"Dear children! Also today, in my arms I bring you little Jesus, the King of Peace, to bless you with His peace. Little children, in a special way today I call you to be my carriers of peace in this peaceless world. God will bless you. Little children, do not forget that I am your mother. I bless you all with a special blessing, with little Jesus in my arms. Thank you for having responded to my call." December 25, 2005
I would like to cite an example in order to show the spiritual reality surrounding us. A couple of years ago a team of basketball players had been preparing for a match for quite some time. They had been practising a lot, coordinating their game, working out the strategy.... Several days prior to the already scheduled match another player joined them. However, he did not show up for training. In fact, he did not practise at all and eventually did not pass the performance test. Despite that, he still thought that he deserved to play in the first team. Just before the beginning of the match, he entered the court thinking he would be among the five players to start the game, which provoked a reaction from his team mates. They were appalled by his attitude. They could not understand that there was actually someone that wanted to be on stage without any preparation, practice and hard work that had to be put in before that match.
This is an example that reminds me strongly of those Christians who want to enjoy the fruits of Christian life without any effort at all.
We are aware that God gives us time to prepare for the great holidays. God knows that without preparation, self-sacrifice and effort put in oneself, man cannot grasp important things. However, it seems that man always wants to get something quickly, without much effort. As if he cannot wait. Always in a hurry, losing pace with himself, with others, and with God. In such situations, sensing his own pending failure, man starts searching for satisfaction in a different direction trying to compensate the essential with unimportant things. One does not have to be wise to be able to say that this is futile. This is a path leading to absurdity: searching for earthly things in order to compensate for the heavenly. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that people plunge into consumerism before Christmas. In such an environment people invest much of their time making themselves more beautiful on the outside, they put shining lights everywhere, they buy and give presents. They are busy doing everything but true and sincere preparation for adorning themselves with the fruits of spiritual richness that would bring more light to their lives and bestow on themselves the most precious gift of all God.
In the light of the example of the basketball players mentioned above, we can say that many will turn out silly this Christmas once again. On Christmas Day they will appear on stage wanting to squeeze their religiosity into 24 hours of this great and joyful holiday. They, of course, will understand nothing of the greatest gift coming from the Bethlehem stable. Such people will always be poor in spirit fulfilling their hearts and lives with kitsch offered on every corner while being convinced that this is the Bethlehem light.
Fr. Mario Knezovic
N E W S
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS
As many as 50,500 Holy Communions were distributed and 1,249 priests from the homeland and from abroad concelebrated Holy Mass in the Parish of Medugorje in November.
In November Medugorje was visited by groups of pilgrims from the following countries: USA, Italy, France, Slovenia, Germany, Slovakia, Malaysia, Latvia, Austria, Korea, England, Belgium, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
ADVENT CALL FOR HELP TO THOSE IN NEED
The time of Advent is a time when each and every one of us tries to open out his/her heart primarily in order to become sensitive to the needs of other brothers and sisters around us. Therefore, the Franciscans of Medugorje have addressed a letter to all the people of good will. Here is the complete text of the letter:
«Dear benefactors and friends of Medugorje,
The Time of Advent, as a time of anticipation, has commenced. Everybody is making an effort to prepare for Him who is coming the best way they can, either on their own, with their families or in communities. He keeps coming and looking for us. He keeps sending his prophets who reveal that to us. From the very beginning His mother Mary, who is also our mother, has been his closest disciple and the most reliable friend. Many a time throughout the past she had proven to have these qualities. Today God sends her as the Queen of Peace to teach us divine wisdom and peace. We are grateful to God and we worship Him on behalf of all the people who have got an insight into divine wisdom and peace through prayer, reconciliation., fasting, receiving sacraments or reading the Holy Scriptures.
Thanks to numerous friends and benefactors our people have miraculously learned by experience that the unity with God is attained through solidarity and unselfish help given to those in need. We have experienced trouble, but also love. God spoke with his miraculous kindness through your help and commitment during as well as after the war.
For 10 years you have been doing incredible things through the association Medugorje Mir (Medugorje Peace), which is one of those things one just cannot forget. We thank you for letting us be tireless carriers of your love. Thank you for having responded to Her call.
Christmas time is a time of giving. As a charity we must use this time wisely and prepare ourselves in the way we are expected to do so. Unfortunately, the economic situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is getting worse every day. The percentage of population living below the subsistence level is 45%. Many do not know where to find shelter. It is winter and many do not have any heating at all. A wood-burning stove that can be used for cooking as well as for heating costs 150. Some need means to meet their unpaid debts, some urgently need their medication, the old and the frail have no one to visit them or to help them (average pension in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 80 a month), while some even do not have anything to eat today.
Can we help them?
Let us be the long arm of yours in order to help those in need. Let us show them that they are not forgotten. We need food, hygienic supplies, adult diapers, child diapers, clothes and footwear. Remember them before your pilgrimage. Be so kind as to make some room in your luggage, car or bus for things that you do not need any more, but which could be useful to somebody else. Prepare a Christmas gift make a parcel, write on it the appropriate age and sex of the child it is intended to and leave the rest to us. We will raise a smile out of the child's face for you. It would be our pleasure to be your hosts and tell you all about our projects in our office at Mother's Village.
Voluntary contributions are paid to: UniCredit Zagrebacka banka BH d.d. Transfer account: 3381202200240924 Currency: 48-06- 12877-1 SWIFT: ZABA BA 22 For : MEÐUGORJE MIR Majcino selo Bijakovici BiH 88266 Medugorje Tel: 00387 36 651 704 Fax: 00387 36 650 670 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you very much in advance for any kind of gift. Franciscans of Medugorje»
5th ANNIVERSARY OF FR. SLAVKO BARBARIC´S DEATH
On 24 November 2005 the death of Fr. Slavko Barbaric was commemorated by the parishioners and pilgrims of Medugorje praying the Way of the Cross on Krievac (Cross Mountain), where Fr. Slavko died. The commemoration was followed by the evening Holy Mass and Eucharistic worship in the parish church. The same evening the book Living with one's whole heart (ivjeti srcem) by Fr. Martin akota was promoted.
We contemplated the stations of the Way of the Cross through meditation written by Fr. Slavko himself as encouragement to prayer on Krievac. The prayer was led by Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic. The Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic and concelebrated by 25 homeland and foreign priests. The worship was led by Fr. Boe Milic.
After the worship the book Living with one's whole heart life and work of Fr. Slavko Barbaric written by Fra Marinko akote was presented. There were several speakers talking about the book: Fr. Ivan Sesar, parish of Medugorje and chair of Fr. Slavko Barbaric Foundation, Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic, head of Mother's Village, and Silesian Don Mirko Barbaric, Fr. Slavko's childhood friend, and the very author of the book. The children from Mother's Village led by Prof. Zrinka Boras gave a musical recital. Vinja Spajic, reporter of the Medugorje Radio-station Mir (Peace) was the programme presenter. The book written by Fr. Marinko is intended to pay «homage to Fra Slavko Barbaric five years after his death, and to encourage the faithful to reflect on the Christian calling more closely taking him as an example.»
That day the death of Fr. Slavko Barbaric, who was also a contributor to the Radio-station programme as well as its supporter and their dear friend, was commemorated once again in the broadcast entitled Living with one's whole heart by the Medugorje ''MIR'' Radio-station. In spite of his tireless work, he managed to find time to contribute to the work of the Radio-station as well. Actually, it was his idea to start up a radio broadcast entitled Joyful hearts, let us pray together which succeeded in forming a listening community dedicated to prayer, whose members are always very happy to get together. This tireless Franciscan started and used to give a broadcast entitled The Voice of the Queen of Peace until his death. The broadcast of this programme has never ceased. He was also the author of the broadcast Medugorje ABC with which he tried to find connections between messages of Our Lady and the Holy Scriptures. The broadcast Living with one's whole heart dedicated to life and work of Fr. Slavko Barbaric was a homage rendered to him for his life and for all good things the Lord and The Queen of Peace have woven in our lives through him.
CHRISTMAS AT MEÐUGORJE
The parishioners, the faithful from neighbouring parishes and pilgrims prepared for Christmas by a novena. In addition to the evening prayer programme in the parish church, the Rosary was recited during the nine-day devotion on Apparition Hill, and early morning services were held.
During Advent three fasting, prayer and silence seminars were given at Domus pacis, the House of Prayer. As many as 110 Italian, Croatian and German pilgrims attended the seminars desiring to prepare for Christmas through fasting and prayer. The days before Christmas confirm that Medugorje is the confessional of the world: large crowds of the faithful come from all corners of the world to receive the sacrament of reconciliation.
During the Christmas holidays, peace prevailed at the shrine of the Queen of Peace creating an atmosphere of prayer and unity among the faithful who arrived from all parts of the world. There were several hundreds of foreign pilgrims her for Christmas. On Christmas Eve several thousands of pilgrims participated in the evening service. The Vigil began at 10 p.m. in the church overflowed with the faithful, and ended with the midnight service. Christmas Day passed in an atmosphere of peace and joy felt among the parishioners and pilgrims gathered around Mary, their Mother. As on any 25th of each month the silent worship of the altar sacrament in the parish church that continued throughout the night.
On 18th December the Dubrovnik Children's Choir Little Singing Dubrovnik, the Medugorje Little Children's Choir Little Doves of Peace and the Dalmatian harmony-singing group Luka from Ploce gave their 6th Christmas concert wishing in this way a merry Christmas to all the faithful and pilgrims from around the world that gathered in Medugorje.
As a tradition, the members of the Cenacolo community (former drug addicts) presented a production of the Living Manger three times to the parishioners and pilgrims. Through such an original musical and scenic presentation they showed to the faithful their desire to come from the darkness into light.
WHOLE-NIGHT WORSHIP ON THE 25th OF EVERY MONTH
Throughout last year, which was proclaimed the Year of the Eucharist by the Holy Father, on 25th of every month, when Our Lady conveys her message to the parish of Medugorje and to the whole world, the whole-night worship of Jesus with the Holy Altar Sacrament was led. The parishioners and the pilgrims embraced the opportunity for silent prayer with great joy. The whole-night worship will continue to be led in the parish church on the 25th of every month.
SEMINARS AT «DOMUS PACIS’
In 2005 as many as 45 various seminars attended by 1,532 pilgrims were held at Domus pacis’ the House of Prayer.
As many as 18 fasting, prayer and silence seminars were held for the pilgrims coming from Austria (2), Germany (2), Poland (1), France (2), Ukraine (1), Russia (1), Lithuania (1), Slovakia (1), Italy (2), Hungary (1), Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina (4). The seminars were attended by 644 pilgrims who were deepening their faith in the Lord while answering Our Lady's call to prayer, fasting and inner silence. The seminars were conducted by Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic.
294 members of the Franciscan Youth and Altar Boys from Herzegovina gathered at the same venue for 7 spiritual recollections.
The Franciscan School Sisters conducted 7 seminars attended by 190 girls.
As many as 11 spiritual seminars attended by 404 participants were also held by different spiritual movements.
13th INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF LEADERS OF PEACE CENTRES, PRAYER, PILGRIM AND CHARITY GROUPS
The 13th International Meeting of Leaders of Peace Centres, Prayer and Charity Groups will take place in Medugorje from 5 to 9 March 2006. The theme of this encounter is: ...and you will be my witnesses...to the ends of the earth... (Acts 1:8)
The number of participants is space-limited. Therefore we kindly ask you to make your registration as soon as possible. Please send the registration form by fax : 00387 36 651 999 (to Marija Dugandic) or e-mail: email@example.com. Simultaneous interpretation will be available for all language groups. Therefore, it would be convenient if you took with you a small FM radio with headphones. Please organize your accommodation in Medugorje personally.You can read the seminar programme at our web site: www.medjugorje.hr We are looking forward to welcoming you at this meeting!
11th INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR FOR PRIESTS
The 11th International Seminar for Priests will be held in Medugorje from 3 to 8 July 2006. The topic of the seminar is as follows: «Spirituality of priests» («...Let us pray, little children,..., so that the Church may resurrect in love...», from the message of 25 March 1999)
SEMINAR PROGRAMME 3 July 2006, Monday 13.00 18.00 Registration of participants (New hall) 18.00 SEMINAR OPENING Praying the Rosary, Holy Mass Praying for the Recovery and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary 4 July 2006, Tuesday 08.30 Laudes in Latin and worship in front of the Holy of Holies 09.00 Lecture, prayer 12.00 Break (Silent worship) 15.30 Lecture, prayer 18.00 Evening programme (Rosary, Holy Mass, Prayer for the Recovery and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary) 5 July 2006, Wednesday 08.30 Laudes in Latin and worship in front of the Holy of Holies 09.00 Lecture, prayer 12.00 Break (Silent worship) 15.30 Lecture, prayer 18.00 Evening programme (Rosary, Holy Mass, Prayer for the Recovery and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary 22.00 Worship of Jesus in the Altar Sacrament 6 July 2006, Thursday 06.00 Rosary at Apparition Hill 09.30 Lecture, prayer 12.00 Break (Silent worship) 15.30 Lecture, prayer 18.00 Evening programme (Rosary, Holy Mass and worship) 7 July 2006, Friday 06.00 To the Cross on Krievac, confession 16.00 Lecture, prayer 18.00 Evening programme (Rosary, Holy Mass, honouring of the sign of the holy cross) 8 July 2006, Saturday 08.30 Visit to the grave of fra Slavka Barbaric, prayer 09.00 Experiences, testimonies CLOSING OF THE SEMINAR WITH HOLY MASS AT 12
Speakers at the seminar:
P. Marijan Joef ef was born in Breice, Slovenia in 1932. In 1957 he graduated from the Ljubljana Faculty of Medicine. He joined the novitiate of the Zagreb Society of Jesus in 1958. He was ordained a priest in 1966. In 1967/68 he attended the final year of Jesuit spiritual formation in Belgium and France. He taught pastoral medicine at the Faculty of Theology until 1994. After passing the state exam, his application for specialisation in psychiatry was rejected. He was Prefect of little seminarians at Maribor D.I., while from 1975 to 1981 was elected Provincial of the Province of Slovenia. In 1990 he was one of the founders of Caritas Slovenia. He was in charge of the Ljubljana Diocesan Caritas and was the director of Caritas Slovenia. In 1994/95 he took a sabbatical year and spent some time at spiritual centres of charismatic communities in France, Germany and Italy in order to learn more about healing of inner wounds. From 1995 to 2001 he lived in Sarajevo where he was director of the Jesuit Refugee Service and was involved in coordination of different aid projects. Since 2001 he has been living in Ljubljana as head of the community.
He works together with the spiritual movement: Obnova u Duhu (Restoration of Spirit), conducting spiritual training in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Together with a group of laypeople conducts spiritual training aimed at spiritual healing. For two years he has been working with some 40 people conducting spiritual training in everyday life. He also dedicates his time to people who carry a burden of emotional wounds. His articles are published in spiritual magazines.
Fr. Ivan Dugandic priest, Franciscan, member of the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina. He was born in Krehin Grac, District of Citluk, Herzegovina in 1943. In 1962, after having graduated from Dubrovnik high school, he joins the Franciscan order. He studies at the Faculty of Theology in Sarajevo and Königstein (Germany). He was ordained a priest in 1969. He enrolled in postgraduate studies and received his Ph.D. in Theology in Würzburg (Germany). Since 1990 he has been living and serving in Zagreb. He teaches Exegesis of the New Testament and Biblical Theology at the Faculty of Theology and its related institutions. His articles are published in theological newsletters.
His modern approach to various biblical subjects is published in religious newspapers. He has also written several books. He lived and served in Medugorje twice: from 1970 to 1972, and from 1985 to 1988.
Fra. Tomislav Pervan priest, Franciscan, member of the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina . Born in Citluk, Herzegovina in 1946. He was ordained a priest in 1969. He received his Ph.D. in Theology of the New Testament in 1976. He worked as assistant counsellor of novices in the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina. He held the office of Medugorje Parish priest from 1982 to 1988. In 1990 he was elected provincial vicar. From 1994 to 2001 he held the office of the Provincial of the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina. Since 2003 he has been serving again in Medugorje. His articles, written in a way a modern man can relate to, explore biblical subjects and messages of Our Lady and are published in professional newsletters and religious newspapers. He has also written several books.
Send registrations by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or or fax: 00387 36 651 999 (to Marija Dugandic).
We would be very grateful if the priests who find accommodation in families living in Medugorje on their own would include in the registration from the name and the phone number of the family providing their accommodation. Priests who cannot find such accommodation directly, please include this information in the registration form and we will provide accommodation for you.
Seminar expenses are covered with five Mass intentions.
Please bring the following items: celebret given by your bishop, alb and stole, the Bible, a small FM radio and headphones (for simultaneous interpretation).
Many priests do not have access to the Internet and may not know about such international meeting in Medugorje. Therefore, we would be much obliged to the pilgrim organisers, prayer groups and peace centres if they could disseminate the information through all available media so that as many priests as possible can participate. We would also be very grateful if you could use any available funds you have at your disposal to support travel expenses of the priests who otherwise can not come to Medugorje. We thank you for your support in advance invoking God´s blessing and the blessing of the Queen of Peace.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 01/21/2006