"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer, especially today when Satan wants war and hatred. I call you anew, little children: pray and fast that God may give you peace. Witness peace to every heart and be carriers of peace in this world without peace. I am with you and intercede before God for each of you. And you do not be afraid because the one who prays is not afraid of evil and has no hatred in the heart. Thank you for having responded to my call." September 25, 2001
The notion of blessing is one of the oldest notions we can find in the history and the practice of religious life. God blesses Adam and Eve; he blesses the seventh day (Genesis 1,28; 2,3); Noah receives God’s blessing (Genesis 9,1) and the history of salvation begins in fact with the blessing, which Abraham receives from God (Genesis 9,1).
Aaron’s blessing (Numbers 6,22), which will later be spread thanks to St. Francis, is one of the oldest biblical texts discovered until now. Psalms are filled with blessings, unceasingly blessing God’s deeds. Jesus blesses (children, bread and wine, his apostles), he blesses His Father and transmits blessings to his apostles.
In the life of the Church, blessing is very important: it concerns first of all human beings, and then objects. To bless a person always means to pray, that in his or her life the act of salvation may be realized, which has already been accomplished in Christ. Jesus Christ and knowledge of Christ is the greatest blessing of God.
In Our Lady’s messages, blessing is mentioned more than 70 times, and concerns for the most part human beings.
Since the most ancient times, the Church also knows the blessing of objects. However, we have to be very vigilant about it, and explain clearly the significance of such a blessing, as well as the significance of objects, which are blessed. According to liturgical and pastoral instructions of the Church, the blessing of objects concerns first and foremost the persons, which make use of them in their quest of God. Blessed objects inspire persons to follow Jesus Christ and to live the Gospel. It is important to keep this in mind, to bless the objects in this spirit, and to use them for this purpose.
Fr. Ivan Landeka
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of August, 180.000 communions were distributed and 4490 priests from the country and from abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were here from Poland, Italy, USA, Slovakia, Hungary, New Zealand, The Czech Republic, Brazil, France, Belgium, Lebanon, Ireland, England, Canada, Austria, Germany, Romania, Spain, Korea, Holland, Slovenia, Argentina, South Africa, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina.
THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY
The feast of the Assumption of Mary brought to Medjugorje thousands of pilgrims from all over the world. The morning Masses were celebrated in more than 10 different languages. The evening Mass, concelebrated by 65 priests, was presided by Fr. Ivan Dugandžic, ofm, professor of the exegetics of the New Testament and of Biblical theology in Zagreb.
ON BICYCLE TO MEDJUGORJE
On the vigil of the feast of the Assumption of Mary, after 1600 kilometres and fifteen days of cycling, Florence Stefani arrived from Grenoble (France) to Medjugorje. After two days of rest and prayer on the hills of Medjugorje, Florence will continue her pilgrimage on bicycle to the Holy Land.
SEMINARS IN DOMUS PACIS
In the house of prayer “Domus Pacis”, one Croatian and two Polish groups of pilgrims participated at the retreat “Prayer and fasting”. Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic, ofm, preached both retreats.
If you desire to organize a prayer and fasting retreat in “Domus Pacis”, please contact the Information Office of the Sanctuary (+ 387 36 651 988) or Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic personally.
During the school year 2001/2002, Franciscan School Sisters from Hercegovina will offer to young girls prayer-educational recollection days (in Croatian language) on the theme “Seek peace, and pursue it» (Ps 34,15). The first seminar took place from August 31st to September 2nd. These seminars have already shown their importance for the spiritual formation of young girls. In the course of this school year, Franciscan School Sisters will animate six other seminars treating the same theme.
MSGR. ANTOUN HAMID MOURANI, RETIRED MARONITE ARCHBISHOP OF DAMASCUS (SYRIA), IN MEDJUGORJE
August 6 to 13, 2001, Mgr Antoun Hamid Mourani, retired Maronite archbishop of Damascus (Syria), came to a private visit to Medjugorje. He arrived with four priests from Lebanon and a group of Lebanese pilgrims.
MSGR. JEAN-CLAUDE REMBANGA, BISHOP OF BAMBARI (CENTRAL AFRICA), ON PRIVATE PILGRIMAGE IN MEDJUGORJE
Mgr. Jean-Claude Rembanga, bishop of Bambari (Central Africa) is these days in Medjugorje on private pilgrimage. He joined a group of French pilgrims who came from Paris.
His diocese counts more than 100.000 Catholics spread on more than 173.000 m2. Only 20 priests are at their service. Mgr. Jean-Claude Rembanga came to Medjugorje “to ask Our Lady to help my diocese, according to the will of God”.
SPIRITUAL RETREAT FOR YOUNG FRANCISCANS FROM SIX CROATIAN PROVINCES
August 16 to 20, 2001, a group of 28 young Franciscans (OFM, Third Order, Capucins and Conventuals) from Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina made their recollection in Medjugorje, in the house of prayer “Domus Pacis”. Their stay in Medjugorje was a part of a three-weeks long spiritual retreat, leading to their solemn vows, organised every year by different Croatian Franciscan Provinces. They came with their educators. In Medjugorje, they were accompanied by Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic.
During their stay in Medjugorje, they prayed on the Apparition Hill and the Križevac, met the visionaries, visited St. Francis’ Garden and met “The Community of the Cenacle” and “The Oasis of Peace”. Young Franciscans participated every day actively in the evening prayer programme in the parish church.
JUNIORS OF THE FOOTBALL CLUB “NAPOLI” IN MEDJUGORJE
In the beginning of September 2001, juniors of the football club “Napoli” from Naples (Italy), together with their coach, visited Our Lady’s shrine in Medjugorje. Young sportsmen climbed the Apparition Hill, and met Jakov Colo, one of the visionaries, who spoke to them about the messages of Our Lady.
A BENEDICTINE ABBOT IN MEDJUGORJE
In the beginning of September, Fr. Nicolaas de Wolf, a Benedictine monk from Nederland who came seven times to Medjugorje as spiritual councillor of pilgrim groups, came again to Medjugorje. In his country, he accompanied the friends of Medjugorje who are spreading Our Lady’s message of peace. When we asked him why he is coming to Medjugorje, he answered simply: “Because of the Queen of Peace. I believe in the apparitions.” When we asked him what Our Lady brings to his country, he answered with a smile: “She is the Queen of Peace!”
ON FOOT TO MEDJUGORJE
On August 29th 2001, Željko Milic, retired Croatian defender, arrived on foot from Zagreb to Medjugorje. He took two weeks to arrive at his destination. “I wanted to give thanks to God and to Our Lady for all the gifts and graces I received from them in my life.”
To accomplish his vow and express his gratitude to Our Lady, Jozo Šarac from Duvno (Bosnia and Hercegovina) visited this summer three biggest Marian Shrines in Europe: Medjugorje, Lourdes and Fatima. From June 24th to August 15th, walking and praying, he covered on foot more than 3300 kilometres.
ITALIAN BISHOP IN MEDJUGORJE
Msgr. Mario Cecchini, Bishop of Farno (Ancona, Italy), extraordinary professor at the Lateran Pontifical University in Rome, spent two days in private visit in Medjugorje. On the feast of the Assumption of Mary, he presided Holy Mass in Italian language.
During his stay in Medjugorje, Msgr. Cecchini spewnt many hours in the confessional, at the service of Italian speaking pilgrims, and left the shrine with very positive impressions.
A CONCERT IN THE PARISH CHURCH
On Wednesday, September 5, a group of artists from Germany called “Artists for Christ” under the leadership of Inge Brück performed for pilgrims a spiritual programme in thanksgiving to the Queen of Pace. They performed works of Bach, Corelli, Saint-Saëns and Brahms.
A MARBLE STATUE OF THE QUEEN OF PEACE ON THE APPARITION HILL
On the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, September 8th 2001, after the prayer of the Rosary with parishioners and pilgrims, the statue of the Queen of Peace was inaugurated and blessed on the Apparition Hill. The 1,60 meters high white marble statue is a work of Dino Felici from Avenza-Carrara (Italy). The same artist sculpted in 1987 the statue of the Queen of Peace, which was placed in front of the Parish church.
The statue placed on the Apparition Hill is a gift of South Korean pilgrims who wanted to express their gratitude for all the graces receives through Our Lady’s intercession.
All the preparatory works for the putting up of the statue of the Queen of Peace were done by the inhabitants of Bijakovici.
FEAST OF THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
On the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated in Medjugorje on first Sunday after the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, thousands of pilgrims from Croatian regions and from abroad gathered in the Shrine of the Queen of Peace.
As a visible sign of the eternal light shining from the Cross, the whole week before the feast, the cross on Križevac was illuminated, reminding of its significance and preparing parishioners and pilgrims for this feast.
50 priests concelebrated the solemn Holy Mass on Križevac, presided by Fr. Mika Stojic, parish priest from Citluk.
For those who could not climb the Križevac, there was a solemn Holy Mass celebrated in the parish church at 12 am. It was presided by Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic and concelebrated by more than 40 priests.
The evening Holy Mass, celebrated at the outside altar and concelebrated by 55 priests, was presided by Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic.
A NEW PARISH PRIEST FOR MEDJUGORJE
Fr. Ivan Sesar, who took over the parish in August 2000, has been elected Vicar of the Franciscan province of the Assumption of Mary. The government of the Hercegovinian Franciscan Province decided to set him free of parish responsibilities and to entrust to him other duties, vital for the Province. Fr. Ivan will also be in charge of the education of young candidates to Franciscan life.
The new Parish Priest of Medjugorje is Fr. Branko Radoš. He was born on March 28, 1967 in Crvenice, Tomislavgrad. He attained his baccalaureate in the Franciscan classical lyceum in Visoko. He received the Franciscan habit in 1986 in Humac. He studied theology in Sarajevo, Zagreb and Graz (Austria). He was ordained priest on July 10, 1994. He served as Parish Vicar in Široki Brijeg for four years. Since August 1998, he serves in the parish of Medjugorje. In June 2001, he was elected to the Council of the Hercegovinian Franciscan Province.
Fr. Miljenko Stojic, former director of the Information Centre “Mir” Medjugorje, has been appointed secretary of the Franciscan Province. The new Director of the Information Center is Fr. Mario Knezovic, born on November 3,1973. In 2000/2001, he was parish administrator in the parish of St. Peter and Paul in Mostar.
The Government of the Province has decided that Fr. Drago Vujevic, born on March 1st, 1970, who spent his year of deaconate in Medjugorje, remains in the parish as vicar. Fr. Drago was ordained priest on June 29th, 2001.
We thank all the priests who are leaving for all the good they have done, and wish a hearty welcome to those who arrive, including them in our prayers.
Deeply affected by great disorders and tragic events we offer our sympathies to all our pilgrims from USA and to all American citizens.
In our prayers in Medjugorje we ask for the intercession of Queen of Peace so that the Peace of Jesus Christ may enter in every heart and in the entire world.
We pray that the Love of God heal all wounds, console the sorrowful and accept all deceased innocent victims into everlasting peace.
PRAYER PROGRAMME IN THE SHRINE
Beginning with Monday, September 10th, 2001, the prayer of the Rosary in the Parish church will begin at 5 pm, and Holy Mass at 6 pm. Eucharistic adoration on Wednesday and Saturday will begin at 9 pm. Rosary on the Apparition Hill and the Way of the Cross on the Križevac will begin at 3 pm.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 09/26/2001