"Dear children! Today when God granted to me that I can be with you, with little Jesus in my arms, I rejoice with you and I give thanks to God for everything He has done in this Jubilee year. I thank God especially for all the vocations of those who said ‘yes’ to God completely. I bless you all with my blessing and the blessing of the newborn Jesus. I pray for all of you for joy to be born in your hearts so that in joy you too carry the joy I have today. In this Child I bring to you the Savior of the your hearts and the One who calls you to the holiness of life. Thank you for having responded to my call." December 25, 2000
"These days, we are celebrating the coming of the Lord. According to our human standards, if we were asked to prepare no less than the reception of God Himself, what would the setting be? What would we undertake?” (J. Turcinovic)
This is the question we have to face at Christmas. A surprising question, as surprising as the unusual ways God chooses to come and to speak to us. Christmas brings a good surprise: we all feel that throughout the year, we could live with one another and with God in a better, more meaningful and in a less complicated way. This is why Christmas is an exceptional feast.
Elisabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist, had a pleasant surprise – of another type, through another Visitation – the coming of Mary: “And whence is this to me, that the mother of my lord should come to me?” (Luke 1,43)
Such a Visitation, pleasant and challenging, was accorded the parish of Medjugorje. Millions have come to “see this thing which is come to pass” (see Luke 2,15), and they found Jesus in the sacrament of Reconciliation and in the Eucharist, in fasting and in prayer.
Blessed Christmas to you who have found Him and to you who seek Him!
Fra Ivan Landeka
N E W S
JAKOV’s ANNUAL APPARITION on DECEMBER 25, 2000
At Her last daily apparition to Jakov Colo on September 12, 1998, Our Lady told him that, from now onwards, he would have only one yearly apparition and that on Christmas day, December 25th. Thus it was also this year.
The apparition began at 3:20 pm and lasted 10 minutes. Our Lady came joyful with baby Jesus in her arms. She blessed everyone and gave a message:
"Dear children! Today when Jesus is born and by His birth brings immeasurable joy, love and peace, I call you, in a special way to say your ‘yes’ to Jesus. Open your hearts so that Jesus enters into them, comes to dwell in them and starts to work through you. Only in this way will you be able to comprehend the true beauty of God’s love, joy and peace. Dear children, rejoice in the birth of Jesus and pray for all those hearts that have not opened to Jesus so that Jesus may enter into each of their hearts and may start working through them – so that every person would be an example of a true person through whom God works."
FATHER SLAVKO'S BURIAL
Fr. Slavko Barbaric was buried November 26th in the local cemetery of Medjugorje “Kovacica”. The funeral mass, concelebrated by some 150 priests and assisted by more than 10.000 faithful, was presided by Mgr Ratko Peric, Bishop of Mostar.
All speeches held at the funeral are published on our web-pages: www.medjugorje.hr
Father Slavko’s work is alive..
Humanly in deep sorrow, but carried by Christian hope, we wish to tell to all pilgrims and friends of Medjugorje that God’s work, started through Fr. Slavko Barbaric, continues to live on through his collaborators who followed Fr. Slavko’s inspirations throughout the years.
Works of Christian charity (Mothers’ Village, Fond of the Friends of Talents, Fond for Children of Departed Defenders, Fond for Families with Numerous Children, help for different persons in distress) will continue to live on, thanks to your active charity; also the prayer seminars (for couples, for priests, for young people) will continue in the spirit of the Gospel of Jesus and of Our Lady’s messages.
For all information linked with Fr. Slavko’s work, please contact the parish priest, Fr. Ivan Sesar and the Parish Office.
Thanks and praise to the Lord for having given to Medjugorje such a man, priest and Franciscan.
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of November, 40.000 Holy Communions were distributed and 1.144 priests from the country and from abroad concelebrated at Holy Mass in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje.
STATESMEN FROM SLOVAKIA IN MEDJUGORJE
On Tuesday November 7th, two statesmen from Slovakia visited Medjugorje: Jan Petrik, extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of Slovakia in Croatia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Pavol Danic, consul in Zagreb. In their conversation with the parish priest of Medjugorje, they manifested their interest in the history of the apparitions in Medjugorje and, in a special way, in Slovakian pilgrims coming to this place. They visited the sanctuary and expressed their gratitude for the care the Franciscan friars accord to Slovakian pilgrims. They wish to maintain good contacts with the Sanctuary in order to be able to offer the best possible information to all those who are interested in visiting Medjugorje. After their visit to the parish, they visited Sister Elvira’s therapeutic community for former drug addicts. It is an international community, representing about 10 different nations at the moment – among them also some Slovaks.
AUSTRIAN AMBASSADOR’S VISIT
Dr. Gerhard Jandl, Austrian ambassador in Bosnia and Herzegovina, came to Medjugorje on November 27th. During his visit, he spoke of his interest in the history of the events of Medjugorje and also for the Austrian pilgrims coming to this place.
TO MEDJUGORJE ON A BICYCLE
Antoine Lamy and Fabrice de Rivet, two young Frenchmen, came to Medjugorje on November 18th after one month’s journey from France on a bicycle. They spent one day in the sanctuary of the Queen of Peace and continued their journey to the final destination of this exceptional pilgrimage - the Holy Land.
PILGRIMAGE OF MENTALLY HANDICAPPED PERSONS
40 handicapped persons from the Institution for Retarded Persons from Vrlika, Croatia, came to Medjugorje with their caretakers on the feast of St. Elisabeth of Hungary. Their pilgrimage has become a tradition. Their first visit to Medjugorje was on the feast of St. Elisabeth of Hungary. The homily given then spoke about how much this saint cared for the poor and the sick, and so they decided to come every year on her feast day to Medjugorje. After Holy Mass, they climbed the Apparition Hill where they prayed the Rosary – especially for peace and the strength to be able to continue to live with the burden of their illness and the handicap they carry from their early childhood.
45 pilgrims from the Centre for Work Therapy in Dubrovnik, came to Medjugorje with their parents on November 23rd. In spite of their difficulties, they showed exceptional joy, displayed by their singing in Holy Mass. After Holy Mass, they offered their handicrafts to the Franciscan friars from Medjugorje.
On Sunday, November 19th, 50 youths from the parish of Medjugorje made their promise of fidelity to the Gospel, according to the example of St Francis.
The Franciscan Youth Group – FRAMA – has been active in the parish of Medjugorje for the last five years. These young men and women try to be joyful witnesses of the Good News of Jesus, according to the example of their founder, St. Francis of Assisi. From year to year, Frama has increased its membership and has become more and more involved in the life of the parish and society. They meet weekly for prayer and sharing, they help in different ways in the pastoral life of the parish: singing, playing instruments and reading during the liturgy, taking part in processions, helping in the organization of important feasts and prayer-meetings. They are also involved on a cultural, ecological, charity and media level. After spending a year in Frama, they make a promise to live the Gospel in their fraternity. This year, 26 young people renewed their promises, and 24 of them made their first promises. During a very beautiful liturgical celebration full of songs, dances and fervour, these young people pronounced their “yes” to Christ before fra dr. Ivan Sesar, parish priest of Medjugorje, fra Branko Rados, their chaplain, and in the presence of a great number of parishioners and pilgrims.
AMERICAN SOLDIERS IN MEDJUGORJE
About 100 American soldiers, members of SFOR based in Tuzla, came to Medjugorje with their military chaplain on November 21st. They celebrated Holy Mass and climbed Apparition Hill.
We are most pleased to see that also soldiers recognize Medjugorje as a place of prayer and of peace.
14 FRANCISCAN PROVINCIALS IN MEDJUGORJE
On November 23rd, Franciscan provincials from 14 provinces, situated in Slavic countries – the Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, headed by fra Antonio Ricci, Definitor General and Delegate of the General Direction of the Franciscan Order, came to Medjugorje.
After their meeting, which took place this year in the Franciscan monastery in Slano, they came to Medjugorje get better acquainted with the life and work of Herzegovinian friars, members of the herzegovinian province, the hosts of this year’s meeting. They visited Mostar, Siroki Brijeg and Humac, and came to Medjugorje in the afternoon. They visited Sr. Elvira’s community for former drug addicts and also the Mothers’ Village, which takes care of orphans and children from broken families. They concelebrated Holy Mass in St. James’ church.
This year’s theme of the meeting was the announcing of the Gospel and witnessing the Gospel today.
Their meeting with the above-mentioned communities and their participation in the evening program in church made them understand that the Word of God is announced powerfully in Medjugorje in three different ways: prayer, the care for former drug addicts, for abandoned and neglected persons. In their conversation with the friars from Medjugorje, they emphasized their interest in the events of Medjugorje and for the pilgrims coming from their countries. They expressed their gratitude for the pastoral care given to their pilgrims in Medjugorje.
“BONEY M” IN MEDJUGORJE
Members of the rock-group “Boney M” came to the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje on November 23rd, before going to Mostar, where they gave a concert.
They participated in the English Mass for pilgrims and sung with them. After Mass, they met with fra dr. Ivan Sesar, parish priest of Medjugorje, who spoke to them about the events of Medjugorje: Our Lady’s messages, the visionaries, the spiritual life of the parish and of the pilgrims. He told them that Medjugorje was not a place to come to in order to see something, but rather a place of prayer where people come in search of inner peace. He gave a rosary to each one of them. “Boney M” also visited the former drug addicts living in the Community of Cenacle.
“Boney M” left Medjugorje full of enthusiasm, and they shared their spiritual experience with their public in Mostar.
FRANZ GOLLOWITSCH 250 TIMES IN MEDJUGORJE
On Friday, November 24th, the day father Slavko Barbaric passed away, he celebrated Mass for the German speaking pilgrims and marked a significant jubilee. It was the 250th pilgrimage of Franz Gollowitsch from Steiermark in Austria.
Franz Gollowitsch, owner of a travel agency, came to Medjugorje for the first time 15 years ago. Since then, he has brought more than 12.000 Austrian pilgrims to this Shrine. He became a tireless witness and herald of Our Lady’s messages in his homeland Austria. He not only brought pilgrims to Medjugorje, but also those who desired to deepen their faith by attending prayer and fasting retreats.
In difficult years during the war, he stretched out his hand to the needy in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the help of Medjugorje-pilgrims from Austria. He was most involved in helping children, being himself a father of 5 children and a grand-father of 13.
This great man was recently awarded the “Golden Heart” price of Austria and 10.000 schillings. He gave the entire amount to the 12-member family of Danijela and Marinko Maric from Rastovaca near Posusje.
May the shining example of this man be a guide line for us, as are his words: “I see in children the joy of a new life and hope. We are children of God, and all children are our future; every day, they give us new strength.”
A sincere and big thanks to this man, with our promise to pray for his work.
MGR GEORG EDER, ARCHBISHOP OF SALZBURG’S, THANKSGIVING LETTER
At the occasion of the accident that struck the winter-sport village of Kaprun in Austria, the parishioners of Medjugorje sent a letter of condolence to Mgr Georg Eder, Archbishop of Salzburg, expressing their faith in the resurrection of the dead.
These days, Mgr Eder responded, saying:
“We have received the encouraging letter signed by the parishioners of Medjugorje with a special feeling of recognition. We are grateful to hear that the parish of Medjugorje prays for the souls of those who lost their lives in this accident. This is a manifestation of the unity of the Catholic Church: when one member suffers, the whole Church suffers.”
Mgr Eder, Archbishop of Salzburg, has come to Medjugorje on several occasions. He blesses the whole parish, and, in a special way, the parish priest, who signed this letter.
MEETING OF THE RADIO PRAYER GROUP "LET US PRAY TOGETHER WITH A JOYFUL HEART"
The Radio Prayer Group “Let Us Pray Together With a Joyful Heart” had its second meeting in Medjugorje on December 3rd. About 300 members of the group came from Herzegovina, Split, Sarajevo, Knin, Drnis, Livno and other places.
This meeting in memory of Fr. Slavko, who had founded and led this prayer group over the radio, was led by Fr. Branko Rados.
The members of the group met at 2 p.m. at Apparition Hill for the Rosary and then at 4 p.m. in the parish. They went together to Fr. Slavko’s tomb and ended their meeting with the evening program in the church.
All members received medals, certificates and an audio tape of the last radio prayer meeting led by Fr. Slavko.
CELEBRATION OF ST. NICHOLAS DAY
On the feast of St. Nicholas, December 6th, a large number of children of the primary school of Medjugorje gathered in the large hall behind the parish church to celebrate the feast of their beloved saint, the protector of children and sailors. They sang various songs and gave a small performance. In the afternoon, they came together in the parish church to celebrate holy mass.
This year also the arrival of St. Nicholas aroused joy in the hearts of the children. There was no end to their prayers, enthusiasm and joy. As usual, St. Nicholas rewarded the children who had been good and those who were not always obedient were invited to be better, especially now as Christmas is approaching.
FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
In recent days, the atmosphere of prayer, peace and community characterized the shrine of Medjugorje due to a large number of pilgrims that visited it for the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. Local pilgrims came from all parts of the country, while the most numerous foreign pilgrim groups were from Italy.
On the day itself, the Rosary for Peace was prayed on Apparition Hill. Several thousand took part in the evening Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Miron Sirkic, professor of Canon Law on Franciscan Theology at Sarajevo.
CHRISTMAS AT MEDJUGORJE
In addition to the evening prayer program in church, and to prepare for Christmas, the Rosary was prayed on Apparition Hill during the novena before Christmas. During Advent, three fasting and prayer seminars were conducted at "Domus Pacis", the House of Prayer. About 100 pilgrims from home and abroad participated in these seminars, desiring through prayer and fasting to prepare for Christmas and to draw closer to the mystery of God born on earth.
During the Christmas holidays, peace prevailed in the shrine of the Queen of Peace with an atmosphere of prayer and unity among the faithful who arrived from all parts of the world. On Sunday, December 17th, “Little Singers from Dubrovnik”, a children’s choir from Dubrovnik directed by Djelo Jusic, and “Little Doves of Peace”, children’s choir from Medjugorje directed by Sr. Slavica Kozul, performed a Christmas Concert in the church of Medjugorje. With this joyful event, in preparation for Christmas, the little one’s wished a Happy Christmas to the faithful and to pilgrims from all over the world.
On Christmas Eve, several thousands of faithful took part in Holy Mass. The Eucharistic celebration began at 10 p.m. with a prayer vigil that ended with Holy Mass at midnight. The feast of Christmas itself passed in the Christmas peace and joy of pilgrims and parishioners gathered around their Mother.
SEMINAR FOR MARRIED COUPLES
The Information Center “Mir” Medjugorje is organizing the 1st International Seminar for Couples from February 8th to February 11th, 2001, with the theme: “COUPLES IN THE SCHOOL OF THE HOLY FAMILY”
Recommendations of things to bring with you:
1. Small headphones and small radio with fm frequency (can also be purchased here)
2. Bible and umbrella
All meetings will take place in the new building behind the Church. Costs of the Seminar: 30 DM per couple. You may make reservations by calling the Information Center at Tel: 00387-36- 651-988 or fax: 00387-36-651-888, or by E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 12/26/2000