"Dear children! Also today, joy is in my heart. I desire to thank you for making my plan realizable. Each of you is important, therefore, little children, pray and rejoice with me for every heart that has converted and become an instrument of peace in the world. Prayer groups are powerful, and through them I can see, little children, that the Holy Spirit is at work in the world. Thank you for having responded to my call." June 25, 2004
23 YEARS OF GRACE
We have just celebrated the 23rd anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions in Medjugorje. These apparitions continue to be an open topic on all the levels of the Church and of the society. The questions are numerous; as for the answers, they are too scarce or too numerous, it depends... Each one appreciates in one’s own way the events, which - for 23 years now - are placing Medjugorje at the center of the attention of the Church and of the society. Many expect a clear definition of these events, but there is none. Each one, in fact, has one’s own definition; that seems to be most realistic. The definitions lock up and put a final point on an event, as on a completed history. Medjugorje, however, cannot be contained in a definition, and it is even less a completed history. Medjugorje exceeds all the frames. In Medjugorje, everything is moving, everything is in motion, and everything is developing... The message of Medjugorje is in permanent pilgrimage towards the hearts of people, and people are in pilgrimage towards Jesus through Mary. This is the dynamic and the meaning of Medjugorje. Each pilgrim experiences personally the graces that God gives to his “beloved ones” through Our Lady.
If we would try to define Medjugorje in a few sentences, it would be unavoidable to speak about fruits that are occurring each day, at every moment. Jesus himself said: “It is by their fruits that you will recognize them”. The fruits are “the trump” that nobody can dispute. Can one hide a city built on the mountain or a burning candle? Impossible!
What counts in this story are witnesses. They are thousands. By their life, they testify that God is at work and that - through Mary - he is present in a special way in the contemporary world. Witnesses are ready to assume sacrifice in order that the voice of Our Lady may be heard, this voice which speaks for 23 years now to each person of this planet on which we live. Among these witnesses, the central place belongs to the visionaries. In this context, I recall what, at the age of nine, Jakov said to the psychiatrist who asked him:
“Have you seen Our Lady?”
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of May, 156000 communions were distributed and 2869 priests from this country and abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were here from Italy, Poland, Ireland, Austria, Malaysia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Korea, Lebanon, Philippines, China, the USA, Canada, England, New Zealand, South Africa, Indonesia, Malta, France, Brazil, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Portugal, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
TO PORTUGAL WITH OUR LADY FROM MEDJUGORJE
Answering to the request of the Croatian Football Association, the Parish Office Medjugorje offered a statue of Our Lady, rosaries and “T” signs for the members of the administration board, the trainers and the footballers who are going to play during the European Football Championship in Portugal. The members of the Croatian national team will take the statue of Our Lady of Medjugorje to their pilgrimage to Fatima, and they will connect through prayer these two Marian shrines. The statue of Our Lady was blessed and offered by Fr. Branko Rados, pastor of Medjugorje, and Fr. Mario Knezovic, Director of the Information Center “Mir” Medjugorje. The Croatian national team staff told us that all the players expressed the unanimous desire to carry with them the signs of the Queen of Peace from Medjugorje.
THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI
On the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, on June 10, 76 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 13th 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 3 500 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 and Fr. Božo Milic
THE CELEBRATION OF THE 23rd ANNIVERSARY OF OUR LADY’S APPARITIONS IN THE PARISH MEDJUGORJE
During the last 23 years, Our Lady’s message of peace was spread all over the world through pilgrims, reached homes all over the world, and made Medjugorje one of the most visited places of pilgrimage. This is confirmed by the presence of more than 100 000 faithful that came to Medjugorje for the 23rd 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.
In the morning of June 24th and June 25th, Holy Masses were celebrated in 16 languages. During these two days, 34 000 communions were distributed.
The evening Mass on June 24th was presided by Fr. Miljenko Šteko and concelebrated by 125 priests. About 15 000 faithful were present.
The evening Mass on June 25th was presided by Fr. Josip Grbavac in front of about 40 000 faithful. 171 priests from approximately twenty countries concelebrated the evening mass.
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 9 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!Pray for those families who have not come to know the love of my Son. Receive my motherly blessing.”
Our Lady came joyful and spoke to Ivanka more extensively about Her life.
CHILDREN'S CHOIR FROM MEDJUGORJE TOOK PART IN THE 20TH “GOLDEN HARP”
The celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Children Festival of Spiritual Music, “The Golden Harp”, took place on May 23, 2004, in Zagreb (Croatia). For this occasion, the jury selected 14 choirs from Croatia and 3 choirs from Bosnia and Herzegovina (more then 900 children), who preformed 30 of the best songs that were sung during the last 20 years. “The Little Doves of Peace” from Medjugorje, under the direction of Sister Slavica Kozul, sang two songs written by Nedo Zuban and Djelo Jusic: «Love and peace» and «Let us praise the Lord».
NO VISA FOR BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA FOR NINE NEW MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
The Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina accepted the initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affaires of BH about the temporary no-visa system for nine new members of the European Union, from May 15 to September 30. This decision concerns Estonia, Leetonia, Latvia, Ciprus, Malta, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
THE FIFTH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR MARRIED COUPLES
The 5th International Meeting for Married Couples will take place in Medjugorje in the New Hall from November 3 to 6, 2004. The theme of the seminar is “How to heal the marriage and the family?”
Bring with you: a small FM radio with headphones (for simultaneous translation) and a Bible. The seminar will take place in Medjugorje in the New Hall. Participation per couple: 30 €. You may make reservations by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or at the Information Office personally, by phone: +387-36-651-988 or by fax +387-36-651-999. 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 September. 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 06/28/2004