It was Fr Brendan’s fifth pilgrimage to Medjugorje. He had never climbed Cross Mountain or Apparition Hill, not even made his way to the Blue Cross. And it wasn’t because he didn’t want to. His physical capability just wouldn’t allow him.
That was until May 2009 when it was he was asked if he would like to be carried up one of the hills. “I’d love that,” he responded.
And so enquiries were made as to how and when this might be possible. The Cenacolo Community was approached as it was known that the men there sometimes helped carry people in a sedan chair. But on the first approach no definite decision could be reached because of other commitments by the community.
As the week rolled by it looked less likely that Fr Brendan’s dream would materialise but then three days before we were due to return home we were informed that if the weather was suitable (not raining) then Fr Brendan should be brought to the base of Apparition Hill the next morning at 7.00am. There was some rain during the evening prior and we prayed that everything would clear up by the morning.
Fr Brendan, Ian, Brendan and myself sat down for breakfast at 6.00am and arranged for a taxi at 6.30am to take us to the base of Apparition Hill in good time for the meet-up with the young men from Cenacolo.
Just after the appointed time the boys from the Cenacolo Community were spotted making their way towards us and we were all very happy to see them. Introductions were made and it was agreed that Fr Brendan would be set down at each station of the Joyful Mysteries to lead the rosary.
It was a very special ascent up the hill to the top where Our Lady’s statue stands. When we reached the summit Fr Brendan stood up for a short while holding onto the railing that surrounds the statue, but not for long, and was helped back into the chair. No other groups were there. Fr Brendan had Our Lady’s full and undivided attention!
And then the helpers from Cenacolo seemed to melt away and leave Fr Brendan alone with Our Lady, posting a ‘guardian angel’ slightly behind him in case he needed any further help. I found this very moving.
Fifteen minutes later, we started to make our descent, by which time large crowds of pilgrims from Italy and French Martinique were making their way up the hill. We were soon back at the base again where we expressed our appreciation to the Cenacolo boys. Without them Fr Brendan’s dream would not have been possible.