M E D I T A T I O N
FEAST OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD - NEW YEAR
It is not accidental that the Church marks the first day of the civil year with the name of Mary, Mother of God. The resoundingly celebrated close of one year and the beginning of another is not only characterized with new hopes and expectations but also with certain fears and trepidations. We rightfully expect much from the future but along with the wish to have more or to be more, is mixed the fear if it can be realized. We can conceal our hopes and fears. If that happens we must know that we will always have to start all over from the beginning, and that is tedious.
The Church places the image of Mary, Mother of God at the beginning of the year. She does that with reason: For the Church Mary is "the new creation". In her being and in her womb it was not fear that became flesh, but the new Adam. That did not take place without questions and fears, nor were all of her cares resolved before hand.
The world in which we live, lives with the fact that every expectation is mixed with trepidation. We can be inclined toward people of good hope or people of only dark misgivings. A Christian's place is certainly not among gloom and doom prophets. His place is on the side of people of optimism and cheerfulness - despite real difficulties.
"I believe in the sun even when it isn't shining.
I believe in love even when I don't feel it.
I believe in God even when I don't see Him."
With these words of a young Jew that he wrote down in the Warsaw ghetto and with God's blessing and Our Lady's intercession, I wish you blessed days in the coming year.
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR IN MEDJUGORJE
To prepare for Christmas, in addition to the evening prayer program, the rosary was prayed on Apparition Hill during the novena. During Advent in the "Domus Pacis" House of Prayer three fasting and prayer seminars were conducted. About 150 pilgrims from home and abroad took part in these seminars, wishing through prayer and fasting to prepare for Christmas and to get closer to the mystery of the birth of God on earth.
During the Christmas holidays at the shrine of the Queen of Peace there prevailed an atmosphere of peace, prayer, and unity among the faithful who came from all parts of the world. Since Christmas is a family celebration, for the very day of Christmas in Medjugorje there were about 1,000 foreign pilgrims. The most numerous groups were from France, Korea, Italy, Germany, Belgium, USA and Mexico.
On Christmas Eve about 2,000 faithful participated in the evening program. A children's musical presentation began the evening Eucharist and thereby wished a Merry Christmas to all the assembled faithful and to Medjugorje pilgrims from around the world. In a church overflowing with the faithful, a prayer vigil began at 10 PM and ended with midnight mass. Christmas day itself passed by in the genuine spirit of peace and Christmas joy of parishioners and pilgrims gathered together around their Mother.
ANNUAL APPARITION TO JAKOV ON DECEMBER 25, 1998
After the apparition which began at 11.50 a.m. and lasted 12 minutes, Jakov wrote:
"Our Lady came joyful. She greeted me, as always, with 'Praised be Jesus!' She spoke to me about the secrets and afterwards gave me this message:
'Dear children! Today, on the birthday of my Son, my heart is filled with immeasurable joy, love and peace. As your mother, I desire for each of you to feel that same joy, peace and love in the heart. That is why do not be afraid to open your heart and to completely surrender yourself to Jesus, because only in this way can He enter into your heart and fill it with love, peace and joy. I bless you with my motherly blessing.' "
Jakov prayed with his family. He prepared himself for the apparition with Confession and Holy Mass. After the apparition, he cried for a while.
The Prayer-Educational Seminar on the theme: 'Pilgrimage- Part of Our Faith Walk" will be conducted from February 28 - March 5, 1999 at Hotel 'Sunce' in Neum. The sixth Prayer-Educational Seminar will last six days instead of the usual five. The first four days, as has been the case so far, will be filled with prayer, lectures and exchange of experiences, while the fifth day will be completely dedicated to spiritual renewal. As in each previous year this seminar also we will close with a community pilgrimage to Medjugorje.
PROGRAM OF THE SIXTH PRAYER - EDUCATIONAL SEMINAR
Sunday, February 28, 1999
Monday, March 1, 1999
Tuesday, March 2, 1998
Wednesday, March 3, 1999
Thursday, March 4, 1999 - Day of Prayer
Friday, March 5, 1999
Lecturers for this year's seminar are:
Prof Dr. Adalbert Rebic - born 1937 in Hum on Sutla (Croatia). He completed his study of philosophy in Zagreb and in the Graduate School of Philosophy at the Gregorian Papal University in Rome and theology at the Gregorian and the Biblical Institute. Since 1968 he is professor of biblical sciences and oriental languages (Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac-Aramaic) in the Graduate School of Theology at the Catholic University in Zagreb. He was guest professor at the theological institutes of Zadar and Jakovo. At the Graduate School he organized and managed the financial business, and served as editor-in-chief of Theological Review and head of the Graduate School Library. Since 1972 he is President of the Croatian Mariological Institute and organized the Croatian section at international Mariological Congresses in Rome, Malta, Zaragoza, Kevelaer, Huelva and Czestohowa.
He worked in the publishing house "Krscanska Sadasnost [Christianity Today]" as editor of biblical publications and since 1994 as director of "Christianity Today", and chief editor of the religion lexicon in the Lexicographic Institute "Miroslav Krlez" in Zagreb. From 1991 - 1996 he was Head of the Office of Exiles and Refugees for the Government of the Republic of Croatia. During 1995 he was Minister without Portfolio in the Government of the Republic of Croatia. He has been honored with the highest decorations by the President of the Republic of Croatia and by the Academy of Science and Art. He has published 15 significant works and edited 11 anthologies on Marian themes. He has collaborated in theological periodicals both at home and abroad with about 430 titles. He has translated 26 books from various languages. Since 1970 he is a member of the Prebendary College of the Zagreb Metropolitan See. Since 1966 he has organized and guided about 50 pilgrimages to the Holy Land. He is a member of the Society of Croatian literary translators, a member of the Arts Academy of Croatia, a regular member of the Papal International Marian Academy in Rome, a member of the Jewish cultural society "Shalom Freiberger" in Zagreb, and an editorial member of the international theological periodical "Communio".
Rev. Stanislaus Kania - Piarist. Born in Poland February 24, 1948. Completed philosophy, theology and Church History at the Theological Institute of Krakow and the Catholic University of Lublin. He was ordained priest in 1973. He was rector of the Seminary and secretary of the Province from 1982 - 1985. He founded the Mother of God Confraternity of Religious Schools for which he serves as Chaplain. In 1985 he founded SOS for the children of poor families and families with problems for which he still today serves as spiritual director. That is a place where children can learn, play, and find the help of a doctor, psychologist and spiritual director. He is rector of the monastery in Krakow.
Already for 13 years he has been coming to Medjugorje. Since 1988 he is director and publisher of the Medjugorje periodical 'Znak Mira [Sign of Peace]" and of other books and publications that write about Medjugorje. Since 1986 he has regularly organized and led pilgrimages to Medjugorje.
Dr. Fr. Slavko Barbaric - born 1946 in Dragicini, Bosnia-Hercegovina. He studied theology at Visoko, Sarajevo and Schwaz. He was ordained priest in 1971. He received his Doctorate in 1982 in the field of religious pedagogy. Since 1982 he has been in Medjugorje. He writes books and articles on religious subjects. He works in the Shrine. He is the leader of numerous spiritual exercises and presentations. In many parts of the world he has conducted countless meetings on the theme of the Medjugorje events.
The number of spaces is limited and each year the number of participants is always greater. Therefore we ask you to register your coming to the prayer-educational seminar as soon as possible and no later than the end of January. You can register by fax at +387 88 651 444 or by e-mail: email@example.com in care of the Information Center or right at the Information Office of the Shrine.
Simultaneous translation for all language groups will be organized. The price for lodging, transport and seminar is 315 DM per person for double room (a day extra!). Single supplement is 40 DM. Payment will be made to the Seminar organizer upon arrival at the hotel. There is possibility for transport from the Split airport to Hotel "Sunce" in Neum. All who need transport on February 28 should give notice of the flight number and exact time of arrival to the Association "Medjugorje-Mir" in Split no later than the end of January by fax +385 21 361 354. For the last day transport will be organized from Neum to Medjugorje. Radio and earphones for simultaneous translation should be brought along. Radio and earphones will also be made available during the seminar.
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 12/30/98