visionaries, Marija, at his home on a regular basis since 1988. Thousands of pilgrims make the journey to Birmingham to witness the apparition, and many conversions take place.

The community of Caritas, which operates the Caritas mission is affectionately called “Little Medjugorje,” and is a small village town near Birmingham that continues to grow rapidly under Colafrancesco’s direction. He advocates a return to more agrarian ways of life, which is apparent in the life of his community.

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