"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. Renew your personal prayer, and in a special way pray to the Holy Spirit to help you pray with the heart. I intercede for all of you, little children, and call all of you to conversion. If you convert, all those around you will also be renewed and prayer will be a joy for them. Thank you for having responded to my call." May 25, 2003
A MESSAGE FROM HEART TO HEART
Nowadays, people try so hard to gain the affection of other people! They use many different ways to reach other people, to convey their messages, opinions, feelings, and position… Our society unfortunately also uses some means of communication that are not permissible. We see how absurd that is when some groups, nations, even states, proclaim peace, freedom and wealth – by means of armament, economical exploitation, unjust laws - whilst denying others the right to the same human dignity, which they claim for themselves.
In such confusion, we all are the victims. There is no winner, because most precious what is in men is being trampled down: the right to life and freedom given by God.
If we consider Medjugorje and Our Lady’s apparitions in this context, it is good to notice the ways Our Lady chooses to transmit the messages from heaven to humanity. Her coming among men, her children, does not correspond to the logic of human thought and acting. Now in Medjugorje, and before this at other sites of apparition, she approaches men in a motherly way: with love. The intention of a mother is not to capture the child, to posses it through her message and her incentives. She invites a child to live freely and joyfully the message of Jesus. The message never tries to rule over men, but invites them to choose themselves their own way. In this way, Our Lady only summarises the words of Jesus about following Him freely on his way. Through her motherly words, Our Lady transmits the message of her heart to our hearts. We can see it most clearly in the words of each message, when she calls us “little children”.
Many hearts all over the world have heard and recognised her words. People feel her love, which invites us to love God and our neighbour. This is why Medjugorje is a place where the faithful feel free, accepted, and more than this: loved. But pilgrims should not stop at this point. We have to spread the message in the same way, by the same means, with the same intention, to other hearts. In this transmission, led by the example of God himself, we should never be aggressive, obtrusive or garish. The character of Medjugorje does not allow us to pressure others to believe what we believe or accept at any prize the message of Our Lady that resounded in our ears, and made us come closer to Jesus.
If - through Mary - God approaches us, sinful people, with so much heart and love, how could we have the right to be different in our encounters with our brothers and sisters? Let our heart send to others only a message of the heart and of love.
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of April 2003, 95,000 communions were distributed and 1,622 priests from this country and abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were here from Germany, Italy, France, La Reunion, Poland, Korea, Slovenia, South Africa, the USA, Mexico, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Honduras, India, New Zealand, Lebanon, Slovakia, Ireland, Romania, Latvia, Hungary, Canada, Switzerland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
BLESSING OF A NEW CHALICE
The new chalice for Eucharistic celebrations at the outside altar was blessed and for the first time used on Easter Sunday 2003. It weights 6 kg, is made of massive silver and covered with gold, and it is the work of the sculptor Joakim Jaki Gregov, a Franciscan from Zadar, who fashioned several works of art for the Shrine of Medjugorje. The chalice represents St. Francis elevating the cup with the bloodless sacrifice.
THE AMBASSADOR FOR ARGENTINA ON PRIVATE VISIT TO MEDJUGORJE
Mr. Carlos A. Martese, Ambassador for Argentina in Bosnia and Herzegovina, came on a private visit to Medjugorje on Saturday, May 3, 2003. He came with his wife and two other people. After the visit of the Shrine, they met Fr. Branko Rados, the pastor, who spoke to them about the events of Medjugorje. Mr. Martese was deeply impressed by his visit. He also climbed Apparition Hill, and said he would come again.
On Sunday, May 4th, 2003, 83 children from the Parish Medjugorje received the Sacrament of First Holy Communion in St. James’ parish church. Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Franjo Music and concelebrated by the pastor, Fr. Branko Rados, Fr. Petar Vlasic and other priests. The occasion was embellished by the singing of the “Little Doves of Peace” choir under the direction of Sr. Slavica Kozul. The day before, the children also made their First Holy Confession. Their parents and catechists accompanied the children on the path, preparing them for the Eucharistic Jesus. On this day, a very special atmosphere reigned in the whole parish. Many local and foreign pilgrims joined the children and their parents in this celebration.
MSGR. LUIGI BOMMARITO, RETIRED ARCHBISHOP OF CATANIA (ITALY), ON PRIVATE VISIT TO MEDJUGORJE
Msgr. Luigi Bommarito, retired Archbishop of Catania (Italy), was on private visit to Medjugorje from May 1 to 4, 2003. Mr. Domenico Volpini, a political deputy, accompanied him. Msgr. Bommarito participated in the prayer programme of the Shrine, and on Sunday, May 4th, he presided Holy Mass for Italian pilgrims.
SEMINARS IN “DOMUS PACIS”
Over the last month, there was one “Prayer and Fasting” seminar for pilgrims from Ukraine. There was also a recollection seminar for Altar Boys from Herzegovina, led by Fr. Dario Dodig, and a recollection seminar for lay people form Zagreb organised by the “Legion of Mary”.
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)
A BROCHURE ABOUT THE ROSARY
The Shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje published a brochure in which it invites the faithful to pray the Rosary. This call is based on the Holy Father’s invitation to pray the Rosary and on Our Lady’s messages in Fatima and Medjugorje.
Based on the Bible, the brochure presents the Joyful Mysteries, the Mysteries of Light, the Sorrowful and the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, and explains how to pray the Rosary.
It invites the faithful to pray daily, especially for the following intentions: for spiritual and religious renewal; for the renewal of love, fidelity and peace in the families; for the birth of children who have been conceived; for the return of expulsed and exiled to their homes; for the rebuilding of destroyed homes; for a life worthy of men; for a just society; for the construction of a better world.
THE 11TH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR LEADERS OF PEACE CENTRES AND MEDJUGORJE PRAYER, PILGRIM AND CHARITY GROUPS
The 11th International Meeting for Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups will take place in the New Hall in Medjugorje from February 22 – 26, 2004. The theme of this meting will be,
“Penance and Contemporary Men”
Monday, February 23, 2004
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Dr. Fr. Jozo Vasilj, OFM, was born in 1943 in Medjugorje, BiH. In 1962, he entered the Franciscan Order in the province of Herzegovina, and in 1969, he was ordained a priest. He studied theology in Schwaz in Austria, continued with post-graduate studies in the Social sciences in 1976, and he completed a doctorate in 1980 at the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome. He was assistant parish priest in Capljina, then professor at the Catechetical Institute of the Theological Faculty in Zagreb, and at the Philosophical-Theological Institute of the Jesuits in Zagreb. From 1981 to 1984, he was General Secretary of the Conference of the Higher Religious Superiors of Ex-Yugoslavia, and member of the Secretary Board from 1984 to 1987. He was elected the Provincial of the Herzegovinian Franciscan Province in 1988, and in 1989 he resigned and went as a missionary to Congo, where he taught at the Philosophical-Theological Institute John XXIII in Kolwezi, and was also a Rector of the Franciscan Theology Institute. From 1998 to 2000, he was the Provincial of the Province of St. Benedict the African in Congo and the Central African Republic. He participated at numerous seminars and symposiums all over the world. Since 2002, he is professor at the Pedagogical Faculty of the University in Mostar and at the Theological Institute in Mostar.
Dr. Fr. Slavko Topic, OFM, was born in 1940 in Bukovica, BiH. In 1960, he entered the Franciscan Order in the province of Bosnia, and in 1966, he was ordained a priest. He finished his studies of theology in Sarajevo. He also studied Church Music at the Institute for Church Music in Zagreb, the Pontifical Institute for Church Music in Rome, and the Institute for Musical Sciences of the Faculty of Philosophy in Cologne. He graduated Church Music at the Pontifical Musical Institute in Rome, where he also continued his Post-graduate degree. He completed his doctorate in Cologne in 1985.
He was assistant parish priest in several parishes in his province, and was also a Novice Master. As a professor, he taught at the seminary and at the Franciscan and Diocesan Theology Institute in Sarajevo. He has published articles and texts in several magazines. As a priest and a professor, he was interested in spiritual questions of deliverance from evil. He gave several conferences and seminars about the danger of Satanism and of Occult phenomena.
At present, he is Professor at the Franciscan Theology Institute in Sarajevo and Vicar of St Paul’s Monastery in Sarajevo.
The 11th International Meeting for Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups will take place in the New Hall in Medjugorje from February 22 – 26, 2004. 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 November 2003. You can send your registrations by Tel/fax + 387 36 651 988 (for Marija Dugandzic) or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or personally in the Information Office.
Simultaneous translation is available for all language groups. This is why we ask you kindly to take with you a small FM radio with headphones.
The price of the seminar is 60 € per person. This includes all the fees for the organisation and running of the seminar (lecturers, translations of texts, simultaneous translation and lunch the last day). When you register and pay at the beginning of the seminar, you will receive a badge, which will allow you to participate in the seminar. We ask you kindly to organise personally your accommodation in Medjugorje. We believe that this is not a problem for you, because you have come to Medjugorje for many years now and have friends and acquaintances here.
We are looking forward to your reservations and to welcoming you at this meeting!
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: email@example.com , 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.
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, and a small FM radio with headphones (for simultaneous translation).
You can find the programme for this meeting on our web-page www.medjugorje.hr .
Many priests who do not have access to the 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. As much as 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 05/27/2003