"Dear children! I call you, little children, to pray without ceasing. If you pray, you are closer to God and He will lead you on the way of peace and salvation. That is why I call you today to give peace to others. Only in God is there true peace. Open your hearts and become those who give a gift of peace and others will discover peace in you and through you and in this way you will witness God's peace and love which He gives you. Thank you for having responded to my call." January 25, 2000
Every year a Week of Prayer for Christian unity marks the end of January. Painful divisions and dissensions during the history of the Church have forced Christians to start thinking about each other differently. And not only about others, but also about ourselves. It would be wrong to think that only today's generation has come upon this idea. Every time divisions occurred or blood was spilt there was not a small number of those who suffered because of it and recalled Jesus' prayer and command - that all be one. Prayer for the unity of all who believe in Christ shows that divisions hurt us, that in the originating of divisions no one is without fault. In these times divisions hurt us even more strongly, especially there where Christians have become a minority. Great advances have been made: hostilities, habitual cursings, and anathematizings have been removed. The atmosphere is no longer poisoned. The task that remains for all to do, is to keep the Gospel. And the Gospel is best kept in the live human being that lives it.
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
NUMBER OF HOLY COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS
During January in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 38,000 Holy Communions were distributed and there were 722 concelebrations at holy mass by priests from home and abroad, that is 23 priests daily.
January is one of the months with the least number of visiting pilgrims. But in spite of that visiting groups came from Italy, Slovakia, France, Korea, USA, Central and South America, Australia, and, of course, Croatia.
SEMINARS AT 'DOMUS PACIS'
At the 'Domus Pacis' House of Prayer a seminar was held from January 21 - 23, 2000 for 40 young ladies. The Franciscan Sisters of the Hercegovina Franciscan Province organized and conducted the seminar.
From January 28 - 30 a seminar for married couples was also held there. It was conducted by Fr. Ivan Bradvica.
MISSIONARY TRAVEL OF FR. SLAVKO BARBARIC
At the invitation of Medjugorje pilgrims Fr. Slavko Barbaric visited in Germany from January 14 - 23, 2000. Upon his return, among other things, he also said this about his impressions:
"I held a series of prayer meetings in parish communities, the first of which was in the parish of Saints Peter and Paul in Freising near Munich. Despite the very cold weather the church was filled with the faithful. Ten priests also came together for the concelebration. There was a beautiful atmosphere of prayer. After the prayer program there followed a talk and discussion with those present.
On Saturday and Sunday, January 15 - 16, a meeting with about 300 young people in Schäbisch-Gmünd was held at St. Bernard House which is directed by Father Hans Buob. We started the program already around 9:00. There was prayer, songs, talks, and an afternoon Medjugorje prayer program with a talk and testimonies of the young people about their personal encounters with Medjugorje and their conversions. After supper a part of the young people went home and others came. The program with a talk for them only began at 9:00 P.M. They stayed to pray the whole night arranged in groups. Especially noticeable was the group that carried the name "Totus tuus". They are very active and they gathered many young people from all of Germany. We finished the program on Sunday around noon. It is also worth mentioning a play that the young people put on Saturday night. They showed a real example of a family that was on the brink of breaking up. Life had become impossible. The mother was bitter about the behavior of her husband and children. There was no prayer in the family. Television, radio, departures and late arrivals, misunderstanding and quarrels were all that still kept them connected. The mother happened to find the rosary on which her grandmother used to pray and began to pray. Meanwhile they found out about Medjugorje and came on pilgrimage and everything changes. It was touching to watch, and the whole play was based on a real happening, how after a pilgrimage they begin to pray, to get rid of the television, and in the place where the television had been, they put the statue of Our Lady's that they brought from Medjugorje. The family starts to live happily and in peace. God comes back into their lives.
From Sunday January 16th to Thursday January 20th I was in Hochalting at St. Ulrich House. Father Hans Buob also directs this retreat house. About 70 participants gathered. The theme of the retreat was "The way with Mary to the Divine Heart." Talks, prayer, the Medjugorje evening program and adoration filled up the days. From every participant one could hear testimony about how pilgrimage to Medjugorje helped them to change their lives. Listening to their testimonies about the graced days in Medjugorje and everything that means for them, I wished that all the visionaries and parishioners could hear it, especially those who right in Medjugorje still do not understand the intervention of God's grace. We finished the retreat at noon on Thursday. While bidding farewell to the participants I constantly heard the same thing: 'Dovidjena u Medjugorju!' ('See you in Medjugorje!')
On Thursday, January 20th I went with Father Dietrich von Stockhausen to the parish community of Marksteinach near Schweinfurt. Before the evening prayer program we visited the family of Mr. Rudi Karg. With some of his friends he experienced a conversion in Medjugorje and because of that became very active in the collecting help during the war and after the war right up til today. Many faithful assembled in the modern church. Rudi is very musical and with this music group very beautifully accompanied the whole evening program, especially the adoration. After the program we stayed in pleasant company and then I found out more about the aid that he has organized with his friends. The first action is called "Windows for Mostar", and the other "Families Help Families" in which Rudi undertakes helping families from Kosovo. The first decision to get involved and help out was born in his heart and the hearts of his friends, when he visited Mostar, Jesenica and Rodo. They brought over 50 semi-trailer trucks to Mostar and 10 to Kupres. For Christmas 1998 they delivered over 2000 family packages and that many bags of clothing to the Franciscans for Kosovo through Pristina in Jakovici. Rudi and his friends are continuing to help. They invite individuals, families and factories to help. The people respond.
On Friday January 21st Father Dietrich and I went to Heroldsbach, began a course in prayer with the evening program for about 250 faithful. The theme of the meeting was: "Man as a pilgrim in search of God and the fullness of life." We also continued the program on Saturday. The day was filled with prayer and talks, the evening program and all night adoration in the apparition chapel. I met a man who recently celebrated the 50th year since he began to pray the whole night from Saturday to Sunday. Our Lady according to the statements of the visionaries asked for nocturnal prayer. He answered that call and has remained faithful. He spoke with me about the wealth of his experiences in prayer and joyful moments in prayer. Before ending our conversation he took a picture of Cardinal Stepinac out of his pocket and said some words in Croatian that he learned while he was on the front in Solun and met Croats from whom he learned them. He knows that Cardinal Stepinac was on the same front and he therefore particularly respects him. We finished the program with a solemn mass at noon on Sunday.
While saying our farewells with the participants of the prayer meeting at this place of prayer, many said, 'Dovidjena u Medjugorju!' ('See you 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 02/09/2000