"Dear children! Also today I call you to give thanks to God in your heart for all the graces which He gives you, also through the signs and colors that are in nature. God wants to draw you closer to Himself and moves you to give Him glory and thanks. Therefore, little children, I call you anew to pray, pray, pray and do not forget that I am with you. I intercede before God for each of you until your joy in Him is complete. Thank you for having responded to my call." August 25, 2003
TO JESUS IN OUR LADY’S BOAT
Impressions from the 14th International Youth Prayer Festival that took place at the beginning of August in Medjugorje are still fresh in our memory. Neither the heat nor the summer holiday season has impeded the youth to gather around Jesus, through Mary. Through such a decision, they gave us a message that one can find best respite and permanent shade near Jesus.
If we wanted to describe in a single image these youth gathering in Medjugorje, we could say: During these days, young people abandoned their frail boats and entered into a common boat, Our Lady’s boat, in Medjugorje. The steersman - the guide in this boat - was Mary. The goal of the voyage was to join the port - Jesus. The oars were in the hands of Mary, and the power of the oars was prayer, adoration of Jesus, Holy Mass, songs, and joyful and enthusiastic praise.
To get into such a boat, which sails towards Jesus, means to be ready for all. In it, we do not have the right to count on our own capacities, on our own security, or to think only of our own destination. The boat of Jesus implies a total gift of oneself, and it implies a risk. In the boat of Jesus, one should row always ahead, through winds and storms, in time and through hitches. According to human logic, this boat sails towards the unknown, towards an adventure of the spirit. It is so because Jesus invites us to go to the open sea. It is precisely there, on the open sea, in the unknown and the unexpected, that my God and my Saviour waits for me.
Our whole Christian life should, in fact, be similar to this boat. We are permanent travellers. According to our call to follow Jesus, we should always go, run, and seek Jesus. He invites us to come to Him. He is there for us. He wishes to be in our company. He is my friend who waits always patiently until my boat arrives in his port. With Jesus, it is always nice; with Him, it is always interesting. With Jesus, one is never bored. Near Him, each moment is filled with meaning. Near Him, nobody is disappointed, misunderstood, lost. With Jesus, all are welcome. Near Him, you are personally loved. He has feelings for us. He breathes with our lungs. His heart beats for our hearts, he thinks our thoughts. He is ready to do everything for us. He is not a God-judge but a God-love and as such, he invites us to the banquet. He wants to fill us and to nourish us with a food that never perishes and that never loses force.
Nourished with such a food and quenched with such a drink at Jesus’ harbour, young people set out again into the world which - through them -receives a new door – a door of hope.
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of July 2003, 90,000 communions were distributed and 3,935 priests from this country and abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were here from: Italy, Germany, Ireland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Korea, Lebanon, Slovakia, France, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
AN AWARD FOR RADIO “MIR” MEDJUGORJE GIVEN BY MSGR. FRANJO KOMARICA, BISHOP OF BANJA LUKA
On July 14, an official reception was held in the diocesan house in Banja Luka, at the occasion of the conclusion of all the work linked to Holy Father’s visit, which took place on June 22.
For this reception, which was initiated and organized by Msgr. Franjo Komarica, Bishop of Banja Luka, the highest representatives of Church, as well as Civil authorities that were involved in the organization of the Holy Father’s visit, gathered. Awards and acknowledgments were given to organisations and individuals who were involved in this event.
Msgr. Komarica gave an award and an acknowledgment to Radio “Mir” Medjugorje, whose broadcasting accompanied the preparation for Holy Father’s visit, and the visit itself, to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Msgr. Komarica gave the award and the acknowledgment to Fr. Mario Knezovic, the Chief Editor of Radio “Mir” Medjugorje.
CATHOLIC DAY OF BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
The Catholic Day organized on the level of the Conference of the bishops of Bosnia-Herzegovina was held on July 19 in Kupres. The Church of the four dioceses of Bosnia-Herzegovina gathered at this meeting initiated by the bishops of Central European countries. The Eucharistic celebration was presided by the cardinal Vunko Puljic, Archbishop of Vrhbosna (Sarajevo) and was concelebrated by the other bishops of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the bishops of Central European countries, as well as by Franciscan provincials.
Also the faithful of the parish of Medjugorje, guided by father Branko Rados, parish priest, went to this meeting of revival of faith and the fidelity to the Church. The choir of the parish Medjugorje "Kraljica Mira" under the direction of Sister Slavica Kozul sang together with other choirs. Radio "Mir" Medjugorje, in collaboration with Radio Kupres, transmitted this event live, and its program was transmitted by other radios in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
FEAST OF ST. JAMES, PATRON SAINT OF THE PARISH
On July 25, feast of St. James the Apostle, the parish of Medjugorje celebrated its patron saint. In the morning, according to the custom, the Eucharistic celebration began and ended by the singing the litany of All the Saints and a procession with the statue of the Patron Saint, which was carried by the parishioners. Holy Mass was celebrated in the little park near the church. Along with numerous local and some foreign priests, the Mass was presided by Fr. Mate Cilic, a Herzegovinian Franciscan on mission in Germany, and concelebrated by 30 priests, among whom the Herzegovinian provincial Fr. Slavko Soldo, a native from Medjugorje, and the pastor of Medjugorje Fr. Branko Rados.
The parishioners and their friends, who come for this special occasion to celebrate the patron saint of the parish of Medjugorje, were joined by a large number of foreign pilgrims, who also venerate St. James, who is also patron saint of pilgrims. As a reminder, let us note that the parish of Medjugorje was founded in 1892, and St. James has been as its patron saint since then.
A BISHOP FROM THE UKRAINE ON PILGRIMAGE TO MEDJUGORJE
Msgr. Irynei Bilyk, a Bishop from the Ukraine, came on private pilgrimage to Medjugorje from July 24 to 26, 2003. Msgr. Bilyk is the bishop of the diocese of Buchach/Ukraine, in which there are 180 priests. He came on his fifth pilgrimage to Medjugorje with two priests and a doctor.
He told us:
“I had a strong experience of this place in 1989, when I prayed in Medjugorje for the breakdown of the communism in my country. Because of communist repression, I was ordained a bishop secretly, because public ordinations were not possible.
For my personal life, as a bishop and as a believer, Medjugorje is a power and a grace. On each step, it is visible that Our Lady is present in a very special way here. People pray here and feel God’s presence. In my country, people know about these events and they always ask for rosaries from Medjugorje. In Medjugorje, I see many young people praying and seeking God through Our Lady, which is a sign of a new opening for God’s message. I will surely come again to this place of prayer, because here, we are all closer to Jesus through Our Lady. And where there is Jesus, there is also Our Lady.”
14th INTERNATIONAL YOUTH PRAYER FESTIVAL
The International Youth Prayer Meeting took place, again this year, from July 31st to August 6th in Medjugorje. About 17,000 young people from all over the world gathered together. There were also about 350 priests, who accompanied their young parishioners to this meeting. The theme of the meeting was, “Through the Rosary, Open Your Heart to Me”. During the evening prayer programme, numerous other pilgrims joined young people, and about 20,000 faithful participated in the programme each evening.
Lecturers and witnesses invited young people to come to know Jesus Christ through the prayer of the rosary; Jesus Christ, who is a brother for each one of us and the Saviour of humanity, and whom young people need so much today.
This meeting was another exceptional spiritual experience for all young people who participated. This is why we invite them to come next year again to Medjugorje and to renew their fidelity to God, to the Holy Father and to the Church.
The meeting was simultaneously translated into nineteen languages.
SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION
Several thousands of local and foreign pilgrims came to Medjugorje for the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. During the morning, Masses were celebrated in about ten languages. The solemn evening Mass was presided by Fr. Slavko Soldo, Provincial of the Herzegovinian Franciscans, and concelebrated by 45 priests. Also this year, numerous Croatian pilgrims came on bare feet. They were arriving already during the night, after having walked many kilometres.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 08/27/2003