"Dear children! Today when Heaven is near to you in a special way, I call you to prayer so that through prayer you place God in the first place. Little children, today I am near you and I bless each of you with my motherly blessing so that you have the strength and love for all the people you meet in your earthly life and that you can give God’s love. I rejoice with you and I desire to tell you that your brother Slavko has been born into Heaven and intercedes for you. Thank you for having responded to my call." November 25, 2000
COME, LORD JESUS
Throughout the history of the Church, grace and sin, good and bad have been intertwined. Anyone who looks at his life objectively will see that also in his life grace and sin, good and bad are intertwined. There is no human being who does not want to be a better human being and no Christian who does not want to be a better Christian. Rarely will anyone want to be a lesser human being and rarely will a Christian want to be a lesser Christian. Wanting to be a better Christian is the best soil for the work of God during the time of Advent. Not so much because it is Advent – surely also because of it – but more because it is a true need. This Advent is an opportunity not to let overwhelming responsibilities become an excuse to leave everything as it was. Jesus and His mother Mary are the company with which one can truly attain a fulfilled Christmas.
Let us welcome them as our fellow-travellers and accept their companionship with everything that emanates from it.
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
IN MEMORY OF FATHER DR SLAVKO BARBARIC
Father Slavko Barbaric died on November 24, 2000 at 3.30 p.m. After the Way of the Cross, that he animated usually every Friday on the Hill of Krizevac for parishioners and pilgrims, he felt some pain. He sat down on a rock, then lay down on the ground, lost consciousness and gave his soul over to the Lord.
Father Slavko Barbaric was born on March 11, 1946, as the son of Marko and Luca born Stojic at Dragicina (parish of Cerin). He attended elementary school in Cerin and then went on to high school in Dubrovnik. He entered into the Franciscan order at Humac on July 14, 1965. He made his final vows September 17, 1971. He was ordained priest the December 19, 1971. He studied at Sarajevo, Graz and Freiburg. He finished his studies at Graz (Austria) with a master's degree. After 5 years of pastoral service in the province of Herzegovina, in the parish of Capljina, he continued his studies at Freiburg, where he obtained his doctorate in religious pedagogy and the title of psychotherapist.
As Franciscan priest, he was in Capljina from 1973 to 1978. From the spring of 1982 to September 1984, he was chaplain for students at Mostar, and he held retreats in the house of religious sisters at Bijelo Polje near Mostar. His fruitful work with the students and his retreats very well accepted by the students, however, the Communist government in power at that time persecuted him. In those difficult moments, his eminence, Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, protected father Slavko’s mission.
Thanks to his knowledge of the main European language and despite his numerous obligations in different parishes, father Slavko put himself ceaselessly at the service of Medjugorje pilgrims from the time he finished his studies and came back to the country in 1982. He was officially sent to Medjugorje in 1983. According to the order of Mgr. Zanic, bishop of Mostar, he was transferred to the parish of Blagaj, and in 1988 to Humac, where he was parish vicar and assistant of the master of novices.
At the beginning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, when all elderly friars were exiled to Tucepi, with the oral accord of + father Drago Tolj, former provincial, father Slavko remained at Medjugorje.
From the very beginning of his mission in Medjugorje, father Slavko has been writing spiritual books: «Pray With the Heart», «Give Me Your Wounded Heart», «Celebrate Mass With the Heart», «In the School of Love», «Adore my Son With the Heart», «With Jesus and Mary Climbing the Golgotha to Meet the Risen Lord», «Pray Together with a Joyful Heart», Interviews, and «Fast With the Heart», which is now in print. Fr. Slavko Barbaric’s books have been translated in twenty languages and more than 20 million copieshave been printed in the whole world. He published also numerous articles in various publications. He was editor of the St Francis’ Bulletin in Capljina, collaborated in Krsni Zavicaj, Glas Mira and the Radio “Mir” Medjugorje. He gave unceasingly conferences for pilgrims, animated adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, veneration of the Cross, the rosary up the Apparition Hill, the Way of the Cross on the Mount Krizevac, where he finished his earthly life. He animated annual meetings for priests and youth, in the prayer house of the Franciscan province “Domus Pacis” he animated “Fasting and prayer retreats”. The destructions of the war inspired him to found and lead an institution for the education and care of the young, the “Mother’s Village”, where more than 60 persons have found their home (war orphans, children from separated families, unwed mothers, elderly abandoned persons and sick children). If there was a man who loved children, it was Fr. Slavko. Children loved him in return: they always gathered around him and he knew always how to gather them – just like Jesus! His psychotherapeutic formation and education allowed him to work with drug addicts in the Community of the Cenacolo, founded by Sister Elvira, mostly in their house in Medjugorje, “Campo della vita”. He oriented the help received from the whole world in two directions: “Foundation for children of deceased defenders” who died during the war, and “Foundation of friends of talents” to help students.
It is difficult to extract something from the life of this big and unusual man. If we would try to do it, it is undoubtedly the period of his life in Medjugorje. Father Slavko Barbaric has traveled throughout the whole world, spreading the message of peace and reconciliation of Our Lady. He was the soul and the heart of the peace movement born in Medjugorje 19 1/2 years ago. He had wonderful gifts: knowledge of languages, facility of communicating with people, education, simplicity, care for human beings in need, inexhaustible energy – one could not believe that one single man could have it, diligence, and above all piety, humility, charity. He prayed and he fasted a lot, he loved Our Lady with a childlike love. It was, in fact, the essence of his life: through prayer and fasting to take souls to God through Mary - the Queen of Peace.
It seemed sometimes above the reality to live near him – he was here, in the world, but at the same time so much out of the world. In his presence, the words of Jesus from his high priestly prayer became reality: “They do not belong to the world, as I myself do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, I sent them into the world. I sanctify myself for them, in order that they may be sanctified by the truth…” (Jn 17,16-19)
The funeral took place at the cemetery in Medjugorje “Kovacica”, on Sunday, November 26, 2000, after the mass in the church of St James at 2 p.m.
NUMBER OF HOLY COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS
Since – according to Catholic tradition – October is the month, which is especially dedicated to the Virgin Mary, a great number of pilgrims chose this time for their pilgrimage to Medjugorje.
During the month of October, 120.000 faithful received holy communion in the parish of Medjugorje and 2.870 priests from home and abroad concelebrated at holy masses.
The most numerous groups of pilgrims came from Ireland, the United States, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Poland and, of course, Croatia.
THE ‘CENACOLO’ COMMUNITY - HOUSE FOR WOMEN
On November 1, 2000, a house for drug-addicted girls was solemnly opened and blessed here in the parish of Medjugorje. Many girls and boys of the ‘Cenacolo’ community were present, as were many of their parents and friends. This house is one of 60 houses and the second in Medjugorje which the ‘Cenacolo’ community has opened for youths with drug problems.
This community’s path from the hell of drugs into a new life is based on prayer and work; therefore, it is not surprising that such a large number of youths are being healed here. Searching for a way out for the increasing number of young drug addicts, Sister Elvira Petrozzi founded the ‘Cenacolo’ community in 1983.
Prior to their acceptance into the community, the girls and their parents have to take part in so-called ‘colloquiums’ – informative talks – which take place every Saturday at 9 am at the parish office in Medjugorje.
RELIEF OF FRANCISCANS FROM MEDJUGORJE WHO WERE KILLED DURING WORLD WAR II
On November 3, 2000, reliefs of five Franciscans from the parish of Medjugorje who had died a martyr’s death in World War II were blessed in the Adoration Chapel. These five Franciscans were among a total of 66 Franciscans who were killed under the Communist regime, bearing witness to their faith in Jesus Christ.
The parish of Medjugorje wanted to honour these Franciscans in a special way in this year of the Great Jubilee, and had five reliefs made which were then put up in the Adoration Chapel. Dr. Fr. Tomislav Pervan, the Provincial of the Franciscans in Hercegovina celebrated Holy Mass on the occasion. In his homily, Fr. Pervan reminded us of the many who have given their lives for Christ – almost a thousand Croatian priests died during the last wars.
At the end of Holy Mass, Fr. Ivan Sesar, the parish priest, thanked the former parish priest, Fr. Ivan Landeka, who had suggested that these five Franciscan be honoured during this Jubilee Year for having died a martyr’s death. Many members of the numerous families, as well as parishioners of Medjugorje attended the ceremony. They will now be able to show their solidarity with their Franciscans - whose graves are unknown - by coming to Adoration Chapel, being there with them, praying for them and asking them for their intercession.
FR. IVAN BRADVICA HAS DIED
On Saturday, November 4, 2000, Fr. Ivan Bradvica, Franciscan from the Franciscan Province of Hercegovina, died in Camogli, near Genova in Italy. Fr. Bradvica was buried on November 9th in Humac.
Fr. Bradvica was born on May 9, 1944 in Veljace. He attended elementary school in Vitina and continued his studies at the Franciscan Seminary in Visoko. He then attended the seminary for priests in Sarajevo, Trento and the Antonianum in Rome, where he received his diploma in 1971. He gave his monastic vow in 1969 in Trento, Italy, where he was ordained a priest. From 1971 to 1991, he worked as a Franciscan priest with the Croatians in the Diaspora in the United States and Canada. He worked as chaplain in the Croatian parish St. Hieronymus in Chicago and then worked for one year in the parish of St. Kyrillos and Methodios in New York. He was parish priest in the parish of St. Nikola Tavelic from 1976 to 1987. There he built a new church and the Croatian Catholic center. He then worked in the Croatian Franciscan center in Norval, Canada, and from 1989 to 1991, he was parish priest in the parish of the Holy Family in Kitchener, Canada. As the democratic changes began to take place in his homeland of Croatia, Fr. Ivan Bradvica returned to the country of his birth. He first worked in the Franciscan monestary in Široki Brijeg and then in the beleaguered town of Konjic. In August 1995, he came to the parish of Medjugorje und worked there tirelessly until March 1999; he then returned to Konjic, where he worked devotedly to spiritually and physically restore the devastated parish.
The funeral on November 9th in the new cemetary in Ljubuški was attended by a great number of Franciscan brothers and sisters, priests and faithful. Holy Mass was celebrated in the church of St. Anthony in Humac by Mgr. Ratko Peric, the Bishop of Mostar-Duvno and the permanent representative of Trebinje-Mrkanj, together with 85 priests.
Fortunate to have been able to work near this magnanimous Franciscan and live with this extremely capable spirit, we feel a great loss, as we were accompanied for many years by the pastoral care and the high standards of this diligent Franciscan, who had such a special devotion for Our Lady. Fr. Ivan’s seminars and his spiritual guidance gave not only the parishioners of the parish of Medjugorje, where Fr. Ivan worked for four years, but also many pilgrims from abroad new incentives to change and start a new life upon their return home.
Also in this way, we thank God once more for all the good He has done through His servant and we recommend him to your prayers.
SEMINARS IN 'DOMUS PACIS'
Several prayer seminars have been held in 'Domus pacis', the house of prayer.
From November 3 - 5, 2000, Franciscan sisters of the Franciscan province of Hercegovina held a seminar for 40 girls. Two fasting and prayer retreats were also held; one for French-speaking pilgrims from November 5 to 11 and another from November 13 - 18 for German-speaking pilgrims.
From November 10 - 12, members of the Franciscan youth from the parish of Medjugorje had a spiritual renewal, together with their leader, Fr. Branko Radoš; and from November 24 -26, the FRAMA from various parts of the Hercegovina gathered for a two-day seminar.
Such seminars show how much everyone – young and old – needs spiritual renewal and growth. And this is exactly what Medjugorje offers them with its prayer life. That is why all seminars are booked out in advance and, each year, there are more.
THE BULLETIN IS PUBLISHED ON THE 26th OF EACH MONTH
The Press Bulletin with the monthly news will be published on the 26th of each month, rather than on the 5th, as we had previously announced.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 11/29/2000