A new meeting place in Medjugorje

Mary’s Meals has opened a new information centre in the pilgrimage village where the organisation has its roots.

Back to all stories | Posted on 02 Aug 2018 in News

The innovative new facility – made from a recycled shipping container – has opened in Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The information centre is designed to mirror some elements of a classroom and decorated with colourful photographs from Mary’s Meals programmes around the world. 

The container opened its doors to its first visitors in late June and the official launch took place during Mladifest – the Medjugorje youth festival – at the start of August.

Visitors from the Mary’s Meals global family joined the Medjugorje team of staff and volunteers and the charity’s founder and global chief executive Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow for a small opening ceremony. Two talented schoolgirls who received Mary’s Meals in Malawi, Joyce and Vanessa, sang One Cup of Porridge, which was written by children attending their school, Jacaranda School for Orphans. The girls will also perform live on stage to a crowd of tens of thousands of pilgrims during the festival to help raise awareness of Mary’s Meals.

Joyce and Vanessa will perform at Mladifest in Medjugorje

The centre provides information about the impact of world hunger and the simple solution offered by Mary’s Meals, which feeds more than 1.2 million children in 15 of the world’s poorest countries every school day. It will also play a key part in maintaining the important link between Mary’s Meals as a growing international movement and the charity’s origins in Medjugorje. 

Visitors to the container will be invited to learn more about the work of Mary’s Meals through books, films, live presentations, information leaflets, prayer resources, interactive displays and a timeline charting key moments in the Mary’s Meals story. 

The small town of Medjugorje welcomes an estimated two million pilgrims from around the world each year. Located on Medjugorje’s main avenue, this new Mary’s Meals information centre is designed to support visitors on their pilgrimage journey, offering opportunities to participate in the charity’s mission through prayer and fasting. Friendly staff and volunteers are on hand within the centre to answer any questions and guests can help themselves to fasting foods (bread, water and hot drinks) at a self-service canteen.

Mary’s Meals’ founder and global chief executive, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, said: “It is with great joy that I announce the opening of our information centre in Medjugorje. We are delighted to welcome people to our new home in this very special place, where the seeds of our work were first planted, and to invite pilgrims to share in our simple mission through fasting and prayer.

Open quote mark We are delighted to welcome people to our new home in this very special place, where the seeds of our work were first planted. Close quote mark
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, Founder and Global CEO

“Medjugorje is at the very heart of Mary’s Meals, which has grown to become an incredible movement of people from around the world, working together to achieve truly remarkable things. Many of the international groups involved in our work were started by dedicated supporters who first heard of our work in this beautiful little town.

“Our new information centre being housed within a repurposed shipping container – much like the ones used to carry aid overseas when we first started out on this journey of ours – will serve to remind us of the reasons we began this work and the simplicity of our vision.”

Those involved in the first Mary’s Meals projects were all people whose lives had been changed by pilgrimages to Medjugorje. They chose, therefore, to name the organisation in honour of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who brought up her own child in poverty. Mary’s Meals consists of, respects and reaches out to people of all faiths and none.

There are many different ways you can help – by donating your time, money, skills and prayers.