M E D I T A T I O N
THE DAY OF THE LORD
In May of this year the Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II about the celebration of Sunday "Dies Domini" - the Day of the Lord, was published. In five chapters, the Pope explains the history and the meaning, as well as the religious and social significance of celebrating Sunday. The Church and a large part of present-day trade and industry are at two different starting points. In order to raise the employment rate and consumption, commerce would like to abolish Sunday as a day on which one does not work. On the other side, the Church defends Sunday tirelessly as being the day of the Lord, on which one should not work. And both sides substantiate their viewpoints with the wish that they want to make life more comfortable for people. Soon discussions will take place on this topic and those who have already written-off Sundays will defend their thesis with all means.
For the Christian, Sunday is not only a day on which to rest. The eucharistic community and society in general, as well as resting, give Sundays an irreplaceable meaning. Recently, a woman said the following about this fact, which is often hidden, "If Sunday is abolished as the day of rest, what will become of my family life? Maybe I will have a free day on Monday, my husband on Tuesday and my children on Wednesday or Thursday. When will we have our family gatherings or find time for one another? When will social and cultural functions and church meetings take place when there won't be one free day for everyone?"
Christians no longer make up a majority in society so what can they do against this? They can surely do one thing! How far they renew their practice and culture of living a Christian Sunday, that is how far they will defend the day of the Lord. Therefore, the call of Our Lady and Her insistence that we celebrate Holy Mass regularly defend Sunday, a divine and human achievement of our time.
Father Ivan Landeka
N E W S
VISIT OF AN AMERICAN BISHOP
Msgr. Kenneth Steiner, Auxiliary Bishop of Portland, Oregon, and parish priest of St. Mary's Corvallis, came to Medjugorje for a private visit from November 7 to 12, 1998. This was his first visit and we will relate his impressions in more detail in our next edition of the Press Bulletin. On the last day of his visit, he celebrated Holy Mass for the English-speaking pilgrims. Among other things, he said the following in his homily:
"I came here with a very heavy heart, full of stones. These stones I left on Apparition Hill and on Mt. Krievac. Now I return home with a soft heart."
FRENCH NATIONAL PILGRIMAGE
As in previous years, French pilgrims organized also this year a French national pilgrimage to Medjugorje. For this occasion, about 1500 pilgrims came to Medjugorje from October 22 to 31. Through prayers, meditations, adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament, celebration of the Holy Eucharist, climbing Apparition Hill and Mt. Krievac, and exchanging their experiences, the French pilgrims enriched themselves and each other and so were able to return home to their families and parishes with new strength and vigor. In their work, they all tried to attain a mutual goal: the spreading of Our Lady's message of peace according to the Gospel.
PILGRIMAGE OF LEADERS FOR PILGRIMS FROM IRELAND
It is well-known that Irish pilgrims come in large numbers to Medjugorje. Each week from April through October, there are usually about 200 Irish pilgrims in Medjugorje. These groups are always very well organized and are accompanied by a priest and a lay person, who know Medjugorje very well. The group leader is often irreplaceable, as he knows the local circumstances as well as the mentality of the pilgrims he guides very well. This is frequently a very demanding task, which requires a great deal of love and humility.
In order to be able to continue on this path, the leaders of the Irish groups gathered as pilgrims in Medjugorje during the last week of October. There were about 120 of them and together they climbed Apparition Hill and Mt. Krievac and met with several priests and visionaries in order to be able to better understand the pilgrims whom they are bringing here tirelessly year after year. Through prayers and talks they tried to strengthen and renew their decision to serve others and so came to realize even more the importance of mutual cooperation.
PRAYER MEETINGS IN AUSTRIA AND GERMANY
From November 2 to 6, 1998, Father Slavko Barbariĉ led a fasting and prayer meeting in Sonntagsberg, about an hour's drive from Linz, Austria. About 60 persons took part in this seminar, deepening their faith through prayer, fasting and silence. This was the first time that Father Slavko led such a retreat somewhere other than the "Domus Pacis", where these retreats are usually being held.
On November 6th, Father Slavko celebrated the evening prayer program with a large group of Medjugorje pilgrims in the Franciscan Church in Salzburg, where for many years a group of faithful has been meeting every Tuesday evening to pray the Rosary and celebrate Holy Mass. The large Franciscan Church was filled to the last seat.
On November 7th, an evening prayer program was held at the parish St. Walburgis in Nürnberg, Germany. The evening began with the Rosary, followed with the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, which was sung in Croatian, celebration of Holy Mass and ended with Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
On November 8th, Father Slavko met with numerous faithful at Heroldsbach, Germany, a place where apparitions of Our Lady took place from 1949 to 1952 and which now has been approved as a place of prayer. For almost 50 years everything in Heroldsbach had been forbidden. Last year, finally, this place was approved as a place of prayer and today Father Dietrich von Stockhausen works there, who had helped in Medjugorje with the German pilgrims for 18 months. Despite the fact that these apparitions are not accepted as being authentic, many remained faithful to Our Lady's call to pray. Now they are happy that Heroldsbach has been accepted as a place of prayer. Father Dietrich observes that more and more pilgrims are coming there. After having experienced Medjugorje first hand, Father Dietrich started the same prayer program in Heroldsbach as in Medjugorje. That same afternoon, Father Slavko met with faithful in Passau.This was now already the eighth time that such an evening prayer program was organized in this town. This prayer meeting has become a custom and attracts many faithful.
On his return to Medjugorje, Father Slavko said about his impressions, "The experiences are the same everywhere: Mary, Queen of Peace, inspired many to pray and they also try to carry this spirit of prayer into their homes and their parishes".
PRAYER MEETING IN FRANCE
Following an invitation of friends and pilgrims of Medjugorje, Father Ivan Bradvica took part in a prayer meeting in the French town of Villefranche sur Soane from November 14 to 15, 1998. During these two days, about 4000 faithful celebrated the Holy Eucharist, prayed for the healing of body and soul and venerated the Cross of the Lord. The visionary Mirjana Soldo also gave testimony.
RETREAT IN 'DOMUS PACIS'
At the moment a one-week fasting and prayer retreat is taking place in 'Domus Pacis'. About 50 pilgrims from Germany and Austria are taking part in this retreat. Together and in silence they endeavor to deepen their faith in the spirit of Our Lady's messages of peace, conversion, faith, fasting and prayer.
After having attended a seminar in August, the young men and women who want to work in the parish of Medjugorje as pilgrim guides, had to pass their exam on November 12th. About 40 young people had taken part in the seminar of whom 25 came for the examination; 3 passed the exam. The participants were tested on their knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, Catechism, the messages of Our Lady, as well as their know-how of the tourist industry, history, geography and culture of this area.
VIENNA AND MOSTAR CONNECTED VIA AIRLINE
Since October of this year, Vienna, the capital of Austria, and Mostar are connected via Tyrolean Airlines, an Austrian airline. The flights are on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and leave Vienna at 1:25 p.m. for Mostar and the return flights take place on the same day, leaving Mostar at 3:20 p.m. for Vienna.
This is surely very interesting for Austrian pilgrims who want to come to Medjugorje. All necessary information can be obtained either directly from the airline or at the travel agency Globtour in Medjugorje.
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 11/18/98