"Dear children! I call you that this time be for you an even greater incentive to prayer. In this time, little children, pray that Jesus be born in all hearts, especially in those who do not know Him. Be love, joy and peace in this peaceless world. I am with you and intercede before God for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call." November 25, 2003
THE BAREFOOT PILGRIM
Medjugorje is a place where one can hear unusual stories from the concrete life of people, and sometimes of whole groups. It is a fertile ground to make spout out the truth about our past, our present and our future. The presence of Our Lady, her maternal openness and her patience inspire confidence and the certainty that it is possible to leave one’s hiding place and face the truth. Thus, in the environment of Medjugorje, I met a young barefoot man walking towards the church. I asked him: “Why are you barefoot?” He answered me: “I climbed Cross Mountain with the intention to be able to love and accept my wife again!” This is what he told me while continuing his way towards the church.
The answer of this man tells clearly that he understands Jesus, that he realises what Gospa is asking from us. He is not coming on pilgrimage, he is not praying that the others may change and accept him, but he wants to change himself. He has fully accepted the fundamental call of Jesus to conversion. In her messages, Gospa speaks to us about it so often! Her call to conversion is only a reminder of what Jesus told us, and of what He expects from us. Gregory Mayers, a contemporary thinker, wrote: “Humans will not leave the nightmare before they awake". He wants to tell us that it is necessary to wake up, to arouse, to perform a turning. It often happens to us to wait that somebody else does something in our place. However, we know that Jesus wants that we do something, that we adhered personally to Him. The message of Jesus, like the message of Our Lady, is always addressed to us personally.
We approach a time in which we areinvited in a special way to awaken our faith and to move ahead towards the manger of Bethlehem. Jesus calls us to vigilance and prayer at all times. Only if our faith is awake we can be able to change, to convert, to leave the “nightmare”. In this sense, the Church offers us the time of Advent, in which we can tidy up our interior temple, so that Jesus can be the principal inhabitant there. The Advent is a time of resolutions, of promises and of new endeavours. Let our promises be a pact with God! Let us make the decision to change, like the pilgrim from the beginning of our story, let us try to accept each and every one. May the tenderness and the smallness of new-born Jesus whom we wait take hold of our whole being, conquer and fill our heart. Awake in faith, determined to leave nightmare and despair, ready to remove our shoes and to make a step towards the renouncement and conversion, let us await the new-born King who is the only goal of all Our Lady’s pilgrims...
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of October 2003, 142,000 communions were distributed and 3378 priests from this country and abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
We noted the presence of groups from Scotland, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Slovakia, Germany, the USA, Belgium, Spain, Slovenia, England, Poland, Ireland, Argentina, Uruguay, the Czech Republic, Canada, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, Guatemala, Hungary, Brazil, Australia, Tahiti, La Réunion, Korea, Singapore, Lebanon, Japan, Romania, Portugal, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
MSGR. JESUS A CABRERA, BISHOP OF ALAMINOS (PHILIPPINES) IN MEDJUGORJE
Msgr. Jesus a Cabrera, bishop of Alaminos (Philippines) came on a private visit to Medjugorje from October 15 to 17, 2003. He came to Europe, because he went to Rome for the beatification of Mother Teresa. He told us:
“I read magazines about Medjugorje and I heard about Medjugorje through people who came here. In one of the churches in the diocese, people have the statue of Our Lady of Medjugorje. We already have the statue, so Medjugorje is well known.
I would like also to tell you a very interesting story. I think it was in 1990. A group of Philippinos came here. Those who come here are those who have money, those who are rich, but the priest, just like me, he was brought here freely. He went to the mountain, and he was asking the Blessed Mother: “Only those who are rich are able to come here to Medjugorje. What about the poor?” And he heard loud and clear what the Blessed Mother told him: “I am going to them, I am with them.” I was very happy when I heard this! Our Lady goes to them! There is a grace for those who come, but Our Lady herself goes to the poor!
The official thinking of the Church in the Philippines is the same as the position of Rome. Medjugorje is not officially recognised by Rome. We think that in this place, many people are inspired to a better life, the Church does not forbid to anybody to come here, and many Philippinos come here. We can see the good fruits, the effects on those who come here. There is not an official position. As long as our devotion is in reasonable limits… I am very happy when I see my people pray more. They receive more Holy Communion, they go for Mass, they go for confession, they become better… I think, this is the work of the Blessed Mother. This is what counts a lot. We have to wait maybe for a spectacular miracle to happen that the Church recognises Medjugorje! There are already many, many miracles of grace that happen. They happen in the lives of people. The fact that they come closer to God, I think, that this is the sign.
As a priest, as a bishop, I always consider myself as a priest of Mary. I am doing the work of Mary. As a priest, as a bishop, I have to bring people to Jesus and I have to bring Jesus to the people. So, the more I myself have the spirit of Mary, the more I can be able to fulfil my mission as a priest or as a bishop.
Personally, I am very, very happy here. Early this morning, when all my companions were asleep, I went to the Apparition Hill all by myself. It was very cold, I did not know the way, but I prayed to the Blessed Mother and she showed me the way. On the way, I lost my handkerchief, but I found a flower. It was the only flower around, I picked it up, and when I reached the statue, I was excited like a child. I said: “Blessed Mother, I have a flower for you!” I was so much at peace as I prayed. The Blessed Mother made me feel that she was very happy that I was there. I was praying for all, especially for the members of the group. They are also very, very happy here. We had Mass here, then we all went up there, and it was so beautiful as we were praying together. The younger ones were helping the older ones to climb… It was the picture of our life here on earth: we have to help one another. When we came up, when we saw the statue of the Blessed Mother, it was something really beautiful.
The messages are very, very timely and they are meant for all of us. I always see the Blessed Mother as a special messenger of Jesus. She wants all of us, all, to be a saint. This is why she makes extra efforts to reach us, to help us to remind us what to do and how to reach the Kingdom. This is a sign of a great love of the Blessed Mother of all of us. It is also the proof that the Blessed Mother is actively concerned and active for our well-being. She wants all of us to be really happy and to have real peace. All we have to do is to listen to the messages, to read them, to put them into practice. I remember what is written in the Psalm of today: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts!” Make sure that your heart is receptive of the messages and put them into practice!
I am acting as an instrument of the Blessed Mother. She had appeared several times in several places. The message she had been giving is coming from God himself. She tells us to pray and pray. We should place God as the first and foremost in our life. That is why we have to be converted and make sure that our heart, our mind and our whole life are turned to God. Often, our heart is fixed on material things like money, power, and similar things. The Blessed Mother tells us to pay more attention to what her Son is telling us. Holy Mass, Holy Communion, Confession… To be more concerned about other people, making sacrifices, doing works of love for other people.
I believe that if we listen more to the message of the Blessed Mother, and if we are one in loving God and one another, we shall experience real peace among ourselves, no matter what country we come from, because our hearts will be disposed to accept one another and to help one another. That is how we realise that, after all, we are all one family, one big family, brothers and sisters. We are one family and we have only one Father. How wonderful it is when we pray in all sincerity: “Our Father”! We realise that every person is a brother and sister whom we love. This is what the Blessed Mother wants…
The fruit of the mission of the Blessed Mother is all of us, that we become one family, one Church. I feel very much at home here. It is as if Our Lady was telling me, ‘This is your home!’”
MSGR. THOMAS L. DUPRE, BISHOP OF SPRINGFIELD (MASSACHUSETTS, USA)
Msgr. Thomas L. Dupre, Bishop of Springfield (Massachusetts, USA) came to Medjugorje at the end of October 2003. He told us:
“I have heard about Medjugorje from people who have come here over the years. This is the first time I come to Medjugorje. I am coming with a friend, Fr. Henry Dorsch, who has been here five times over the last 15 years. This is his sixth time. He has spoken many times about Medjugorje and he is certainly a very committed, very good and devout priest. He speaks always very highly about his experience here in Medjugorje. So, needles to say, I have been influenced by him, as well as by u number of other people who have spoken about their coming to Medjugorje. It has interested me and I had the opportunity to come this year. I am coming here to see with my own eyes and hear with my own ears, and then to formulate my own impressions.
I have always been very strongly attached to the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima ever since I was a little boy. When I was eleven-twelve years old, I already had a very strong devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. I still do and I really believe in that apparition. Lourdes also. When I was ten years old, I saw a movie, “The song of Bernadette”. It told the story of Bernadette and Lourdes. I was very moved by that, it was very important to me. Those two apparitions have been a very important part of my life. Medjugorje is a little different, because it has not yet received a full approval of the Church, and like many others, I await the final decision of the Church. But there is a part of me that wants to believe in these apparitions. I have come to see with my own eyes… I believe that many wonderful spiritual fruits have been produced here. People obviously are very religious, very devout, very fervent, they receive the sacraments, they pray a good deal. I think that we can only be impressed by what we see.
I do believe that this is a place where people gather from all over the world. They come to pray and they have very good experiences. Many are converted, many come back to the practice of their religion, some are converted to the Catholic faith. I have heard about healings, I do not have the evidence myself but I have heard about that. I see much good fruit, much good things, and that is the work of God, the work of the Holy Spirit. There is no question about that. Whether Our Lady is actually appearing here, I am not in the position to say, I do not know that… I am open to that, my mind is open, my heart is open. I do not have a personal conviction to that but I certainly am open for the decision of the Church. I am looking for that answer!
My experience here is an experience of the Christian faith lived entirely. People here are believers and they life faith. You can see. It is in their heart and in their soul. We are all part of the same family; we are all brothers and sisters. That is obvious here: you meet people from all over the world. Many people from Europe, but also people from America, people of different races, white and brown and black… and everyone is a brother and sister here, everyone gets along well together and everyone has the same faith. We all share in the Eucharist together; we share in our belief in God and Jesus Christ and our love for the Blessed Mother. It is an expression of the universal Church, of the faith that we all share together. That is marvellous.
I will say to my faithful that it is a wonderful experience, a good thing for people to come here and to pray, to open their minds and hearts, to see if God is calling them. They will certainly gain much spiritually from being here. I think they will be blessed from coming here.”
MALTESE ORDER CONCLUDES THIS YEAR’S SERVICE AT THE SHRINE
In the beginning of November, members of the rescue and medical services of the Order of Malta from Köln (Germany) and volunteers concluded this year’s service to the pilgrims of the Queen of Peace. During these five months, the team of First aid assisted medically 4060 people. The Mass at the shrine concluded the service on October 30.
We thank them for the help they have selflessly offered to the pilgrims of Medjugorje for several years now.
The Order of Malta invites volunteers who wish to join them in this service to contact them in time for next year.
FRANCISCAN NOVICES IN MEDJUGORJE
Fourteen novices of the Franciscan province of Bosnia and the Herzegovinian province, living their year of noviciate at Livno, came on pilgrimage to Medjugorje on November 8. They came with their educators, Fr. Vitomir Silic and Fr. Ivan Sesar who also presided the evening Mass. The novices animated the songs and participated actively in the Liturgy of the Word.
MSGR. TARCISIO ZIYAYE, A BISHOP FROM MALAWI, IN MEDJUGORJE
Msgr. Tarcisio Ziyaye, a bishop from Malawi, was in Medjugorje in the beginning of November 2003. He came with a group of pilgrims from his country. We will inform you about it in the next issue of the Bulletin.
SEMINARS IN "DOMUS PACIS"
Three "Prayer and Fasting" seminars for pilgrims from France and from Italy took place in “Domus Pacis”.
Sr. Petra Bagaric and Fr. Mario Knezovic animated a time of recollection for secondary school pupils from Zagreb (Croatia). The Salesian Fathers from Zepce (Bosnia) animated a time of recollection for young people from their parish.
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 4TH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR MARRIED COUPLES
The 4th International Meeting for Married Couples will take place in Medjugorje from February 11 to 14, 2004. The theme is, “The fruit of peace is love and the fruit of love is forgiveness.” (Message of January 25, 1996) 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 (for Marija Dugandzic). 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.
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”.
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 December 2003. You can send your registrations by Tel/fax + 387 36 651 988 (for Marija Dugandzic) or by e-mail: email@example.com, 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!
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 11/28/2003