M E D I T A T I O N
CLOSE TO THE ANNIVERSARY
Honored Friends and devotees of the Queen of Peace!
Before us is the 17th anniversary of Our Lady's apparitions. When we remember the beginnings, we recall the difficulties, the distrustfulness, the hesitation, the many questions. We also remember the fears. Well, all this is neither that way anymore nor important. Its practically forgotten. Very quickly joy took the upper hand. And once we had yielded our confidence to God through the Queen of Peace, difficulties became completely a matter of secondary importance. It's hardly worth the trouble to talk about it anymore. There have remained some open questions. There have remained some things that are difficult to explain with human means. Most convincingly of all there has remained God's strength and power. This is all the more meaningful when there is mediated and put before us the consideration of how far away God is from the life of the world and of individuals. The pilgrims who come to Medjugorje have been convinced by the grace filled activity of God and they continuously return to the source of their experience, the experience that God is powerful.
The anniversary of the Medjugorje events will again draw tens of thousands of the faithful to the parish of Medjugorje. The multitude of people is an important thing. But the thing we do not need on this kind of occasion is a spectacle and numbers. Pilgrims have already developed the correct sense and are not looking for a spectacle. Therefore more and more for their pilgrimage they choose times when there are less pilgrims, when it is more peaceful and when, not bothered by big crowds, they can form their prayerful moments in peace.
What is primary and most important for this anniversary is to testify to our belonging to the Church and to the Lord, so that the gathering around the Queen of Peace be a promotion of our desires - to put God in the first place. This cannot be substituted by anything else. In this matter parishioners and pilgrims have to become of one heart and justify the trust and the gifts that they have received. This is an occasion for gratitude by which is realized a consciousness that we are not proprietors of, but rather servants of the acts of God. This is an occasion to inquire whether our ways are the ways of Our Lady? Or have we taken advantage of her name to raise our own views and projects up to the highest place and wrongly taken possession of what is undeserved and not ours?
Dear friends and devotees of the Queen of Peace, let us in these days unite in humble and grateful prayer the way Our Lady expressed it: "The Almighty has done great things for me and holy is His Name. . ." (Lk 1:49)
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
17TH ANNIVERSARY OF OUR LADY'S APPARITIONS IN MEDJUGORJE PARISH
On June 25th the 17th anniversary of Our Lady's apparitions will be observed in the shrine of the Queen of Peace. After the accursed war years in the parish of Medjugorje pilgrims are again coming from the whole world in the same numbers as had been also before the war. In only the first five months of this year 393,500 Holy Communions were distributed. So far the shrine of Medjugorje has been visited by several tens of millions of people from all countries of the world. In their homes and parishes they have become the messengers of Our Lady's messages of peace directed to each individual as well as to the whole of mankind.
But the first messengers that gave witness to Our Lady's presence in the parish of Medjugorje were the Medjugorje visionaries. In our Press Bulletin we are not in the habit of talking very much about the visionaries. We do always convey everything that Our Lady says through them to all of us, but still we want to protect their privacy and their families from excessive and unnecessary information. As we do every year on the occasion of the apparitions, so now also here we present in brief the course of their lives during these supernatural events.
According to the testimony of the six young parishioners, since June 24, 1981 the Blessed Virgin Mary has been appearing every day in the parish of Medjugorje. On that day the visionaries were frightened by Our Lady's appearance and ran away. The following day, June 25th, they responded to Our Lady's call and went to the hill of apparitions, where for the first time they prayed and conversed with her. Therefore, that day is celebrated as the anniversary of the Queen of Peace, the way Our Lady introduced herself.
Ivanka Ivankovic - Elez was born in 1966. She had the daily apparitions from June 24, 1981 till May 7, 1985. On that day Our Lady confided to her the last of ten secrets. Our Lady told her that for her entire life she will have an apparition every year on June 25, the anniversary of the apparitions. And so far it has been just that way.
Mirjana Dragicevic - Soldo was born in 1965. She had daily apparitions from June 24, 1981 till December 25, 1982. On the last day of her apparitions Our Lady told her that for the course of her entire life she will have an apparition once every year - on her birthday, March 18. Our Lady has also confided ten secrets to Mirjana.
Vicka Ivankovic was born in 1964. Our Lady appeared to her for the first time on June 24, 1981. Daily apparitions still continue for her and Our Lady has confided nine secrets to her.
Marija Pavlovic - Lunetti was born in 1965. Our Lady appeared to her for the first time on June 25, 1981. She also now has daily apparitions. Every 25th day of the month Our Lady through her directs her message to the parish and to the world. So far Our Lady has confided nine secrets to her.
Ivan Dragicevic was born in 1965. Our Lady has appeared to him every day from June 24, 1981 until today. Also to him Our Lady has confided nine secrets.
Jakov Colo was born in 1971. He has daily apparitions since June 25, 1981 until today. Our Lady has confided nine secrets to him.
All the visionaries live in the parish of Medjugorje, except Marija Pavlovic who lives in Italy and comes periodically to Medjugorje.
THE PEACE MARCH
This year also for the seventh year in a row the Peace March will be held. On June 24, 1998 it will commence at 7:00 AM with a prayer and a blessing in front of St. Anthony Monastery in Humac. The Peace March is a prayerful walk dedicated to God for peace. The idea itself was born in the hearts of foreign pilgrims during the bitterest days of the war in Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina. It was their contribution for peace to the agonized Croatian people.
VISIT OF BRAZILIAN BISHOP
This year in the first week of June the retired Brazilian Bishop Don Silverio Jarbas Paulo de Albuquerque visited Medjugorje. He is a member of the Franciscan Order and from 1970 to 1995 was ordinary for the diocese of Feira de Santana. He spent a week in Medjugorje, accompanied by one of the priests of his diocese.
He briefly summarized the impressions of his stay in Medjugorje: "The strongest impression made on me was the simplicity of prayer and the strong faith of those that I met. There is no kind of fanaticism here. I saw a very great number of young people gathering here. Marian shrines have an important role in the life of the Church."
VISIT OF RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR
On June 2, 1998 the Russian Federation ambassador in Sarajevo, Philipp Sidorskiy and the OSCE Ambassador for Bosnia-Hercegovina, Vladimir N. Kuznetsov, visited Medjugorje with their escort. In the course of their official travel through Hercegovina they also stopped by in Medjugorje, wishing to get acquainted with the place about which they have heard so much. The Russian officials were introduced to the shrine and engaged in hearty conversation with the Medjugorje Franciscans. During the conversation they showed a special interest in the history of the shrine and in the events connected with the phenomenon of apparitions.
From February 28 to March 5, 1999 a Prayer-Educational Seminar on the theme "Pilgrimage - A Part of Our Faith Walk" will be held in Hotel "Sunce" in Neum. The sixth Prayer-Educational Seminar will last for six days instead of the usual five days. The first four days will, just as before, be taken up with prayer, lectures and sharing of experiences, while the last day in entirety will be dedicated to spiritual renewal. Just as in previous years so also this seminar will close with a community pilgrimage to Medjugorje. The program and remaining details connected with the seminar will be published in following numbers of the Press Bulletin.
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 06/17/98