M E D I T A T I O N
A very large group of people gathers at every anniversary of the apparition of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje. They come in various ways from all parts of the world. The ones who come on foot are very interesting. This way is often several hundred kilometers long. If rain doesn't wash them, then the sun burns them and covers them with dust. Tired in body but rested in spirit, they come to take counsel with the Queen of Peace on how to further direct their earthly steps.
Their example teaches us that unless we really know what we want in life, there is no way we can obtain it. It is a mistake to spend day after day in some kind of search that in no way leads to results. The time that the saints spent searching in the desert is a time in which they knew what they wanted and attained it through their hard desert walk.
The Queen of Peace calls us to be prepared to set out on our walk. It will be somewhat difficult, but it will lead to the desired result only if we want that. So we have to get dressed, lift up our heads and start out.
Fra Miljenko Stojic
N E W S
16th ANNIVERSARY OF OUR LADY'S APPARITIONS IN THE PARISH OF MEDJUGORJE
In the course of these past 16 years Our Lady's presence in this parish has been spread throughout the world through pilgrims. In spite of the events of war that happened in our homeland, Our Lady's message of peace touched even the most distant parts of the world and made Medjugorje the parish of the world. Confirmation of that is also the presence of about 100,000 faithful who visited Medjugorje for the 16th anniversary. It is practically impossible to enumerate the countries from which the faithful made pilgrimage to the Queen of Peace. It suffices to mention the fact that in the course of only two days, June 24th and 25th, 40,000 Holy Communions were distributed. A multitude of domestic pilgrims, and a great number of them barefooted, came to Medjugorje to thank Mary for the peace granted. The open air evening mass on the very anniversary at which more than 50,000 faithful participated was presided by Franciscan Fr. Gabriel Jurisic. 212 priests concelebrated from 31 countries. On the feast of the anniversary masses for different language groups were celebrated in the shrine and that in about 15 languages.
Three church dignitaries came for the 16th anniversary of Our Lady's apparitions in Medjugorje: the retired Archbishop of Split, Dr. Frane Franic, from Italy the titular bishop of Rusado, Paolo Hnilica S.J., and the archbishop of Manizales in Columbia, Fabio Betancur Tirado who is on his way to Rome for a meeting with Pope John Paul II. He joined in mass with the pilgrims and gave witness to his own conviction in Our Lady's presence in the parish of Medjugorje.
On June 24, vigil of the 16th anniversary of Our Lady's apparitions, the "Peace March" was held for the sixth time in a row. It began at 6:45 a.m. with prayer and blessing of the pilgrims in front of the Franciscan monastery in Humac. The pilgrims, about 7,000 in all, set out at 7:00 for Medjugorje. After their arrival in Medjugorje they gathered in front of the church for a brief community prayer. The idea of the "Peace March" was conceived in the hearts of Medjugorje pilgrims and friends of Medjugorje n the most intense days of the war in 1992. That prayer march of 13 kilometers is an answer to unrest, violence and hatred, and an impulse toward authentic peace and reconciliation.
THE REGULAR APPARITION OF OUR LADY TO THE VISIONARY IVANKA
The visionary Ivanka Ivankovic Elez had the regular annual apparition on June 25, 1997. According to the testimony of the visionaries themselves four of them (Vicka, Marija, Ivan and Jakov) still always have the daily apparitions, while Mirjana and Ivanka have an apparition once a year. On the occasion of her last daily apparition May 7, 1985 Our Lady, entrusting the last of 10 secrets to her, told Ivanka that for the course of her entire life she will have an apparition once a year on the anniversary of the apparitions. And it was that way also this year. Ivanka had the six minute apparition in own family home. After the apparition Ivanka said, "Our Lady talked to me about the fifth secret and spoke the following message: "Dear children, pray with the heart to know how to forgive and how to be forgiven. I thank you for your prayers and the love you give to me."
VISIT OF BISHOP DAMIAN KYARUZI FROM TANZANIA
At the end of May Msgr. Damian Kyaruzi, a newly named bishop in Tanzania, visited Medjugorje. On his journey to Rome where he will be consecrated bishop, he visited Medjugorje. This is what he said on the occasions: "I am a priest of the diocese of Bukoba in Tanzania. Till now I have the Vicar General in my diocese and now I am named as bishop of the diocese of Sumbawanga. I am already a priest for 29 years. My episcopal consecration will be on the anniversary of my own priesthood ordination, June 29, 1997. I am in Medjugorje for the first time. I came here to pray before my episcopal consecration. Here I found a place and people who pray a lot in Church, on Podbrdo and Cross Mountain. I saw deep devotion on the mountains. I welcomed this experience because for me it means that people are ready to pray, when they are given the opportunity and when they are led well. But this is not only a place of payer, but a place where one can learn a lot. It is particularly important to me that I understood that we are all pilgrims. Pilgrims who come here discover the gift of life. God heals them here. They come back to God, they grasp the law of life and become messengers of peace. I want in my own ministry to tell people not to be afraid to accept life, even though I know it isn't easy. When we climb the Medjugorje mountains, we can understand those difficulties. That can be experienced especially on Cross Mountain. The lesson one gets on Cross Mountain says: One has to accept everything one encounters in life and complete one's assignment. You only have to look at and follow Jesus' way of the cross. I want all pilgrims here to accept their life pilgrimage with God and Mary."
VISIT OF A BISHOP FROM CAMEROON
In the second half of June the bishop of the diocese of Mbalmayo from Cameroon visited Medjugorje. His name is Msgr Adalbert Hdzana and this is what he said on the occasion: "I gladly visit the great Marian pilgrimage place. I have already been to Lourdes and Fatima twice. Here I feel completely fulfilled and am happy that I came. Here I feel that Medjugorje is the continuation of Fatima. Someone already said that before. But what I see here is the continuation of Fatima, because here I see the realization of the gospel in a way that corresponds to the man of today and to the situation of men. What is important is being proclaimed here: love, confidence in God. However, sin is opposed to that life that God offers us here. Everything Our Lady is telling us here is found in the Gospel and the means to which she call us are out of the gospel and the tradition of the Church. Here life is spoken of, but in the world death is being experienced. The sacraments are the channels through which we obtain divine life. And Our Lady is inviting us to receive the sacraments and to live them. The sacrament of reconciliation is especially at work here and the Eucharist is found at the center.
The manner in which all this is happening here is very simple, I like that, yet again that which is most important is being proclaimed. I believe, that in these kind of events the Church has to remain very reasonable. I can especially understand all the caution because the events here are still not finished. But here much good is happening and already for a rather long time and this must help us to understand what we are dealing with. What I have learned here, I think, will help me to go back more to pastoral work, as the Pope also told us when he said to us to do everything to prepare well for the 2000 year jubilee. What is especially on my heart here in Medjugorje, what I will tell everyone, is conversion and consecration. Our Lady is constantly telling us, free yourselves from sin and open yourselves to God's love. When I go back, I will proclaim again what I have heard and experienced here. That is what re-evangelization means. I invite one to take advantage of this time of grace that God is giving us here through Mary. May God bless you. I will pray for all of your and you pray for me and my homeland."
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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Published every other Wednesday.
Last Modified 07/02/97