"Dear children! In this time of grace again I call you to prayer. Pray, little children, for unity of Christians, that all may be one heart. Unity will really be among you inasmuch as you will pray and forgive. Do not forget: love will conquer only if you pray, and your heart will open. Thank you for having responded to my call." January 25, 2005
TO START ALL OVER AGAIN
The Franciscans often repeat the words of their holy founder saint Francis who, in his humility, almost denied all his works while saying: “My brothers, let us start all over again, because we haven’t done anything yet.” This saintly attitude is very seldom among our contemporaries. People and the whole humanity seem to be counting their successes, their accomplishments, their projects, their good works, their merits, their awards… The society works according to visible successes and material rewards. In such a climate, there is no space for those who would like to say: we haven’t done anything yet; let us start from the scratch. Humility is needed for that, but humility seems to have vanished from the hearts.
While walking spiritually with the Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we will be often brought back to our sources and our beginnings. We are called to start again each day - not only to act, but to live from the scratch. One could almost say that we should live each day as if we had never had any merit or success. We should stop living on our old and past merits.
A Croatian basketball player was considered as the best player in Europe during several years. He was admired by the world. He filled the covers of the newspapers and TV and radio broadcasts. Subsequent to these great successes, he went to play in the USA. There, he learned a lesson of the reality of life: in Europe, he was at the center, but he could not obtain the place in the first team of his new club. He was deeply shaken: suddenly, he was not important any more. His success was questioned. He suffered from it. He tells how he came out of this crisis, this depression: when he understood that this was a new game, that he was to start again from the scratch and forget his old successes and his old fame, everything came back in its place. The following year, he became the best player of his new team. He knew to start again from zero and it was the secret of his salvation.
The same applies to life. We can conclude with the words from the psalm: “Each day, Lord, I will praise you, I will sing your name always and forever”(Ps 145, 1). Let each new day be the beginning of our journey with Jesus. Only those who know how to start all over again will be able to have success; this is what the life teaches us.
P. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of December 2004, 54.400 communions were distributed and 956 priests from this country and from abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
In 2004, 1,224.000 communions were distributed and 28.166 from this country and from abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
In December, pilgrims were here from: the USA, Italy, France, Philippines, Belgium, Australia, England, the Czech Republic, Lebanon, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Korea, Austria, Rumania, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
ANNUAL MEETING AND RECOLLECTION FOR THE RECIPIENTS OF SCHOLARSHIPS OF THE ASSOCIATION "FR. SLAVKO BARBARIC"
On December 29, 2004, the Association “Fr. Slavko Barbaric” organized in Medjugorje the traditional “Day of the Students”. The students and the members of the Board of directors began the meeting at 3 pm with the prayer at the tomb of Father Slavko Barbaric, founder of the Association. The meeting continued at Mother’s Village at Bijakovici by a conference about communication given by Fr. Iko Skoko: “How to communicate well?” After the conference, Fr. Dragan Ruzic presided Holy Mass concelebrated by Fr. Ivan Sesar. The students were praying for Fr. Slavko and all the benefactors, giving thanks to God for all the benefits received during the passed year.
The meeting was concluded by a buffet and sharing between the students and the members of the association.
NEW YEAR IN MEDJUGORJE
This year, several thousands pilgrims from numerous countries and from all the continents gathered together for the New Year’s Vigil. The Vigil was presided by Fr. Mario Knezovic and Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic. About one hundred priests concelebrated Mass with them. Pilgrims and parishioners were accommodated also in the New Hall, under the tent and at the outside altar, where they could follow on a large screen whatever was happening in the church. The vigil and Holy Mass lasted from 10 pm to 1 am, and they were translated into several languages.
In our restless world, where sometimes everything seems to be hopeless, this large crowd of the faithful, especially of young people who represent the majority in Medjugorje for the New Year, are a sign of hope for a better world.
During these days, several concerts were given in the parish church: the choir of children “Little Doves of Peace”, the choir of adults “Choir of the Queen of Peace”, “Little Singing Dubrovnik” and “Luka Ploce” gave three concerts.
HOLY MASS AND CHARITY FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE DISASTROUS EARTHQUAKE IN SOUTH ASIA
The first evening Mass in 2005, at the Shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje, was offered for the victims of the disastrous earthquake in South Asia. The offerings collected during Mass are intended for the needs of the victims. We invite all the friends of Medjugorje to join in the actions of assistance to the population.
Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Boze Milic and concelebrated by numerous local and foreign priests.
THE QUEEN OF PEACE IN RIJEKA
On Saturday, January 8, a prayer group of the Queen of Peace was founded in Rijeka (Croatia) by the pilgrims who are inspired by the call of Our Lady in Medjugorje.
The prayer group will gather together the faithful from several parishes from Rijeka and the surroundings. Fr. Mario Knezovic and several other priests from Rijeka led the time of recollection of the foundation of this prayer group. The desire of the members is to pray for Our Lady’s intentions and to participate actively in the life of their parishes and the local Church. Sinisa Pucic, Ruzica Parkovic and Danijel Patafka will lead the prayer group.
THE 12TH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR LEADERS OF PEACE CENTERS AND MEDJUGORJE PRAYER, PILGRIM AND CHARITY GROUPS
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 theme of this encounter is: “THE GUIDE AND THE PILGRIM”
Program: 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 do 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 February 2005. You can send your registrations by fax + 387 36 651 999 (for Marija Dugandzic), or by e-mail: email@example.com.
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!
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 01/28/2005