February 26, 1997



Because of the uncontrolled development of industry the environment we live in has become exceptionally dirty. The sun is warming us more than it should be allowed to, dirty rains are trying to wash us, we walk along strangely colored river shores, our forests are sick and fragile. . .In retrospect we would have been able to enumerate the "signs" of modern civilization's development. Of course, that isn't necessary, but it is certainly necessary to break loose from this embrace.

We need cleanliness. We cannot live without it. As human beings we want our environment again to be as beautiful as it was before. We want clean rains and a friendly sun, blue rivers and green forests. As people it is what we want. As Christians we still want something else. Our soul has to be pure. It is the most beautiful pearl we have and we do not wish to enclose it with unworthy wrappings.

Our Lady has talked to us about all this. In one of her messages she called us to a walk in nature and to the purification of our own soul, that is, she called us to a life with the created world and to a life with our God. Cleansed by these lives we will be able one day to appear before our God.

Fr. Miljenko



In Word of Mary, a recently published book of the Italian author Luciano Moia, the preface was written by Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, retired archbishop of Ravenna, Italy. Here we are presenting a very condensed expression about Medjugorje in response to a question presented.

Question: "In all the places where there are apparitions, whether authentic or alleged, there exists an extraordinary incentive to devotion. There are visible conversions, return to a life of prayer, renewed discovery of the faith. One who has visited Medjugorje says that over there you can practically breathe faith, there is a palpable supernatural reality. In a society such as ours is, cold and indifferent, couldn't one indeed look upon that as either a little or a big miracle?"

Answer: "Yes, I know that is all being investigated. Thousands of pilgrims are coming to Medjugorje, they pray, they discover faith. It is a great gift and therefore we are grateful to God. But the Church waits before she pronounces her judgment. It is justifiable caution. Every doubtful matter has to be investigated, every uncertainty resolved. I personally think that the apprehensive wavering of the local bishop, together with all the nuances of various positions, must be a reason for consideration. It will still be necessary to await the official position of the Vatican. I trust in Christ's promise given to the apostles and to his successors till the end of the world: the judgment of the Church that is expressed in Christ's name, is the one that will convince me in the authenticity of individual apparitions or supernatural events."

Luciano Moia: Parola di Maria (Edizione Segno, Udine, 1996, p. 13)


Italian priest Fr. Gianni Sgreva recently visited Medjugorje and the "Oasis of Peace" community, of which he is the founder. He does this several times a year when circumstances permit, since in addition to Medjugorje the community has houses on every continent.

On the occasion of his last visit he told us something more about his community. Due to limitations ofspace we are presenting just a part of it.

"The young people, who came together in the prayer groups that I followed, in the course of time felt the need for founding a community that would be based on the Medjugorje messages and would indeed thereby be a direct fruit of Medjugorje. I, on the contrary, avoided the very thought of some new community because I already had my way, my vocation, and my work as a professor. Meanwhile, the desire and insistence of the young people for the realization of their needs and goals, grew stronger every day. I made it all known to my spiritual director and my own provincial. They asked me to follow the development of events and I did that. The following question bothered me: how to establish and lead a community that is connected with a reality such as is Medjugorje where yet 'unapproved apparitions' are taking place? Before founding the community I spoke with Cardinal Ratzinger. He listened to everything attentively and instructed me what to do. For Medjugorje he told me, "Don't you worry about the tree, you worry about the fruits, the vocations, and Medjugorje is our concern." I spoke also with the Holy Father. I talked to him about the community and the vocations connected with the experience of Medjugorje. The Holy Father listened to me, drew close to me and right in my ear said to me, reminding me not to forget: 'Don't you be concerned about Medjugorje, because I'm thinking about Medjugorje and I pray for its success every day. You be concerned with the vocations and pray for me every day.'

The charisms of the community are: consecrated life, gratitude to Our Lady that she is serving with us as an instrument of peace. In addition to the three customary vows, the community has one more: "To be peace" and to intercede for the peace of the Church and of the world. Now the community has about 140 members. This year in the novitiate we have twenty novices and already for the next novitiate more than twenty. There really are a lot of vocations, even if I never talk a lot about it nor am I promoting it."


On New Year's day Swiss priest Fr. Emile Ritz passed away in the sacristy of St. James Church. Immediately before the beginning of the Holy Mass for the German speaking pilgrims, he died from the consequences of a heart attack. Fr. Ritz was born in 1922 and was ordained a priest in 1947 as a member of the La Salette Fathers. For almost 50 years he accompanied German speaking pilgrims to the French shrine of La Salette. He made several pilgrimages to Medjugorje and this last time he brought a group of 250 young people from the city of Ulm. In keeping with his own wish he was buried in La Salette.

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.
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Last Modified 02/26/97