"Dear children! Also today I call you to come closer to my heart. Only in this way, will you comprehend the gift of my presence here among you. I desire, little children, to lead you to the heart of my Son Jesus; but you resist and do not desire to open your hearts to prayer. Again, little children, I call you not to be deaf but to comprehend my call, which is salvation for you. Thank you for having responded to my call." September 25, 2003
So many cultural, economic and sporting organizations nowadays endeavour to gather people around the same thing. By all the means, including the media support and the investment in publicity, they seek to gather into one flock people of different feelings and orientations. In spite of the efforts, the success is always below the awaited level. Thus, after almost all the sport games, we have "games" around injustices, erroneous decisions, falsifications, offences, etc. News of the economic fairs speak about competitions which comply with neither the rules of the game nor the others. All want to be exclusive merchandise at all costs. The sale and the profit push aside all the values of communion and respect of those, which are beside us. In the foreground always appears the battle for the first places, which, generally, is not concerned with means to use to obtain the indicated goal. Ambitiousness, rolling under, insincerity and fascination of power destroy all the primary intentions related to a true gathering around the same goal.
When we situate Medjugorje and the people who gather here within the framework of such a reality, we can notice that the logic of the gatherings here is completely different. People invited by Our Lady gather without being motivated by a competition in worldly things. The pilgrims who come from everywhere do not compete for the first places, rather, how to put Jesus at the first place in their lives. The sacrament of confession recalls that all the human competitions and the competitions in momentary successes should be put aside. The Mass as centre of Christian prayer announces a true communion where each one receives the most excellent reward of Heaven. Here, one seeks the eternal crown of glory. Recognizing their smallness in front of the greatness of God, people seek His presence on Cross Mountain and on Apparition Hill. They compete in forgiveness, prayer, purity of heart, and acceptance of life by love... There are no "games" which push others aside and into anonymity. They reach out their hands to one another to uplift those who need assistance to arrive at the goal. It is the competition where all are united in the same effort to arrive at the same goal. All divergences and all differences are alleviated by the power of the Holy Spirit. The call of Jesus to unity is carried out in Medjugorje. (Jn 17:22)
Christians should never think that they could arrive to Jesus alone, while making their personal race towards their individual goal. We are called to take care of the others. As brothers, we have to be one and to be the Church. Jesus came into the world to unite and to save the world in love. Satan wants to break, divide and impose the pursuit of perishable treasures. Let us make a competition in the Spirit. Let our life be spiritual Olympics in which there are no low blows. Spiritual Olympics request victory over oneself by which we leave the first places to the others and ensure for the others the podium of the winner of eternal salvation.
It is only then that we deserve our medal - the eternal crown of glory. Only thus, our Olympic fire will be always lit.
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of August 2003, 218,000 communions were distributed and 4,609 priests from this country and abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were here from: Germany, the USA, Italy, Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands, Hungary, Portugal, Great Britain, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Lebanon, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Spain, France, South Africa, Indonesia, Mexico, Korea, Russia, the Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Canada, Honduras, China, Slovenia, Malta, Israel, Egypt, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
THE MEDJUGORJE PARISH CHOIR IN ITALY
The large choir of the parish Medjugorje "Kraljica Mira" under the direction of Sr. Slavica Kozul went from August 28th to September 1st to Italy and accompanied the prayer program in the parishes Mondova and Lavesuola, province of Ravenna. Fr. Pietro Zorza led rosary, Mass and Adoration. A multitude of the faithful and pilgrims of Medjugorje assisted. Jakov Colo spoke to the faithful about his encounters with Our Lady and about his experiences. It was the second visit of the choir "Kraljica Mira" to Italy and we hope that such encounters of prayer and unity in the Lord will continue.
During the journey, the members of the choir visited some Italian cities to become more acquainted with the natural and cultural beauties of this country, from which many pilgrims come to Medjugorje and become a part of our parish. Such meetings make possible the knowledge of the culture and the mentality of people who come to us daily, as well as a better knowledge of their needs: They strengthen the members of the choir in their choice to serve the Lord by singing which is a "double prayer".
Mr. Roberto Ponzo, whom we thank in particular, guaranteed the lodging for the members of the choir.
Our thanks also to the members of the parish choir, to Jakov Colo and Fr. Pietro Zorza who helped with the organization of these meetings requested by the faithful and by the friends of Medjugorje. In this way even those who cannot come on pilgrimage can feel the presence of God through the call of Mary given in Medjugorje.
BISHOP OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA IN MEDJUGORJE
Msgr. Hermann Raich, Bishop of Wabag/Papua New Guinea, came on a private visit to Medjugorje in the beginning of September 2003.
Msgr. Raich, an Austrian from Tyrol, has been a bishop for 20 years now. In 1964, as a young priest, he went as a missionary to Papua New Guinea. He was sent into a region where at that time there were no Christians. Starting at ground zero, he worked patiently and founded a missionary station. Sixteen years later, he was named an Episcopal vicar, and when the region became a diocese, he became its bishop. The Diocese of Wabag numbers about 300,000 inhabitants. One-third of them are Christians today.
This is what he said about Medjugorje:
"In my diocese, people know very little about Medjugorje. Lourdes and Fatima are much more famous, but the information about Medjugorje comes through. Personally, whenever I come on holiday to Europe, people ask for my opinion. This is why I wanted to come and see personally. This is my second coming to Medjugorje. I was here two years ago, I promised to come back and I am glad that I could really do it!
In Medjugorje, people plunge into an atmosphere of prayer and silence. This is very positive. They pray a lot, go for confession; the Eucharistic celebration is beautiful and alive, which is not the case everywhere.
I would say: look at the fruits! The fruits show the quality of the tree. The fruits that I see and experience, that I hear about, are so positive and so convincing that I am personally convinced that Our Lady is at work here, that she appears. The visionaries are so authentic; I even admire them how they managed to keep up with all this for such a long time. The atmosphere that reigns here impresses me. I had the occasion to speak once with the visionary Marija in Vienna. We understood each other very well. I told her that in New Guinea we begin to know Our Lady's messages, and that we want to follow and to live them.
I would give a general recommendation: be open for what the messages announce and for what the Holy Scripture says. The messages are completely oriented towards the Holy Scripture; they do not say anything new. They maintain an underlining of what is already written in Holy Scripture. In her messages, Our Lady spoke often about holiness. "Decide yourselves for holiness." It is not so easy, but it is the call of Christ Himself. He says: "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect". The apostle Paul says: your sanctification is the will of God. The urge for holiness is a call for each one of us."
AN AUSTRIAN BISHOP IN MEDJUGORJE
Msgr. Dr. Ludwig Schwarz, auxiliary bishop of Vienna (Austria), came on a private visit to Medjugorje in the beginning of September 2003. Msgr. Schwarz, a Salesian of Don Bosco, has been an auxiliary bishop in Vienna for two years now. Before that, he spent 20 years in Rome. He taught ancient philology and archaeology at one of the Pontifical Universities, and he was rector and provincial of the Salesians.
This is what he said about Medjugorje:
"Very soon after the beginning of the apparitions, when I was in Rome, I heard about Medjugorje. We priests spoke often about it, and we also had among us young priests and students from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina who gave us complementary information about the events. There were two opposite positions towards Medjugorje: at one hand those who were in favour of Medjugorje, who were impressed and enthusiastic by it, and et the other those who were sceptical, and kept a distance.
Many Austrians came to Medjugorje during these years; many speak about it positively and with enthusiasm, because they experience a personal change. In this place of grace of Our Lady, they made a deep experience of Jesus Christ in the sacraments, especially in confession and the Eucharist. This atmosphere of liberation impresses them. They speak about peace, about harmony between God and men and between men: Harmony brings peace, and the most beautiful fruit of peace is joy. Many come back home filled with joy. There are also some sceptical opinions about Medjugorje. Many say: let us wait for the judgment of the Church.
From the first moment, I was impressed by the pilgrims here, as well as by the atmosphere of prayer, of inner-joy and peace that radiate everywhere. As Christ himself says, I believe that a good tree can be recognised by good fruits.
Dying on the cross, Jesus Christ gave us in heritage His own Mother. Mary, Mother of God, is our heavenly Mother who loves us as she loved her divine Son. The Second Vatican Council says that the Blessed Virgin Mary, after her Assumption, remains close to her children, helps them and leads them. This is why there is the possibility of apparitions of the Mother of God. We know that the Church has recognised the apparitions in La Salette, in Lourdes and in Fatima. The Mother of God is the model of the Church, she loves us, she loves her children and she leads us towards Salvation, towards Jesus Christ. "Per Mariam ad Jesum". Her most important themes in Lourdes and in Fatima, which we find also here in Medjugorje, are prayer, Eucharist, penance, conversion, the sacrament of reconciliation, involvement in favour of peace. These are the intentions that we find also in the Gospel, Jesus' own intentions."
ART COLONY "MEDJUGORJE 2003"
Again this year, St. Francis' Garden in Medjugorje was the gathering place of numerous artists in the context of the Second Art Colony "Medjugorje 2003". They created works for the needs of the construction of a Rehabilitation Centre - a Hippotherapy - within the Mother's Village in the parish Medjugorje.
This Art Colony - which is becoming a traditional summer gathering of artists - about thirty artists from Bosnia-Herzegovina and from Croatia created works of art with sacral themes and the Medjugorje landscape. Among about thirty artists who were working in St. Francis' Garden during the last week of August, were Vlado Puljic, a famous painter from Mostar, Stjepan Perkovic from Vitez, an artist who - because of his handicap - paints with his feet, Anto Mamusa from Novi Travnik, Jure Jovica from Ploce, Velimir Penovic from Zagreb, and Vladimir Mario Davidenko from Split.
Auction of these art works will take place in December in Medjugorje, and the entire income will be used for the needs of the construction of the Rehabilitation Centre
FEAST OF THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
On the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated in Medjugorje on the first Sunday after the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, about 50,000 local and foreign pilgrims gathered at the Shrine of the Queen of Peace. As every year, rivers of pilgrims arrived at Medjugorje even during the night. Many of them travelled hundreds of kilometres, some of them barefoot.
Solemn Holy Mass on Cross Mountain concelebrated by 40 priests as well as the Evening Mass concelebrated by 60 priests were presided by Prof. Dr. Tomislav Ivancic, professor at the Catholic Faculty of Theology in Zagreb, founder of the Community "Molitva i Rijec" (Prayer and Word) and of the Centre for Spiritual Help, as well as leader of numerous renewal seminars in Croatia and abroad.
Prof. Ivancic also led a triduum for parishioners and for pilgrims as a preparation for the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the construction of the cross on Cross Mountain. The triduum was translated into nine languages.
For those who could not climb Cross Mountain, there was a Holy Mass celebrated in the parish church at 12 pm presided by Fr. Tomislav Pervan.
As a visible sign of the eternal light shining from the Cross, ten days before the feast, the cross on Cross Mountain was illuminated, reminding us of its significance, and preparing parishioners and pilgrims for this feast. For the 70th anniversary of the beginning of its construction, the cross was renovated and the paths were ameliorated.
THE 9TH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR PRIESTS
The 9th International meeting for priests will take place in Medjugorje from July 5 to 10, 2004. The theme of the meeting is "THE IDENTITY OF THE PRIEST".
PROGRAMME July 5, 2004 – Monday 10 am - 6 pm - Registration of the participants in the New Hall behind the Church 6 pm - BEGINNING OF THE SEMINAR (Prayer of the Rosary, Holy Mass, Prayer for health of body and soul, Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary) July 6, 2004 – Tuesday 8:30 am- Laudes in Latin and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 9 am - Instruction (Prof. Dr. Fr. Tomislav Ivancic) 10 am – Break 10:30 am – Prayer 3:30 pm - Instruction (Prof. Dr. Fr. Tomislav Ivancic) 4:30 pm – Break 5 pm – Prayer 6 pm - Evening Prayer Programme (Rosary, Holy Mass, Prayer for health of body and soul) July 7, 2004 - Wednesday 8:30 am- Laudes in Latin and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 9 am - Instruction (Prof. Dr. Fr. Tomislav Ivancic) 10 am – Break 10:30 am – Prayer 3:30 pm - Instruction (Prof. Dr. Fr. Tomislav Ivancic) 4:30 pm – Break 5 pm – Prayer 6 pm - Evening Prayer Programme (Rosary, Holy Mass, Prayer for health of body and soul) 10 pm - Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament July 8, 2004 - Thursday 6 am - Rosary at the Apparition Hill 9.30 am - Instruction (Prof. Dr. Fr. Tomislav Ivancic) 3:30 pm - Prayer, meditation 5 pm – Break 5:30 pm - Meeting with a visionary 6 pm - Evening Prayer Programme (Rosary, Holy Mass, Adoration) July 9, 2004 – Friday 6 am - Way of the Cross on Cross Mountain Confessions 4:30 pm - Instruction (Sr. Elvira Petrozzi) 6 pm - Evening Prayer Programme (Rosary, Holy Mass, Veneration of the Cross) July 10, 2004 – Saturday 8:30 am - Laudes at Fr. Slavko Barbaric's tomb 9:30 - Sharing of experiences, suggestions and witnessing
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 accommodation 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.
Lecturer at this year's meeting is Prof. Dr. Fr. Tomislav Ivancic.
Prof. Dr. Tomislav Ivancic was born in 1938 in Davor, Croatia. After his studies of philosophy and theology, he was ordained a priest in 1966 for the archdiocese of Zagreb. Having obtained his master's degree in philosophy and his doctorate in theology at the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome, he came back to Zagreb, where he became a professor at the Catholic Faculty of Theology of the University of Zagreb. He is the director of the Cathedra for Fundamental Theology, editor of magazines, he writes for many local and foreign theological magazines, and is a member of the Society of Croatian Literary Translators. His scientific and professional articles have been published in local and foreign magazines, and many of his numerous books were translated into other languages. He is a Dean of the Zagreb Metropolitan Chapter, a member of the Counsel of the Presbyters of the Archdiocese of Zagreb and a member of the Counsel for the Doctrine of Faith of the Croatian Bishops' Conference. Since 1971, he has been a Students' Chaplain at Zagreb, initiator of a movement of prayer in the Croatian Church, founder of the Association of the Faithful called "Prayer and Word Community" (Zajednica Molitva i Rijec - MiR) and a leader of numerous seminars for spiritual renewal and evangelisation, in Croatia and abroad. For 10 years now he has been training collaborators to work in the Centre for Spiritual Help and leaders of Seminars for Evangelisation. Since 1988, he has been the Dean of the Catholic Faculty of Theology at the Zagreb University.
Subjects of his scientific work are philosophy, theology and literature. He is especially interested in the research pertaining to the human existential and spiritual dimension. He has developed a contemporary way of evangelisation and a method of spiritual medicine, which - together with the somatic and psychological - is unavoidable in healing of the whole person, and especially in healing of spiritual illnesses and addictions. His method is called hagiotherapy. In Zagreb, in 1990, he founded a Centre for Spiritual help, of which he is a director.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 09/28/2003