"Dear children! Today I call you to love. Little children, love each other with God’s love. At every moment, in joy and in sorrow, may love prevail and, in this way, love will begin to reign in your hearts. The risen Jesus will be with you and you will be His witnesses. I will rejoice with you and protect you with my motherly mantle. Especially, little children, I will watch your daily conversion with love. Thank you for having responded to my call." March 25, 2005
SLAVES OF HABITS AND TRADITIONS
One morning, while working on my regular and daily occupations, I met a man whom I knew. I saw that he was nervous and I asked: "How are you?". He answered me: "I am really fed up with this snow and this ice!" I responded: "Why are you annoyed with the snow? We usually see so little of it in our region!", and he said: "How not to be annoyed? The newspapers did not arrive yet, and it is almost midday! I read the newspaper every morning, and this morning they did not arrive! How can the day start well?" Someone else told me that the day started badly because he was in hurry, and he did not manage to drink his coffee, without which he couldn’t function very well…
This is our reality. The things of this world and the practices without which we cannot live determine our temper, the day and the time that is passing. We are unable to live without certain things, unimportant in themselves. We became slaves. And when we speak about slavery today, we should not think of prison cells, camps, jails and colonization of peoples and groups. Contemporary slavery, it is the slavery of the heart and the spirit. Our heart and our spirit are imprisoned. We live in our personal dungeons. We are tied by all kinds of attachments and bound by our own habits and traditions. We are slaves of reputation, work, false friendships, interests, money, insurance companies, banks, games of fortune, alcohol, drugs, the media… In a world, which does not cease announcing the personal freedom, we became modern slaves.
When Jesus announces to his contemporaries that he has come to make them free in Spirit and in Truth, they rebel by saying that, being sons of Abraham, they are noody’s slaves. (Cf: Jn 8,31-42) However, once again the thoughts of Jesus were not their thoughts. Jesus speaks about slavery to sin, of the blind slavery to the law, which neglects the heart and the needs for the concrete person. Jesus advances towards the cross and death to make us free, to overcome sin, and to announce the time of the fullness of life.
Each one of us can recognize his own prison and dungeon. Very close to us, a voice announces freedom. The way of the freedom, which is not limited by systems or the world politics, is to leave sin and human chains. The poet sings: "You are created for flying, my soul!" True freedom does not consist in the absence of walls and bars. Freedom is lived in the heart. At our time, certain prisoners are more free than those who live in freedom. There is no freedom without God, because the free will is an inalienable gift that comes from God. Confessionals, in particular in Medjugorje, are today places of freedom, which give witness of the victory of the mercy of God over the sin of men. The words of the priest, “Your sins are forgiven, go in peace!", mean: "God renewed you in Spirit and in Truth, go and live free of any sin and any attachment!"
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of February 2005, 23.000 communions were distributed and 649 priests from this country and from abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
In February, pilgrims were here from: Italy, Mexico, France, Austria, the USA, Korea, Canada, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.
THE 12TH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR LEADERS OF MEDJUGORJE PEACE CENTERS AND PRAYER, PILGRIM AND CHARITY GROUPS HAS ENDED
The 12th International Meeting for Leaders of Medjugorje Peace Centers and Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups took place in Medjugorje from March 6 to 10, 2005. About 120 participants came from about 15 countries. The theme of this encounter was: "The guide and the pilgrim".
This year’s speakers were Hubert Liebherr from Germany and Kevin Lacey from Ireland. During the meeting, there was also one day of fasting and intense prayer led by Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic. About the role of the guide spoke also Fr. Jozo Zovko. Fr. Ivan Landeka gave the report about the humanitarian activities linked to Medjugorje. During the encounter, the documentary "The Lights of Medjugorje" was shown to the participants. Masses during the meeting were presided by Dr. Fr. Tomislav Pervan, Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic, Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic and Fr. Mario Knezovic who – in his function of Director of the Information Center “Mir” Medjugorje - was also the coordinator of the meeting. The concluding Mass was presided by Fr. Branko Rados, pastor of Medjugorje. The participants were especially praying for the health of our Holy Father, the Pope John Paul II, and they sent him a letter of encouragement signed by all. The participants made the following statement, which we publish entirely.
Gathered together under the protection of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje, united with Christ and the Church, we took part in the 12th International Meeting for Leaders of Medjugorje Peace Centers and Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups. As we are related to Medjugorje for a number of years now, as pilgrims and as leaders of pilgrimages, we were meditating on the theme, "The guide and the pilgrim".
Aware of the fact that Medjugorje is attracting pilgrims from all over the world, open to the Holy Spirit, we were listening to the conferences about the role of the guide - as extended hands of God and of Our Lady - on the way of conversion of so many. We were thinking of the words of Jesus: “You have not chosen me but I have chosen you”. (John 15,16) To be a guide is a gift, but also a great responsibility, that can be carried out only in full collaboration with the Grace of God and in being attentive to Our Lady’s messages. “Therefore, dear little children, listen and live what I tell you, because it is important for you when I shall not be with you any longer, that you remember my words and all that I told you.” (Message of October 25, 1992) In this sense, we have decided to give a new attention to the role of the guide as a mediator, standing like a road sign on the pathway of God. In prayer, we received strength to continue tirelessly with the mission that we have inherited. We also exchanged experiences and opinions on how each leader and guide of payer groups should be personally evangelised in the Spirit, in freedom and in truth, in order to be able to play the role of mediator. “You need the Spirit of Truth to be able to convey the messages just the way they are, neither adding anything to them, nor taking anything whatsoever way from them, but just the way I said them.” (Message of June 9, 1984.)
From this meeting, we invite all those who organize pilgrimages to Medjugorje to put at the center of their journey the Prayer- and Liturgical Program proposed by the Parish Medjugorje, and to explain to the pilgrims the essential importance of the sacramental life of the Church, especially of Holy Mass and Confession.
We also prayed for the health of our Holy Father, the Pope John Paul II, beseeching God to give him strength, and asking Our Lady to intercede for him and for his service to Christ, to the Church and to all mankind.
Medjugorje, March 10, 2005 The Participants
SPIRITUAL MOVEMENT OF THE QUEEN OF PEACE IN THE WORLD – ADDRESS BOOK AND COORDINATION
During the 12th International Meeting for Leaders of Medjugorje Peace Centers and Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups (March 6 to 10, 2005) we have presented to the participants the first rough copy of the Address Book, which is giving witness of the universality of the spiritual movement inspired by Our Lady’s apparitions in Medjugorje. Thanks to the answers to the Questionnaire and the information published on diverse web sites, we have now 544 addresses of organizers of pilgrimages, Peace Centers and Prayer groups from all the continents. This is only the beginning, and we are asking your help in completing this address book. As for now, the address book it not destined for publication, because we are still working on it, but we hope that in the near future we will be able to publish it. Its intention is to help the faithful in their desire to join this prayer movement.
During the 12th International Meeting for Leaders of Medjugorje Peace Centers and Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups, we also underlined the need of the Shrine and of the pilgrims for the creation of coordination structures on national levels, whose role would be to facilitate the collaboration on the national level, the communication with the Local Church and with the Shrine in Medjugorje. In some countries, these structures are already existing and functioning: for Germany it is «Deutschsprachiges Informationszentrum für Medjugorje», Hubert Liebherr - www.medjugorje-info.de, for Poland it is «Wspolnota Krolowej Pokoju przy kosciole ojcov Pijarow», Fr. Stanislaw Kania, Krakow, for Austria it is «Gebetsaktion» - http://www.gebetsaktion.at, for Ireland it is «National Medjugorje Council of Ireland», Paul Wallace… We kindly ask you to collaborate with them at the service of the spreading of Our Lady’s message. We hope that, during the coming years, also in other countries, similar structures may come up at the service of collaboration and evangelisation on national levels. We kindly ask all Leaders of Medjugorje Peace Centers and Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups to fill in the questionnaire, which you will find on our Home page under: «The Shrine – Medjugorje in the Church - The Spiritual Movement of the Queen of Peace - Questionnaire: The Spiritual Movement of the Queen of Peace in the world» and send it to us to the Shrine of the Queen of Peace to Medjugorje by e-mail to email@example.com or by fax to +387 36 651 444.
THE ANNUAL APPARITION OF OUR LADY TO MIRJANA DRAGICEVIC-SOLDO ON MARCH 18, 2005
The visionary Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo had daily apparitions from June 24th 1981 to December 25th 1982. During the last daily apparition, Our Lady gave her the 10th secret, and told her that she would appear to her once a year, on the 18th of March. It has been this way through the years.
This year several thousand pilgrims gathered to pray the Rosary at the Cenacolo Community in Medjugorje. The apparition lasted from 14:09 to 14:14 and Our Lady gave the following message:
"Dear children! I come to you as the mother who, above all, loves her children. My children, I desire to teach you to love also. I pray for this. I pray that you will recognize my Son in each of your neighbors. The way to my Son, who is true peace and love, passes through the love for all neighbors. My children, pray and fast for your heart to be open for this my intention."
THE 10TH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR PRIESTS
The 10th International meeting for priests will take place in Medjugorje from July 4 to 9, 2005. The theme of the meeting is "The Eucharist and Mary – Do whatever He tells you!" (Jn 2,5)
PROGRAM July 4, 2005, Monday 13.00-18.00 Registration of the participants in the New Hall behind the Church 18.00 BEGINNING OF THE SEMINAR (Prayer of the Rosary, Holy Mass, Prayer for health of body and soul, Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary) July 5, 2005 – Tuesday 08.30 Laudes in Latin and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 09.00 Talk (Dr. Fr. Zvjezdan Linic, ofm) 10.00 Break 10.30 Prayer 15.30 Talk (Dr. Fr. Zvjezdan Linic, ofm) 16.30 Break 17.00 Prayer 18.00 Evening Prayer Programme (Rosary, Holy Mass, Prayer for health of body and soul) July 6, 2005, Wednesday 08.30 Laudes in Latin and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 09.00 Talk (Dr Fr. Zvjezdan Linic, ofm) 10.00 Break 10.30 Prayer 15.30 Talk (Dr Fr. Zvjezdan Linic, ofm) 16.30 Break 17.00 Prayer 18.00 Evening Prayer Programme (Rosary, Holy Mass, Prayer for health of body and soul) 22.00 Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament July 7, 2005, Thursday 06.00 Rosary at the Apparition Hill 09.30 Talk, prayer (Dr. Fr. Zvjezdan Linic, ofm) 10.00 Break 10.30 Prayer 15.30 Talk (Dr. Fr. Zvjezdan Linic, ofm) 16.30 Break 17.00 Prayer 18.00 Evening Prayer Programme (Rosary, Holy Mass, Adoration) July 8, 2005, Friday 06.00 Way of the Cross on Cross Mountain Confessions 16.00 Prayer, meditation 18.00 Evening Prayer Programme (Rosary, Holy Mass, Veneration of the Cross) July 9, 2005, Saturday 08.30 Laudes at Fr. Slavko Barbaric's tomb 09.00 Sharing of experiences, suggestions and witnessing
CONCLUSION WITH HOLY MASS AT NOON
The lecturer of this seminar is Dr. Fr. Zvjezdan Linic, ofm, born in 1941 in Svilno near the Shrine of Our Lady of Graces of Trsat (Croatia). He became a Franciscan in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1967.
He studied in Samobor, Zagreb, Paris and Innsbruck where he obtained a doctorate in liturgical theology in 1970.
His did his pastoral service among the Croatian workers in foreign countries (in Innsbruck and in Paris) as well as in Croatia (Trsat, Karlovac, Novi Sad, Osijek, then in Zagreb), between 1981 and 1997. Since 1997, he is a director of the House of the Encounters called “Tabor”, near the Franciscan monastery in Samobor, where he organizes and leads retreats and recollections.
Most of the priestly and pastoral life of Fr. Zvjezdan is dedicated to young people and the Franciscan secular Order. Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, he helped a great number of young people to know Christ the Saviour and to enter into the Church. On several occasions, he taught theology. He is giving retreats for priests, religious and laity. He is particularly known as organizer of seminars of Christian initiation and seminars for healing and liberation.
You may make reservations by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax: +387-36-651-999 (for Marija Dugandzic).
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 Centres 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.
NO VISAS IN SUMMER SEASON FOR CITIZENS OF SLOVAKIA, THE CZECH REPUBLIC, POLAND AND HUNGARY
The Counsel of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina has decided on February 22, 2005, that citizens of Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary do not need the visa for Bosnia and Herzegovina during the period of April 1st to October 31st, 2005. They are allowed to stay in the country without a visa during 3 months. They are allowed to enter into the country at the border crossing of the Airport Sarajevo and at all international border crossings.
ACTION "IN FAVOUR OF LIFE"
Radio "Mir" Medjugorje has started a humanitarian action called "Za život" (In Favour of Life). Cardinal Vinko Puljic, archbishop of Vrhbosna (Sarajevo), President of the Counsel for the Family of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has encouraged this project saying that, however, people should not live from donations, but from their own work. “The responsibility of the society is to make it possible that people live from their work.” The Cardinal, who is coming from a numerous family, has encouraged in a special way the creation of an Association of numerous families. He said: “This is very much needed in our region. Together, we are stronger. The rights have to be fought for.” The initiative for this action is coming from the radio show on family issues “Oasis of Life”, broadcasted for two and a half years now, and edited by Visnja Spajic. The action “In Favour of Life” is inviting faithful, citizens, businessmen, families and all those who can help, to sustain one concrete family with many children but not enough means for life.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 03/28/2005