"Dear children! I am with you and I bless you all with my motherly blessing. Especially today when God gives you abundant graces, pray and seek God through me. God gives you great graces, that is why, little children make good use of this time of grace and come closer to my heart so that I can lead you to my Son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call." June 25, 2001
One of the frequent themes treated in our time is the priesthood. In western Church, the most frequent topic is the permanent lack of priests and the role of the laity. In the countries of the Third World and in mission countries, two questions attract attention: the joy of seeing more and more young people embracing the priesthood, and the question of the sincerity of their motives. One often speaks about the new type of priest needed for actual circumstances of our times and of the Church. Some problems of priestly life are becoming more and more often the topic of open discussions in the Church and in the world, as well as the behaviour of certain priests, which scandalizes the Christian community. When the question of priesthood arises, one mainly speaks about the mission, the formation, the place and the role in the Church and about celibacy. But there is one theme, the foundation for all, which is not treated: it is the religious and the spiritual experience, as the foundation of the priestly mission. If this experience is lacking, if it is not growing and developing, the priest and the community to which he is sent are being deprived of the entire announcing of the Gospel. Many priests I have met and I meet in Medjugorje do not conceive their coming only as accompanying the pilgrims. They want to get and to complete their religious experience. This is what attracts them every year in growing numbers to the Priest Retreat around the Queen of Peace.
Fra Ivan Landeka
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of May, 120.000 communions were distributed and 2747 priests concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were here from Belgium, Germany, Poland, Italy, France, Chile, Lebanon, Ireland, England, Scotland, Austria, Australia, Canada, Korea, USA, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Malta, Romania, Brazil, Switzerland, Holland, South Africa, Argentina, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina.
THE COMMUNITY «FAITH AND LIGHT» CELEBRATED ITS 30TH ANNIVERSARY IN MEDJUGORJE
May 26 to 27, more than a hundred members of the community “Faith and Light” from several Croatian cities came on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, to pray, share and celebrate their 30th anniversary. Dr. fra Ivan Sesar, parish priest, received them in Medjugorje, and Ivan Dragicevc, visionary, spoke to them about the messages of Our Lady.
The community “Faith and Light” in Croatia is part of an international movement, consisting of 1200 communities in 70 countries on all five continents. The community brings together persons with a mental handicap, their families and friends. It is the vocation of “Faith and Light” to help persons with a mental handicap feel that they are not alone or useless.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF TRIPOLIS, AND A SUPERIOR GENERAL OF THE MELKITE BASILIAN ORDER OF CHUEIRITES IN PILGRIMAGE TO MEDJUGORJE
May 28 to June 2, 2001, Mgr. Georges Riachi, Archbishop of Tripoli in Lebanon, was on pilgrimage in Medjugorje with nine priests from his order, and Abbot Nicolas Hakim, Superior General of the Melkite Basilian Order of Chueirites. They came with a group of Lebanese pilgrims.
They ended their pilgrimage to the Queen of Peace with a solemn Eucharistic celebration in Arabic and in Greek.
MGR. GEORGES RIACHI TOLD US ABOUT HIS IMPRESSIONS:
I came to Medjugorje with a group of monks of my Chueirite order, who asked me to accompany them. I told them, “Sure, I will come with you; it will be a pleasure for me to visit the place where we have special signs from the Blessed Mother of God!”
I am here for the first time. I heard about Medjugorje long ago. When it started, I was in America, and when I became Bishop of the Melkites in Australia, one of my priests in Perth asked my permission to visit Medjugorje and I told him, “Go ahead”. He came to Medjugorje and he was very pleased. He was very touched. In his church, a prayer group prays the Rosary every day. There has been some change in his life. When I was called back to Lebanon, the year before last, one of my priests asked me to come to Medjugorje and I allowed him to do so. He was also very touched, and he saw that, when he puts his hands on a person’s head, the people are changing. So he asked me what he should do, and I replied, “Thank the Lord God! It is a special grace!” A priest who came last year found that he was tremendously helped to change his life. I, myself, came for my first visit this year. I know that the Church has not yet given instructions and I respect the Church in everything; but I feel that Medjugorje, in spite of what some say, is a good place to come to visit, because you can come back to God, you can make a good confession, you can come back to God through our Blessed Mother, to be more and more what you are, with the help of the Church.
I know that there has been a multitude of people coming from all over the world for almost 20 years now; this is, by itself, a miracle, a great thing. Here, people change. They become more devoted to the Lord God and to His Mother, the Blessed Mary. It is wonderful to see the faithful approach the sacrament of Holy Communion and other sacraments, like confession, with the greatest respect. I see long lines of people waiting to go for confession. What we really have to do here, what priests have to do here is to tell people to be honest with the Lord God, to open up.
I would like to tell the people to come to Medjugorje. Medjugorje is a sign. Priests in Medjugorje have a big mission. You have to be up to date and fully informed. People come to see something special. Be always special. It is not easy, ask the Blessed Mother to lead you, the priests here, the ministers, all those who are in charge of Medjugorje, to help them to be a good example to the whole multitude coming from all over the world. It will be a great mercy for the people.
ABBOT NICOLAS HAKIM, SUPERIOR GENERAL OF THE MELKITE BASILIAN ORDER OF CHUEIRITES SAID:
I came to Medjugorje as the first Superior General of an order from Lebanon. I came with eight young priests of the Chueirite order to offer to the Blessed Virgin all my heart, all my thoughts, my whole being and all our Order, because the Mother of God is a mother of tenderness.
We came here for a spiritual retreat, for the renewal of our soul and of our spirit in order to live better and pray better in our monasteries, to work better in our parishes and the schools the monks are serving in, to live better our vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.
I was listening to Ivan Dragicevic; now I want to read the books written by Father Slavko Barbaric. I am mostly struck by the love without limits. She loves us as Her children, without looking at our sins and our weaknesses. For Her, we are Her beloved children. We have to thank Our Lord and Our Lady, we have to reconcile and accept penance, and we will have inner peace. I was struck by what Ivan said about how difficult it is to go “back to the earth” after having met Our Lady, and that every day! You who live here must be happy people. Certainly, there are obstacles. The devil is strongly attacking a place where Our Lady appears. We have been attacked, because we have decided to go to Medjugorje. They asked us why we do not go somewhere else. The devil is always attacking human goodness. If you want to do good, to be near God, many will be against you. I will tell to every one: come and see!
I have seen the real presence of the Most Blessed Virgin. She is everywhere in the world, but here in a special way. I have seen peace, simplicity, I have seen love in all hearts, and I have seen heaven on earth, where lambs live with wolves.
The service of the priests in Medjugorje is divine. Our Lady asks them to serve the pilgrims, the priests, the sick... It is a very important and grateful service. They give a good example through the prayers they animate, through the way they receive people. Let them be a good example and I pray to God and Our Lady that they give them the health so they may continue. I went to Father Slavko’s tomb. Like Our Lady, he is their protector. Let them ask his intercession.
TO MEDJUGORJE ON THE BICYCLE
Beginning of June, three young Italians and a priest came to Medjugorje by bicycle. The friary of the Capuchins from Bologna in Italy proposed to a group of young people to go to Medjugorje by bicycle. They prepared themselves for this pilgrimage in faith, through prayer and reading about the events of Medjugorje. They are glad to have experienced some strain on their three-day journey on bicycle, which reminded them of ancient pilgrims, who went on their journey ready to suffer somewhat in their quest of God.
MALTESE ORDER IN THE SERVICE OF THE PILGRIMS
With the beginning of June, the members of the rescue and medical services of the Order of Malta from Köln (Germany) came back to Medjugorje for another six-month period to be of service to the pilgrims of the Queen of Peace. During Holy Mass for German pilgrims, father Branko Radoš welcomed them, thanking them for the help they are offering to the pilgrims of Medjugorje, and invoking God’s blessing on them and on their services.
10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE COMMUNITY “CENACOLO” IN MEDJUGORJE
On June 2nd, the boys of the Community “Cenacolo” in Medjugorje and their friends celebrated modestly the 10th anniversary of their foundation in Medjugorje.
The Community “Cenacolo” was founded in 1983 and presently consists of 32 fraternities spread all over the world, with about 800 members, boys and girls, who seek the way out of the hell of the drug addiction.
The community wants to be light in darkness, a sign of hope, a living witness that death has not the last word. These young people live a simple family life style, thus discovering the treasures offered by work, friendship and faith in the Word of God incarnate in Jesus, dead and risen for us.
The house for boys in Medjugorje was founded in 1991, and the house for girls in 2000. All those who need help from the Community of the Cenacle may contact the house in Medjugorje situated halfway between Apparition Hill and Cross Mountain.
CHARGE D'AFFAIRES OF THE CZECH EMBASSY IN SARAJEVO MET THE PARISH PRIEST OF MEDJUGORJE
Thursday, June 7th, dr. fra Ivan Sesar had a meeting with M. Vladimir Chaloupka, the charge d’affaires of the Czech Embassy in Sarajevo, who wanted to talk to the Parish Priest of Medjugorje about tourism, pilgrims, migration and visas.
RETREATS IN “DOMUS PACIS”
During the month of May, two seminars were conducted in “Domus Pacis”, the house of prayer:
- May 18-20, 38 schoolboys and girls from Žepce, accompanied by Salesians;
- May 20-27, 21 French pilgrims participated in a prayer and fasting retreat animated by fra Ljubo Kurtovic.
THE FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI IN MEDJUGORJE - Mgr Ratko Peric delivered the sacrament of Confirmation
On the feast of the Most Sacred Body and Blood of Christ, Mgr Ratko Peric, Bishop of Mostar, delivered the sacrament of Confirmation to 72 candidates in the parish of St. James in Medjugorje.
In his homily, he expressed his satisfaction concerning the knowledge the candidates showed during the examination of their readiness to receive this sacrament, and wished that they live their faith not only intellectually, but with the heart.
He expressed his satisfaction about the way the parish priest is administering this parish. He also underlined the importance of the unity of the Catholic Church, which is manifested through the unity with the local bishop and the Pope, as well as the necessity that all the faithful of this diocese, in the power of the Holy Spirit which was given to them, be faithful to the teaching and the practice of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
He wished the candidates to readily respond to God, if He calls them to be His apostles, like the 72 Jesus had chosen.
After the solemn Eucharistic celebration, Mgr Ratko Peric remained in friendly conversation with priests in the Presbytery.
After the evening Mass, parishioners and pilgrims took part in a procession, following the exposed Most Holy Sacrament in celebration of the Solemnity of ‘Corpus Cristi’ - the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. The children who had received their First Holy Communion this year, as well as priests on pilgrimage in Medjugorje also participated in the procession.
The 10th traditional Peace March was held as every year on June 24th, the eve of the anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady. It was animated by father Branko Radoš and began with prayer and the blessing of the pilgrims in front of the Franciscan monastery of Humac. Several thousands of pilgrims started their march at 6 am. Priests from 15 countries carried the Blessed Sacrament. Two of the visionaries of Medjugorje participated in it: Vicka Ivankovic and Jakov Colo. At their arrival in Medjugorje, pilgrims gathered in front of the parish church for the final prayer. There, they were greeted by the parish priest, fra Ivan Sesar, thanking the Lord for the great deeds He has done. Also this year, young pilgrims were particularly numerous, among them the Franciscan Youth Fraternity from Medjugorje.
“The Peace March” is the fruit of an idea born in the hearts of Medjugorje pilgrims and friends of Medjugorje at the time of war, in 1992, as a response to the trouble, violence and hatred, as well as an appeal to real peace and reconciliation.
CELEBRATION OF THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE APPARITIONS IN MEDJUGORJE
During last 20 years, the message of peace and reconciliation spread all over the world through millions of pilgrims who came to Medjugorje. Thanks to prayer, the message of Our Lady reached the most remote parts of the world and made out of Medjugorje the parish of the world. This is being confirmed by the presence of numerous faithful who came to Medjugorje for the 20th anniversary. Here, many have found God and started to walk on the way of conversion without any fear. In the celebration of this anniversary, gratitude for all the gifts God has given here through Mary, was put at the first place.
It is impossible to enumerate all the countries from where the pilgrims came: they came from every corner of the world. Many local pilgrims, according to their tradition, came on their bare feet to pray for peace and to thank Our Lady – the Queen of Peace.
Parishioners and pilgrims prepared themselves for this anniversary with a Novena: daily Rosary on Apparition Hill, evening prayer programme which included the Novena composed particularly for this occasion, and daily evening Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
In the morning of June 24th and June 25th, Holy Masses were celebrated in 17 languages. During these two days, 60.000 communions were distributed.
The evening Mass on June 24th was presided by F. Miron Sikiric, professor at the Franciscan Theology in Sarajevo, and concelebrated by 210 priests.
The evening Mass on June 25th was presided by F. Toni Vockovic, professor at the Catholic Theology in Sarajevo, and concelebrated by 273 priests from about twenty countries.
For the 20th anniversary, the Parish edited a gold medal and a new monography, and the Post Office printed a new postal stamp.
REGULAR ANNUAL APPARITION TO THE VISIONARY IVANKA
The visionary Ivanka Ivankovic-Elez had her regular annual apparition on June 25th 2001. According to the visionaries, Vicka, Marija and Ivan continue to have daily apparitions, and Mirjana, Ivanka and Jakov have an annual apparition.
At Her last daily apparition on May 7, 1985 Our Lady told Ivanka that she would have an apparition once a year on the anniversary of the apparitions. It was that way also this year. Ivanka had the apparition in the presence of her family. She says that Our Lady was joyful and that She spoke to her about the future of the Church. Our Lady gave the following message:
"Dear angels! Thank you for your prayers, because through them my plan is being realized. This is why, angels, pray, pray, pray, so that my plan may be realized. Receive my motherly blessing!"
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 07/01/2001