“Dear children! Also today I call you to pray for peace. Pray with the heart, little children, and do not lose hope because God loves His creatures. He desires to save you, one by one, through my coming here. I call you to the way of holiness. Pray, and in prayer you are open to God's will; in this way, in everything you do, you realize God's plan in you and through you. Thank you for having responded to my call.” March 25, 2003
BEAUTY OF OUR SPEECH
This year, we started Lenten time in Medjugorje with a highly important action: we declared this Lenten time a time of nice words and speech. In this way, we wanted to attract the attention of every believer and of every pilgrim to the words that we pronounce. Jesus said to his companions once: “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” (Mt 15:18-19)
These words of Jesus show us the importance of our words, which often become a language of judgement, of hatred, of slander, of lies… In words and in speech, every person, especially a believer, should be a voice of God for our time. Jesus invites us to use a blessed speech that will create in every person a space for the Good News – the Word that became flesh.
The psalmist recommends us to retain our tongue from evil and our lips from deceitful words. We are eyewitnesses of how much evil in the hearts of men can provoke just one word that was pronounced irresponsibly. Harsh and false words provoke wars, trouble, disputes… This is why, in our inner being, we have to be deeply responsible for what we say. We have to evaluate every word in the light of our conscience, and bring it in accordance with it. A pronounced word motivated by anger and vengeance hurts first and foremost the conscience of the person who pronounces it, but the person to whom it was addressed, also bears consequences.
When Jesus speaks and warns us, he always does it out of love. Even when Jesus raises his voice, it is because he wants to lift up and awaken the other, to bring him back from a wrong path, but never to humiliate him. Jesus always and at every occasion speaks with love for those who listen to him. We also have to speak in this way, because we are called Jesus’ disciples and we are Jesus’ disciples.
We hear often that Our Lady speaks in a motherly way. In Medjugorje, through the visionaries, she addresses herself to the whole world in kind words. She speaks most tenderly, and this is visible in her words addressed to the visionaries, “little children”. Let us also be carriers of such a good and nice word, because it opens all the doors, the doors of every heart. May our speech be a speech of love, a language that will be a new hope and a sincere motivation for others to live according to the plan of God.
May every anger and every ugly word, especially blasphemy, stay far from us!
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of February, 25,000 communions were distributed and 669 priests from this country and abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were here from Austria, South Africa, Italy, the USA, Korea, France, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Canada, Ireland, England, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
THE 10TH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR LEADERS
As we have written in the last issue of the Bulletin, the 10th International Meeting for Guides and Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity Groups took place in Medjugorje from February 23 to 27. There were 150 leaders and priests who lead the Medjugorje Associations all over the world. They adopted a common declaration, which we publish entirely:
“Gathered in a place of prayer and of peace, following the voice of Our Lady and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, 150 of us gathered for the 10th International Meeting for Guides and Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity Groups. In an atmosphere of prayer and in brotherly and sisterly union, we reflected on the theme “The Essential of Medjugorje”.
Knowing the powerful message that comes from Medjugorje to the Church, to the world and to each individual, we considered it important to consider once again the power of this message and of what it means today. Our Lady’s messages from Medjugorje come to us for almost 22 years now. Our Lady wants to tell us to come back to Jesus, the source of our life. “I desire to draw you ever closer to Jesus and to His wounded heart that you might be able to comprehend the immeasurable love which gave itself for each one of you.” (Our Lady’s message, November 25, 1991) This is why, inspired by the experiences of many individuals, we consider that the ambience of Medjugorje is a new stimulation and invitation to go to the source of our faith and to seek our Saviour. “There is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4,12).
Without Jesus, the world in which we live and whose destiny we share goes into the unknown. In such a world, the paths trodden by millions of people who pray inspired by Medjugorje, can only be a new hope and a prophetical voice. As such, Medjugorje obliges all those who have heard and understood the voice of God, to announce and to witness to others. In this sense, in this year of the Bible, we invite all those in the world who venerate Our Lady, to be the most beautiful bearers of the Good News by their own lives. In this task, God will surely not leave us alone. “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.” (Mk 16,20)
During this meeting, we reflected also on the role of the Church in new forms of evangelisation and on its openness in observing the apparitions of Medjugorje. In the year of the Rosary proclaimed by the Holy Father John-Paul II, "it is our duty to invite all the pilgrims of Medjugorje to put this invitation into their daily practice. May the Rosary, as a powerful weapon from heaven, be the answer of Christians to the increasing peacelessness and divisions in the world. This is why, in the spirit of this meeting, which was filled with prayer and sharing, we invite all men of the world to open themselves to Jesus through Mary and to become active members of the Church."
Medjugorje, February 27, 2003
PRAYER FOR PEACE IN THE WORLD
From February 17 to 23, the faithful gathered for the Evening Mass prayed for a special intention: for peace in the world.
In these days, as peace is threatened in a special way, we invite all the friends and pilgrims of Medjugorje all over the world to be united in prayer for peace.
“MAY THIS LENTEN TIME BE A TIME OF A GOOD WORD”
In the time of Lent, we started in Medjugorje a prayer initiative under the title, “May This Lenten Time be a Time of a Good Word”. During Holy Mass in the parish church, preachers will speak about the bad habit that is cursing. A special holy picture was printed with Jesus’ face and an inscription, “I have done everything for you, why do you curse me?” All the families from the parish and pilgrims of Medjugorje received this image. We invite all of you to pray during Lent for a pure and blessed speech of every person, especially of Christians.
A CANADIAN WRITER VISITED MEDJUGORJE
Michael D. O’Brien, Canadian writer and author of the bestseller “Children of the Last Days”, was in Medjugorje on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th of March. This famous writer climbed the Apparition Hill and Cross Mountain and participated in the entire Evening Prayer Programme.
He told about his impressions:
“I heard about Medjugorje from my co-parishioners who came here. I saw in their lives conversion and the gift of prayer. Many experienced a change of life here, and some chose a spiritual vocation. Led by these experiences, I wanted to come personally to this place of great graces. I came here with an open heart and mind. I accept the possibility of the apparitions, and like others, I listen to the voice of the Church.”
Michael D. O’Brien also visited the monastery of Siroki Brijeg, the place of martyrdom of the Franciscans.
THE ANNUAL APPARITION OF OUR LADY TO MIRJANA DRAGICEVIC-SOLDO ON MARCH 18, 2003
The visionary Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo had daily apparitions from June 24th 1981 to December 25th 1982. During the last daily apparition, Our Lady gave her the 10th secret, and told her that she would appear to her once a year, on the 18th of March. It has been this way through the years.
This year several thousand pilgrims gathered to pray the Rosary at the Cenacolo Community in Medjugorje. The apparition lasted from 8. 55 a.m. to 9. 02 a.m. and Our Lady gave the following message:
“Dear children! Particularly at this holy time of penance and prayer, I call you to make a choice. God gave you free will to choose life or death. Listen to my messages with the heart that you may become cognizant of what you are to do and how you will find the way to life. My children, without God you can do nothing; do not forget this even for a single moment. For, what are you and what will you be on earth, when you will return to it again. Do not anger God, but follow me to life. Thank you for being here.”
SEMINARS IN "DOMUS PACIS"
During the last period, there were three “Prayer and Fasting” seminars for pilgrims from Russia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and France. Franciscan sisters led two seminars for 80 young girls from Herzegovina. There were also two seminars of spiritual recollection for young people from Central Bosnia and for Prayer Groups from south Dalmatia, as well as a spiritual renewal for altar boys from Herzegovina, led by their catechists.
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)
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”.
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).
You can find the programme of this meeting on our web-page www.medjugorje.hr .
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.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 03/26/2003