"Dear children! Pray and make good use of this time, because this is a time of grace. I am with you and I intercede for each one of you before God, for your heart to open to God and to God's love. Little children, pray without ceasing, until prayer becomes a joy for you. Thank you for having responded to my call." March 25, 2000
During Lent we often hear the word f o r g i v e n e s s. God's activity in the Old Testament is permeated with forgiveness. The activity of Jesus is filled with events of forgiveness that are always tied to definite persons. In the profession of faith (the Creed) we declare our faith: "I believe in the forgiveness of sin". God on his part bestows forgiveness. The Lord's Prayer (Our Father) contains yet another aspect, and that is one commanded to Christians, but not only to Christians, among themselves. We pray, namely, "as we also forgive those who trespass against us." Experience shows that we forgive with difficulty and that we literally undergo pain when it is required of us. Yet, it belongs to the way of conversion which is a fundamental part of the faith. What is to be done?
I make mistakes, I commit sins. . .The feeling - I am better than someone else or even what I myself did is not so bad - does not contribute to forgiveness but rather hinders it. But if I have the feeling - I too am no better than anyone else - things change. I become more gentle, more compassionate toward my neighbor and his behavior. Here precisely is the core of what Jesus calls forgiveness.
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
NUMBER OF HOLY COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS
During March in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 58,000 Holy Communions were distributed and there were 1213 concelebrations at holy mass by priests from home and abroad, that is 39 priests daily.
March is a the months in which a greater number of groups and individuals come to Medjugorje. The greatest number of groups in Medjugorje were for the feast of the Annunciation on March 25th and on March 18th when the visionary Mirjana Dragicevic Soldo had her annual apparition. At the end of March Medjugorje was really alive!
So we recorded groups visiting from: Brazil, Belgium, Singapore, Switzerland, Slovakia, Litva, Latvia, Mexico, Hungary, France, Lebanon, Ireland, Poland, Austria, Czech Republic, USA, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Canada, England, Korea, Australia and, of course, Croatia.
VISIT OF BISHOP FROM GERMANY
From March 18th to 23rd Msgr. Franziskus Eisenbach, auxiliary bishop of Mainz, visited in Medjugorje. He said the following about his impressions:
"I am here as a pilgrim. I want to get acquainted with Medjugorje and to pray in it. For years already I know about and follow Medjugorje and I also wanted to come earlier, but I waited for a sure sign for myself when to decide to visit Medjugorje. This time I was expressly invited, therefore I came.
Already my first impression is that the church is continuously full at all the masses, and especially at adoration. It is obvious that many people have understood that this is a special place of prayer. The experience of many is that their personal prayer improves and that it is supported by the experience of community prayer. I know many people who in Medjugorje have renewed their faith and have learned to pray again. And now I too have personally been able to experience how Medjugorje helps in this sense.
Another experience that for me is very important is that in Medjugorje it is not just a matter of prayer, but that prayer also brings forth fruits in the service of man, especially of man in affliction. It was especially important for me to get to know the "Mothers' Village" where mothers with children, abandoned children and orphans of war find a refuge, and everything is also connected with a large garden where encounters take place between the children of healthy families and the children of those who for various reasons have lost a normal family. I saw that abandoned children here have a chance to learn how to live. And that is very important. The community of Sr. Elvira in which those addicted to drug and other evils find a place of refuge and healing also impressed me deeply. I celebrated Holy Mass and prayed morning prayer with them. It was very nice to see with what strength they pray and how joyfully they celebrate Holy Mass. I understood that the main method of healing is the deepening of faith and the experiencing of community in prayer and work.
It was important for me to hear about the God-Parent program for children, that is, the action of helping the children of fallen defenders, in which many families from Germany cooperate helping every month with a financial contribution for the destroyed families and their children. These works of active love for the needy especially showed me that in Medjugorje it is not just a matter of the correct spirit of prayer. Love toward God that is shown in prayer has brought fruits that are recognized in the care of man.
By all means I also wanted better to understand the very phenomenon of apparitions. Therefore I made an effort at least to meet someone of those who tell about their experiences and affirm that they see Our Lady. I met one of the visionaries, spoke with her and was present at an apparition. At my first meeting with Marija in her family home I found her in the garden working in rubber boots. She is a completely normal, young woman with three children. In conversation with her I understood that she is a very alert person, knows how to ask questions and to speak of her experiences and discerns things well, sees what is good and what is not good. She invited me also to participate in prayer with her when she prepares the encounter with Our Lady, that is continuing already more than 18 years. We prayed in the chapel of her home where quite a few people were gathered for this occasion. We prayed the rosary in various languages and waited for the moment of apparition. Marija gave a brief notice that the moment of apparition was getting close and after a prayer that she led, she remained in silence. We all knew that it was the moment when she sees Our Lady. After the apparition she told us that Our Lady prayed over everyone and blessed us all. Once more she invited us to take part in a prayer. The meeting with Marija showed me that she is a completely normal, young woman, that she is standing with her two feet on the ground and that she is taking good care of her children. I saw that she has a good relationship with her family and with the pilgrims. She is simple and natural, and then again clear and understandable when she talks about her experiences. In the end I can say that she is a woman who can be believed, who is trustworthy and therefore I have no difficulty trusting in what she says, that is, that she is seeing and that it is authentic. This for me is a very important experience, because I concluded that this place of prayer rests on the experience that these young people have received like a gift and which they confidently transmit to others.
Mary is venerated in Medjugorje as the Queen of Peace. This title and all that she sees had to prepare the world for that terrible experience of war. Ten years after the first apparition war broke out in Croatia and in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Medjugorje is a place that continuously prays for peace. The message of Medjugorje for the world is clear: it has to overcome wars and conflicts by the power of love. One gets the impression that in Medjugorje the whole man is affected: heart, soul and body. Prayers and the place of prayer here take a hold of the entire person. Therefore Medjugorje, in this sense, carries a message for the whole Church: allow God and Our Lady to touch us in the totality of our human reality and let us allow Mary to bestow her love on us, and thus learn to love with our whole heart. Therefore I can say that no one needs to be afraid of Medjugorje even if it has not yet been officially approved in the Church. Here prayer is really done in a way that changes a person. Therefore multitudes of the faithful who also wish to learn to pray come here. I wish that this message and this experience be carried also to Germany because we Germans are inclined to rationalism rather than to feeling. And here it is a matter of a message for man in his entirety, something that is really necessary for everyone."
SEVENTH MEETING FOR LEADERS OF CENTERS OF PEACE
At the seventh meeting for leaders of centers of peace about 100 participants from twenty countries from all five continents took part. On that occasion, as every year before, the participants adopted the following
Gathered in Neum from March 19th to 24th, 2000 at the seventh meeting for the leaders of Centers of Peace and Medjugorje prayer groups, we address ourselves to the friends and the pilgrims of the Queen of Peace:
1. We are in the year of the Great Jubilee of Christianity. Let us strive to put Jesus Christ at the center of our lives and so to make our contribution to the renewal of the Church of our times and of the local Church.
2. Within the content of the program of the Jubilee and of Our Lady's messages from Medjugorje we recognize connecting points. Our Lady's word: "Do whatever He tells you. . ." reveals to us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
3. Proclamation of the Gospel is the prophetic task of all Christians. It realized by taking first place in one's own life. A life in keeping with that is the very best proclamation. The same is valid also for those who spread Our Lady's messages.
4. Let Our Lady's invitation to peace and reconciliation be present in a special way in the life of individuals, of families and groups, especially in this year of the Great Jubilee.
5. Again we call on all to get to know better and faithfully to preserve the originality of Medjugorje spirituality.
Medjugorje, March 24, 2000
A meeting of benefactors inspired by the Medjugorje messages will be held in Medjugorje on June 26, 2000 with the theme: "You did unto me."
The first international conference of representatives of humanitarian organizations and individuals who, inspired by the events of Medjugorje, are involved in humanitarian activity, will be held in Medjugorje June 26, 2000, starting at 9:00 AM. All those are invited who provided spiritual and material support to the war stricken population during the war in Croatia and in Bosnia-Hercegovina.
We request all benefactors and representatives of humanitarian organizations who wish to participate in the work of this conference to give notice of their arrival with the pertinent information about their organization and personal information for the participant to the association "Medjugorje-Mir" Split at fax number: 00385-21-342-258 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Simultaneous translation will be organized for the participants of the conference. For all additional information contact "Medjugorje-Mir" in Split by telephone: 00385-21-361-354.
DEATH OF DON ANGELO MUTTI
Don Angelo Mutti, founder and editor in chief of Echo of Medjugorje, died March 3, 2000. The bulletin Echo of Medjugorje spread Our Lady's messages and news of the events in Medjugorje for a period of many years. Since it was translated into ten languages he caused Mary's message of peace and reconciliation to reach every continent. The worth of Don Angelo in that was inestimable. In gratitude to him and for everything he did this way, let us commend him to prayer trusting that his co-workers will continue on the path he started.
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 04/05/2000