"Dear children! With great joy, also today I carry my Son Jesus in my arms to you; He blesses you and calls you to peace. Pray, little children, and be courageous witnesses of Good News in every situation. Only in this way will God bless you and give you everything you ask of Him in faith. I am with you as long as the Almighty permits me. I intercede for each of you with great love. Thank you for having responded to my call." December 25, 2004
THE LIGHTS OF MEDJUGORJE
The Lord told us: “I am the light of the world. Who follows me will have the light of life.” (Jn 8,12) People do not like darkness. Darkness and obscurity are places of doubt. To be in darkness means to be blind in spite of the eyes that we have. So, what should we do? Go to the light. Be light.
All recently, in Dubrovnik was organized the first presentation of the documentary “The lights of Medjugorje”. This title immediately raises the question: which are these lights and who are these lights? Three young men who came to Medjugorje almost by chance made this documentary. Here, they decided to bring light to the life of the their colleagues, and wherever there is darkness. Flooded with light, they want to carry the light to the others. This light, they encountered it in Medjugorje through the intermediary of Our Lady. Inspired by this light, they made the documentary “The lights of Medjugorje”. A title which hides and which reveals much. This title contains all the children of Marie who came to know Jesus and who broke darkness of their own life. Millions of people received the light in Medjugorje itself, and thus, carrying light, they transmit to the whole world the message of Jesus who is the Light of the world.
A new year is beginning. A new time is given to us. We have a new chance given by God. Let us make use of it. It is a challenge to be a lamp in a dark corner. To be light means first and foremost to be a witness of hope and of joy, that come from the faith in Christ. In his message for this New Year, the Pope Jean-Paul II writes: “Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but be victorious over evil by good.” Yes, the evil does not sleep. The hope is threatened and darkness is spreading in an aggressive way, as if it wanted to darken the rays of the sun. In such a context, only people of faith and people that are enlightened in the spirit can be mediators of God. Guided by Mary towards Jesus, let us make our own film of testimony, with the title that we will give. This new year gives us a chance for that.
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of November 2004, 33600 communions were distributed and 927 priests from this country and from abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
In November, pilgrims were here from: Korea, France, the USA, Slovenia, Canada, Malaysia, Italy, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.
THE FOURTH DEATH ANNIVERSARY OF FR. SLAVKO BARBARIC
The fourth anniversary of Fr. Slavko’s death was commemorated in Medjugorje on November 24. He died on November 24, 2000, at 3.30 pm, after the weekly prayer of the Way of the Cross. Numerous parishioners and pilgrims climbed Cross Mountain praying the Way of the Cross. At the place of Fr. Slavko’s death, between the 13th and the 14th station, they remembered the moment of his passing into eternity. The Way of the Cross was led by Fr. Mario Knezovic and Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic. The evening Mass at the parish church was presided by Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic and concelebrated by numerous local and foreign priests. During the whole day, parishioners and pilgrims were coming on Fr. Slavko’s grave, which has become one of the evident prayer places of Medjugorje.
Father Slavko Barbaric was born on March 11, 1946. He entered into the Franciscan order at the age of 19. He was ordained a priest in 1971. He had a doctorate in religious pedagogy and the title of psychotherapist. He was at the service of Medjugorje pilgrims from the time when he finished his studies and came back to the country, in 1982.
During his service in Medjugorje, he wrote numerous books that were translated into more then 20 languages and published all over the world. He was tireless in giving conferences for pilgrims, leading adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, veneration of the Cross, the rosary up the Apparition Hill, the Way of the Cross on the Mount Krizevac, where he finished his earthly life. He animated annual international meetings for priests and youth; he started the seminar for married couples; in the house of prayer “Domus Pacis” he led “Fasting and prayer retreats”. The destructions of the war inspired him to found and lead an institution for the education and care of the young, the “Mother’s Village”. His psychotherapeutic education allowed him to work in a competent way with drug addicts in the Community of Sister Elvira. For young men in need, he founded the Community of the Merciful Father. He directed the help received from the whole world in two Foundations: for young talented people and for war orphans.
Father Slavko has traveled throughout the whole world, spreading Our Lady’s message of peace and reconciliation. He had wonderful gifts: knowledge of languages, facility of communicating with people, education, simplicity, care for human beings in need, inexhaustible energy, diligence, and above all piety, humility, charity. He prayed and he fasted a lot, he loved Our Lady with a childlike love. The essence of his life was to bring souls to God through Mary, the Queen of Peace, by means of prayer and fasting.
We will always miss him.
MEDJUGORJE YOUTH IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST. FRANCIS
Within the framework of the Parish Medjugorje is gathering also the Franciscan Youth Fraternity – FRAMA, which brings together young people who desire to follow Christ according to the example of St. Francis. On the First Sunday of Advent, 26 young members of the Parish were received in the Fraternity, 21 made their first promises and 11 renewed their promises of living according to the example of St. Francis. The Eucharistic celebration was presided by the Chaplain for youth of the Province Fr. Sreten Curic, who also received their promises, and concelebrated by Fr. Boze Milic, the spiritual assistant of the Medjugorje-FRAMA. Young FRAMA-members from several parishes from Herzegovina sung during Mass. After Mass, they remained in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament together with the parishioners, and then they went to the Parish house to celebrate together.
FRANCISCAN NOVICES IN MEDJUGORJE
The novices of the Franciscan province of Bosnia and the Herzegovinian province came on pilgrimage to Medjugorje on December 4. They came with their educators, Fr. Vitomir Silic and Fr. Ivan Sesar who also presided the evening Mass. The novices animated the songs during Mass.
CHRISTMAS AT MEDJUGORJE
The parishioners, the faithful from neighboring parishes and the pilgrims prepared themselves for Christmas by a novena. In addition to the evening prayer program in church, the Rosary was prayed on Apparition Hill.
During Advent, two fasting and prayer seminars were conducted at "Domus Pacis", the House of Prayer. About 100 Croatian and German pilgrims participated in these seminars, desiring through prayer and fasting to prepare for Christmas. The days before Christmas confirm that Medjugorje is “the confessional of the world”: large crowds come from everywhere to receive here the sacrament of reconciliation.
During the Christmas holidays, peace prevailed at the shrine of the Queen of Peace with an atmosphere of prayer and unity among the faithful who arrived from all parts of the world. For Christmas itself, there were several hundreds of foreign pilgrims. On Christmas Eve, several thousands of pilgrims participated in evening Holy Mass. The Vigil began at 10 p.m. and ended with Holy Mass at midnight. The feast of Christmas itself passed in the Christmas peace and joy of pilgrims and parishioners gathered around Mary, their Mother.
On December 19, the Children’s Choir from Dubrovnik “Little Singing Dubrovnik” and the small parish choir from Medjugorje “Little Doves of Peace” gave their 5th Christmas Concert. The choirs so wished a Merry Christmas to the faithful and to Medjugorje pilgrims from all over the world.
Again, this year, the members of the “Cenacolo” community (former drug addicts) presented to the parishioners and the pilgrims a production of the Living Manger three times. Through a specific musical and scenic presentation, they showed to the faithful their desire to come from darkness to light.
ANNUAL APPARITION TO JAKOV ON DECEMBER 25TH 2004
At the last daily apparition to Jakov Colo on September 12th, 1998, Our Lady told him that henceforth he would have one apparition a year, every December 25th, on Christmas Day. This is also how it was this year. The apparition began at 2:30 pm and lasted 7 minutes.
Our Lady gave the following message:
“Dear children! Today, on a day of grace, with little Jesus in my arms, in a special way I call you to open your hearts and to start to pray. Little children, ask Jesus to be born in each of your hearts and to begin to rule in your lives. Pray to Him for the grace to be able to recognize Him always and in every person. Little children, ask Jesus for love, because only with God’s love can you love God and all people. I carry you all in my heart and give you my Motherly blessing.”
SEMINARS AT “DOMUS PACIS”
In 2004, 44 different seminars for 1515 faithful took place in the house of prayer “Domus Pacis”.
22 “Prayer and Fasting” seminars were held for 728 pilgrims from Austria (3), Germany (2), Poland (2), France (3), Ukraine (1), Russia (1), Lithuania (1), Slovakia (1), the Czech Republic (1), Italy (2), Korea (1), Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (4). During 6 days, the faithful were deepening their faith in the Lord, while answering Our Lady’s call to prayer, fasting and inner silence. Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic held these seminars.
245 members of the Franciscan Youth Fraternity as well as the altar boys from Herzegovina gathered together for 7 spiritual recollections.
The Franciscan School sisters led 6 seminars for 190 young girls.
Different spiritual movements organized 11 other seminars for 352 participants.
ILLEGAL COPYING, DISTRIBUTION AND SELLING OF CD’S, AUDIO AND VIDEOCASSETTES EDITED BY THE SHRINE
The Parish Office Medjugorje, the Information Center “Mir” Medjugorje and Mother’s Village Bijakovici-Medjugorje kindly ask organizers and guides to inform the pilgrims that they have given to nobody the right to copy, distribute or sell CD’s, audio and video cassettes edited by them. The exclusive copyright for these works belongs to the Parish Office Medjugorje, the Information Center “Mir” Medjugorje and/or Mother’s Village Bijakovici-Medjugorje, and the income is used to carry on humanitarian activities and the development of the Shrine. The originals can be purchased only at the Souvenir shop of the Parish Medjugorje. Production, selling and reselling of cheaper copies that can be found in other shops is entirely private and illegal. We thank all the pilgrims and friends of Medjugorje for their understanding.
YOUTH FESTIVAL 2005: THE EUCHARIST – INVITATION TO THE COMPOSERS
The Youth Festival 2005 will have for the theme the EUCHARIST. The organizers of the Festival invite young authors to compose songs inspired by this theme, and to send their partitions by fax to: 00 387 36 651 444. The text should be short and concise, in the spirit of the Adoration led in Medjugorje, so that the song may be translated and sung in different languages. The chosen songs will be sung during the Festival. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 12/29/2004