"Dear children! Also today I call you to conversion. You are concerned too much about material things and little about spiritual ones. Open your hearts and start again to work more on your personal conversion. Decide everyday to dedicate time to God and to prayer until prayer becomes a joyful meeting with God for you. Only in this way will your life have meaning and with joy you will contemplate eternal life. Thank you for having responded to my call." April 25, 2000
WE CANNOT BUT SPEAK . . .
"We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard. (Acts 4:20)" This sentence from Acts of the Apostles best describes the disposition, the experience, and the mission of the apostles after they met the Risen One. Prohibitions and threats had no effect whatsoever. They were so filled up and captivated by the event of his resurrection that they had to give their testimony.
That which is lacking to us Christians today is testimony for Jesus Christ. In reality that testimony is not even possible without being filled with and captivated by Jesus Christ. Perhaps it is also the reason that Our Lady keeps repeating in her messages: "Decide for God!" When our decision for God will be strong neither shall we be able but to speak what we have seen and heard."
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
EASTER IN MEDJUGORJE
During Holy Week and for Easter day itself in Medjugorje there were constantly arriving new groups of pilgrims who wanted to visit here and at the same time celebrate the greatest Christian feast day. Several thousand pilgrims celebrated Easter in the shrine of Medjugorje. Of the foreign pilgrims the most numerous groups were from Germany, Austria, and France. During all these days there was also an exceptionally large number of pilgrims that came to Medjugorje from all parts of Croatia, as well as from the surrounding parishes to make their Easter confession.
Evidence of the fact of how many pilgrims visited Medjugorje during the Easter days is also the fact that during the evening prayer program about twenty priests were hearing confessions for three hours every night.
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS
During April at the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 95,000 Holy Communions were distributed and there were 1536 concelebrations at Holy Mass by priests from home and abroad, that is, an average of 51 daily.
April is one of the months with the greatest number of pilgrims visiting.
Thus we recorded the visit of groups from: Germany, Singapore, Latvia, France, Canada, Italy, Haiti, Argentina, Japan, Poland, Czech Republic, USA, Australia, Hungary, England, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, Mexico, Carribean, Korea, Slovakia, Letonia, Spain, Indonesia, Slovenia and, of course, Croatia.
MISSIONARY TRAVEL OF FR. SLAVKO BARBARIC
At the beginning of April Fr. Slavko visited Holland, Belgium and France. Upon his return he gave the following impressions:
"The events in Medjugorje, which have for these 18 years and 10 months gathered a multitude of believers from the whole world, are transported like a blessed flame to every part of the world and continue to gather believers who wish to stay connected in prayer with each other and all together with Medjugorje. Therefore, from time to time the Medjugorje Franciscans go and pray with believers in their local churches and thus by their own presence help the spirit of fire enkindled in Medjugorje at Our Lady's hearth to burn all the more brightly. For that reason the two places chosen in Belgium are those where believers gather who carry in themselves the spirit of the Medjugorje messages. That is their two national shrines: Banneux and Beauring.
On April 7th, I visited our prisoners in the Haag. This was not my first visit with them at the Haag, but this time there was somehow a difference in my spirit than in previous visits. Previously there was always in my heart a great hope that the court will do justice and act worthily. In September of last year when I was with them, we were hoping that the trial would be in keeping with personal culpability, which the court obviously could not prove for some of them even at the end of four years. We were always worried about the trial being politicized, and there were good reasons for being afraid of that. But still we were hopeful?! But, the Tribunal showed its face. The Croatian people have been condemned in those good and noble men. And the sentences came down 45, 25, 15, 10 and 8 years.
In my spirit it was difficult for me to meet those men again, but on the other hand I rejoiced over the meeting because Medjugorje means very much for all of them. And when the first group voluntarily went to the Haag, they stopped in Medjugorje, prayed and took courage under the patronage of the Queen of Peace. They never ever suspected that there was a different truth and justice for the great and for the small, for the powerful and for the weak. Nor did they suspect how very small they were and how small in the eyes of the great is the nation to which they belong and how it has no right to its own self defense, a thing the powerful in their sentences proclaim to be aggression!?! All these thoughts were in my heart while I passed through all those many prison doors and corridors. Waiting even for the last door to open, behind think glass I beheld General Blaskic with lawyer Nobilo and two other men. Many documents are in front of them. General Blaskic immediately stood up and said to wait for him, that he wanted to be at the Holy Mass and go to confession and that he was coming as soon as he was finished with the lawyers. His demeanor, the expression on his face, the happy wave with his hand, freed me from those anxieties that were in my heart when I was thinking how am I going to meet him now, after the passing of an unjust sentence against him, a sentence that the Croatian people at every level clearly and loudly condemned as unjust t! Passing through the last barrier I silently greeted all those who were waiting in the area set apart for visiting. My spirit was all the more freed and rejoicing because I sensed: These dear men had lost neither the hope nor the will to fight to prove their innocence. They had accepted the sentences as a fact, aware that they are continuing to suffer for that same people for whom they were ready to lay down their lives in defense of their own homeland. In my heart arose the thought: We must not be allowed to forget these men, we have to be worthy of them, they must know that their sacrifice was not in vain. They asked about everything that was happening; everything is of interest to them. The conversation flowed spontaneously, and then they wanted confession and a personal talk. In each individual conversation I am a witness, I felt a strong faith, a deep hope, a love that forgives and heals. After confession we celebrated Holy mass and stayed on in pleasant conversation. There was a certain festive atmosphere. They all greeted everyone and wished everyone a Happy Easter. I promised them that we will not forget them.
And while the prison doors opened and closed at the clang of big keys, I wished profoundly that the sacrifice of these men be blessed and that everything turns out for the good. And that is just what the Easter message is.
On April 8th a day-long prayer program awaited us in the shrine of "The Virgin of the Poor" in Banneux. While we prayed the rosary led by the groups "Famille de Medjugorje", "Alleluiah", "Group de Luxembourg", "Nouvelles de Medjugorje"and "Koningin van de Vrede", the priests who came with their faithful were available for holy confession. Groups from Luxembourg and Holland were present. After my talk Fr. Albert Franck from Luxembourg led in prayer for healing. Ten of them came for concelebration and the others continued to hear confessions up to the end of the evening program. Medjugorje with its spirituality has given many an incentive to prayer, celebration of mass and especially Eucharistic adoration. The Church is renewed in the spirit of prayer. From this encounter with "The Virgin of the Poor" it was again clearly seen that Medjugorje is alive and will live because Our Lady like a Mother has take a deep hold on the hearts of her children that she tirelessly follows. This day also confirmed that.
The same day-long program awaited us on April 9th, but this time in Paris with the community of believers from the Congo in the chapel of St. Leo. Gathered for the meeting were ten priests and about 500 of the faithful from the Congo and form Paris. The afternoon meeting continued in the nearby parish church: again prayer of the Rosary and confessions. About 1000 of the faithful gathered. Everything was festive, and especially the celebration of mass with a solemn entry into the church. For the offering of the gifts there was a solemn procession with the bread and wine and with fruits from the Congo. These people really know how to celebrate, they have time for prayer and for celebrating the mass. When they sang a song from which I understood only two words: Mama Maria, no one could have remained unaffected. I experienced a beautiful community in the diversity. Again Mary gathered us as her children around hr son Jesus. After these meetings we departed grateful to God for all the beautiful encounters with the people who have accepted the messages of the Queen of Peace and stimulated by her messages wish to live more fundamentally to live their life with God. And personally grateful to the Queen of Peace, I returned on April 10th to Medjugorje.
"THE RADIO PRAYER GROUP"
Every Tuesday on Medjugorje "Mir" radio station there is broadcast called "Pray together with a joyful heart." In Medjugorje on Monday April 24th for the second time there was a gathering of the members of prayer groups from all parts of Croatia, and Bosnia-Hercegovina for a not-every-day way of praying. We are, namely, talking about the prayer group that Fr. Slavko Barbaric leads every Tuesday at 9:00 PM over the radio waves of Medjugorje "Mir" radio station. The members are all those that the radio station broadcast reaches and who wish in this way to be connected with Our Lady's messages of peace and conversion through prayer. For the meeting there gathered a bout 270 members from Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Republic of Croatia. Their intention is to meet not only on Tuesday for prayer on the radio but all the more often also on pilgrimages to the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje. It was that way also this Monday when they made a group pilgrimage to the Hill of Apparitions. After visiting the mountain they continued their meeting in the church during which they had the chance better to get acquainted and to exchange their experiences. Each member also received a membership card - a symbolic sign of cooperating in this not-every-day way of gathering for prayer. We wish the Lord to bless them to be able to persevere and spread Mary's message of peace in their surroundings.
The Tuesday prayer meeting can be followed also on the Internet: www.medjugorje.hr
INDICATIONS FOR PRIESTS
We would ask priests coming to Medjugorje to bring with them their alb, stoles and "celebret" from their superior.
We would also ask that mass be celebrated in agreement with the Parish in the area of the sanctuary and not in private homes or Apparition hill or Krizevac...
Please tell the pilgrims of your language group not to enter a liturgical area during the mass of a different language group, since by their entering it they upset the mass in question by changing it into a non-serious atmosphere.
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 05/03/2000