January 1, 1997



Somehow, we always see the New Year as a new start. Whether we believe in God or not, we always want to leave our bad habits behind and become a new person. We do this in different ways.

In these days even slight adherence to the media, seems to suggest that happiness in the New Year should be sought in material well-being. How we should attain that state of material well-being,- they havn't really tried to explain!

Here at Medjugorje,it's the opposite, it's all very clear. Here too, there's talk about wealth, but it's spiritual wealth. Only when we've attained spiritual wealth can we be truly materially wealthy. Because, in that state, the material well-being won't be able to destroy us, but will just be a help, both for ourselves and for those around us. In Medjugorje, we won't be awaiting the New Year in costly retaurants or in hotels. We'll be doing it on our knees in the church. With this we are clearly saying that every new beginning has a purpose only if connected with God.

I don't know how all of us are approaching this new period. But if we havn't done it clearly with God in mind, let's do it now. It's only too late if we say that it's too late.

Fra. Miljenko



The Croatian Ambassador to India, Mr Stambuk, went to visit Mother Teresa, who at present is at the Birla recovery hospital in Calcutta. He wished her a speedy recovery also on behalf of the Croatian people, the President of the Republic of Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tudman, Cardinal Kuharic.

The Ambassador told Mother Teresa that in the Croatian national sanctuary of Marija Bistrica, Cardinal Kuharic had offered mass for her recovery, and that very many Croatian people pray for her. Mother Teresa expressed her thanks for all the prayers and good wishes, and told Mr. Stambuk how sorry she was that she hadn't visited Medjugorje. She mentioned Fr. Ante Gabrica, the deceased Croatian missionary, now buried n the vicinity of Calcutta, and said that he was a very holy man. She recommended to the Croatian people, that they pray together within the family,and said "the family who prays together, stays together".


Many have come and gone to Medjugorje throughout these fifteen years. So too the BBC which even likes to call itself independent and a searcher of truth. We will not go into whether that's the way it really is, but when the question is about Croatians and Medjugorje, things are totally otherwise.

In October 1996 the BBC made a documentary film in Medjugorje. It was shown these days in the United Kingdom of England and provoked indignation among the Catholics there.

Croatian Catholics were not surprised by this film. Up to the beginning of the war in the former communist Yugoslavia they more or less held that the BBC is independent and a searcher of truth. Then they began to understand that it isn't that way. Instead of helping them to defend against the aggressors, the BBC distorted the truth and consistently tried to diminish the guilt of the aggressors, while making the victims out to be guilty. Let us merely recall the example of Vukovar from 1991. That event which shook the whole world the BBC made continuous efforts to play down and even worse to pass over in silence. An entire beautiful city was annihilated. Its Croatian inhabitants who had not already died were met with aggression and killed or taken off to prison camps. Today the UN is investigating the consequences of those crimes. In the city of Vukovar it is uncovering a massive burial site in which were found wounded people who, while still living, had been led away by the aggressor from the Vukovar Hospital. There were 250 of them.

The BBC prepared a long time for the film about Medjugorje. What we know so far for certain is that in the months of May and June 1996 their crew was staying in Split (among the local members of IFOR), in Medjugorje and its vicinity preparing material for the film. Those who came in contact with these crews were surprised by their initial thesis. They all repeated the same thing: You here in Medjugorje say that Our Lady is appearing and that she is the Queen of Peace. How then is it that the Croatian people to whom she has appeared are at war? After these kind of questions only pain resulted.

The film is entitled "Desperately seeking Madonna". The camera follows 250 pilgrims who traveled to Medjugorje from Manchester. Having arrived in Split, an English officer suddenly enters the bus and tells the astonished pilgrims that they are going to a place full of mines; they should not touch anything because it could easily explode; Medjugorje is a real war zone. The pilgrims were frightened, but on the organizer's assurance continued on their way. After arriving in Medjugorje, the camera begins to follow only four pilgrims out of that whole group. While in Medjugorje these "pilgrims" pass their time as though looking for sensations. They stare at the sun for hours and hours waiting for something extraordinary to start happening with it. In the same mood they also buy souvenirs looking for something out of the ordinary to happen even to them. The film narrative is intersected with fragments of past events from Medjugorje. Altogether for the viewer they make every effort to create the impression that everything is based on materialistic profit and that the Croatian people are at least equally if not even more guilty for the events in the former communist Yugoslavia.

By its very showing the film at once stirred up spirits. Protests began to pour in from all parts of the United Kingdom. The BBC defended itself by saying that such a supposition of the film resulted only accidentally, just by itself. They said they only recorded what they saw. That was so unsatisfactory to the Catholic community that protests were even written to the English government.

Everyone, of course, has the right to make any kind of documentary film. But what everyone must pay attention to is the truth. If nothing else, then at least professional ethics demands it of us.

Published by : INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice mira
(Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace),
88266 Medjugorje, BiH, fax number: 00387 88 651 444.
Director: fra Miljenko Stojic.
You can receive the latest issue of the Press Bulletin at any time on your own fax machine in the tone
mode by dialing the Robofax in our Information Center at +387-88-65-15-55.
Published every other Wednesday.

Last Modified 12/31/96