From the eighteen years of the events of Medjugorje it is possible to distinguish one element that is very important for understanding the phenomenon of Medjugorje. I am thinking of the following: After the first few weeks and months it became evident that one could neither influence events from the outside, nor by pressures of the government on the parishioners, visionaries or priests. The political circumstances in the beginning, incidents of war in the immediate vicinity or the recent events of war in Kosovo, give rise to insecurity primarily only on the part of the pilgrims. In the end such temporary situations of unrest strengthen the desire to come. Momentarily insecurity is brought in by declarations or by books that appear and they do harm because of ignorance or because of the real difficulties that Medjugorje does have. According to that, it can be concluded that the life of this shrine depends to the greatest measure on what the parish and the pilgrims do and on how they live.
The parish and pilgrims are deciding about the future of the shrine in those matters that are an unavoidable human factor in all the more important events that God sets in motion. To the extent that we are all the more aware of this, the more certain is the existence of the shrine of the Queen of Peace.
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS
During June in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 100,000 Holy Communions were distributed and there were 2,522 concelebrations at Holy Masses by priests from home and abroad, that is 84 priests per day.
We shall enumerate some of the countries from which pilgrims visited Medjugorje during the month of June: Germany, Italy, Canada, Reunion, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia, Portugal, USA, France, Singapore, Argentina, Slovakia, Hungary, England, Holland, Poland, Korea, Switzerland, Czech Republic and, of course, Croatia.
CARDINAL AND BISHOPS VISIT MEDJUGORJE
Cardinal Bernardino Echeverria Ruiz, retired archbishop of Guayaquila and Bishop Victor Maldonado, both from Ecuador were on a private visit to Medjugorje from June 26 - 28th.
Two other bishops from Ecuador were here from June 27 - 29th on a private visit: Bishop German Pavon Puente of Tulcano and Bishop Carlos Altamirano, auxiliary of Quito.
We will report their impressions in the next issue of the Press Bulletin.
SEMINAR FOR PRIESTS
The Fourth International Seminar for Priests was held in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje from June 30th - July 6th. 170 priests from England, Germany, France, Italy, Slovakia, Poland, USA, Romania, Spain and Croatia participated in the work of the seminar on the theme: "The priest in the service of life". The largest groups were 30 priests from France and 60 from Poland. Sub-themes which the priests meditated and discussed were: "The priest in the service of unborn life", "The priest in the service of wounded life", "The healing of priestly life, "Prayer-life with God the Father", "Mary-handmaiden of life" and "Preach the good news of life".
For seven days the priests listened to lectures, meditated, prayed, celebrated common Eucharist and visited the Hill of Apparitions and Cross Mountain. In the name of the shrine of the Queen of Peace the seminar was organized and led by Fr. Slavko Barbaric. Presenters were Don Cosimo Cavaluzzo, Italian priest who specializes in preaching and helping organize various seminars, Msgr. Philip J. Reilly, who already for 30 years has personal experience in the fight for unborn life, Dr. Fernando Sanchez, physician and deacon, Sr. Elvira Petrozzi and Fr. Jozo Zovko.
At the conclusion of the seminar a joint statement was made which we here report in full.
"We Catholic priests from ten countries, with the participation of an Anglican pastor from England and one Orthodox priest from Romania, have spent 6 days on retreat in Medjugorje. The director Fr. Slavko Barbaric, Don Cosimo Cavaluzzo, Msgr. Philip Reilly, Dr. Fernando Sanchez, Fr. Jozo Zovko and Sr. Elvira Petrozzi have convincingly inspired us to a livelier trust in God's fatherly love for us. Their testimonies have also awakened in us the conviction and desire by our own priesthood to witness God's love to one another and to all people, drawing the strength from fervent Eucharistic and prayerful community with Jesus and his mother Mary. The leaders have inspired us to seek healing for our personal wounds, and with love to courageously present ourselves for the protection of human life from natural conception to natural death and for the healing of wounded life in human hearts. The Eucharistic celebration, rosary, adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and the Cross, pilgrimage to Cross Mountain with confession and the walk to the Hill of Apparitions have enriched our spiritual life in Our Lady's shrine in Medjugorje from June 30th to July 6th, 1999. Completely satisfied with what we have experienced and learned in "Mary's School", with God's blessing we return to our daily life profoundly grateful to God the Father, the source of life, for giving us the grace to gather in this place of grace and, in the school of Mary, mother of life, to learn to serve, preserve, respect and love each life as a very great gift of God the Father.
Medjugorje, July 6, 1999
MILITARY PILGRIMAGE TO MEDJUGORJE
Several hundred soldiers gathered in the Medjugorje shrine on June 28th for the seventh military pilgrimage. In addition to Croatian soldiers, representatives of the Spanish and Belgian SFOR units stationed in Bosnia-Hercegovina also participated.
The encounter began at 5:30 PM in front of the church when the assembled soldiers were greeted by Fr. Slavko Barbaric. Then the soldiers participated in the evening prayer program: prayer of the Holy Rosary and then Holy Mass. During the rosary the soldiers had the opportunity to approach the sacrament of reconciliation. After the evening Holy Mass there followed a procession through the church yard with lighted candles. The procession and the prayer encounter concluded in front of Our Lady's statue with a blessing where the Medjugorje pastor, Fr. Ivan Landeka greeted the soldiers and wished them "Peace and Good". The highlight of this prayer encounter was the Holy Mass led by Fr. Miljenko Steko. In his sermon he proclaimed that: "No matter what kind of weapons a man might have, without God he remains insecure. . ." The assembled soldiers certainly understood that. Their response also confirms it.
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 07/14/99