Dear children! Rejoice with me in this time of spring when all nature is awakening and your hearts long for change. Open yourselves, little children, and pray. Do not forget that I am with you and I desire to take you all to my Son that He may give you the gift of sincere love towards God and everything that is from Him. Open yourselves to prayer and seek a conversion of your hearts from God; everything else He sees and provides. Thank you for having responded to my call. April 25, 2002
THE MEDJUGORJE EMMAUS
Jesus is risen! We celebrated Easter, the greatest Christian feast, each one in one´s own way. However, have we met the Risen Jesus? Have we looked into his eyes or, maybe, our sight was obscured by doubts and darkness? Let us ask ourselves: What do we have in common with the two disciples who, on their way to Emmaus, have not recognised Jesus, although He moved in step with them? Would Jesus tell us, as He told them: How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! (Lk 24:25)
When I reflect on the event that happened on the way to Emmaus, the spirit presses me, to put myself at the place of one of the disciples. Their Master was dishonoured, condemned, crucified and killed without any fault. If truth be told, the disciples abandoned the Master even before he died on the cross. We could say that, for his followers, Jesus was truly dead. They could not believe that Jesus, if he was God, could die. They were confused and, from their perspective, betrayed in their expectations. This is why they complain: But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. (Lk 24:21)
The disciples had their own plans, but Jesus had His own way of realising the plan, which was not comprehensible for them. The disciples wanted a manifestation of Jesus´ divinity in their own concrete lives. It is evident that the friends of Jesus were slaves of their own time; they did not seek what is from heaven, but what is from the earth. This is why it is not surprising that they could not recognise the Risen One. Human eyes cannot see what is from heaven. If truth be told, they observed Jesus just as one of their own who excelled, however, in special deeds.
The disciples finally recognised Jesus, thanks to His words and the breaking of bread. With this intervention, Jesus attracted their attention to Himself and presented Himself anew. This is what Jesus does today for each one of us: every day, He presents Himself and gives Himself in Holy Mass, in His Word, in our brothers and sisters, in the gush of the see and in the silence of the nature.
In Medjugorje, our God presents Himself in a special way. Through Mary, His Mother, he invites us on the way to Emmaus on the way to Himself. Mary indicates Her Son and calls us to follow Him, to start the journey, She invites us to the Medjugorje Emmaus. On this way, which leads towards the Cross Mountain or towards Apparition Hill, many walk like the disciples of Emmaus tired and disappointed, but after the encounter with Christ, they also pronounce the words: Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over. (Lk 24:29)
This is how it goes when you meet Jesus on your way. After this encounter, nothing is the same any more; when you are moved from within, you have to change your life. This is why pilgrimages to Medjugorje are a way to Jesus through Mary. In this sense, to go to the Medjugorje Emmaus means to walk on the path on which the disciples of Emmaus (on whom we are meditating here) have walked.
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of March, 80,000 communions were distributed and 1,115 priests from this country and abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were here from the USA, England, Poland, Puerto Rico, Italy, Slovakia, Hungary, Lebanon, Canada, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Malta, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Vietnam, the Netherlands, Ireland, Argentina, Latvia, Mexico, Korea, Japan, France, Rumania, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
IMPRESSIONS OF A VIETNAMESE BISHOP
As we mentioned in the last issue of the Bulletin, Msgr. Nguyen Quang Tuyen, Bishop of Bac Ninh, was on a private visit to Medjugorje from March 16 to 18, 2002.
This is what he told us: We wanted to come to this place where Our Lady calls to conversion, and especially to pray the rosary. When we go back to Vietnam, we will speak about Our Lady´s call to conversion, especially her call to adore the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, and to pray for peace. We ask you to pray for the Catholics in Vietnam, that they may grow in faith, in prayer and in peace.
LENTEN RECOLLECTION DAY FOR THOSE WHO WORK IN THE MEDIA
On March 23, 2002, the Information Centre Mir Medjugorje and Radio Mir Medjugorje organised a recollection day for about 40 persons working in the written and electronic media in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Fr. Mario Knezovic, Director of the Information centre «Mir» Medjugorje, welcomed them. Dr. Fr. Luka Tomasevic, a professor at the Theological Faculty from Split (Croatia), gave a talk on Ethical and Christian Challenges of Globalisation. After discussion on the theme, the participants had the occasion to participate in the evening prayer programme in the church. After Holy Mass, they gathered again for a social, where they had the occasion to know each other better and to exchange experiences.
The aim of these meetings, for which we hope to be taking place every year from now onward, is to give direction to those who work in the media, and to encourage them in their efforts to spread what is true and good by the means at their disposition.
THE BLESSING OF A BELL FOR A CHAPEL IN AUSTRIA
During the German Pilgrims´ Mass on March 27, 2002, Fr. Christian Oppitz from Austria blessed a bell - a gift of a Medjugorje pilgrim - with the image of the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje, destined for a chapel in Austria. In his homily, Fr. Christian reminded how often Our Lady calls us to prayer. Likewise, we shall be invited to pray when the ringing of this bell three times a day shall call us to recite the Angelus´.
EASTER IN MEDJUGORJE
During the entire Holy Week, numerous groups of pilgrims arrived in Medjugorje, desiring to prepare themselves for Easter and to celebrate the biggest Christian feast here. For Easter itself, there were several thousand pilgrims from all over the world, but the most numerous were Austrians, as well as Croatian pilgrims and those coming from neighbouring parishes, who wanted to make their Easter confession here. Every evening, during the three-hour prayer programme, there were about 20 priests hearing confessions.
The Holy Triduum was celebrated in deep recollection and prayer. The liturgical celebrations of Holy Thursday and Good Friday (as well as the Way of the Cross on Cross Mountain) and the Liturgy of the Word in view of the Easter Vigil were celebrated in 14 languages.
On Easter Day, two boys and two girls, brothers and sisters living in Mother´s Village for more than three years now, were received into the Church through baptism. They were surrounded by their friends, and the members of The Kelly Family accompanied the celebration by their music.
For Easter, there was also a group of 34 Vietnamese pilgrims (living in the USA) accompanied by three priests. In a solemn procession and singing in Vietnamese during the evening prayer programme on Easter Monday, they consecrated their country to the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje.
THE PRAYER SITE OF THE RISEN CHRIST STATUE
This year for Easter, the first part of the project of expansion on the site of the Risen Christ statue has been completed. The statue is a work and a gift of the Slovenian sculptor Andrej Ajdic, put up in Medjugorje in 1998. A miniature of the same sculpture was given as a gift to the Holy Father John-Paul II during his pastoral visit to Slovenia. The idea of expansion was born and developed throughout the course of several years. The first part the project, at the service of all those who seek a place for recollection and silent prayer, was completed this year for Easter.
The construction of the second part, which will include an area to pray the Stations of the Cross, will begin immediately. This is especially important and needed for those who cannot climb Mount Krizevac to pray the Way of the Cross there. We thank all those who participated in the realisation of this project.
BLESSING OF THE SUBSIDIARY CHURCH OF THE MERCIFUL JESUS IN URMANCI
On Sunday, April 7th, 2002, a new subsidiary church of the parish was blessed in urmanci (one of the 5 villages belonging to the parish of Medjugorje, situated in the valley of Neretva on the eastern side of the Apparition Hill). Its construction began in 1998. Fr. Luka Pavlovic, Vicar General of the diocese, a delegate of our bishop, blessed it. Eight priests concelebrated holy Mass, in which many parishioners and friends participated, as well as a group of Italian pilgrims who helped the construction of this church. They offered an icon of the Merciful Jesus some years ago, which was placed for the time being in the chapel at the cemetery of urmanci, until it found its final place in this new church.
SEMINARS IN DOMUS PACIS
In March, four Prayer and Fasting seminars were held for pilgrim groups from Poland, Austria, Germany and Croatia, as well as weekends of recollection for Franciscan Youth from Herzegovina. The Herzegovinian Franciscan School sisters continue to gather once a month young girls on the theme Seek Peace and Pursue it.
Contact for Prayer and Fasting seminars: Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic, Zupni ured Medjugorje, Gospin trg 1, 88266 Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Fax: 00 387 36 651 444)
GUIDES FOR PILGRIMS AT THE SHRINE
During the 9th International seminar for leaders of pilgrim and prayer groups, held in Medjugorje in February 2002, we were asked to publish some information about the activity of local Guides for pilgrims in our parish.
The Association of Guides for pilgrims has been working within the parish of Medjugorje since 1991. All the members of the Association are prepared for the work with the pilgrims through an appropriate training and examination of their knowledge. Those who finish this training successfully acquire the possibility to become members of the Association of Guides and at the same time the possibility to work with pilgrim groups.
The guides work in collaboration with the Information Booth, which is in charge of the organisation of the programme for pilgrims. There you can get the necessary information about local guides for the following languages: Croatian, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Czech and Slovak. One-day service of a guide is 50 US $; a half-an-hour translation is 20 US $, a one-hour translation is 40 US $ (independently of the number of groups). All necessary information, as well as contact for hiring a guide for your group, can be received at the Information Booth at Tel/Fax No + 387 36 651 988.
We ask all those who bring pilgrim groups to Medjugorje to hire a local guide, who can truly help them during their stay in Medjugorje. Most importantly: they are prepared and trained for giving authentic information, and they accomplish their service in tight collaboration with the Information Booth of the Shrine.
AN APPEAL TO MUSICIANS FOR THE YOUTH FESTIVAL
The 13TH INTERNATIONAL YOUTH PRAYER MEETING will take place from July 31st to August 6th, 2002. For this occasion, an international orchestra gathers every year in Medjugorje to accompany the conferences and prayer by music. We invite young musicians who want to play in the orchestra to send their application to: COMMITTEE FOR THE ORGANISATION OF THE 13TH YOUTH PRAYER MEETING, by fax to: + 387 36 651 988 or by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mention: your name and family name, age, address (fax, e-mail), the instrument you are playing and for how long. After the election, the Committee will contact you personally.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 04/26/2002