"Dear children! Also today I call you to pray from your whole heart and to love each other. Little children, you are chosen to witness peace and joy. If there is no peace, pray and you will receive it. Through you and your prayer, little children, peace will begin to flow through the world. That is why, little children, pray, pray, pray, because prayer works miracles in human hearts and in the world. I am with you and I thank God for each of you who has accepted and lives prayer with seriousness. Thank you for having responded to my call." October 25, 2001
PASSAGE TO LIFE
Phil Bosmans, a very famous spiritual writer, noted: “Some things may seem as a catastrophe, and nevertheless, they are a grace.” Writing this, he may have thought about those who think that death is the end of life. I believe and I feel that, even among Christians, dying has not yet been understood in its depth – as a new birth, which Jesus is talking about. As mortal men, we meditate on this theme of death mostly in the beginning of the month of November.
At this time of the year, we remember our departed. Tombs are freshly decorated. For a short time, the living and the dead live on the same plane. They seek each other, but they cannot reach each other. A cruel wall separates the ones from the others. The living mourn the dead and, I believe, the dead mourn even more the living who do not live their lives in fullness, although they breath, possess, eat, walk…
It is good if the living meditate on the hour of their death. Nevertheless, some may be surprised by this hour like by like a thief: it is a catastrophe if they have forgotten the council to remain awake and to be on their guard. Carried away by the pleasures of this life, they in fact loose their life. According to the words of a theologian, death is “a most excellent troublemaker”. Yes. Exactly that. Death enters into every pleasure and says: Enough! It undermines every security, which is not founded in God. Fundamentally, this is what I think while meditating on death – if there was not death, it would not be worthwhile to live. If there was not death, it would not be meritorious to support the temptations and the crosses of life. But death as a state is not permanent. As Christians, we have to see it as a birth, as a new beginning. It is the passage from the struggle for the existence to a space where every tear will be wiped from our face. This is why we can understand St. Paul’s jubilation about death as a gain. We can more easily understand the imaginings of St. Francis who called death his little sister.
Fra Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of September, 140,000 communions were distributed and 3,676 priests from the country and from abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were here from Italy, El Salvador, USA, Canada, Lebanon, Argentina, Ireland, Slovakia, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Netherlands, Austria, France, Slovenia, South Africa, Denmark, The Czech Republic, Poland, Indonesia, Mexico, Australia, Switzerland, Lithuania, Brazil, Korea, Costa Rica, Romania, Hungary, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
EMMANUEL: A MEXICAN POP STAR’S WITNESS
In August 2001, a famous Latino American pop singer Emmanuel came to Medjugorje. This is what he said about his experience:
“This is my fourth visit to Medjugorje. I came for the first time in July 1996 with my whole family. It was a marvellous journey, where we received God’s blessing. After that, we came back in November of the same year, and then in 1998, for the International Youth Festival. Now, we are here again and, although every pilgrimage in this holy land is different, we were always accompanied by a strong feeling of peace and welcome. This place is an oasis in the desert of feelings and loneliness, so strongly present in the world. Here you feel protected, and you can find in the depth of your soul the presence of God, of His beloved Son Jesus, and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our shield and advocate. A time in Medjugorje is a spiritual exercise, which increases the inner positive energy, the feeling of love, but also of repentance, not only because we have sinned in our daily life, but because of the fact that we have gone away from our Father.
Thanks to this presence, thousands of families from the whole world have found peace in their heart and have rediscovered the value of the family; others have abandoned drugs and alcohol, others have lovingly given back to God what he had given to them.”
UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC BISHOP IN PRIVATE PILGRIMAGE TO MEDJUGORJE
Mgr. Irynei Bilyk, osbm, Catholic Bishop of the Byzantine rite from Buchach, Ukraine, came last week on a private pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Mgr. Bilyk came to Medjugorje for the first time in 1989, as a priest, immediately before going to Rome for his secret Episcopal ordination, to ask for the intercession of the Queen of Peace.
This year’s pilgrimage was his prayer in thanksgiving for all of the help he received from Our Lady.
THE DAY OF KOREA IN MEDJUGORJE
South Korean pilgrims, donators of a marble statue of the Queen of Peace, which was placed and blessed on the place of the first apparitions on September 8th, 2001 (the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary), gathered on the Apparition Hill on the day of a Korean national feast day – September 20th. In prayer, they invoked the intercession of the Queen of Peace for their country, which is still divided. Following their initiative, Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic, who conducted the prayer, declared that henceforth this day would be known as the day of Korea in Medjugorje.
SISTER BRIEGE McKENNA CAME FOR A TIME OF RECOLLECTION TO MEDJUGORJE
Sister Briege McKenna, a famous American religious and one of the leading personalities in the charismatic renewal, spent a week in Medjugorje, September 15 to 20. Avoiding any publicity, Sister Briege retired in private prayer on Apparition Hill and on Cross Mountain. Sister Briege McKenna came to Medjugorje with Fr. Kevin Scalen and several members of his family.
FR. BRANKO RADOS, OFM, SOLEMNLY INAUGURATED AS PARISH PRIEST OF MEDJUGORJE
On Sunday, September 23rd, 2001 in the Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Branko Radoš and concelebrated by Msg. Luka Pavlovic, Vicar General of the Diocese of Mostar, Fr. Mika Stojic, OFM, Dean of Brotnjo, and several priests from the region, Fr. Branko Radoš, OFM, was solemnly inaugurated as parish priest of Medjugorje. In his speech, Fr. Luka Pavlovic underlined that this service consists in governing the spiritual and material goods in the name of the Church, which entrusts the parish priest this office. He also invited the parishioners to help him in this charge. Fr. Branko thanked the delegate of the Bishop for the trust the Church has manifested to him, and, as a sign of fidelity to the Catholic Church, he confessed solemnly his faith before the numerous faithful gathered in and around the parish church.
13TH INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF SPANISH SPEAKING CENTRES OF PEACE
The 13th meeting of Centres of Peace of Latin American countries took place from September 21 to 25, 2001 in Medjugorje. These centres have arisen in all of Latin America as the places for the gathering of all those who have felt the importance of the Our Lady’s call in Medjugorje. Their activity is focused mainly on spreading the messages and organizing prayer groups and pilgrimages. As we have said, it was the 13th meeting, the fifth time it was held in Medjugorje. The 250 participants spent the five days in prayer and meditation, exchanging the experiences of their year’s long work in the spreading of Our Lady’s message of peace among the faithful of the Spanish-speaking world. Particularly stressed was the importance of spiritual growth for each individual in living Our Lady’s messages, as well as the spreading of the messages to others and the establishment and guidance of prayer groups. This is an incentive and a good example for everyone of how it is possible to work together in the spreading of the message of peace.
After the program ended, some of the participants, mainly leaders of prayer groups and Centres of Peace, continued their pilgrimage stay with a three-day spiritual retreat in Medjugorje.
MGR. HERMANN REICH, BISHOP OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA, IN MEDJUGORJE
Mgr. Hermann Reich, Bishop of Papua New Guinea, a native of Austria, came for a private visit to Medjugorje from September 21 to 26, 2001. He said the following about his experiences and impressions:
“I heard about Medjugorje for the first time very long ago, but I accorded it my attention for the first time in 1990. I was hospitalised in the clinic of the “Merciful Brothers” and I received some magazines published by “Gebetsaktion” in Vienna. It was then that I read them for the first time and paid the messages particular attention. First of all, I was impressed by the physical side of Medjugorje: rocks, rocks and again rocks. I was so impressed! I asked myself: ‘My God, these people, what do they live on?’ The second impression was prayer. So many people in prayer, with the rosary in the hand… There is really so much prayer here. The liturgy and concelebrations are very good. The church is always full, which is not the case in other churches in the West, especially in the summer time. Here, the church is full of prayer. It is the Church in miniature: so many different languages, but you can understand almost everything. It is amazing that everybody has the feeling of belonging here, of not being a foreigner. Everybody can participate, even those who come from far.
Confession in Medjugorje is something special, something you cannot touch with your hands, but it is a big thing. In the West, you see that people understand faith in a different way. They all want common confessions. The personal confession is not accepted any more. Here, so many go for confession, and it is a big thing. I also met some pilgrims and we spoke. They are touched and enthusiastic about what is happening here. In this troubled time, I think that God and Our Lady offer us peace, but it depends on us if we will accept and realize this offer. It depends on us. If we do not want it, I think that the Mother of God and Heaven have to accept our free will, there is not much to be done, and it is really a pity. But I believe that God can write straight on crooked lines. He will include this in His plans. Since the attacks in the US happened, I heard that people started again to pray more. They woke up. Peace is so important. I hope there will be peace.
I was struck by the main theme of Our Lady’s messages, which is peace. Then, there is always again the question of conversion and confession. These are the main themes. I am also struck by the fact that she always comes back to the theme of prayer: do not be tired; pray, pray; decide yourselves for prayer; pray better. I think that there is much prayer, but maybe people do not pray in the right way. There is much prayer, there is quantity but, in many ways, there is a lack of quality. I think that we have, according to the desire of Our Lady, not to pray less but to improve the quality. We have to pray better.
At the end, I want to say that I spent only some days here, but I admire the service and the heroism of the Franciscans in the work with these crowds. These logistics are a problem I would probably never be able to deal with! I admire you all for your implication and your action. I would say at the end - keep on working in the same direction. There are always new pilgrims in Medjugorje and they want to experience this climate, this peace, this spirit of Medjugorje. If the Franciscans are able to give them that, many will take with them something good, which will continue to grow when they come home. It can be starting new prayer groups, but let the quality of prayer grow. It is not enough for people to pray much. Often, there is a danger to remain at the level of lips, and not to reach the prayer of the heart. The quality of prayer is really important - life has to become prayer.
I am 100% sure, that Our Lady is present here in Medjugorje. If she were not here, all this would not be possible; there would be no fruits. I am convinced that this is her work. I would say to Christians of out time: Pray! Do not cease to pray. Even if you do not see the result you expect, keep on praying, make the effort to have a good prayer life. Take seriously the messages of Medjugorje and pray with them. This is the council I would give to every person I meet.”
SEMINARS IN “DOMUS PACIS”
A prayer and fasting seminar for a group of Canadian pilgrims from Quebec was held in the house of prayer “Domus Pacis” from September 25 to 29 2001. In this Bulletin, we would like to share with you a part of their experience, which are common to all those who decide to spend a week of their lives with bread and water.
“Fasting enables us to understand that we do not live only on bread alone - it leads towards the Eucharist, towards inner freedom, opening and purification of the heart, true values. Silence enables to enter into the depth of one’s heart and there meet the Lord, to abandon oneself to Him, to be more open towards the surroundings and people. This seminar leads to union with Jesus and Mary, enables to enter into the spirit of Medjugorje. The experience of prayer calls to pray more and to pray better, to take every decision after prayer.”
Fr. Danko Perutina conducted this seminar. Those who are interested about these seminars can contact Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic in the Parish Office of Medjugorje.
In the same house, Franciscan sisters conducted one of the seminars for young girls. From October 5 to 7, thirty girls aged 14 to 16 lived a weekend of spiritual recollection in the house of prayer “Domus Pacis” on the theme, «Seek Peace, and Pursue It». According to the words of these sisters, girls have shown that they have a sense for true values, especially for peace, which is one of the most important ones.
MGR. MATTHIAS SSEKAMANYA, BISHOP OF LUGAZI, UGANDA, VISITED MEDJUGORJE
From September 27th to October 4th, 2001, Mgr. Matthias Ssekamanya, Bishop of Lugazi, Uganda, East Africa, made a private visit to the Shrine of the Queen of Peace. This is what he said about his impressions of Medjugorje:
“This is my first visit to Medjugorje. I heard about Medjugorje about 6 years ago. I think, this should be a Marian devotion centre. So far, what I have seen, it is very authentic, Catholic. People can renew their Christian life. So, my impression is that it should be encouraged. I have prayed the Way of the Cross and the Rosary on the hills. Our Lady gives her message through children. In Lourdes, she appeared to children, in Fatima, she appeared to children. Even here. This is a place of pilgrimage. I would not be able to say anything about the position of the Church concerning Medjugorje. Back home, we do not get much information about what is going on here in Medjugorje. I am not in a position to judge, but my personal view is that the devotions here should be encouraged. I have a special devotion to Mary. For me, this is an occasion to promote this devotion especially. In Medjugorje, Mary’s love for peace is specific. Her call is peace. I will try to increase the awareness that Mary wants her people, her children, to have peace, and to pave the way to peace through prayer, reconciliation, good works. For me, all that should start in families.”
TV REDEVIDA FROM BRAZIL CONSECRATED TO OUR LADY OF MEDJUGORJE
On the feast of the Guardian Angels (October 2, 2001) at the end of the evening prayer programme in the parish church, Joao Monteiro de Barros Filho, Director of the Independent Catholic Television REDEVIDA from Brazil, together with his staff, solemnly consecrated this Catholic family channel to Our Lady of Medjugorje. Mgr. Antonio Maria Mucciolo, Archbishop of Botucatu, President of the General Council of the Brazilian Institute for Christian Communication in Brazil, was spiritually united with this consecration, which he had signed himself: “Our Lady of Medjugorje, You who inspire and are the only owner of REDEVIDA, obtain for the FAMILY CHANNEL – TV Good News to be an instrument of communication according to moral, ethical, social, civil and Christian principles, at the service of the Brazilian people. May Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, bless and forever protect REDEVIDA and the effort to create TV MARIA in Brazil.”
Joao Monteiro de Barros Filho, Director of the Independent Catholic Television REDEVIDA from Brazil, told us at this occasion:
“We are happy, because we repeated here: “Our Lady, You are the owner of this television! From this day onwards, Our Lady of Medjugorje, the Queen of Peace, will become an important channel of communication between you and us – through our television. We have built a Shrine, the Shrine of Life. Henceforth, there will be the Black Madonna, protector of Brazil, and Our Lady of Medjugorje. At this altar, Holy Mass is celebrated every day. You can be sure that every day we shall pray also for Medjugorje. You country is magnificent. I met people with a big heart and fraternal love. Your country is blessed and rich in spirituality, here one can experience spiritual renewal. I will tell everybody to come here and experience the truth. I was travelling all over the world, but I am particularly happy for having had the chance to be here, in the country, which Our Lady, the Queen of Peace, has chosen.”
LITURGY OF THE PASSING AWAY OF ST. FRANCIS
On October 3rd, the vigil of the feast of St. Francis, the Franciscan family all over the world celebrates the moment of their founder's passing away of from this world into eternity, called Transitus. In Medjugorje, this rite was celebrated immediately after the Evening Holy Mass. The Medjugorje Friars, the Franciscan sisters, the Franciscan Youth Fraternity (FRAMA) and members of the Franciscan Third Order took part in this celebration. In this liturgy, the Franciscans and the faithful remember the last moments of the earthly life of this great man, in love with God, who considered death, his sister, with gratitude, because it leads him to his Creator. This year’s liturgy of the Transitus was presided by Fr. Danko Perutina.
OFFICIALS OF DIFFERENT MINISTRIES OF BH AND BH FEDERATION VISITED MEDJUGORJE
On Monday, October 15th, 2001, representatives of different Ministries of BH and BH Federation visited Medjugorje. The officials met the representatives of the Tourist Office of Medjugorje-Bijakovici and Fr. Branko Radoš, Parish Priest of Medjugorje. They spoke about visas for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Fr. Branko Radoš informed them about the life and pastoral work of St. James’ parish in Medjugorje. He especially spoke about foreign pilgrims who need visas. He asked all the officials to do all they can to facilitate the foreign pilgrims the acquisition of necessary visas.
HOLY MASS IN THANKSGIVING FOR THE FRUITS OF THE EARTH
On Sunday, October 14, 2001, Holy Mass in thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth was celebrated in the parish of Medjugorje. During the Eucharistic celebration, the children of our parish expressed their gratitude to the Lord for all the fruits of the earth we have received through the love of God.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 10/26/2001