NUMBER OF HOLY COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of September 60,500 Holy Communions were distributed and there were 1,291 concelebrations of holy mass by priests from the homeland and from abroad or an average of 43 daily. FAMILIES OF DECEASED WAR VICTIMS IN MEDJUGORJE
The families of deceased Croatian soldiers, who with the organization of the Croatian Army spend their rest period in Ba ka Voda, have already for a long time been coming to Medjugorje for pilgrimage every Saturday. During their one-day pilgrimage they usually visit the Hill of Apparitions, Cross Mountain, and celebrate a common Holy Mass in the church. For the families that have lost their fathers in war, Medjugorje with its message of peace has become a genuine refuge and a fountain of peace, hope and consolation.
MISSIONARY TRAVELS OF FR. SLAVKO BARBARIC
At the invitation of Medjugorje pilgrims and friends of Medjugorje and Centers of Peace, Fr. Slavko Barbari} went on a missionary journey to Belgium. In nine days Fr. Slavko visited ten Belgian cities. A large number of faithful participated at all the prayer meetings, during the course of which Fr. Slavko spoke about Our Lady's message of peace directed to the world.
It is interesting that a lot of young people were at all the meetings. In addition to spreading Our Lady's message of peace, Medjugorje pilgrims endeavor to make the public aware of the cruel events in our homeland. One nine-year-old girl, touched at hearing about these things, came up to Fr. Slavko at the end of a prayer meetings and said: "Tell the children who are in the war that I pray for them every night and that I love them all. I am sorry that they cannot play the same way we can."
At the French speaking national shrine of Beauraing about 3,000 faithful gathered for the prayer meeting. Our Lady appeared at that shrine in 1932 and 1933. The messages she directed to the world at that time are simple invitations to prayer. Hundreds of thousands of faithful gather in the shrine every year. After the prayers a festive mass was celebrated by Bishop Leonard. In his sermon he said: ". . .The Church has not yet said the last word about the Medjugorje apparitions, but we need to accept the messages. Because all who are accepting them are renewing the Church, and the Church needs renewal.. ." After communion the organizer placed a basket before the altar with the names of all the priests in Belgium. He invited everyone present to come forward and each one to draw a piece of paper from the basket and to pray for the priest whose name was written on the paper, suggesting that they let the priest know that they are praying for him. Bishop Leonard was moved to tears and thanked the faithful for this great gift to the priests and the church in Belgium. He addressed the youth in a particular way to have the courage and the love to answer and follow the call the Lord is giving them.
NEW FRANCISCAN MONASTERY IN ZAGREB
On September 28, 1995 in the presence of a large number of dignitaries from Croatian ecclesiastical and social life, the new monastery of the Hercegovina Franciscan Province was solemnly opened in Zagreb. Franjo Cardinal Kuhari} blessed the church and monastery and presided at the solemn mass.
Thanks to the great promotion of the entire Province and the magnanimity of its friends and benefactors, the Hercegovina Franciscan Province succeeded in building their own monastery for their students. Until 1945 the Hercegovina Franciscans had a monastery in Zagreb which the communist authorities then forcefully confiscated from them. In the years after World War II the Hercegovina Franciscan Province suffered manifold setbacks. About 70 Franciscans were murdered, the seminary and library at iroki Brijeg were destroyed and all Franciscans schools were shut down.
Here we now wish to heartily thank all who by their love assisted in the construction of the Franciscan monastery in Zagreb.
E X P E R I E N C E S
In recent days Rev. Ricardo A. Hernandez visited Medjugorje. Meeting with him was interesting also because during his priestly life he served as an American military chaplain for 23 years. During these war times of ours it was interesting to hear something about how important the presence and the nearness of a priest is for a soldier.
About that Rev. Hernandez said: "I became a priest 30 years ago. For 23 of those years I have fulfilled the duty of military chaplain in the American army. Experience tells me how serious and important that assignment is. The priest has become a very important person in a soldier's life. Before going into combat duty many come to confession and to mass. I have frequently heard from those who previously lived unfaithfully: ". . .If I die, tell my family that I died as a believer. . ." People who are that often face to face with death, indeed need a priest close to them.
About his Medjugorje experience Rev. Hernandez said: "I came inspired by the experience of Archbishop Flores from Texas. Namely, a few years ago Archbishop Flores, during the course of a conversation with the Holy Father, asked him: "Many people are going to Medjugorje, but the Church has not yet either approved or forbidden it. What do you propose I tell the people from Texas?" The Holy Father answered: "I know that people are going there, that they pray and go to confession. If that is what they are doing, then it is ok." I am in Medjugorje for the first time and I am absolutely certain I will come again. This really is a great center of reconciliation, and we truly need reconciliation. I was especially deeply impressed celebrating the Eucharist with a number of priests and a crowd of the faithful. As soon as my circumstances permit, I will come again!"
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice Mira (Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje.
Last Modified 11/25/2002