SACRIFICE AND JOY
In these times, people - even Christians - have difficulty to associate asceticism and self-sacrifice with a feeling of joy and happiness. This is almost unthinkable. Is this even possible? One can best find an answer to this question with the person of Francis of Assisi. This could possibly be the greatest secret of his life: to succeed in combining asceticism and joy. We ask ourselves, how is this possible?
Francis' cheerful nature is not the result of naivety and superficiality. Had his lightheartedness and well-balanced attitude only been limited to certain areas of his life, one could say that something in his head had not been right. His joyful relationship with God did not preclude his kindness towards mankind and nature. So his life is a contribution to the church of his time, to discover joy in the gospel, which is something the Church has forgotten a long time ago. But this original spirit of faith keeps knocking at Her door.
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
VISIT OF AUSTRIAN BISHOP
After having taken part at a meeting of the faithful with the Holy Father in Maribor (Slovenia) on September 19th, the archbishop of Salzburg (Austria), Msgr. Georg Eder, visited Medjugorje on September 20th. On this occasion he said the following:
"I am here now for the second time, but not officially, since - up to the present - a bishop is not allowed to come on an official pilgrimage here. I came to Medjugorje for only one day for personal reasons. I greatly trust in Our Lady of Medjugorje. Also I, as bishop, carry many things around with me which burden me. Then one needs to go somewhere to look for help and find it. Every smart child goes to its mother. So the bishop also needs help. At the beginning of the year, I found much help here and I hope that, also this time, I will not leave emptyhanded.
What happens here is not wrong, it is not a lie, but it is good. When, at some time in the future, the credibility of the events here will be accepted, what will happen to those who did not believe? There is no doubt about it: what happens here is good. What happens here is what should happen in the Church: prayer, mass, confession, adoration, conversion, the formation of prayer groups, vocations. These are all in light of the events which are being guided by Mary, with which She is preparing us for the new millennium. Much is happening here that we in the Church have forgotten. Mary calls and teaches us. For the Church in Austria, I can say: 'We have forgotten much and we must begin anew with what Mary tells us in Medjugorje.'
Since the beginning of the apparitions the 19th year is passing. There are six visionaries. It is interesting that throughout all this time their credibility has remained intact, they have never contradicted themselves. This is a true miracle. In Lourdes, there was one visionary, in Fatima there were three - and the apparitions only lasted a short while. Here it is completely different. Our Lady does not speak about what is happening at present. There was a terrible war here. But now I see that this was very wise. If She were to start speaking about things that are happening in the world, there would be a great danger of getting too involved. When I asked the visionary, Ivan, why Our Lady never speaks about the problems of our times, he simply answered that Our Lady tells us what we should do: that we should pray, personally, in our family and in prayer groups. And I realize that it is really so. The reason for war and every other distress lies within us. When people find peace in God, they can transmit this peace to others. That is why Mary is right. Here people experience joy, peace and happiness. I see that. The best way to heal the many negative things in the world is to point toward the positive things.
I must admit that at the beginning the messages were too simple for me. We theologians are like that. We want something great. Sometimes I thought the messages to be too banal and too simple. This was how I felt until my first visit. But since then, I experience them differently. Every evening I read one message. When I read it the first time, it again seems very simple. But when I read it the second time, I realize that we are being told in a simple way what we need. We are like that: we want great movements, sublime things, and forget that everything starts in a very simple manner in the heart of each one of us: first peace, then towards the light and then joy. Mary is a mother and She speaks simply. Very often I recall the words of my own mother: 'How often do I have to tell you that?' While always repeating the same things to us, she was educating us. So what our mother said came into our hearts. I remember how she admonished us to pray and to go to confession. But every friday she still had to remind us not to forget confession. Here in Medjugojre, Mary has chosen the right way to help us and I am grateful for everything.
Although only for one day, I was glad to be able to come to Medjugorje and I must admit that with this visit I also thought of myself. I thank you for everything and may God bless you in everything you are doing here."
PRAYER MEETINGS IN BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
As we already mentioned in the last edition of the Press Bulletin, Father Slavko Barbaric was in Belgium and Luxembourg from the 17th to the 20th of September.
In the evening of Sept. 17th, in Brussels in the beautiful franciscan church, about 250 to 300 faithful - most of whom are Medjugorje pilgrims - gathered to take part in the adoration of Jesus in the most blessed sacrament of the altar. The next day, there was an all-day prayer meeting in Beauring, the Belgian place of pilgrimage, where Our Lady appeared in the early thirtees of this century, especially calling for prayer and the conversion of the sinners. The prayer meeting began with a short welcome, the praying of the sorrowful mysteries, talks about the messages of Our Lady, the glorious mysteries, followed by the celebration of holy mass with many priests who had been available for confession throughout the entire time. The program ended in the evening with the adoration of the holy eucharist and the prayer for healing. A great number of faithful attended the meeting. Father Mark, the founder of the missionary community "Tiberiada" spoke about his vocation and the work of his community, which is open to all, particularly to the youth. He spoke vividly about the spiritual fruits of the community and about its missionary work. His talk was very picturesque; at one point, he stood up and let a white dove fly over those present. In addition to this symbolic act, he also strew wheat grains throughout the entire pilgrimage place, as a symbol for the sowing of the words of God. He put some wheat sheaves in front of the statue of Our Lady, symbolizing the richness of the fruits of the sown words. Throughout the entire day, he gave testimony about the spirit of prayer the Queen of Peace has put into the hearts of the pilgrims who tirelessly have remained true to Her call to pray personally, in the families and in the newly-formed prayer groups.
On September 19th, Fr. Slavko visited the family of Prince Henry of Luxembourg in their castle in Fischenbach. His wife, Princess Maria, who was born in Cuba, had been in Medjugorje in the middle of July with three of her five children. She also gave testimony of the rich experiences she and her children had in Medjugorje and how these help her in her daily responsibilities. The meeting was cordial. The beautifully-furnished, magnificent castle, which is situated in a dense forest, really looks like a fortress on a mountain. The light of faith shines within it. They have a private chapel. Taking a walk with the family, they paused for prayer in front of a statue of Our Lady, situated in a natural grotto, and then all joined in singing the song "Gospa, majka moja, Kraljica mira" (Mother of God, my Mother, Queen of Peace) in Croatian. It was a great surprise to be able to sing in Croatian in this house. It is wonderful to see how Our Lady succeeded to find people over the entire world who love Her and follow Her. Princess Maria told Fr. Slavko: "Medjugorje is for me like oxygen, which makes it possible for me to breathe". Although she was there in July, she is planning to return with her children at the end of October. Prince Henry will not be able to come, as he has to represent his father in state matters. Maria, who is President of the Association for Handicapped, promised to donate a special car for handicapped children, for whom a day-care center has been opened in the 'Majcino Selo' (Mothers' Village) in Bijakovici.
That afternoon the program continued in the parish church in Gilsdorf, which was filled to burst. The program included the prayer of the rosary, adoration of the most holy sacrament, the prayer for healing, celebration of holy mass and the veneration of the holy cross. Everything was spoken and sung in two languages - german and french. The joy and peace emanating after the prayers and songs were obvious.
Fr. Slavko spent the evening with Robert and Dorothee Holm, who converted from Protestantism, and are now tirelessly spreading the messages of Our Lady. They publish a monthly pamphlet with a ciculation of 25.0000. Among its readers are many benefactors who continuously help in many projects in Croatia and BiH. They also help the "Majcino Selo" and their donations made it possible to build a house for needy children.
Again, after these prayer meetings the conclusion is the same: Everywhere, Mary, the Queen of Peace, has kindled the light of faith, love and hope in many hearts, but especially the spirit of prayer.
THE INVALIDS OF THE WAR
From October 6th to 10th, the invalids of the war from the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina took part in sports competitions in Mostar and Medjugorje. By participating in the competitions, about 600 participants gave each other hope and demonstrated that there is a way also for invalids. During these difficult years during and after the war - which are behind us now, thank God! - we experienced how much light Medjugorje has brought to those who one way or the other became victims of the war. We realized that this is a reality on October 7th, the day of the Queen of the Rosary - when the invalids made a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Holy mass was celebrated by the parish priest, Father Ivan Landeka, who in his homily called to sacrifice and trust in God. And Mary is also here who grants special gifts to those who come to Her.
Through our prayer we can also accompany these people who helped in a selfless way to make our freedom and our existence a reality.
THE 7th MEETING OF THE LEADERS OF THE CENTERS FOR PEACE AND THE MEDJUGORJE PRAYER GROUPS
In the last Press Bulletin we did not bring the curriculum vitae of one of the lecturers, Fr. Sabino Palumbieri.
Fr. Sabino Palumbieri - born in 1934 in Lavello (Potenza). He is a member of the order of the Salesian Fathers. He was ordained a priest in 1961. He studied philosophy and theology and obtained a doctor's degree in anthropology. At present he is a professor at the Papal University of the Salesians (UPS). He is a journalist and writes numerous essays from an anthropological viewpoint on the cause and meaning of the events of our time. He founded the society "TR-2000" (Witnesses of the Resurrection for the Jubilee 2000) and a national movement with international cultural affiliations which organizes humanitarian-Christian activities. In addition, he is the organizer of "Via Lucis" (Way of Light), a new form of piety of the people, which is spreading throughout the world.
At the meeting in Neum, he will give a lecture on the theme: "The Position of Christianity in Modern Civilization".
THE RADIO STATION "MIR" MEDJUGORJE LIVE ON INTERNET
On October 4th, the feast of St. Francis, we started to operate with a strong server and are now able to transmit the signals of our radio station "Mir" live. The server was supplied by Avacom from Mostar and they helped with its installation. Ing. Stipe avar, our web-master until now, will be responsible for its functioning and contents.
The installation of the new server has enhanced the quality of our work. We are now not only able to transmit live the daily rosary and holy mass from the St. James Church in Medjugorje but will also be able to send videos from Santuary of the Queen of Peace from Medjugorje. Until that time, we will bring video material on our Internet-pages on special events in Medjugorje, as well as documentaries about happenings in the parish.
The signal of our radio station is on the web-pages (www.medjugorje.hr) in the section Audio-and Video-Documentation. Should we hear of any difficulties in getting the server connected with Internet in the preliminary stages, we will immediately try to rectify the situation.
This work requires mental work as well as material means. We thank everyone in advance who will be able to help us in one way or the other to spread the messages of the Queen of Peace.
ROBOX IS BEING ABOLISHED
One can easily say that Internet has become part of our daily life. We have also noticed this as the number of people who still use robofax has been diminishing. This is why we have decided to put still more emphasis on the distribution of information about the Sanctuary of the Queen of Peace on Internet.
As a result, robofax will be abolished as of December 31, 1999. There are no good reasons to justify its continuation. We herewith ask all those who still use the robofax to get connected to Internet or to ask someone who has access to Internet to supply them from time to time with certain information. This is also more economical than the robofax.
We hope that you will support us in this endeavor, as it is our wish to use the time for spreading the messages of the Queen of Peace as rationally as possible.
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 10/20/99