"Dear children! I call you today and encourage you to prayer for peace. Especially today I call you, carrying the newborn Jesus in my arms for you, to unite with Him through prayer and to become a sign to this peaceless world. Encourage each other, little children, to prayer and love. May your faith be an encouragement to others to believe and to love more. I bless you all and call you to be closer to my heart and to the heart of little Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call." December 25, 2001
AHEAD ON OUR KNEES
Queues of open souls Contrite hearts of penitents All the faithful - who are at the same time sinners - wait for the moment of their encounter with the Merciful Father. Holiness and sinfulness meet in front of the confessional - the place of reconciliation between God and man. Bended knees and seeking forgiveness have marked the time of Advent. It means that many, in spite of everything - have heard Jesus and Our Lady here in Medjugorje. Repeatedly and perseveringly, they call us on the way of forgiveness, conversion and renewal of love. When these three meet, it is a new beginning for each and every person. Our heavenly Mother knows this well and this is why - practically on her knees - she asks us to walk on this path.
Only forgiveness makes a radical change in human behaviour possible. Forgiving and asking forgiveness is the best and the most efficient strategy for men, for nations, for the world. Therefore every confession is a new beginning, a new challenge, the opening of a door which has been closed. This is how people with bended knees, which always mean and remain the sign of rising up and not falling, enter into a new and unknown time.
With the New Year, we enter into a new beginning. It is good to begin with the attitude of repentance. Reconciled and renewed, we shall better receive fruits of the time that is ahead of us. Time is always a gift - the "kairos" of our Creator. We have to know how to receive and use our gifts and talents. The gift of time is a challenge for everyone who looks ahead, who sees the future. As Christians, we always see the future in the expectance of the future glory in the house of our Heavenly Father.
We ask ourselves how shall we reach there. Running, in haste, trying to catch up with time? No, not at all. Jesus tells us that many run, but only few receive the crown of glory. We can only go ahead in humility, on our knees, sprinkling the dew of forgiveness on our road. Those who do not know how to stop, how to look at themselves in relation to God, to brother men, to nature, can hardly advance in spite of the haste of their steps. Therefore, listening to the humble voice of Our Lady in Medjugorje, let us go on our journey with modest shoes and let us know how to shake away the dust of our sins.
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of November, 40,000 communions were distributed and 1,002 priests from this country and abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were here from Italy, USA, Germany, Belgium, Austria, France, Canada, Poland, Korea, Malaysia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Japan, Latvia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
MSGR. DR. FRANC KRAMBERGER, BISHOP OF MARIBOR (SLOVENIA), ABOUT MEDJUGORJE
In his homily during Mass in Ptujska Gora on November 10th, 2001, Msgr. Dr. Franc Kramberger, Bishop of Maribor (Slovenia), said: "I greet all of you who are friends and pilgrims of Our Lady of Medjugorje. In a special way I greet today our respected and excellent guest, the Franciscan Father Jozo Zovko. In his speech, he brought the mystery of Medjugorje near to us. Medjugorje is not only the name of a place in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but Medjugorje is a place of grace where Our Lady is appearing in a special way. Medjugorje is a place where those who have fallen get up again, and all of those who go on pilgrimage to that place find a star, which leads them and shows them a new direction in life. If my diocese, all of Slovenia and the whole world became Medjugorje, there would not be the events that are happening in these last months."
MSGR. J&EACUTE;R&OCIRC;ME GAPANGWA NTEZIRYAYO, DIOCESE OF UVIRA (CONGO) ON A PRIVATE VISIT TO MEDJUGORJE
From the 7th to the 11th of November 2001, Msgr. Jérôme Gapangwa Nteziryayo, from the diocese of Uvira (Congo), was on a private visit to Medjugorje. He came with a group of pilgrims, climbed the prayer hills and participated in the evening prayer programme. He said that he was grateful to God for having given us such a place of prayer.
ITALIAN TELEVISION IN MEDJUGORJE
23.11.2001 - From November 21st to 23rd, 2001, two Italian journalists were in Medjugorje: Aldo Maria Valli (the "Vaticanist" of the News of the Third Television Programme TG3 of Italian Radio-Television RAI, who often followed the Pope on his journeys and reported about it for the TG3 News) and Riccardo Caniato (author of the book "Maria alba del terzo millennio - Medjugorje vent'anni" - Mary, Dawn of the Third Millennium, Twenty Years of Medjugorje - Edizioni Ares, 2001, which was very positively evaluated by Radio Vatican).
Several Italian Catholic magazines published very negative texts about Medjugorje lately; this is why these two journalists, following the council of Fr. Livio Fanzaga, Director of "Radio Maria" (which is one of the fruits of Our Lady's messages), decided to come to Medjugorje and turn an objective documentary. They spoke with Fr. Branko Rado, parish priest, with Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic, with Fr. Jozo Zovko, Marija Pavlovic and other witnesses. They turned up in holy places and in the parish church. On Thursday, November 22nd, together with His Eminence Corrado Cardinal Ursi, who was on a private visit in Medjugorje, they prayed the rosary and were present during the apparition of Our Lady to Marija Pavlovic.
CORRADO CARDINAL URSI, RETIRED ARCHBISHOP OF NAPLES, ON A PRIVATE VISIT TO MEDJUGORJE
From November 22nd to 24th, 2001, Corrado Cardinal Ursi, retired Archbishop of Naples, was on a private visit to the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje. At the age of 94, he desired to visit Medjugorje and he arrived by car from Naples, which is at 1450 kilometres from Medjugorje. Three priests accompanied him: Msgr. Mario Franco, Fr. Massimo Rastrelli and Fr. Vincenzo di Muro.
During his stay at the Shrine of the Queen of Peace, Cardinal Ursi met the visionaries and was present during an apparition of Our Lady. He did not hide his enthusiasm about this visit.
Cardinal Ursi composed a booklet under the title "Rosary", published already in six editions, where he wrote: "In Medjugorje and at other places, Our Lady is appearing."
While in Medjugorje, the Cardinal said: "I came here to pray and not to discuss. I desire my entire personal conversion," and, "What a joy and what an immense grace to be present here." After having been present at the apparition of Our Lady to the visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti, Cardinal Ursi said, "I am sure that Our Lady's prayer obtained for me the forgiveness of all my sins."
THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF FR. SLAVKO BARBARIC
On November 24th was celebrated the first anniversary of the death of Fr. Slavko Barbaric. On that day, many parishioners, members of Fr. Slavko's family, his friends and foreign pilgrims gathered for the Way of the Cross on Mount Krievac. Fr. Branko Rado led the Way of the Cross, using prayers written by Fr. Slavko himself.
The faithful prayed, while meditating on that love which gives itself without reserve, just as was lived by this great man.
Sideways, on the spot where Fr. Slavko gave his soul into the hands of the Lord, a memorial was put up: Fr. Slavko's relief in bronze encrusted in stone. The memorial stone, which weights 950 kg, was carried up on the hands of the boys of Sr. Elvira's Cenacolo. They took nine hours, praying and thanking the Lord for Fr. Slavko, who accompanied them during many years on their way from darkness to light.
A solemn evening Mass for Fr. Slavko Barbaric was celebrated in the overfilled parish church of Medjugorje. The main celebrant was the Herzegovinian Franciscan provincial Fr. Slavko Soldo, and the Mass was concelebrated by many Franciscans and pilgrim priests. In his homily for the feast of Christ the King, the Provincial mentioned how Fr. Slavko always was at the service of the little and the poor, and so realised the kingdom of God on earth.
In Mother's Village, considered to be Fr. Slavko's masterpiece, a monument in his memory was unveiled. It is a work of the Italian sculptor Carmelo Puzzolo, in homage of his personal and dear friend. This beautiful bronze statue for Mother's Village was realised thanks to the generosity of Princess Marie of Liechtenstein, who wanted to express her gratitude for Fr. Slavko's spiritual help and friendship towards her family.
May all what was spoken in prayers and kept in the hearts of men who knew Fr. Slavko, and who felt his active love in their lives, as well as monuments built in his memory, remain a permanent reminder and a personal obligation for each one of us, so that we follow the way he was going. May our thoughts, our words and our deeds be one - at the service of God who serves man.
A CONCERT BY BLAENKA MILIC
On Sunday, November 25th, 2001, on the feast of Christ the King, Blaenka Milic (born Cigic), a Zagreb Opera singer and the mother of five children, celebrated in Medjugorje, in a solemn concert, her 55 years of uninterrupted singing in the Church and her 40 year artistic career. The choir of the Parish of Medjugorje under the direction of Sr. Slavica Koul accompanied the Opera singer in several songs, and performed also several choir compositions, especially the very beloved "Our Father" by Ðelo Jusic, who personally assisted this concert.
Meeting of the Radio Prayer Group "Pray Together with a Joyful Heart"
On the afternoon of Sunday, November 25th, 2001, on the feast of Christ the King, the Radio Prayer Group "Pray Together with a Joyful Heart" met again in Medjugorje. About 200 members from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina came together. After the prayer of the Rosary on the Apparition Hill, they had a meeting in the parish, and then, accompanied by Fr. Branko Rado, parish priest of Medjugorje and their spiritual councillor, visited the tomb of Fr. Slavko Barbaric, who founded and accompanied this group until his death.
PRAYER AND FASTING SEMINARS
Five Prayer and Fasting Seminars were held in the house of prayer Domus Pacis: from November 9th to 13th, for a group of French speaking pilgrims, and from November 18th to 24th, for a group of pilgrims from Austria. This seminar was organised by Mr. Franz Gollowitsch, who organised the last Prayer and Fasting Seminar held by Fr. Slavko Barbaric shortly before he died in November 2000. The youngest participant was only 13 years old, and the oldest 79. From November 27th to December 2nd, 2001, a group of Russian Orthodox pilgrims from Moscow participated in a Prayer and Fasting Seminar. In spite of many difficulties concerning visas and the length of the journey, the strong desire to come to the Mother and Queen of Peace attracted them to Medjugorje. Croatian pilgrims participated in this seminar from December 2nd to December 8th, and from December 10th to December 14th, there was another group of 35 Austrian pilgrims.
Numerous groups who come to Domus Pacis to pray and to fast are proof of how powerful their experiences are.
All those who are interested may contact Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic in the Parish Office of Medjugorje or in the Information Office by telephone + 387 36 651 988.
ST. NICOLAS' FEAST IN MEDJUGORJE
On the feast of St. Nicolas, the Elementary School of Medjugorje and the St. James Parish Office organised the celebration of St. Nicolas on the parish grounds. A few hundred children gathered together, mainly elementary school children with their parents. After Mass, celebrated by Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic, the children - while expecting the arrival of the beloved saint - performed their own programme in which they performed recitations, skits and songs. The coming of "St. Nicolas" provoked enthusiasm on the faces of the children. Fr. Ljubo, just as "St. Nicolas", invited the children to open their hearts to the needs of others, especially the poor.
THE SOLEMNITY OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th, many groups came on pilgrimage to the Queen of Peace from Croatia, Australia, Austria, England, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy and the USA. We are especially glad about the arrival of a group of Aboriginals from Australia. At the end of the English Mass, they sung a hymn to Our Lady in their native language. Three members of the musical "Kelly Family" - Paddy and Maite with their father - came on pilgrimage to Medjugorje during this feast to prepare themselves in prayer and fasting for their coming tour.
During the morning, Holy Mass was celebrated in 10 languages, and in the afternoon, pilgrims prayed the Rosary on the Apparition Hill.
ON BICYCLE FROM MARIJA BISTRICA TO MEDJUGORJE
On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a very special pilgrim arrived to Medjugorje. His name is Danko Vrancic from Krapinske Toplice in Croatia. He began this pilgrimage on November 5th at the Croatian National Marian Shrine of Marija Bistrica. The way he chose took him through Slavonia to the martyr city of Vukovar, then to the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto in Trsat (Rijeka), and then over the Dalmatian coast to the Shrine of the Queen of Peace. After 1900 kilometres, he arrived to Our Lady of Medjugorje with a shining face: "I did not find it difficult," says Danko. "I trusted in the Divine Providence, I was well received in all the presbyteries, where I spent nights and, if necessary, waited for the rain and the snow to stop falling."
AN APPEAL TO ALL THE FRIENDS OF MEDJUGORJE
The message of Medjugorje has inspired many faithful all over the world to publish magazines, circular letters and various newspapers to help those who seek God grow in faith with the help of Our Lady's message. We would like to come to know the diversity of these publications and to establish contact with their editors. Therefore, we ask you kindly to send your magazines, circular letters and various newspapers to Medjugorje, to the address: INFORMATION CENTRE "MIR" MEDJUGORJE - FOR THE ARCHIVES, Gospin trg 1, 88266 Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Please be so kind and send two samples.
We ask you to be so kind as to spread this appeal as widely as possible, especially to those who do not use Internet.
Thank you for all you are doing to answer Our Lady's call!
CHRISTMAS IN MEDJUGORJE
As preparation for Christmas, there was not only the evening prayer programme in the church, but also a Rosary-novena recited on Apparition Hill. As every year, a multitude of faithful from neighbouring parishes came to Medjugorje for their Christmas confession.
On December 16th, two children's choirs performed a Christmas concert in the parish church of Medjugorje: "Little Singing Dubrovnik" from Dubrovnik and "Little Doves of Peace" from Medjugorje. Through their singing, they wished a merry Christmas to all of the faithful and pilgrims from all over the world.
During the Christmas days, at the Shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje there was, as always, an atmosphere of peace, prayer and togetherness between the faithful who came from all over the world.
On Christmas Eve, several thousand pilgrims assisted the evening Mass. The Vigil started at 10pm in the overfilled church, and ended with midnight Mass. Christmas Day was marked by peace and joy of parishioners and pilgrims who gathered around their Mother.
ANNUAL APPARITION TO JAKOV ON DECEMBER 25TH 2001
At the last daily apparition to Jakov Colo on September 12th, 1998, Our Lady told him that henceforth he would have one apparition a year, every December 25th, on Christmas Day. This is also how it was this year. The apparition began at 15.30 pm and lasted 5 minutes. Our Lady gave the following message:
"Dear Children, today when Jesus is born anew for you, in a special way, I want to call you to conversion. Pray, pray, pray for the conversion of your heart, so that Jesus may be born in you all and may dwell in you and come to reign over your entire being. Thank you for having responded to the call." (Annual Message to Jakov, December 25th 2001)
THE 7TH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR PRIESTS
The 7th International Meeting for Priests "PRIEST AT THE SERVICE OF HEALING AND DELIVERANCE" takes place from July 1st (morning) to July 6th (noon) 2002 in the new building behind the Church, accompanied by Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic, with lecturers from different countries.
You may make reservations by e-mail: email@example.com in the Information Office personally, by phone/fax: +387-36-651-988 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In place of financial payment, we ask you to kindly celebrate five Holy Masses for the intentions of the pilgrims of Medjugorje. The parish of Medjugorje expects your coming with joy. YOUR ACCOMMODATION IS A GIFT FROM THE PARISHIONERS, WHO WILL RECEIVE YOU IN THEIR HOMES.
Programme and presentation of lecturers: preparing.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 12/27/2001