M E D I T A T I O N
We bring peace! That is the cry the Queen of Peace has been repeating for years and years in the parish of Medjugorje. All, of course, swear that they are the ones who are working that way. But is it really in that way?
Some in this modern world understand peace in such a way that they think it is good to impose force on other people and states. Such people are ready to get into the arms race, to prescribe styles of behavior for individuals and nations, to deceive their citizens with the lies of mass media . . . In brief, they are not interested in the real truth, but only in "the truth" that serves their selfish interests.
To the other group belong all those who are ready to accept the truth, no matter what it is. They love themselves and their people, but others also in the same manner as their own people. They understand that only the universal brotherhood of all men can lead to happiness and well-being. Their model is Jesus Christ who did not exclude any person from his good news. He was the first to offer his hand to every man and eliminate all distinctions between people. On the basis of his kind of behavior various movements sprung up later which sometimes had nothing at all in common with Christianity.
What should be done? Isn't the answer totally evident? What the Queen of Peace has proclaimed has to be accepted. There is no individual or nation that is "more equal". We are all equal in the same manner. The time has come for Christ's concept of universal brotherhood finally to conquer on this earth. The responsibility is, of course, also on us. We have to get busy praying!
Fr. Miljenko Stojic
N E W S
VISIT OF BRAZILIAN BISHOP
At the beginning of November 1997 Msgr Joao Evangelist Martins Terra, the auxiliary bishop of Brasilia, capital city of the South American country of Brazil, visited the Shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje. At the time of his visit he gladly accepted to tell us something about his impressions and experiences. We here present his whole conversation :
Press Bulletin: We want to start by saying to you, "Welcome to Medjugorje." Tell us something about your country, your city Brasilia, the culture of your people, religion, standard of living. . .
Bishop Martins: First of all I greet all your readers. I am the auxiliary bishop of Brasilia and my name is John Evangelist Martins Terra. Brasilia is a new city and the capital city of Brazil. It is only thirty years old but it already has three million inhabitants. Brasilia is a city with a great influx of settlers. Even though the number of sects is growing in Brazil, Brasilia is still the diocese with the greatest number of Catholics. We have a diocesan seminary with 206 seminarians. We also have a seminary of the Franciscan Order with thirty seminarians. In addition we also have a movement that is spreading more and more in the world, and that is the neo-catechumenate movement. The seminary of the neo-catechumenate movement is also large with 76 seminarians. Next year twenty priests from this movement will be ordained. Brasilia in the beginning had priests from every order that came along with the people. Brazil with its huge area is more like a continent. It is just as big as all of United States and Europe together. It is composed of various peoples and races, the majority being Portuguese, Italian and other European nations. We also have a black population which originated from the slaves introduced in the sixteenth century and finally the indigenous population or native Indians. Now all of these make up one mixture of nations, 80% of which belong to the Catholic faith. In recent times various sects have begun to appear. These sects are non-
defined, with a highly pronounced discrimination. There is no difference between the sects, they just have different leaders. I think this phenomenon is insignificant and transient. In opposition to the appearance of these sects we have an outstanding charismatic movement that is called 'Renewal in the Spirit.'
I came here with a group of 45 members of that movement. First we visited the Holy Land. We were in Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem. We prayed a lot in these holy places. After each pilgrimage to the Holy Land at the end we come back to Medjugorje. Here in Medjugorje one senses a special devotion to Our Lady. Brazilians are greatly devoted to the Most Holy Virgin, Our Lady the Mother of Christ. In Brazil there is the shrine of Abresida where Our Lady appeared and there are many shrines dedicated to Our Lady.
Press Bulletin: When did you first hear about Medjugorje and from whom did you learn about this place?
Bishop Martin: I heard about Medjugorje the first time fifteen years ago. At that time I was in Europe. In Brazil we have a military cathedral dedicated to the Queen of Peace. In 1991 Marija Pavlovic and Fr. Leonard Orec visited Brazil. On that occasion they were present for the blessing of the corner stone of the same cathedral. The Catholic radio of Brasilia bears the name Queen of Peace and gets most of the credit for so many knowing about the events in Medjugorje.
Press Bulletin: Are you in Medjugorje for the first time?
Bishop Martin: Yes, I am here for the first time and unexpectedly. For me it is like a small miracle to find myself here. You know I am a professor of the Bible and I should now be in Brazil for lectures, but some unexplainable circumstances have led me here. For me and for the whole group this has been in some way a miraculous pilgrimage for us to be able to pray so long and without tiring.
Press Bulletin: What are your impressions, as a believer, as a bishop, a pastor of the Church?
Bishop Martin: I have visited Lourdes and Fatima several times. I saw that over there it is already practically finished, while here with the visionaries still always present one senses a great presence of Our Lady. I feel the whole place and surroundings alive for Our Lady, isn't it ? The whole place is alive for Our Lady. I am surprised at a place that is not as big as Fatima which has become a big city. Here it is not that way. One still always senses simplicity around the church. Yesterday I was at dinner with the Medjugorje Friars and their simplicity amazed me as also afterwards at prayer and at the time for confessions. I had a feeling like I were among the first churches in Jerusalem. I lived and worked in Jerusalem for two years as an archeologist and professor of Scripture. I worked in the Syrian desert as a chaplain to a Levitic tribe. I think all that work prepared me to be able now to feel great grace and Our Lady's blessing.
Press Bulletin: As a bishop, pastor of the Church you know that our local bishop is not favorable to these events. Does that bother you?
Bishop Martin: No, because there are also other bishops who think otherwise. I would like to recall the archbishop of Pescara who is my great friend and every year we go to the spiritual exercises in San Marino together with Fr. Gobbi. Every year spiritual exercises are organized for priests and bishops and that way also the archbishop of Pescara often comes. One time he told me that he asked the Holy Father about these events. "Holy Father what should I do when the faithful from my diocese of Pescara want often to go on pilgrimage to Medjugorje?" "What are they doing?" asked the Holy Father. "They pray and go to holy confession." "Well, isn't that good?" answered the Holy Father. I worked for ten years with the Holy Father and with Cardinal Ratzinger. Cardinal Ratzinger is a wonderful man, full of spirituality and very pleasant. Sometimes I hear it said about him that he is very strict and serious, but I think he is a man with a big heart. Once I asked him what he thinks about this movement. He answered me that the tree is recognized by the fruits, because good fruits are a sign of God's presence.
Press Bulletin: Cardinal Ratzinger told you that?
Bishop Martin: Yes.
Press Bulletin: About Medjugorje?
Bishop Martin: Yes, about Medjugorje and about Fr. Gobbi. For both movements.
Press Bulletin: When you return to Brazil what will you tell your faithful as a bishop, pastor of the Church?
Bishop Martin: In Brazil we have organized pilgrimages to Medjugorje and moreover we have pilgrimages to other shrines. The most numerous are the pilgrimages to Medjugorje which was for me very interesting and therefore I have come now to thank Our Lady for this beautiful gift. I think that by this visit I have made a large number of faithful in our diocese happy.
Press Bulletin: Will you support their going to Medjugorje?
Bishop Martin: Naturally. Beside that in Brazil we have a weekly publication with the latest news from Medjugorje. The publication is free and thereby a greater number of people read it.
Press Bulletin: And finally, what would you say to us who live here and work every day with the pilgrims? Your message to all the parishioners of Medjugorje?
Bishop Martin: Ordinarily it is said that nobody is a prophet in his own place. Many people come here to pray, but I wonder if the towns people of this place live in the same way? Again I wonder if the youth of Medjugorje realize how much grace there is here? Are they able to undertake the whole responsibility and give witness to the strong faith that God has given them? The responsibility is not just on the priests, but on all the parishioners who are dedicated to Our Lady. All the inhabitants of Medjugorje have to always keep this in mind.
Press Bulletin: To close, we are very grateful to you and take the opportunity of recommending ourselves to your prayers. In the name of all our readers we promise to pray for you and for all the pilgrims who come here.
Bishop Martin: And I am very glad to have been together with all of you, and, sad to say, we are already going back to Brazil this afternoon.
IN THE NAME OF WHOSE INTERESTS?
Throughout history every nation on earth has fought to be free. In modern times that has also been correctly confirmed by the United Nations Charter where it speaks of the right of a nation to self-determination.
The Croatian people, among whom the Queen of Peace appeared June 25, 1981, have not always succeeded in being independent. It has been chafed by various foreign regimes so that today it is a nation constituted in two states: Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina. It has only acquired freedom in these last years, having before that passed through a terrible, imposed war.
The coming of the Queen of Peace and her admonishing word to today's world, and the freedom of the Croatian people are not what everybody wanted. And they began to work against the one and the other from the very beginning.
The task for us who work in the Shrine of the Queen of Peace is not to engage ourselves in the political but in the religious field. We have always done so and we always will do so. Yet, when someone mixes political and religious sensitivities, it is our duty at least to say something about the truth. After that offensive BBC film in December 1996, Channel 4 in Great Britain has now also done it (November 20, 1997). They have presented a broadcast in which occasionally there are complete falsehoods. Here and there in reversing the facts they have tried to indict the Franciscans by portraying them as inventing Our Lady and perpetrating financial frauds. They present the Croatian people as genocidal and being the aggressor instead of being the victim. They alarm all the friends of Medjugorje into having nothing to do with such types. There is no point in defending oneself from these orgies but it makes sense merely to ask for whose interests are they doing these things. And even that only so that we might not also unconsciously have assisted them in these kind of foul dealings.
NEW RADIO STATION
On Tuesday November 25, 1997 RADIO STATION "MIR" - STUDIO MEDJUGORJE began operating. Fr. Miljenko Stojic is its director and Marija Dugandzic is editor-in-chief.
The purpose of this new radio station is to be at the service of pilgrims who come to the parish of Medjugorje. It is our hope in the course of time to even reach their homes, wherever that might be.The radio station was blessed November 7 by Msgr Lazaro Perez,the bishop of De Autlan, Halisco Mexico.
Any assistance of yours to this radio station will be welcome. We would especially request you to send us some CD's with music from your countries. We would like to greet you with them when you come to the Shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje. Thank you in advance.
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice mira ( Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje, BiH, fax number: +387-88-651-444.
Last Modified 12/04/97