M E D I T A T I O N
The month of October is dedicated to the Rosary, through which the Church unites with the Lord. Through the entire Rosary, the greeting "Hail Mary" seems to outweigh the "Our Father" and the "Glory Be" and Mary seems to be at the center of the prayer and the reflections. One cannot deny that the Rosary has a marianic touch. However, the greeting to Mary is always a continuation of the reflections on the events of salvation. Why was Mary given such a prominent place?
Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote in his book about the Rosary: "Someone had to accept this Word unconditionally so that it could find space in a human being and that the Word could become flesh, as any child of a mother.
"We are not this mother, who opens and offers herself unconditionally to God because none of us gives this unconditional 'yes'. Giving this absolute 'yes' in advance, seems not possible for us; yet, this word is precisely one of the conditions for this Word of God to really reach us and become a way that we humans can follow."
The life-style that Mary led assured her an important place. This place did not have to be created for her. In Mary, the Word of God became flesh and it became the way, which we Christians can follow. When Our Lady calls us to prayer, fasting and conversion and recalls this, as she did in the last message, then a woman is speaking to us, who offered herself to God completely and unconditionally. This is what gives authority to her words and her instructions.
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
THE NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of October 150,000 holy communions were distributed in the Shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje and 3369 priests from Croatia and from abroad celebrated holy Mass, that is 109 daily.
Below we list some of the countries, from where pilgrims came to visit Medjugorje: Poland, England, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Korea, Canada, Australia, France, Libanon, Scotland, Slovenia, Indonesia, the Ukraine, Finland, Norway, Japan, Hungary, Brazil, Austria, Rumania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Portugal, Honduras, Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentinia, Chile, the Antilles, Gabon, Venezuela, Columbia, Spain, the Canary Islands, the United States, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Paraguay, Aruba, Bonaire and, of course, Croatia.
TWO BISHOPS VISITED MEDJUGORJE
In October, two bishops visited Medjugorje, one from Brazil and the other from Poland. The latter is Msgr. Albin Malysiak, who is 81 years old but - as he says about himself - he still works like he did 15 years ago. Of particular interest is the fact that he worked together with Pope John Paul II for more than 20 years. He talks about these years as follows:
"Also after having been elected Pope, we remained friends and meet as often as possible. For example, I will meet the Pope the beginning of November of this year and then again in March of next year. I worked with him for ten years as parish priest and professor in theology and ten more years as Assistant Bishop. Working together with him was always a great joy for me. He is a great person, honest and sincere. He always had great sympathy for others. He was a Professor at the Faculty in Lublin. He taught social ethics and had a particular concern for the poor and abandoned. I always remained his close collaborator. We both suffered under Communism, which brought us even closer."
Although his visit to Medjugorje was a private one, Msgr. Malysiak gave us his impressions:
"I will enjoy very much coming here, once the Church has recognized Medjugorje, as we are all awaiting the official decision of the Vatican. I, personally, believe that the visionaries have genuine apparitions. I have met some of them. This morning, I also saw Vicka. She is a happy person and radiates peace. I am convinced that this is a place of apparitions but, most of all, this is a great place of prayer. And this has impressed me particularly. I also climbed up Mount Krizevac. There, I met many people who truly pray devoutly in front of the cross. I counted about 70 people who sat on stones around the cross and prayed quietly. It was about noon and it was very hot, but the heat did not bother them. The stillness and spirit of prayer inspired me and I will return home with the image of those praying.
I admire the Franciscans who work here, who pray with the pilgrims and are at all times available for talks and confessions. I wonder from where they take the strength for this. In church one feels the prayer of the people. Praying the "Our Father" together was a unique experience for me; to hear all the different languages as they pray as in one voice and one could make out the Polish language particularly clear. I am especially pleased about the fact that so many priests accompany the pilgrims.
Back in Poland, I will tell everyone about Medjugorje. I will tell them about the devoutness and the faith of the people, whom I met here. I will talk about this when I meet people and in my sermons. However, Medjugorje is being talked about much in Poland. This is also why I came here.
Finally, I would like to say that I have been touched by the work of the Franciscans in Medjugorje. As far as the Marian devotion is concerned, I am pleased that the people here are loyal to the Church teachings and the proclamations of the Pope. The love for the Mother of God, which is experienced by the people here, helps those who come here to grow in their faith. We all must try to accept and live the messages of Our Lady. Peace in the world is at stake and that is why we have make a decision to love one another and then this love will bring about peace. Here, the call for prayer is given particular importance but also especially the answer to this call. Everything one finds in the messages corresponds with the teachings of the Church. The call to live the faith and to live according to the Sacraments is particularly strong. I hope that this message will spread throughout the world and that more and more people will be coming here and accept the messages, while we are waiting for the Vatican to recognize Medjugorje. I bless you all and wish you peace."
TWO PRIESTS FROM MEDJUGORJE VISITED ARCHBISHOP DR. FRANE FRANIC
On Friday, October 9th, the parish priest of Medjugorje, Father Ivan Landeka and Father Slavko Barbarić visited the retired Archbishop of Split-Markarska, Dr. Frane Franić. Upon their return, they told us the following:
"The meeting and the talks, as well as our lunch together, were really warm. Despite his age, the Archbishop reads and writes much and spends the afternoons in prayer and adoration. Smiling and deeply convinced, he admits that he learned this in Medjugorje and that he has remained loyal to Our Lady's calls for prayer. He also recalled the words he spoke at the end of the Mass, celebrating his Diamond Jubilee: Every priests should pray three hours daily, bishops four hours and retired bishops five hours. He also promised to visit Medjugorje again, which he recognizes as he did in 1982, when he came incognito to see what was really happening here. He visited Medjugore for the first time not only because he felt responsible for the faith of his people but also to personally experience Medjugorje and also to be able to voice his opinion. Since his first experience with Medjugorje, he became a great supporter and advocate of the Medjugorje happenings. He also confided in us something that happened during an apparition. During one of his visits to Medjugorje, he was also present at an apparition, after which the visionary, Marija, gave him a message that Our Lady had given to him personally. This message is now a prophesy for the Archbishop, since it occurred later exactly as he had been told. Since it is something that the visionary could not have known, this was further reason for the Archbishop to believe in the apparitions. We thanked the Archbishop for everything he has done for Medjugorje with his statements and wished him to be able to visit Medjugorje in the near future."
10th ANNIVERSARY OF THE "WAY OF THE CROSS" IN THE PARISH OF SAN PIERO IN BAGNO
The Stations of the Cross up Mount Križevac were made by the renowned Italian sculptor Carmelo Puzzolo in 1987. Since then, they are a great help to all who climb Mt.Križevac in their meditation on the suffering and death of Christ. In addition to the customary 14 stations which portray Jesus' way of the cross, two further stations were added: the Garden of Gethsemane and the Resurrection. There is another aspect which makes it different from the traditional Way of the Cross and that is that the Mother of God is present in every station.
The artist donated the second cast of these stations to his hometown San Piero in Bagno in Italy, where they were mounted in May 1988. Two priests from Medjugore had been present for this occasion: Father Ivan Dugandžić and Father Slavko Barbarić. This year, the community of San Piero in Bagno celebrated the 10th anniversary of the mounting of the stations on Mount Corzano, which overlooks the town. This event took place on October 10, 1998. At 2:30 p.m., Father Slavko Barbarić led the parishioners in prayer up the Way of the Cross; all parishioners participated, as well as many faithful from the surrounding parishes. A beautiful church has been built on top of the mountain. After praying the Way of the Cross, holy Mass was celebrated which was followed by Adoration. On Mt. Corzano the same spirit of faith is prevalent as on Mt. Križevac in Medjugorje. Also here one can see how the school of prayer of Our Lady is being spread throughout the world and how this unites the faithful in one large community of prayer.
"WALL OF LOVE"
On October 24th, the movement "Wall of Love", a mothers for peace movement, organized a prayer meeting for those Croatians who were killed during the recent war or have been missing in action, as well as for the Croatians who now stand accused in Den Haag. This Saturday was their last encounter in this prayer novena, which had begun on the last Saturday in February and has been taking place on the last Saturday of each month for nine months. This last prayer meeting was attended by about 1500 faithful from Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina. The participants assembled in front of St. James Church in Medjugorje at 12.30 p.m., where they also had the possibility for confession. This was followed by Holy Mass during which candles were lit at the cross next to the church. Later, there was a procession to the Hill of Apparitions. The families of the Croatians who died while defending their country or have been missing since gain strength through these prayer meetings here in Medjugorje to continue their lives through. Many foreign pilgrims who happen to be in Medjugorje during this time join the faithful in these prayers.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje, BiH, fax number: +387-88-651-444.
Last Modified 11/04/98