THE YOUNG AND THOSE OTHERS
Since society and the world are all the more pluralistic, the interests and goals of the people of our times are all more diverse, and because the views of adults about life, its meaning, and goal are ever more diverse in meaning, we cannot separate the young people of our time from that setting. What young people are today reflects all the diversity and division in society and the world both collectively and individually. The fact whether the older generation understands or does not understand them remains a great theme of society, of the Church, and of other institutions.
The Church is painfully aware of the departure of young people and their small interest in life and mission. Many good programs and ideas do not bring young people back to Church.
The eighteen years of Medjugorje hold out good hopes. Young people are the most numerous among the pilgrims and are making their mark on the shrine of the Queen of Peace. Perhaps here too is fulfilled that word of Jesus: what is impossible for men (of the Church), is possible for God.
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
THE VISIT OF A CARDINAL AND BISHOPS TO MEDJUGORJE
As we announced in the last issue of the Press Bulletin that 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.
In a conversation with Fr. Slavko Barbaric they said the following about their impressions:
Cardinal Bernardino Echeverria Ruiz:
S. B.: When did you hear about Medjugorje for the first time?
B. E. R.: Already a long time ago. I had a great desire to come here immediately, but till now it has not been possible. I am so happy that I have come. As for the messages, that is already well known to us because it is completely biblical. What attracted me was the desire to experience this parish community and to meet the Franciscan friars who are performing such a wonderful work here. It is real evangelization. Yesterday when I participated in the evening mass, it was for me a magnificent experience. Here there is time for prayer, for the celebration of Mass. I felt all the devotion while we prayed the rosary before the mass. It all touched me profoundly. I understood that, besides the message that Our Lady gives, her presence here is so important. God is speaking here through Mary not only to you, but to all nations and to all cultures. One does not come here because of tourism. One comes here for confession, for encounter with God. This is a divine moment for the world. In addition to the message and the presence of Mary, all the work that is done here is important. I personally feel here a beginning for the conversion of all Europe. I saw how many there are waiting for confession. A great many of the faithful go to Holy Communion and celebrate Holy Mass. And that is what for us in pastoral work must be primary and most important, that we be available for the people. Here that is happening. I am grateful to God that I have met my Franciscan brothers and the Croatian people here and I have felt your faith.
Bishop Victor Maldonado:
S. B.: What impressions did you get of Medjugorje?
V. M.: I can confirm that which Cardinal Bernardino Echeverria has already said: Medjugorje is a meeting place of God and man. Here there is found an authentic source of salvation. When one comes here, then he immediately understands that we are all in need of conversion. During these days we have met with the visionary Maria. We prayed with her during the apparition and talked with her. Truly we need conversion to be able to complete our task and to help others on the way of conversion. I have to admit that this visit here has opened my eyes to many things and that I would do a lot of things differently in all the tasks of my life.
S. B.: When you return, what will you say to those entrusted to you?
V. M.: Here I have better understood the role of Mary in the life of a Christian. I consider that for me a great gift and a great grace. So that is exactly what I will talk to people about.
FEAST OF ST. JAMES CELEBRATED
The feast of St. James, patron of the parish of Medjugorje, was solemnly celebrated July 25th. In the presence of a large number of the faithful the solemnity began with a procession from the parish church with the statue of St. James to the park where Fr. Slavko Soldo presided at the solemn Eucharistic celebration.
The parish of Medjugorje was established in 1892. Already then the parishioners decided to take St. James as their patron, who is also the patron of all pilgrims! The old parish church was built in 1897. Since it was built on soft ground, the construction of a new parish church was soon begun. The remains of the old church are located in the circle park next to the shrine. The new church was completed and blessed in 1969. It was too big for the people of that time and no one really knew why it was built so large. Just as in far back 1892 none of the parishioners could have imagined that millions of pilgrims would come to their parish and that St. James, the patron of their parish, would also become the patron of all those pilgrims.
INTERNATIONAL YOUTH PRAYER FESTIVAL
The traditional tenth international youth prayer festival will be held from July 31th to August 6th, 1999. The theme of this year's festival will be "God the Father - Source of Life". A large number of youth is expected to participate. The festival begins on July 31st with the evening prayer program. We wish a hearty welcome to all participants and abundant blessings from God.
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 07/28/99