“Dear children! At this time while you are still looking back to the past year I call you, little children, to look deeply into your heart and to decide to be closer to God and to prayer. Little children, you are still attached to earthly things and little to spiritual life. May my call today also be an encouragement to you to decide for God and for daily conversion. You cannot be converted, little children, if you do not abandon sins and do not decide for love towards God and neighbor. Thank you for having responded to my call.” January 25, 2002
OUR LADY SHOWS THE WAY
Only a mother can do it in this way. Only Our Lady – the tireless teacher at the school of the grace of God. When everyone becomes tired, gives up, becomes deceived and discouraged, the Mother – the Queen of Peace- seems only to begin with her task. Through her presence in Medjugorje, she opens a space for a new hope, a new beginning and new inspirations. At this Shrine, she has not stopped for more than 20 years now. Our Lady represents God’s plan in the modern world precisely through Medjugorje. God sent her among us, and she brings back to God the scattered children of the Heavenly Father. Through each and every message, she brings down to earth a bit of Heaven itself, and through those who are converted, she offers a gift to God, the greatest benefactor and friend of man.
When I reflect upon Our Lady in Medjugorje and on her messages, I am struck almost every time by the fact that she shows the way, opens the door, invites us to the Eternal banquet. Like St. John, she cries in the desert of our world, in the desert of human hearts. Like John, she does not put herself in the stage light. She is the servant, the ambassador and, said in modern words, Our Lady is the communication media between man and God. Each one of her messages, warnings and appeals indicates the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is how she opens for us the way towards the Most Holy Trinity.
Just as Our Lady listened to the voice of God and changed the direction and the residence, she asks the same from us. Our Lady wants us to look at our lives and question our belonging to Jesus. She wants to direct our paths towards God on the way of renunciation, of fasting and of prayer. She does not propose any sweet or passing things, but gives homework to her children. And while some think that she is too demanding, millions of others are attracted to this shrine precisely by these demands. People want challenges and new orientations, and they can find plenty of them in Our Lady’s words. To hear and to accept Our Lady’s voice and walk on the way she shows is the biggest challenge for a contemporary Christian. Let us not be afraid to orient our paths toward the unknown. Through the intercession of the Queen of Peace, God will undoubtedly reassure us in our fears and uncertainties.
Fr. Mario Knezovic
FR. LEONARD OREC PASSED AWAY
Dr. Fr. Leonard Orec, a highly regarded Herzegovinian Franciscan father, passed away on January 21st, 2002, after a serious illness. The burial was held on January 23rd, 2002, in Posusje. (More about it on the Web page of the Shrine: www.medjugorje.hr)
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of December, 45,000 communions were distributed and 1,007 priests from this country and abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were here from USA, Latvia, Australia, France, the Philippines, England, Portugal, Czech Republic, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Belgium, Lebanon, China, Korea, Poland, Ireland, Slovakia, Malta, Germany, Romania, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. , 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."
STATISTICS FOR THE YEAR 2001
During the past year, pilgrims from all of the continents came to Medjugorje, about which we informed you in our monthly Bulletin. Among them were also one cardinal and 14 bishops/archbishops. 27,322 priests concelebrated Holy Mass and 1,164,000 communions were distributed.
PRAYER AND FASTING SEMINAR FOR PILGRIMS FROM AUSTRIA
From December 10th to 14th, 2001, a Prayer and Fasting Seminar for a group of 34 pilgrims from Austria took place in the house of prayer “Domus Pacis”. This seminar was organised by Fred Gassner from Salzburg. Members of the group were mostly housewives who did not want to submit themselves to the “Pre-Christmas”-stress imposed by society, but rather preferred to prepare their hearts for Christmas with prayer and fasting, and also to pray for their families.
Many participants discovered the richness of the Word of God with great love. They were all very grateful for the intensity of prayer and silence, and its fruits: the encounter with God. The seminar was led by Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic.
LJUBICA LUKIC PASSED AWAY
Ljubica Lukic, a former Chief Redactor of the Radio “Mir” Medjugorje, passed away on December 19th, 2001, in Zagreb. Ljubica was born in 1959 to a Catholic family in Konjic. She went to the primary and the secondary school in her town. She was studying Special Education at the University of Zagreb. As teacher for handicapped, she was working with children in Zagreb, in Split and in Mostar. During the war, she was member of the Military Police and Chief redactor of the military newspaper “Sokol”. In February 1998, she began to work on the Radio “Mir” Medjugorje, where she was Chief Redactor for two years. Ljubica was also writing poetry and assisted “Anonymous Alcoholics” and people with difficulties hearing. She was also working at the catering school in Mostar.
Ljubica was buried on December 22nd at the Roman Catholic cemetery in Konjic. The burial was led by Fr. Ante Kurtovic, parish vicar in Konjic, and he was assisted by four priests. The Funeral Mass, celebrated in the Franciscan church, was presided over by Fr. Mario Knezovic, Director of the Information Centre “Mir” Medjugorje. The staff of the Radio “Mir” Medjugorje remembers her as a hard worker, totally devoted to God. May the Lord recompense her for all the love she has gives us while working with us.
YEARLY MEETING AND RECOLLECTION FOR THE SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS OF THE FUND “FRA SLAVKO BARBARIC”
At the end of each calendar year, the Administration Committee of the Fund “Fra Slavko Barbaric”, whose goal is to help the academic formation of young talented people, organises an annual meeting and recollection for the scholarship recipients of the Fund.
This year, more than 200 students of various Croatian colleges gathered together. They were received by Fr. Ivan Sesar, President of the Fund, and Ljiljana Gospic, its secretary, who together expressed the desire to see these gifted students be able to put their talents at the service of their nation, which deeply needs capable and well-educated young people. Fr. Ivan promised that the Fund will do all that it can to find necessary finances for their scholarships, and called them to pray for their benefactors and show their gratitude by working with great zeal and discipline.
For the traditional “recollection,” about 50 students gathered together in the “Domus Pacis” house. They were accompanied in prayer and meditation by Sr. Petra and Sr. Franka Bagaric, both being Franciscan religious involved in education (from the province of Herzegovina) and Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic. The group spent many hours in personal and group prayer, both in the parish church and on the hills, and the group participated in the New Year’s Vigil in the parish church.
Contact: Fund “Fra Slavko Barbaric” – Medjugorje / 88266 Medjugorje / BiH / PP 29 / Tel/Fax: +387 36 651 549
THE NEW YEAR IN MEDJUGORJE
Several thousands of people (mostly youth) from all continents gathered this year in Medjugorje for the New Year’s Eve Vigil and Midnight Mass. The Vigil – Eucharistic Adoration - was conducted by the pastor Fr. Branko Rados, and Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic. 108 priests joined them in concelebrating the Holy Mass. Because of the lack of space in the parish church, many pilgrims and parishioners were placed in the conference hall and under a tent built especially for this occasion, where they could follow the programme held in the church on a big screen.
In his homily, the pastor said: “Man is great only when he does not pretend to be great, only when he is ready to acknowledge his littleness. …. God, Master of time and of life, has given you your life and your time. In His love, He thinks unselfishly on you. It is His will that you are here tonight, exactly as you are. He gave you what no one else can give you: He gave you to live, to love, to forgive, to help, and to be happy. Do not forget that He wants you to be happy, to be realised as a creature of God, as a child of God. This is at the same time your will. … My New Year’s wish to all of you, dear parishioners, dear pilgrims and friends of the Queen of Peace is: Be happy - belong to God! Belong to God today more than yesterday. Be happier in the year 2002 then you were in the year 2001. May in the New Year Christ be your leader and your master and the Queen of Peace your intercessor and the one who consoles you!”
The Vigil and the Holy Mass lasted three hours, from 10 pm to 1 am, and it was translated into nine languages: English, French, German, Italian, Romanian, Polish, Czech, Slovak and Korean.
In our restless world, where often everything seems to be hopeless, this prayerful crowd, especially of young people, is a hope for a better world.
THE LIVING MANGER
Again this year, the members of the Cenacolo community (Community of the Cenacle) presented to the parishioners and the pilgrims a production of the Living Manger, bringing to life the atmosphere and love that would have no doubt been present in the original scene 2002 years ago in Bethlehem… It was a complete presentation filled with enthusiasm, which used music, dance and light effects, presented three separate times during the week. Pilgrims and parishioners alike did not seem to mind standing more than half an hour in the bitterly cold wintry weather.
It is obvious that the Newborn Jesus has really found His warm home in the hearts of these young Cenacolo members, and from hearts He radiates His love and mercy, showing to the world that love is enough to transform the world. Thanks to the “Cenacle” and Sister Elvira for their open hearts, and for the love, peace and goodness that they share with the parishioners and the pilgrims of the Queen of Peace!
“WHEN OUR LADY APPEARS" - A DOCUMENTARY
“When Our Lady Appears” - a 60-minute documentary by Patrick Benquet, was broadcasted on January 3rd 2002 at 10:15 pm on the French/German TV-Station ARTE, in the context of a thematic evening on “Miracles”. Based on Medjugorje and Fatima, this film is an investigation on how the Catholic Church, and especially the Vatican, proceeds with Our Lady’s apparitions. The film shows that, in spite of vigorous polemics about the apparitions in Medjugorje within the Church, the Holy Father unofficially supports the recognition of these apparitions. This attitude of Pope John Paul II is seen as a part of his efforts in favour of the new evangelisation of the world. The investigation of the apparitions of Fatima and the revelation of the “third secret”, on May 13th, 2000, confirm this analysis.
THE SHRINE HAS NOT GIVEN THE MISSION TO ANYONE TO REPRESENT MEDJUGORJE
To avoid any misunderstanding, we wish to underline that the Shrine has not given the mission to anyone to represent Medjugorje. The Shrine has not given any mission to any person or community – neither in Medjugorje nor outside of Medjugorje – to spread and interpret Our Lady’s messages. All these are private and spontaneous initiatives of the faithful and of communities.
THE NINTH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR GUIDES AND LEADERS OF PEACE CENTERS AND MEDJUGORJE PRAYER, PILGRIM AND CHARITY GROUPS
The Ninth International Meeting for Guides and Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups: “Pray, Pray, Pray…”, will take place February 17 – 21, 2002.
You can send your registrations (as soon as possible, latest by the end of November 2001) by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax: + 387 36 651 300 (for Marija Dugandzic), or register in the Information Office personally or by phone: + 387 36 651 988. The programme and all information about this seminar can be found on our web-page www.medjugorje.hr under the title Medjugorje 2002: Programme.
We are looking forward to your reservations and to welcoming you at this meeting!
SECOND INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR FOR MARRIED COUPLES
Second International Seminar for Married Couples “AWAKEN LOVE IN YOUR FAMILIES” takes place from February 28th to March 3rd, 2002 in the new building behind the Church. Speakers: Fr. Jozo Zovko, Fr. Mate Dragicevic, Fr. Milan Loncar, Fr. Branimir Musa, a married couple from the “Cenacolo” community, visionaries. During the whole seminar, there will be simultaneous translation so we ask you to be so kind as to bring with you a small FM radio with headphones.
You may make reservations by e-mail: email@example.com, or by fax: +387-36-651-444; in the Information Office personally, by phone/fax: +387-36-651-988 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Participation per couple: 50 DM. All the participants are invited to provide individually their accommodation in Medjugorje.
Thursday, February 28th, 2002
Friday, March 1st, 2002
Saturday, March 2nd, 2002
Sunday, March 3rd, 2002
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 02/07/2002