"Little children, believe, pray and love, and God will be near you. He will give you the gift of all the graces you seek from Him. I am a gift to you, because, from day to day, God permits me to be with you and to love each of you with immeasurable love. Therefore, little children, in prayer and humility, open your hearts and be witnesses of my presence. Thank you for having responded to my call." 25/10/2005
OUR FIRM POINTS
As long as 250 years before Christ, Greek scientist Archimedes said: «Give me a firm point to affix my lever and I will move the whole universe.» There are many hidden messages in these words. A firm point is a condition for moving. However, let us see what one relies on today: parents, friends, knowledge, money, power, insurance, beauty and - increasingly on luck - which is not interpreted any more as God's providence but as something “written in the stars”. Without a firm point we fall. This is so evident in everyday life. That is why we are in search of firm and reliable places to stand on.
Let us remember a detail from the Old Testament when to already tired Moses his brother Aaron is holding his hands up and supporting him in prayer (See Exodus 17,12). He was his firm point. If we apply this biblical scene to Medjugorje, we can easily see where is our firm point. Our Lady is always accompanying us in our rises after we fall, and she is inviting us to pray, to fast, to do penance, and to rely on Jesus. All those who wanted to throw themselves into Jesus’ arms and to leave earthly security have found this firm point. God only knows how fragile and weak we are. That is why he makes himself our companion – our corner stone. In the image of a house built on sand, Jesus warns us that we need firm foundations to start building. There is no way we can build strong and magnificent buildings on fragile soil. The same is with our lives. As the Scriptures teach us – “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Ps 127,1).
We are all faced with a danger of choosing wrong and uncertain positions. False security can be found anywhere, everybody wants to earn our trust. There is a wonderful instruction given to us by saint Paul in his epistle to the Colossians: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Col. 2,8)
These words sound as if they had been written today. People want to create their own world forgetting that God has created this world as well as them. Although he is a creature, human being wants to be the creator, relying solely on himself. No wonder the world is powerless when it comes to the most essential things: peace, human dignity, justice, … Therefore, if we find our firm point in Christ, we will not fail to have success. It is precisely through Our Lady, in Medjugorje, that God has once again moved humanity. The message is clear: To accept Jesus, and only then can we expect to move the universe from the state of chaos into the state of prosperity. The same is with our private lives. Things do not happen by themselves. Let us learn from Jesus who relied on the Father completely and who persevered until the end. So, you who are tired, burdened, deceived, disillusioned and sinful, rely on the One who makes everything new and sets everything in motion all over again.
Fr. Mario Knezovic
N E W S
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRATIONS
During the month of September 2005, 178,000 communions were distributed and 4,048 priests from this country and from abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in Medjugorje.
In September Medjugorje was visited by groups of pilgrims from the following countries: Italy, Slovenia, Korea, Poland, the USA, Ireland, Brazil, Philippines, Slovakia, South African Republic, the Czech Republic, Argentina, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Hungary, China, Greece, Austria, Portugal, Mexico, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Panama, Serbia and Montenegro, Indonesia, Malta, Romania, Lithuania, Malaysia, Spain, New Zealand, Scotland, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
VISIT OF A CANADIAN BISHOP
Monsignor Pearce Lacey, retired auxiliary bishop of Toronto, made his fourth private pilgrimage with a group of pilgrims from Canada to Medjugorje from 9 to 17 October 2005. Monsignor Lacey took part in the pilgrims' programme, regularly heard confessions, and met with Franciscan friars of Medjugorje.
His first visit to Medjugorje was in 1987. He believes that Our Lady is appearing here.
«DAYS OF BREAD»
«The Days of Bread» is an event that has been organised in the school building by the pupils and staff of the Bijakovici Primary School in the parish of Medjugorje for several years now. This year the event took place in front of the parish church. The purpose of this event is to express thanks for „our daily bread“ and for life coming from God, as well as to learn how to make the best use of bread and all other gifts from God. All the pupils, school staff, and catechists took part. The pupils brought farm produce, bread, rolls, and a variety of cake, which were all homemade. All the profit from the sale, as well as all donations are going to be invested in a school gymnasium that the school still does not have.
VISIT OF A BISHOP FROM CONGO
In September 2005, Monsignor Stanislas Lukumwena Lumbala, OFM., Bishop of the Kole Diocese in the Democratic Republic of Congo made his second private pilgrimage to Medjugorje. He was ordained a priest in 1979, and a bishop in 1998. Monsignor Lukumwena is the first African made a Franciscan Provincial in Congo, and the first African ordained a bishop in Congo. He came to Medjugorje to spend time in personal prayer and spiritual renewal. He spent many hours hearing confessions of pilgrims in Italian and in French.
He talked about his impressions during an interview he gave to the „Mir“ Radio Medjugorje. He said:
«I have come to Medjugorje to seek inner peace. A bishop in Africa is a builder, the one who reconstructs roads, builds bridges and schools. A bishop does everything, so there are times when what he really needs is spiritual peace. That is why I have come here. To retire for a few days, to pray together with the pilgrims. What I found very good here is the fact that I can hear confessions. I spent four hours in the confessional yesterday. It is wonderful to see how many people come here for confession.
The Church has been increasingly insisting on the sacrament of the Eucharist and reconcilement lately. Exactly these two important sacraments are present here. In the beginning, there was much talk on the apparitions, and now the stress is more on spirituality. A deep spirituality is developing here. A message of peace and conversion has been given. All these messages are now to be used and lived. People like sensations. When messages and seers were discussed, people were flowing in. Now less talk is spent on them, but everything is moving towards a deeper level. Man needs a firm spiritual support. Man's inner life should rely on solid evangelic values. That is why I say that deepening of the message, that is prayer, communion and confession, is becoming the basis of a deep spiritual life.
I speak of Medjugorje from a very private point of view. I am a bishop of another diocese and I do not want to speak of matters that do not concern me directly. I come here because of my own devotion. One should not worry about approval all the time. The approval will certainly be given. Bishops come, and they come to pray. There is something that we are drawn to, something that has impressed us. Little by little, Medjugorje will be approved. Let each one live one’s own devotion.
We are making way to set up a radio station in my Kole Diocese, which will allow us to let people know more about Medjugorje.»
ST. FRANCIS’ “TRANSITUS”
On the eve of St. Francis Feast, the October 3rd, the Franciscan family throughout the world commemorates with a special liturgy the passage to eternity – „Transitus“ – of its founder.
In St. James parish in Medjugorje this liturgy was held immediately after the evening Mass. The Franciscans of Medjugorje, Franciscan Sisters serving at the parish, Franciscan Youth and the Franciscan Third Order all took part.
In front of the parishioners, pilgrims, the Franciscan Youth Choir and “Little Doves of Peace” (Golubici mira), this year's liturgy was presided by the Pastor, Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar.
VISIT OF AN EPARCH FROM AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
Mgr Issam John Darwish, BSO, DD., eparch of the Melchite Catholic Church in Australia and New Zealand, was on a private pilgrimage in Medjugorje from September 12 to 19, 2005. In Medjugorje, he celebrated the 33rd anniversary of his priestly ordination. Before becoming bishop for the Melchites in Australia and New Zealand in 1996, he worked in Lebanon in favour of abandoned children. Here are his impressions:
“Last Sunday, I was in Castel Gandolfo with my group of pilgrims, and we prayed the Angelus with the Pope. After the Angelus, as it was arranged before, I went to visit the Holy Father. The program of this visit was specified in advance. At the end of our conversation, I asked the Holy Father to give his blessing to the group of pilgrims, which was going to Medjugorje the following day. If you have ever met the Pope, you know that he has a splendid smile. He smiled with great kindness and he said: ‘May God watch over you and bless you’.
The devotion towards the Virgin Mary is very widespread among our parishioners. They came to me and they asked me to accompany them this year to Medjugorje. I have much work, but I accepted immediately. Then, I thought that I should have perhaps said no, but now I am glad to have come. With the group, we contemplate each day the life of Mary from the beginning to the cross. For me, it is a Marian retreat. I wanted to transmit to the faithful what our Byzantine Church is saying on Mary. All the prayers were directed towards a better knowledge of the role of Mary in our life. For me and for the whole group, the coming here is a blessing. We see Mary as a person who leads us to Jesus. She plays an important role in our life. She is leading us to Jesus and she is deepening our faith.
The number of pilgrims coming to Medjugorje is a sign of God. The atmosphere of prayer spread by the priests from here is very deep. I believe that Medjugorje is a place of expectation, a place that is questioning our faith: how to deepen our faith? The prayer in front of the cross, adoration, the Eucharist - all this gives to the pilgrims a deep spirituality. It is a place of prayer.
I think that the role of the priest who accompanies the pilgrims is very important. In order to bring fruits, the pilgrims must be accompanied by a priest. His role is to help them to go further than seeking signs. I said to my pilgrims that we have already the signs: it is the Blessed Sacrament of the altar and other sacraments. All the sacraments should be lived: sacrament of penance, the Eucharist; their spiritual role should be discovered. The Mother of God speaks to each one of us. It is not necessary to see her. We can see her with our interior eyes, the eyes of faith.
I think that the priests from here are giving to the pilgrims a very good orientation, but the priests who accompany the pilgrims should pay more attention to the teaching of the Church. The priests from here could give the priests who accompany the pilgrims some directions: how to live the interior conversion in a deeper way. And let us allow the Lord to act in the hearts of the faithful! Some people need feelings, others don’t. This is Christian life.
The messages of Medjugorje are messages of the Gospel. I do not see anything else. Eucharist, penance, prayer... it is the Gospel. The apparitions? I do not know. I do not have any clear idea, but I think that God can do all that He wants.
I will write a booklet on my impressions of Medjugorje. I will encourage the faithful to come to make this pilgrimage, to live a few days of prayer and interior conversion. I will encourage them. I also will encourage the priests to come with them.
I have a desire: that Medjugorje opens to the environment, to the Orthodox and to the Moslems, that Medjugorje becomes a centre of dialogue with them.”
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 10/28/2005