"Dear children! I call you also today to conversion. Open your heart to God, little children, through Holy Confession and prepare your soul so that little Jesus can be born anew in your heart. Permit Him to transform you and lead you on the way of peace and joy. Little children, decide for prayer. Especially now, in this time of grace, may your heart yearn for prayer. I am close to you and intercede before God for all of you. Thank you for having responded to my call." November 25, 2002
WILL THERE BE CHRISTMAS?
Some years ago, a child without arms was born in Lüttich. Eight days later, the newborn baby was given sleeping medication. The dosage was too strong and the child died. At that time, much was written about its' mother, its’ family and the responsibility of the doctor. Little was said about the innocent victim.
I write about this event, because it can help us in the time that is in front of us: the time of Advent. In this time, we prepare ourselves for the gladdest tidings that came from the Orient – the Saviour of the word was born, Jesus Christ. We, Christians, celebrate this event every year for Christmas, but this celebration demands a deep preparation. We have to be ready for Christmas.
This is why God gives us, through the Church, a time of preparation and of tidying our inner self. We have to make good use of this time. Each time is a gift and an occasion for advancing at spiritual and human level. If we do not make use of the time of preparation, the time of celebration does not bring its’ fruit and radiance in us. If we are not awake at every moment, according to the call of the Gospel, how can we be witnesses of our time and of the events? So, let us live the time of Advent conscientiously and with an open spirit to the inspirations of God. Only then, we will approach Christmas with the hope that Jesus will be born in our heart.
In conclusion, I return to the image given at the beginning. The child was born and died. It is something that, unfortunately, happens in our spiritual life also. Jesus is born on Christmas, but does He remain alive within us? It seems that, in many of us, He sleeps or He dies. In many of us, Jesus wants to live, but the overdose of evil, addiction, blasphemes or licentiousness does not allow Him to grow and to live.
One thing is sure: this year also, Jesus will knock at the door of our heart. Will He live or die within us depends on us. Will this year there be Christmas for us personally? Only we ourselves can give the answer to this question!
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of October, 115,000 communions were distributed and 3,182 priests from this country and abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were here from Italy, France, South Africa, Lebanon, Malaysia, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, the USA, Austria, Korea, Brazil, Great Britain, Ireland, Slovenia, Belgium, Switzerland, Romania, Indonesia, Canada, Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, Malta, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, India, Yugoslavia, the Philippines, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
IMPRESSIONS OF A BISHOP FROM THE FIJI ISLANDS
As we have written in the previous issue of the Bulletin, Msgr. George Pearce, retired Archbishop of the Fiji Islands, came at the end of September and beginning of October 2002 on a private visit to Medjugorje.
These are his impressions:
“I have no doubt about the authenticity of Medjugorje. I have been here three times already and I say to any priest who asks about it: just go and sit in the confessional, and you will see miracle, after miracle, after miracle… through Mary’s intercession and the power of God. We were told: “By their fruits you will know them”. Certainly, the heart and soul of the Medjugorje message is the Eucharist and the Sacrament of the Reconciliation.
I have no doubts whatsoever. This is the work of God. As I said: you cannot but believe when you spend a little time in the confessional. Signs and wonders are merciful gifts of God too - but this is the greatest of all miracles for a priest to see the people around the Altar of the Lord. I have been in several Shrines, I have spent quite a bit of time in Guadalupe, I have been about eight times at Fatima, and also in Lourdes. It is the same Mary, the same message, but here at Medjugorje this is the “current” word of Our Lady for the world. There is so much anguish and suffering. Our Lady has been with us all the way through, and in a special way in Medjugorje.”
In answer to the question, “Do you know that, in the world, there are several thousands of prayer groups inspired by Our Lady’s messages from Medjugorje? There are more than a thousand groups in your country, the USA… How much is this a sign that the Church recognizes God’s words in the words of Our Lady?”, Msgr. Pearce answered:
“We have a little group in the Cathedral in Providence, where I am. They call it “Little St. James”. They meet every evening; they have Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction and Holy Mass. I think that we have not got the message yet. There was a great turn to the Lord right after September 11, but I think, we need more than that before that country really turns to the Lord. So we just pray for that day. We hope we will turn to the Lord before we have to learn too many lessons, but this is also an act of the mercy of God. Everything is an act of the mercy of God. We know very well that God in His merciful love, in His permissive Providence, will take all the means possible so none of the least of His children will be totally lost. That’s all that really matters.
I would say: come in the spirit of an open mind, in prayer, and entrust your journey to Our Lady. Just come and the Lord will do the rest.”
IMPRESSIONS OF A CANADIAN BISHOP
In the last issue of the Bulletin, we wrote that Msgr. Pearse Lacey, the retired bishop of Toronto (Canada), was on a private visit to Medjugorje from October 12 to 19, 2002, with a group of Canadian pilgrims.
These are his impressions:
“I came to Medjugorje in 1987. Things were much more primitive then than they are today, but the Spirit is still here and the presence of Our Lady is all around. You can’t move anywhere without sensing the marvelous grace of God affecting the lives of people. I have met people who are here because they are on drugs, on alcohol. I have met people with tragic situations in their lives and the miraculous way in which God is reflecting, manifesting Himself. One of the priests told me that he was hearing confessions, he eventually stopped and left, and they drew him back! The magnitude of the Confessions is enough if you want to be satisfied that God is present here. For me, that’s Medjugorje.
Our Lady’s apparitions are no problem for me. Fundamentally, it is a question of belief. We can’t inflict faith and devotion on people. Mostly you can show it by your own example. This is the freedom that God has given to all of us. He wants us to respond out of faith and love.
The basic message of Medjugorje is absolutely solid. We are living in 2002, but men and women are still made of a body and a soul. We all have traces of the original sin. Our needs are the same as in the times of the Apostles and in any generation. Basically, we are the children of God and our cries are as huge as of any generation. Therefore, the message has to be the same! We cannot do without God. This is the marvelous thing about Medjugorje. This is an oasis of God, this is the life of the Church as it should be. Tradition is not a dirty word, although it seems to be to some people! The life of a priest consists in bringing people back to God, people who have wandered away because they thought religion was irrelevant. Thank God that He is God and provides places like this. I have been to other places, but Medjugorje is the shining light today in our society.”
THE FAITHFUL FROM THE UNITED ARABIC EMIRATES, DUBAI AND ABU DHABI, ON PILGRIMAGE IN MEDJUGORJE
A group of about ten pilgrims, Christians living and working in the United Arabic Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, was on a pilgrimage in Medjugorje in October of 2002. This pilgrimage was organized by the Lebanese Catholic Television “Telelumiere” and accompanied by Fr. Boulos Fahd.
UN SOLDIERS IN MEDJUGORJE
About 50 Polish UN soldiers in Bosnia and Herzegovina located in Doboj came on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Queen of Peace on Sunday, October 27, 2002. Led by their military chaplain, they prayed on the hills and celebrated Sunday Mass in the Adoration Chapel.
HUMANITARIAN HELP FOR AFRICA
The German humanitarian association “Gospa Mira” from St. Peter’s Catholic Parish in Sinzing, together with the humanitarian association “Medjugorje-Mir” from Split, organised the first humanitarian transport for Africa in September of 2002. About 20,000 kg of goods for renovation of a hospital were sent by boat through Mombasa (Kenya) to Goma (Congo), to the region devastated by a volcanic explosion. In the name of the Bishop, Fr. Innocents from Goma thanks all of Our Lady’s friends!
SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS
Traditionally a great number of pilgrims come to Medjugorje on All Saints' Day and All Soul's Day. This year the most numerous pilgrims came from Austria, Germany, France and Italy. Here in this place of pilgrimage, these are days in which we - together with the pilgrims from the entire world - pray especially for the deceased, but particularly for the Croatian defenders, who gave their lives for our freedom. Many people in the world heard about our small country through pilgrims from Medjugorje and helped the suffering people of our homeland in the most difficult times. Parishioners of the parish of Medjugorje and all others who experienced their love, care and help always include them in their prayers and ask for God's blessing upon them. On All Saints Day and All Souls Day, Holy Masses were celebrated not only in the Parish Church, but also at the eight cemeteries of the Parish.
MALTESE ORDER CONCLUDES THIS YEAR’S SERVICE AT THE SHRINE
In the beginning of November 2001, members of the rescue and medical services of the Order of Malta from Köln (Germany) and volunteers concluded this year’s service to the pilgrims of the Queen of Peace. We thank them for the help they have selflessly offered to the pilgrims of Medjugorje for several years now.
The Order of Malta invites volunteers who wish to join them in this service to contact them in time for next year.
ART GATHERING IN MEDJUGORJE
About thirty artists, mostly academically educated painters, sculptors and graphists from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, gathered together on November 3rd, 2002, for an Art Gathering at the St. Francis’ Garden. Its’ goal is to create and donate works of art towards construction of a Rehabilitation Centre – a Hipotherapy – within St. Francis’ Garden.
This first encounter lasted only a day, but there is a desire to organize Art Gatherings in summer time and to make it a tradition.
BLESSING OF THE NEW DISPENSARY
On November 12th, 2002, a newly constructed Dispensary “The Donum Dei” was blessed at the Shrine of the Queen of Peace. The dispensary was blessed by Fr. Branko Rados, who said that - for some time already - the need was felt for such a building within the Shrine.
Joseph Canizaro, an American businessman, founder of “The Donum Dei Foundation”, and Danny Abramowicz, President of the Foundation, together with the Medjugorje visionary Ivan Dragicevic, who also helped in this project, all came to Medjugorje for the celebration of the blessing.
Fr. Branko Rados said that Dispensary should open in the spring, after the acquisition of necessary equipment.
3RD INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR FOR MARRIED COUPLES
The 3rd International Seminar for Married Couples will take place in Medjugorje from February 13 to 16, 2003.
The theme of the seminar is: “Put God in the First Place in Your Families”.
It is recommended that you bring
The seminar will take place in the New Hall behind the Church. Participation fee per couple is 26 €. You may make reservations by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or at the Information Office, by phone/fax: +387-36-651-988 (for Marija Dugandzic).
Number of participants is limited because of the limited space in the Hall, so we ask you to send your registration as soon as possible, et the latest by the end of December of 2002. All the participants are to arrange for their accommodation in Medjugorje.
You can find the Program own for the Seminar on our web page www.medjugorje.hr.
THE 10TH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR GUIDES AND LEADERS OF PEACE CENTRES AND MEDJUGORJE PRAYER, PILGRIM AND CHARITY GROUPS
The 10th International Meeting for Guides and Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups will take place in the New Hall in Medjugorje from February 23 – 27, 2003. The theme is, “The Essentials of Medjugorje”.
The number of places is limited, and the number of participants is increasing from year to year. This is why we ask you kindly to make your registration as soon as possible, at the latest by the end of December of 2002. You can make your registrations by tel/fax + 387 36 651 988 (for Marija Dugandzic) or by e-mail: email@example.com, or personally at the Information Office. Simultaneous translation is available for all language groups. The price of the seminar is 62 € per person. This includes all the costs of organization and of functioning of the seminar (lecturers, translations of texts, simultaneous translation and lunch the last day). When you register and pay on the first day, you will receive a nametag, which will allow you to participate in the seminar. We ask you to kindly arrange for your own accommodation in Medjugorje. We believe that will not be a problem for you, because you have been coming to Medjugorje for many years and have your friends and acquaintances here. We ask you to kindly bring a small FM radio with headphones.
We are looking forward to your reservations and to welcoming you at this meeting!
You can find the Program for this Seminar on our web page www.medjugorje.hr.
THE 8TH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR PRIESTS
The 8th International meeting for priests will take place in Medjugorje from June 30 to July 5, 2003: The theme of the meeting is “Servant of the Eucharist”.
June 30, 2003 – Monday
July 1, 2003 – Tuesday
July 2, 2003 – Wednesday
July 3, 2003 – Thursday
July 4, 2003 – Friday
July 5, 2003 – Saturday
CONCLUSION OF THE MEETING WITH HOLY MASS AT NOON
You may make reservations by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org , at the Information Office personally, or by phone/fax: +387-36-651-988 (for Marija Dugandzic).
We ask all priests who have arranged their own accommodation with a family in Medjugorje to note in their application the name and the phone number of the family where they will be staying. We will arrange accommodation for all the priests who have no direct contacts and have not arranged their own accommodation. (Please note in your application if you wish us to arrange accomodation for you.)
Instead of a monetary payment, we ask you to kindly celebrate five Mass intentions.
It is necessary to bring with you: your celebret given by your superior, an alb and stole, a Bible, a small FM radio with headphones (for simultaneous translation).
Many priests who do not have access to Internet may not have been informed about the existence of this international meeting in Medjugorje. Therefore, we kindly ask all Organisers of pilgrimages, Prayer Groups and Centres for Peace to publish this information as widely as possible by all means at their disposal, so that as many priests as possible may participate. In as much as it is possible, we also kindly ask you to financially assist the priests who would like to come but do not have the necessary funds for such a journey. We thank you in advance and pray for God’s blessing and the blessing of the Queen of Peace upon you and your work.
SEMINARS AT “DOMUS PACIS”
In October and November, five “Prayer and Fasting” seminars for pilgrims from Germany, Austria France and Ukraine took place in the house of prayer “Domus Pacis”. About 180 participants spent 6 days in deepening their faith in the Lord, while answering Our Lady’s call to prayer, fasting and inner silence.
The Franciscan sisters led two seminars for 30 girls, and at the end of October, the Franciscan friars gathered 25 members of the Franciscan Youth Fraternity for a time of recollection.
For “Prayer and Fasting” seminars, contact Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic, Zupni ured Medjugorje, Gospin trg 1, 88266 Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Fax: 00 387 36 651 444)
NEW YEAR'S EVE IN MEDJUGORJE
On New Year’s Eve, for many years now, the parish of Medjugorje has become a meeting place for young people from all over the world. This year, Eucharistic Adoration will begin at 10 pm on New Years eve, and the Vigil will end with the Holy Mass at midnight.
Also this year, a big screen will be put up in the New Hall, and a tent will be set up for all those who may not find room in the Church.
We invite young people again: Come and enter into the New Year in prayer, with Jesus and Mary!
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 11/27/2002