"Dear children! Also today, I call you with great joy to live my messages. I am with you and I thank you for putting into life what I am saying to you. I call you to renew my messages even more, with new enthusiasm and joy. May prayer be your daily practice. Thank you for having responded to my call." June 25, 2003
THE FERVOUR OF THE WITNESSES OF OUR LADY
June 25 is the anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady who has been appearing in Medjugorje for 22 years already. Numerous fervent witnesses of Her presence gather each year in this place. Pilgrims from the whole world come to thank Her for Her maternal love towards each person and for her call addressed to us, to follow Jesus. There are certainly those who seek, those who cannot find themselves, those who ask questions, who expect miracles, who seek an adventure... but this also is a part of the way. This also is a possible road that trod the feet and the hearts of the pilgrims of Mary. Despite everything, no one is a foreigner or a vagabond here - especially not in the eyes of Mary. Here, each one is at home - brothers and sisters in Christ.
The experience of all these years shows us that the pilgrims of Medjugorje have an open mind, that they are full of trust in God and regularly renewed by the sacrament of confession. They come with open arms, ready to change their life and to make decisions, which will have a range for eternity. It can happen, however, that our faith and our enthusiasm fall asleep, that we become closed to the graces from Heaven. Exceptional graces can become almost ordinary. If that happens, it is necessary to start again from the very beginning, and to renew the enthusiasm of the beginning.
Let us remember the message of October 1998, where Our Lady says: “I call you to renew in your families the fervour of the first days when I called you to fasting, prayer and conversion.” It is as if she had felt that the enthusiasm of the beginning had faded for some, and that we became colder and a bit arrogant. “To renew the fervour of the first days!” What does it mean? We know well that this fervour had been carrying the witnesses of Medjugorje at the time when it was so difficult, from inside as well as from outside. At the time, this fervour was able to carry us above the brambles and spines and to break the chains of evil; this fervour was the initiator of a spiritual renewal, of a new enthusiasm and a new hope. This fervour was lived and radiated by witnesses of the apparitions. This fervour filled all of us with enthusiasm, and we also became friends and witnesses of the presence of the Gospa. The bearers of the enthusiasm of Our Lady told us: “Do not be afraid!”, they repeated the words of Christ himself. Our Lady calls us to the renewal of this enthusiasm. So, let us not be asleep, let us elevate our spirit to be able to move mountains and thus to be an inspiration for others. For all those who come to this place, for our time, and for the Church, Medjugorje is and must remain a voice in the desert. Through Mary, our Mother, God recalls the words of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who pain and are heavily burdened, and I shall give you rest.” (Mt, 11,28)
Carried by the power of faith, and a renewed enthusiasm, let us run towards the encounter with the living God, whom Mary offers to us again.
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of May 2003, 110.000 communions were distributed and 2.533 priests from this country and abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were here from Italy, Poland, Korea, South Africa, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Slovenia, France, La Reunion, the Czech Republic, England, Mexico, Slovakia, Romania, Canada, Hungary, Switzerland, India, Belgium, Albania, Greece, Latvia, Lebanon, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
DR. FRANC RODE, THE ARCHBISHOP OF LJUBLJANA (SLOVENIA), ABOUT THE PHENOMENON OF THE APPARITIONS OF OUR LADY IN MEDJUGORJE
Dr. Franc Rode, the Archbishop of Ljubljana (Slovenia), expressed his position towards the phenomenon of the apparitions of Our Lady in Medjugorje on April 26, 2003, in an interview for Radio “Mir” Medjugorje:
“My position towards the events of Medjugorje is identical to the position of Croatian bishops. Medjugorje exists and as such is a fact. People go there, and I see that Medjugorje is a place of grace. Many faithful from Slovenia who went there said that they received great graces! They made their confession, came back to the life of the Church and started to live a Christian life. This is the grace that they received in Medjugorje. Why not allow this? I have nothing against the fact that people go there. However, I wait until the competent and legitimate authorities of the Church pronounce themselves on the question of Medjugorje and I think that, soon, this will happen.”
DRAGUTIN TADIJANOVIC VISITED MEDJUGORJE
The most famous Croatian poet, ninety-eight years old Dragutin Tadijanovic, visited Medjugorje on May 14, 2003.
Visibly enthusiastic about the fact that he could fulfil his desire to come to this “most famous place in the world”, he remained in conversation with the Medjugorje Friars, and with those who work on cultural subjects in Herzegovina.
Tadijanovic also commented one of his legendary verses, “poets are the astonishment of the world”: “Medjugorje is today an astonishment and a wonder in the world, because here, another brand of life is being announced, a life filled with spiritual values.” The renowned poet added that the Franciscans were also “an astonishment in the world” because they try to live a life that is opposed to the logic of the material world.
In this occasion, Tadijanovic personally dedicated some of his recent books and offered them to the Shrine.
PUPILS IN MEDJUGORJE
Among local pilgrims, these days there are many pupils at Medjugorje who – at the end of their school year – go for a traditional excursion. Many of them traditionally come to Medjugorje to thank the Queen of Peace for their success at school.
MEETING OF CHILDREN'S CHOIRS
Another meeting of children’s choirs from Herzegovina called “Golden Harp” was held on May 25, in the parish church of Kocerin. There were children from 14 parishes and among them the children’s choir from Medjugorje, “Little Doves of Peace” under the guidance of Sr. Slavica Kozul.
Although the aim of these meetings is primarily to bring children together and to glorify the Lord through the song, it is not without significance that, according to common opinion, “Little Doves of Peace” were most successful in the interpretation of their songs.
THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI
On the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, on June 19, 2003, 85 candidates from the parish of Medjugorje received the sacrament of Confirmation from the hands of Msgr. Ratko Peric, Bishop of Mostar. The pastor of Medjugorje, Fr. Branko Rados, addressed his words of welcome to the Bishop.
After the evening Holy Mass, according to tradition linked to the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, there was a procession with the Blessed Sacrament through the parish, in which many local and foreign priests participated, as well as numerous parishioners and pilgrims.
The 12th traditional Peace March was held as every year on June 24th, the eve of the anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady. It began with prayer and the blessing of the pilgrims in front of the Franciscan monastery of Humac. About 3 000 pilgrims started their march at 6 am.
Upon their arrival in Medjugorje, pilgrims gathered in front of the parish church for a short common prayer. “The Peace March” is the fruit of an idea born in the hearts of Medjugorje pilgrims and friends of Medjugorje at the time of war, in 1992. Although the years of war are behind us, Our Lady reminds us in her messages that there are wars “in our hearts”. This 13 km-long march is a response to the trouble, violence and hatred, as well as an appeal to real peace and reconciliation.
This Peace March was led by Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic.
THE CELEBRATION OF THE 22nd ANNIVERSARY OF OUR LADY’S APPARITIONS IN THE PARISH OF MEDJUGORJE
During the last 22 years, Our Lady’s message of peace was spread all over the world through pilgrims, reached homes all over the world, and made a parish of the world out of Medjugorje. This is confirmed by the presence of more than 80 000 faithful who came to Medjugorje for the 22nd anniversary. It is impossible to enumerate all of the countries where the pilgrims came from. They came from all the five continents. Very many local pilgrims came on their bare feet to pray to the Queen of Peace for peace.
In the morning of June 24th and June 25th, Holy Masses were celebrated in 16 languages. During these two days, 24 000 communions were distributed.
The evening Mass on June 24th was presided by Fr. Gabriel Mioc and concelebrated by 135 priests. About 15 000 faithful were present.
The evening Mass on June 25th was presided by Fr. Miro Sego, and concelebrated by 180 priests from approximately twenty countries. About 35 000 faithful were present.
ANNUAL APPARITION TO THE VISIONARY IVANKA
The visionary Ivanka Ivankovic-Elez had her regular annual apparition on June 25. According to the visionaries, Vicka, Marija and Ivan continue to have daily apparitions, and Mirjana, Ivanka and Jakov have an annual apparition.
At her last daily apparition on May 7, 1985, Our Lady confided to Ivanka the 10th secret and told her that she would have an apparition once a year on the anniversary of the apparitions. It was that way also this year. The apparition lasted 10 minutes. Ivanka had the apparition at home in the presence of her family, her husband and her three children.
Our Lady gave the following message:
“Dear children! Do not be afraid, I am always with you. Open your heart for love and peace to enter into it. Pray for peace, peace, peace.”
Our Lady came joyful and spoke to Ivanka more extensively about Her life.
PARISHIONERS AND PILGRIMS FROM MEDJUGORJE MET THE HOLY FATHER
At the beginning of June 2003, the Holy Father John Paul II came for the third time to Croatia, and on June 22, he came for the second time to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The faithful met him in 4 Croatian towns. On June 6, about 1100 parishioners and pilgrims from Medjugorje assisted at Holy Mass in Dubrovnik and the beatification of Sr. Marija of Jesus Crucified Petkovic, by John Paul II. Numerous parishioners and pilgrims also went to Banja Luka to assist at Mass and the beatification of Ivan Merz.
New blessed, pray for us!
A BISHOP FROM PERU IN MEDJUGORJE
Mgr. Salvador Pineiro Garcia-Calderon, military bishop in Lima/Peru, was in Medjugorje from June 7 to 9, 2003. He also participated in the encounter with the Holy Father in Dubrovnik.
In Medjugorje, he met the Franciscans, who spoke to him about the prayer program at the Shrine. He prayed on Apparition Hill and on Cross Mountain. He was especially struck by the piety of people during the evening prayer programme.
He said: “Faith is alive here, I can feel here how much every person needs God. While climbing Cross Mountain, I saw many young and old, healthy and sick people, praying sincerely. It is evident that God is being praised here, and I thank God for this”, he said.
MALTESE ORDER AT THE SERVICE OF THE PILGRIMS
The medical services of the Maltese Order from Germany came for the sixth time to Medjugorje to be at the service of the pilgrims. During the summer months, at the time of the strongest influx of the pilgrims, the Maltesers are on duty near the parish church at the new dispensary, every day from 9 am to 9 pm.
The Maltese Order has existed for 900 years now. Its slogan is “keep the faith and help the needy, witness faith with love, and be at the service of peace in the world”.
We thank them in the name of all those who during this summer will receive their help, and the comfort of their apostolate.
4TH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR MARRIED COUPLES
The 4th International Meeting for Married Couples will take place in Medjugorje in the New Hall from February 11 to 14, 2004. The theme is,
“The fruit of peace is love and the fruit of love is forgiveness.”
Programme: Wednesday, February 11, 2004 2 pm – Registration of the participants 4 pm – Introduction to the seminar 5 pm – Evening Prayer Programme 9 pm – Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament Thursday, February 12, 2004 9 am – Morning Prayer 9:30 am – Lecture: 10:30 am – Pause 11 am – Exchange 2 pm – Way of the Cross on Cross Mountain 5 pm – Evening Prayer Programme Friday, February 13, 2004 9 am – Morning Prayer 9:30 am – Lecture: 10:30 am – Pause 11 am – Exchange 2 pm – Rosary at the Apparition Hill 4 pm – Preparation for confession 5 pm – Evening Prayer Programme Saturday, February 14, 2004 9 am – Morning Prayer 9:30 am – Lecture: 10:30 am – Pause 11 am – Exchange 12 am – Holy Mass – end of the seminar
Bring with you: a small FM radio with headphones (for simultaneous translation) and a Bible.
All the meetings will take place in the New Hall behind the church. Participation per couple: 30 €.
You may make reservations by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or at the Information Office personally, or by phone/fax: +387-36-651-988. The number of participants is limited because of the available space in the Hall, se we ask you to send your registration as soon as possible, latest by the end of December. All the participants are invited to individually provide their accommodation in Medjugorje.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 06/26/2003