"Dear children! Also today, I urge you to consecrate yourselves to my Heart and to the Heart of my Son Jesus. Only in this way will you be mine more each day and you will inspire each other all the more to holiness. In this way joy will rule your hearts and you will be carriers of peace and love. Thank you for having responded to my call." May 25, 2004
THE UNKNOWN GOD
The tradition and the first Christian literature report St. Paul’s journey to Athens. Carried by his vocation of a preacher, he went to Athens, the city of philosophy and the seat of the philosophers of the time. In the midst of them, Paul stated to have come to speak about something that they do not know, the unknown God in whom they believe without knowing him. Believing that they know everything, the philosophers accepted with hesitation to listen to him. St Paul evoked then the monument, which they set up in Athens in the honor of "the unknown God".
This same message could touch us at our time and in our space. St Paul and other apostles could ask us the same question: Do we know our God or we believe in something abstract, distant, something that we have not experienced? God of the Christians is not an unknown and remote observer. Our God walks with us. He is God who is present, alive.
In Medjugorje, many pilgrims met the living God through Mary. Here, they could break the image of a god who condemns and who punishes, and they met a gracious God who loves them beyond everything else and despite everything. It is precisely here that the apparitions of Our Lady find their fulfillment and their deepest meaning: Man meets God. This God is not unknown any more, but he is somebody who strongly manifests himself through his grace in the heart of the believer and of the pilgrim.
A very known book carries the title, "The meeting with the living God". This title seems to become reality through Our Lady in Medjugorje. The believer, the pilgrim and any person of goodwill stand in Medjugorje in front of the open door of Heaven. The change of life and the comprehension of faith are fruits of the meeting with God through Mary. Our faith is not a matter of reasoning or of philosophical or scientific consideration. God is not a privilege of theologians and ecclesiastical teachers. The heart is the one that can know God. Thus, let us go to the encounter of God and break our idols and our false image of God. Our God knows us fully.
He has written our names in the palm of his hand. Let us write his name in our hearts.
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of April 2004, 114000 communions were distributed and 2003 priests from this country and abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
In April, pilgrims were here from Austria, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, Belgium, Leetonia, Mexico, Spain, the USA, Poland, Korea, Czech Republic, England, Lebanon, Ireland, Romania, Switzerland, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovenia, Netherlands, Sweden, Vietnam, Brazil, Luxemburg, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
FIRST COMMUNION IN MEDJUGORJE
On May 2nd, 2004, 87 children from the Parish Medjugorje received the Sacrament of First Holy Communion in St. James’ Parish church. Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Boze Milic and concelebrated by the pastor, Fr. Branko Rados, Fr. Petar Vlasic and other priests. The day before, the children also made their First Holy Confession. The occasion was embellished by the singing of the “Little Doves of Peace” - children’s choir under direction of Sr. Slavica Kozul. 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. Among the children were also three boys and one girl from Mother's village, the institution founded by Fr. Slavko Barbaric for children without parental care or coming from families which cannot offer them a suitable care.
BROTHER RICHARD FROM TAIZE IN MEDJUGORJE
Brother Richard from the Taize Community visited Medjugorje on April 28. These days, he is officially visiting different youth groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina that went to Taize, or are praying together while drawing their inspiration in this spiritual center. In his interview for Radio “Mir” Medjugorje, he said that he came to bring hope to young people who, in this country, live in difficult circumstances and in insecurity. Together with Fr. Mario Knezovic, he visited the places of prayer at the Shrine.
SEMINARS IN “DOMUS PACIS”
In the house of prayer “Domus Pacis”, there was one “Prayer and Fasting” seminar for pilgrims from Ukraine and from Russia. Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic led these seminars.
There was a recollection for the altar boys from Herzegovina, led by Fr. Boze Milic.
THE 12TH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR LEADERS OF PEACE CENTRES AND MEDJUGORJE PRAYER, PILGRIM AND CHARITY GROUPS
The 12th International Meeting for Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups will take place in the New Hall in Medjugorje from March 6 to 10 2005. The theme of this encounter is:
« THE GUIDE AND THE PILGRIM » Sunday, March 6, 2005 14:00 - Registration 17:00 - Evening Prayer Program in Church Monday, March 7, 2005 09:00 - Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 09:30 - Lecture: “Spiritual profile and personality of the guide” The Franciscans of Medjugorje 10:15 - Intermission 11:00 - Meeting and discussion with the lecturer 15:00 - Meeting with the Franciscans 17:00 - Evening Prayer Program in Church 20:30 - Meeting of the participants with the Parish priest Tuesday, March 8, 2005 09:00 - Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 09:30 - Lecture: “Experiences in the preparation and the accompanying of the pilgrims”, Kevin Leacy (Ireland), Hubert Liebherr (Germany) 10:15 - Intermission 10:45 – Meeting and Discussion and sharing between guides 11:30 - “Humanitarian Activities Linked to the Apparitions of Medjugorje” – Fr. Ivan Landeka Meeting and discussion with the lecturer about humanitarian activities 15:00 – Rosary on Apparition Hill 17:00 - Evening Prayer Program in Church Wednesday, March 9, 2005 Day of Prayer: Fr. Jozo Zovko, Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic 09:00 – Prayer, lectures, sharing… 12:00 - Lunch for all the participants (bread and water) 14:00 – Way of the Cross on Krizevac (Cross Mountain) 17:00 - Evening Prayer Program in Church 21:00 - 22:00 - Adoration Thursday, March 10, 2005 09:00 - Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 09:30 - Experiences of the Participants 11:00 - Holy Mass Lunch for all the participants
Kevin Leacy, Ireland. The life of Kevin Lacey changed dramatically in 1991, when his son Derek and his best friend found death in a fire. Little after this tragedy, he saw on television the horrors of the war in Croatia, and he made the decision: "If I save only one child, I will save at least to one family the hell that I went through". When he gave to the hospital of Mostar the first delivery of the medical material, he realized the gravity of the situation, and it understood that there will be much work. Thus "Bosnia Refugee Aid" was born: the assistance to the refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has witnessed many miracles of human generosity during all these years. Throughout the war, the Shrine of the Queen of Peace was a sure place of distribution of humanitarian aid for Mostar and central Bosnia. One day, when Kevin Lacey climbed Cross Mountain with his daughter, he observed the flames in the neighboring villages under attacks. He was struck by the thought that God was not responsible for the war or his family tragedy. He understood: God is the one who heals, the one who can give us the strength to face the pain that life brings to us. He started to speak about this experience in Medjugorje and about peace that Our Lady gives to our hearts. In 1996, he accompanied his first group of pilgrims to Medjugorje while raising the question: How is it that a sinner that I am can du such a thing? He had thought that the humanitarian aid was sufficient, but Gospa had other projects. While accompanying the pilgrims, he saw people meeting God for the first time in their life, he saw physical and spiritual healings, and he saw people finding peace for the first time in their life. Pilgrimages from the North-East of Ireland continue to this day.
Hubert Liebherr was born in 1950 in Memmingen, in Germany. After his baccalaureate in 1970 and the military service, he studied at the technical Faculty of Karlsruhe where he graduated in 1977. From 1977 to 1981, he was a technical director of a large building site in Algeria, then the director of the branch for the production of the industrial machines in the family company "Liebherr".
After his first visit to Medjugorje, he received the call of Our Lady: “Leave all that you are and all that you have and follow me!” With some friends, he founded the association "Medjugorje Deutschland" in order to make known Medjugorje and Our Lady’s apparitions in Germany, and to accompany pilgrimages. He gives witness during the prayer gatherings and he contributes to the construction of the churches in Russia.
The 12th International Meeting for Leaders of Peace Centers and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups will take place in the New Hall in Medjugorje from March 6 to 10 2005.
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 2004. You can send your registrations by Tel + 387 36 651 988, by fax + 387 36 651 999 (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 organization 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 organize 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 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”.
You may make reservations by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, at the Information Office personally, or by phone: +387-36-651-988 (for Marija Dugandzic), fax: +387-36-651-999.
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 Organizers of pilgrimages, Prayer Groups and Centers 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.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 05/27/2004