"Dear children! In love I call you: convert, even though you are far from my heart. Do not forget, I am your mother and I feel pain for each one who is far from my heart; but I do not leave you alone. I believe you can leave the way of sin and decide for holiness. Thank you for having responded to my call." September 25, 2005
To accept oneself as a creature of God – this are the words that we hear often, the words on which we meditate frequently… In many occasions we are dissatisfied with ourselves. It seem to us that the others – always and in everything, by their birth and during their growth – had much more chance than we had. It is the same with our actions: they are not such as we would like them to be. We are often dissatisfied because of our exterior aspect, our profession, our environment… Besides, it seems to us that God himself is not just, because He allows that the sun shines in the same way on the just and on the unjust. The dissatisfaction accumulates despite the fact that we know that we are created in the image of God, as children of God, and that we are unique.
Many spiritual writers and masters underline that the change of our position begins with the acceptance of ourselves and of all that happens to us. To accept oneself does not mean to remain the same and do nothing to change. The acceptance of oneself is only the beginning of the change that we are longing for. Otherwise, we will turn in round, tired, and remain on the same positions. This is how despair accumulates, discouragement stores up, and hope dies.
The basic question is the following one: for what is longing our heart? For the things of the earth or for the things of Heaven? Our human measures are not the measures of God. This is precisely what Jesus said to Peter, when he tried to divert him from the way that leads through cross and suffering towards redemption. If, in our whole life, we orient our thoughts and our forces towards the goods of the earth, and the desire to please the world and not God and ourselves, we will always be in disagreement with what is essential: How does God see us? How do we see ourselves? Therefore, if our dissatisfaction proceeds from things of the earth and the parameters of the world, we are called to turn towards things that surpass this perishable world. In the letter to the Corinthians, we read: «Aspire to superior gifts…» (cf. 1 Cor 12,31).
Our desires hide also our character. It is very important to know one’s desires. What do we really want of our life? What is the most important for us? Is it really important to be beautiful and rich, since we know that beauty is relative and that wealth is perishable? It is much more important to say with the psalmist: « Create in me a pure heart, o Lord, renew in me a steadfast spirit».
What must we do? Before all, like Mary, let us be thankful and glorify God. Let us accept everything, really everything that God asks from us, as Mary did, as Jesus did, as Joseph and others models of the Church did. The acceptance is not weakness or abandonment of the desire to change, but the opening of a door that leads towards a decisive turn in life. When Mary accepted the will of God, the child leaped in her womb, and she gave birth to Jesus. This is what happens to those who say YES to God. With us, it is similar: let us hear and accept. Then, a new life, a holier life is conceived in us, a life in which things of this world are not important anymore, but the things of Heaven, from where we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Lord.
Fr. Mario Knezovic
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND NUMBER OF CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of August 2005, 225.500 communions were distributed and 4.747 priests from this country and from abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
In August, pilgrims were here from: Germany, Italy, Austria, Ireland, Poland, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, the USA, Korea, Spain, England, Switzerland, Hungary, Lithuania, South Africa, Australia, New Zeeland, Russia, Malta, France, Serbia and Montenegro, Lebanon, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Portugal, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
FROM POLAND TO MEDJUGORJE ON FOOT
When they come to Medjugorje, one of the most visited places of pilgrimage in the world, many pilgrims say that they arrived at the goal. For others, Medjugorje is only a departure point towards the goal that is eternal life, the discovery of God and of His plans.
To his goal or to his departure point in Medjugorje came these days a young man from Torun, Poland, Krzysztof Guca, 31 years old, after 57 days of walking. Although this is his first coming to Medjugorje, he says: “I believe deeply that Our Lady appears here. I consider that Medjugorje is the continuation of the apparitions of Fatima. I came on pilgrimage because I made a vow, but my friends also asked me to pray for them. All the efforts and all the sacrifices, I offered them for these intentions.»
Before his departure, Krzysztof Guca asked for the blessing of the bishop of Torun. The written blessing of the bishop with the seal and the signatures of the chancellor and the vicar general of the diocese opened the doors in many parishes in the countries that he crossed. The witness is his journal, the notebook that he carried, and in which every day the hosts wrote and confirmed by their signature and a seal, to have accommodated him. « According to the geographic map, I crossed 1.720 kilometres, but it is difficult to say exactly. Sometimes, I had to go back over my steps to rejoin the principal roads, because I could not find accomodation. In Croatia, I slept 4 times in private houses, because I did not manage to join the presbyteries. God provided that I always had a shelter. I can compare this trip with the crossing of a bridge above an abyss. It is necessary to advance step by step. This is how I continued every morning, although I sometimes arrived very tired. Every person’s life can be compared to this pilgrimage. Every day, it is necessary to do a new step in order not to fall in the abyss. »
Krzysztof Guca keeps in his heart the most important intentions of his pilgrimage, but he reveals that he was praying for the church, for the priests, for the families and for the fatherland. This young man walked also to Fatima. In 4 months, he did 4.000 kilometres, and a witness for this are the notes in his journal. The last note in his journal was written the day of his arrival to Medjugorje: «Last night, I have hosted Krzysztof Guca, a pilgrim from Poland, diocese of Torun. I offered him a dinner last night, and this morning the breakfast. Humac. Ljubuski. Franciscan monastery of St Antony of Padova. Fr. Dobroslav Stojic.”
Quickly after his arrival to Medjugorje, where he was received by Katarina and Ante Soljic, he climbed the Cross Mountain. “I am still under the impression of this encounter with Our Lady, with God. In some days, I will be able to say a little more”, he says. He will maybe need some days or a month to know if, after almost 1.800 kilometres on foot, he arrived to the goal or to the departure point.
AN ARCHBISHOP FROM ITALY IN MEDJUGORJE
Mons. Bruno Tommasi, retired archbishop of Lucca (Italy) came on his second private pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Mons Tommasi visited the Shrine and the places of prayer, and spent hours in the confessional, hearing confessions of the Italian pilgrims. He also visited the Parish Office where he remained in a prolonged conversation with the Pastor and other Franciscans.
Mons Tommasi was ordained a priest in 1958., and a bishop in 1983. He was in charge of the dioceses of Pontremoli, Apuania, Massa Carrara-Pontremoli and Lucca. He is retired since January 2005.
FR. IVAN SESAR, NEW PASTOR OF THE PARISH MEDJUGORJE
Within the framework of usual changes of pastoral staff in the Franciscan Herzegovinian Province, and according to the Regulations of the Church, Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar was appointed new Pastor of Medjugorje. He already led this parish from autumn 2000 to autumn 2001.
He began this service on August 25, 2005, replacing thus Fr. Branko Radoš, who was entrusted with pastoral care for Croatians in one of the Croatian Catholic Missions in Switzerland. Fr. Mario Knezovic, former Director of the Information Centre “Mir” Medjugorje, was confided the duty of the parish vicar in Posusje.
Newly appointed parish vicars in Medjugorje are Fr. Karlo Lovric and Fr. Stjepan Martinovic.
ENCOUNTER OF PAINTERS - MEDJUGORJE 2005
From August 22 to 29, in Medjugorje took place the Fourth encounter of painters – Medjugorje 2005. The particularity of this year’s encounter is, that it is thematically determined. The subject matter for the artists is mother, motherhood, Our Lady’s apparitions… This year, about 35 renowned and young artists came together, which is giving to this encounter also a character of a school of painting for young talents.
This year’s encounter, which took place in Mother’s Village, on the Apparition Hill, on Cross Mountain and at the house of prayer “Domus Pacis”, brought together the artists from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.
A BISHOP FROM BRAZIL IN MEDJUGORJE
Mons. José Luís Azcona Hermoso, O.A.R., a religious of the Augustinian Order, born in Spain in Pamplona, bishop of the diocese Marajó, which is a mission area in Brazil, was on a private pilgrimage in Medjugorje for the Feast of the Nativity of Mary. He was ordained a priest in Rome, where he obtained a doctorate in moral theology. He was the provincial of the Augustinian Order twice, and since 1987, he is a bishop in the Amazon area. The diocese-prelature Marajó is as large as Portugal. There are about 260.000 inhabitants, among whom about 230.000 Catholics, but only about 15 priests.
To the question about when and how he heard about Medjugorje, Mons. Azcona answered: “I know people from the north of Brazil, professors and industrials, who were atheists, and who were converted in Medjugorje some 15 years ago. Now, they go every day for Mass and are very active in the Church. There is a big difference between pilgrims who come here, and those who go somewhere else. The experience of Medjugorje is an experience of conversion. About other places, pilgrims speak in a different way. Here, lives are changed. I see the authenticity of the conversions of Medjugorje. The reason for my coming, my hope and the grace that I desire to receive here, is my personal conversion, the deepening of my personal conversion.”
About his attitude towards Medjugorje, towards Our Lady’s messages, Mons. Azcona said: “I think that the first message is conversion. Everything is proceeding from the conversion: the transformation of the society, peace with God, with out neighbour, with the nature, with the environment. The eternal life. Jesus is coming. Let us prepare ourselves! As a priest, as a bishop, the successor of the apostles, I wish to say: my dear Catholics, grab with force and joy the cross of Jesus, because there is salvation and joy. This is what Our Lady is asking from all of us. The Council is saying that true devotion to Our Lady leads to Jesus, to Jesus crucified, and so to the love of the father.”
A BISHOP FROM PAPUA NEW GUINEA ON PRIVATE PILGRIMAGE IN MEDJUGORJE
Mons. Hermann Raich, S.V.D., bishop of Wabag (Papua New Guinea) was on his third private pilgrimage in Medjugorje from September 12 to 15, 2005. He was accompanied by prelate Johannes Gamperl, and a religious sister from the hospital “Marienkrankenhaus Stift Vorau”. This pilgrimage was organised by the association “Gebetsaktion Medjugorje-Wien”. Mons. Raich is from Austria; he was ordained a priest in 1962, and a bishop in 1982. Mons. Raich visited the places of prayer and the Presbytery, where he remained in a conversation with the Franciscans.
SOLEMNITY OF THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
For the solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated in Medjugorje on the first Sunday after the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, about 60,000 local and foreign pilgrims gathered at the Shrine of the Queen of Peace. As every year, pilgrims were streaming to Medjugorje even during the night. Many of them traveled hundreds of kilometers, some of them barefoot. The solemn Holy Mass on Cross Mountain was concelebrated by 61 priests and presided by Fr. Branimir Musa.
For local and foreign pilgrims who could not climb Cross Mountain, there was a Holy Mass in the parish church at noon, presided by Fr. Tomislav Pervan.
The Evening Mass, concelebrated by 66 priests, was presided by Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic.
As a visible sign of the eternal light shining from the Cross, one week before the feast, the cross on Cross Mountain was illuminated, reminding us of its significance, and preparing parishioners and pilgrims for this feast.
THE 6TH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR MARRIED COUPLES
The 6th International Meeting for Married Couples will take place in Medjugorje in the New Hall from October 26 to 29, 2005. The theme of the seminar is “Dialog in the Family – How to Educate Children?” Participation per couple: 40 €. You may make reservations by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax +387-36-651-999 (for Marija Dugandzic). 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.
WINTER SCHEDULE OF THE PRAYER PROGRAM AT THE SHRINE
On Monday, September 12th, began the winter schedule of the prayer program at the Shrine. The prayer of the Rosary in the Parish church begins at 5 pm, Holy Mass is at 6 pm, followed by the blessings and the third part of the rosary. Eucharistic adoration is every Thursday after the evening Mass and on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9pm. The Veneration of the Cross is every Friday after the Evening Mass.
He Rosary on the Apparition Hill and the Way of the Cross on Cross Mountain begin at 2 pm. The occasion for confessions is every evening during the evening prayer program.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 10/02/2005