"Dear children! Wake up from the sleep of unbelief and sin, because this is a time of grace which God gives you. Use this time and seek the grace of healing of your heart from God, so that you may see God and man with the heart. Pray in a special way for those who have not come to know God's love, and witness with your life so that they also can come to know God and His immeasurable love. Thank you for having responded to my call." February 25, 2000
L E N T
"Do not dedicate to anyone else the time that is reserved for God, not even when we do not succeed in taking good advantage of that time; to stay faithful, that is critical." That is the way deceased Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago described his decision of long-ago that he would arise early every morning and dedicate the first moments of his day to God. We have begun the preparation for Easter and at least externally stored some Lenten resolutions in our thoughts. Our own memory tells us that the Holy Seasons up till now have not yielded the shifts and radical changes needed. Perhaps it will also not happen this time. What we can certainly do is - not dedicate to anyone else or anything else the time that is reserved for God. Thereby it is possible also to achieve the many other necessary Christian values.
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
ANNUAL APPARITON TO MIRJANA SOLDO ON MARCH 18, 2000
"Dear children! Do not seek peace and happiness in vain, in the wrong places and in wrong things. Do not permit your hearts to become hard by loving vanity. Invoke the name of my Son. Receive Him in your heart. Only in the name of my Son will you experience true happiness and true peace in your heart. Only in this way will you come to know the love of God and spread it further. I am calling you to be my apostles."
The apparition started at 9:55 a. m. and lasted about 5 minutes. Our Lady prayed over everyone and blessed everyone. Mirjana especially recommended the sick. This time Our Lady did not say anything about the secrets.
VISIT OF BISHOP FROM THE CARIBBEAN
As we published in Bulletin No. 137, in February Bishop Robert Rivas was in Medjugorje for a private visit. Many pilgrims come to Medjugorje, among them more and more priests, and men and women religious. It is completely natural also that more and more bishops are coming. According to the Zadar declaration of April 1991, the bishops should accompany the events in Medjugorje in order to know where their faithful are going. We took advantage of this opportunity and spoke with Msgr. Robert Rivas, bishop of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean Islands, who spent ten days in Medjugorje. We are grateful to him for being available to share his testimony with us. Fr. Slavko Barbaric spoke with Bishop Rivas. Here is a part of that conversation:
SB: Tell us a little about yourself first?
RR:My name is Robert Rivas. I was born in Trinidad, Tobago. I entered the religious life, the Dominican order, at the age of 18. I did my noviciate and studies in Ireland. I was ordained in 1971. I was born in June 1943. After my ordination in Trinidad, I went to the Engelicum in Rome, and completed my studies there -- I received a Bacaloriate license in Theology. I went back to Ireland and studied Communications, Radio and TV production. I was very interested in that kind of work. When I returned to Trinidad, my superior told me I had been gone to long, 8 1/2 years, and that I needed to be 'inculturated' again to the local situation. I worked in three parishes over 7 years. After 5 years I was given the job of Director of Communications which I did for 2 years and then I was appointed Novice Master for the Dominicans in Formation. I did this work for 10 years, preparing young men for the priesthood and religious life. I also was a Unversity Chaplain for 6 years during that time. In the early 1980's I was given an appointment in the Carribbean as the first Domincan to be the Assistant to the Master of the Dominican order in Rome for the promotion of Domincan life in the Carribbean. The idea was to promote unity on the various existences of the Dominicans in the various dioceses in the Caribbean. There are at least 6 provinces within the Caribbean. My work was to coordinate all these groups toward common formation, -- the dream was to have a Dominican province in the Caribbean. I did that for 4 years and then I was appointed Bishop of St.Vincent, an island in the Caribbean.
SB: When and how did you hear about Medjugorje for the first time?
RR: In Trinidad a lot was going on in regard to Medjugorje, and then already from the first days of the apparitions. One of the pilgrims invited me to come as a priest. I only responded to the invitation in 1988. I was very happy and satisfied with my first visit to Medjugorje, because I experienced a renewal of faith and life by the faith of the pilgrims. A special grace of Medjugorje is that the priests who come with a group, start to minister especially as priests, making themselves available for confession and for conversations. The greatest grace of Medjugorje really is confession. Pilgrims by their coming to Medjugorje become eager to be active in their own parishes - both in regard to prayer and the sacramental life, and parish activities in general. Due to all that I experienced with the people, I have to say that a special work of grace exists here and that Mary is present. I really believe that Our Lady is speaking here.
SB: What convinced you the most and helped you to accept Medjugorje?
RR: Again I have to say: It is the pilgrims who started to change their life here and decided to live the faith.
SB: Now you are in Medjugorje the second time and no longer as a priest, but as a bishop. Now what can you say?
RR: I decided this time to come and to be in silence and to remain ˘incognito÷. I wanted to make a retreat here and to be in silence. However, that did not happen, because pilgrims sought me out for confession and I also preached. I understood that my role also as a priest has changed. The love of the faithful for a bishop especially touched me. Whoever loves a bishop, loves the Church. The Holy Spirit is at work here. Our Lady is work here. I personally want to be continually under Her protection.
SB: Would you like to say something from Medjugorje?
RR: What I am trying to realize in my life is simplicity. I think I have learned simplicity in suffering in my priesthood, and I have grown in profound love for God, Our Lady, the Church and complete surrender to Christ. All that I want is to do God will and Gods work. My message to the parish community, to the visionaries, to priests in the parish and to all pilgrims is that they be capable of surrendering their life completely to God and to be freed for love, that the gospel be lived in complete simplicity and beauty. I want for all of us to know that Jesus is the King of our life. We Catholics must be capable of showing the world the beauty of our faith with the help of Our Lady. I would recommend to everyone to come to Medjugorje, because here they will deepen their faith for the Church and Our Lady and thus become good witnesses to others of the good news. And in Medjugorje the good news is: Peace.
SB: Thank you for this conversation and we promise you our prayers.
VISIT OF A BISHOP FROM BRAZIL
From March 3- 5th, 2000 Bishop Joao E. M. Terra was on a private visit in Medjugorje. He is the auxiliary bishop of Brasilia in Brazil. This was his second visit to Medjugorje.
A HEART FOR OUR LADY
On the path to Cross Mountain a group of Polish pilgrims from Krakow halted in prayer before the sculpture of Jesus resurrection and as a sign of love and gratitude toward Our Lady, made a large heart out of stones from the path around the one to whom they wrote out their wishes and prayers with the small stones. Truly extraordinary and touching.
SEMINARS IN "DOMUS PACIS"
During the past two weeks in the ˘Domus Pacis÷ house of prayer Fr. Slavko Barbaric conducted two fasting and prayer seminars for young men in the Cenacle community who are being healed from drug dependency. About 80 young men took part in the seminars each of which lasted for a week.
In the same house of prayer from March 3-5th, Fr. Branimir Musa conducted a course for high school girls from Zagreb.
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 03/22/2000