"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. Little children, believe that by simple prayer miracles can be worked. Through your prayer you open your heart to God and He works miracles in your life. By looking at the fruits, your heart fills with joy and gratitude to God for everything He does in your life and, through you, also to others. Pray and believe little children, God gives you graces and you do not see them. Pray and you will see them. May your day be filled with prayer and thanksgiving for everything that God gives you. Thank you for having responded to my call." October 25, 2002
DEATH – A CLIMBING FROM THE NEST TO THE STARS
In these days, I believe that we have all visited the tombs of our dearest ones. We went intentionally to the places where rest our faithful departed. We encountered the memory covered by tombstones. Tombs are places where we also make the experience of the fragility of human existence. There, we can clearly feel our dependence on the Saviour. A cemetery is a place where even an unbeliever awakens to prayer. Cemeteries are places where the sinner beats his breast and asks forgiveness. The reality of the tomb is an appeal to each man to be converted and to believe in the Gospel. This visit propels the life that is within us - the life given by Jesus Christ - to speak in spite of our mortality. Tombs whisper and tell us not to fail to spot heaven, eternity. The cemetery is a place of great messages, of dialogue between heaven and earth, between what is eternal and what is passing, between today and tomorrow. It is, finally, a discourse between those who gave their lives for our freedom and us, who enjoy the fruits of the benefits irrigated by blood.
To stand near a tomb, without hoping for eternity and a new life through Jesus Christ, would imply great suffering, hopelessness, failure and anguish. But to stand near the tombs, with a Christian belief in the life without end through the Resurrection of Christ, awakens consolation, brings light and inspires thoughts of a reunion in the house of our Heavenly Father, where each tear will disappear from our eyes.
Truly, the history of humanity until the coming of Jesus was a reign of death. Through Christ, this reality is transformed into the reign of life. By his death he conquered death itself, this is why he could say after his resurrection: “Why are you seeking the living among the dead?” Humanity, however, continues to be mortal, but it dies with Christ to live eternally with him. After the tombstone was taken away, Christian cemeteries are no more cities of the dead, places of death and pain, but fields in which God sows the wheat from which, when winds finish to blow and when winters pass, a new life will sprout. Mak Dizdar, a poet, beautifully states: “Death is not the end. There is in fact no death. And there is no end. Death is the light that shines on our path from the nest to the stars.” If God himself has walked on this path, of what should we be afraid? If pain, because of her Son, has pierced Our Lady’s heart, why should we not irrigate with our tears the paths of our dearest ones who – according to the teaching of our faith – have abandoned us only temporarily?
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of September, 170,000 communions were distributed and 3,364 priests from this country and abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were here from England, Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Poland, Korea, the USA, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Romania, Portugal, Lebanon, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Ireland, the Ukraine, Spain, Slovakia, Malta, Scotland, Russia, Belgium, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
ARCHDIOCESAN VICAR FROM VENEZUELA ON PILGRIMAGE TO MEDJUGORJE
In thanksgiving for 25 years of priesthood, Msgr. Ricardo Guerra, juridical Vicar of the Archdiocese of Valencia in Venezuela came to Medjugorje at the end of September 2002. A three-week long pilgrimage that he undertook with a group of 16 faithful includes Fatima, Santiago de Compostella, Lourdes, Medjugorje, Milan, Rome and Paris.
Msgr. Guerra has already been to Medjugorje. The experience that he had led him to found a Youth Prayer Group, which lives according to the spirituality of the messages of the Queen of Peace. When we asked him why he came again to Medjugorje and what attracts the faithful to Medjugorje, Msgr. Guerra answered: “I fell in love with Medjugorje! The motherly voice full of tenderness that resounds through Our Lady’s messages leads the faithful to prayer and to Christ. Our Lady calls us “little children”, and this word deeply touches the human heart. Bishops in Venezuela remain reserved towards the apparitions of Medjugorje, but the faithful feel that this call is authentic and they respond.”
ON BICYCLE FROM MEDJUGORJE TO LOURDES
On Monday, September 30th, 2002, Mate Vodanovic from Makarska (Croatia) started his journey on bicycle from Medjugorje to Lourdes. Mate wants to create a link between the Shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje and the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. He will take 23 days, crossing daily about 100 km.
MSGR. GEORGE HAMILTON PEARCE, RETIRED ARCHBISHOP OF THE FIJI ISLANDS, IN MEDJUGORJE
Msgr. George Pearce, retired Archbishop of the Fiji Islands, came with a group of American pilgrims on a private visit to Medjugorje at the end of September / beginning of October 2002. Msgr. Pearce lives and serves now in the Archdiocese of Providence, Rhode Island, USA.
We shall write about his impressions in the next issue of the Bulletin.
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. In Medjugorje, this rite was celebrated immediately after the Evening Holy Mass. The Medjugorje Friars, the Franciscan sisters, the Franciscan Youth Fraternity (FRAMA), members of the Franciscan Third Order, as well as Msgr. John Ward, a Franciscan Capuchin, the retired Archbishop of Cardiff/Wales (Great Britain), took part this year in this celebration.
In this liturgy, the Franciscans and the faithful remember the last moments of the earthly life of St. Francis, in love with God and the whole creation, who considered even death as his sister, and thanked it, because it leads him to his Creator. This year’s liturgy of the Transitus was presided by Fr. Branko Rados, pastor.
RADIO “MIR” MEDJUGORJE RECEIVED LONG-TERM AUTHORIZATION FOR BROADCASTING
Radio “Mir” Medjugorje received long-term authorization for programme broadcasting in some more regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and enlarged so the circle of listeners. The demanding work of obtaining this authorization was led by Fr. Miljenko Stojic, the former long-standing director of the Information Centre “Mir” Medjugorje, which includes the Radio “Mir” Medjugorje, and Nikica Dragoje, its technical director.
Radio “Mir” Medjugorje started to broadcast five years ago. Its contents are diverse, and improving every day in content and technically. Fr. Mario Knezovic, the present director of the Information Centre “Mir” Medjugorje and the Editor-in-Chief of the Radio “Mir” Medjugorje announced a new display of the programme beginning with January 1st, 2003. Radio “Mir” Medjugorje is the first radio on Bosnia and Herzegovina that broadcasts the programme live on Internet, on the address: www.medjugorje.hr.
MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC UNION OF THE PRESS (UCIP) VISITED MEDJUGORJE
Seventeen journalists from the USA, Canada, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, the Sudan, Tanzania, India, Pakistan, Lithuania, Albania and Germany, members of the International Catholic Union of the Press (UCIP) with its headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland), came to Medjugorje and Mostar on October 9 and 10, 2002.
In Mostar, the group of journalists visited the Franciscan Provincial House and the old part of the city.
In Medjugorje, they were received by Fr. Branko Rados, pastor, and Fr. Mario Knezovic, Director of the Information Centre “Mir” Medjugorje. Fr. Branko spoke to them about the pastoral activities of the parish and about the pilgrim movement, and Fr. Mario about the media activities of the Information Centre, underlining especially the importance of the Radio Station “Mir” Medjugorje for local population.
The journalists climbed Apparition Hill, where they spent some time in silent prayer, and they also participated in the Evening Prayer Programme and in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
This visit to Medjugorje is a part of a four-week programme of the UCIP Summer University, where the journalists from all parts of the world have the occasion to know the history, people, cultures, religion, society and life of the countries they are visiting. This year, the members of the Summer University 2002 visited Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Yugoslavia. The visit to Mostar and Medjugorje, and then to Tomislavgrad, is the final point of this journey organised by the Association of Catholic Journalists of Croatia.
A CANADIAN BISHOP IN MEDJUGORJE
Msgr. Pearse Lacey, the retired bishop of Toronto (Canada), was in Medjugorje from October 12 to 19, 2002, with a group of Canadian pilgrims. He once already came on pilgrimage to Medjugorje, in 1987. On Sunday, October 13th (the day of Our Lady of Fatima), he presided the English pilgrims Mass in concelebration with about 20 priests. Msgr. Lacey underlined that he believes that Medjugorje is a continuation of Fatima.
We shall write about his impressions in the next issue of the Bulletin.
HOLY MASS IN THANKSGIVING FOR THE FRUITS OF THE EARTH
On Sunday, October 13, 2002, a Holy Mass in thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth was celebrated in the parish of Medjugorje. Children of the parish participated in this celebration by reciting poems, saying prayers and presenting offertory gifts, and have expressed their gratitude to the Lord – in the name of the whole parish - for all the fruits of the earth.
SEMINARS AT “DOMUS PACIS”
During the last two months, three “Prayer and Fasting” seminars for Polish and French pilgrims took place in the house of prayer “Domus Pacis”. One hundred and eight participants spent 6 days in prayer, fasting and silence, desiring to deepen their faith.
From September 20 to 22, the Franciscan sisters led a seminar for 35 girls, and at the end of September, the Franciscan friars gathered 20 members of the Franciscan Youth Fraternity for a time of recollection.
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)
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 10/28/2002