Conclusions from Yearly International Meetings for Guides and Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups
1st International Meeting for Guides, Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups for the 13th anniversary of the apparitions
Medjugorje, June 21 – 23, 1994
Lecturers on the 1st International Meeting for Guides and Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups were: Dr. Fr. Tomislav Pervan, Fr. Jozo Zovko, Dr. Fr. Slavko Barbarić and other Franciscans serving in Medjugorje. At the end of the meeting was published the following
Inspired by the messages of Our Lady in Medjugorje, the directors of the prayer groups and the Centres for Peace have gathered in Medjugorje from the 21st to the 23rd of June 1994 for the 13th Anniversary of the apparitions. We thank God for His gift. We thank also all the friends in the world that accept, deepen, live and spread the messages of Our Lady.
After having participated in the conferences: "Marian Times in the Light of the Papal Encyclicals", "Medjugorje in Today's Church" and "The Role of the Laity in the Medjugorje Movement", we have become even more conscious of our own responsibility for the new evangelisation. We have reflected on the spreading of the messages of Our Lady in our own surroundings and we have paid attention to the difficulties we are facing. We wish to transmit the conclusions of our reflections to all our friends, our pilgrims and to the parish of Medjugorje.
The messages of Our Lady do not bring any new revelation. All are based on that which is written in the Gospel: "Do whatever He tells you." (John 2:5). We wish to emphasize the need to transmit the messages in an authentic manner, looking for the translations to be in conformity to the original in the Croatian language while at the same time respecting the spirit of each language.
There is no need to confuse the original spirituality of Medjugorje with any other phenomena or messages. We have made a collective decision to create in Medjugorje an Information Centre that, being tied with all the centres of Medjugorje in the world, would send to them a monthly bulletin of the events related to Medjugorje.
We also wish that all responsible for the Medjugorje shrine or any other place in the world watch over the spiritual well being whether it be that of the pilgrims, or that of the parishioners of the parish of Medjugorje.
In the common interest of all venerators of the Queen of Peace, let all those who speak publicly on an official level on behalf of Medjugorje - be it the Priests, the visionaries, or the laity - do it in accordance with the Shrine.
We advise the groups and all those on their own to join as much as possible their own ecclesiastic community with full respect toward the local ecclesiastic authority.
We also wish to remind everyone that the messages of Medjugorje do not contain any fear of the apocalyptic times. Instead, it is a message of peace between man and God and peace between all people.
The shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje is a Marian shrine. According to Mary's example, the village wishes to remain humble, obedient and simple.
We wish to continue with encounters of this kind and we wish to cherish them so that the bonds between us may remain as alive as possible.
Medjugorje, June 21 – 23, 1994
Fr. Ivan Landeka, OFM, Pastor
2nd International Meeting for Guides, Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups
Baska Voda, April 2 - 6, 1995
At the international symposium in Baska Voda held from April 2 to 6, 1995, seventy leaders of prayer groups and centres of peace from 15 states, four visionaries and the priests who work in Medjugorje participated. Lecturers were: Dr. Fr. Ivan Dugandžić, Dr. Fr. Ljudevit Rupčić, Prof. Dr. Josip Marcelić, Dr. Fr. Tomislav Pervan, Hans Schotte and Sr. Isabel Bettwy.
After hearing the lectures, exchanging ideas and experiences and praying together, taking into consideration all the criteria: regarding the visionaries, the messages of Our Lady and the fruits of those messages in the lives of the faithful throughout the whole world, we are even more convinced that the Medjugorje apparitions are a gift of God for our times. They are an encouragement for the people of God in these times of trouble and turmoil, an impulse and direction to the Church in her search for the ways of new evangelisation on the approach to the third millennium. Our Lady's messages are not a new revelation, but a new help for revelation to be grasped in a new way and to be incorporated in new times. In them are contained, in some sense, concrete answers to the most recent documents of Pope John Paul II.
Accordingly, we recommend to all prayer groups and centres of peace:
- That in Our Lady's messages they see a call to and direction toward the only Saviour Jesus Christ, the author of Salvation and the One who accomplishes it.
- That they always keep in their heart concern for the Church, for which Mary is Mother, model, exemplar and final goal of her journey through time.
- That they especially do everything so that through them, the local Church may experience the fruits of conversion and peace.
- That in the context of Our Lady's messages they be open to the signs of today's world and times, in order to be a sign of hope and a place of security for all men amid modern problems and uncertainties.
- That they do everything in love and understanding to overcome mutual disagreements so as altogether to serve better the great good of peace.
Baska Voda, April 2 - 6, 1995
3rd International Meeting for Guides, Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups
Tucepi, March 17 - 21, 1996
The third international seminar for leaders of prayer groups, Centres of Peace, and of Medjugorje pilgrims was held at Tucepi from March 17 - 21, 1996. About 100 leaders from 17 countries, two visionaries and the priests who work in Medjugorje participated. Lecturers were: Fr. Kurt Knotzinger, Dr. Fr. Ljudevit Rupčić, Dr. Fr. Slavko Barbarić and Fr. Miljenko Stojić. In conclusion, the following declaration was adopted:
Aware of the circumstances in which the Church and the world are situated, we have in prayer sought the way to proceed with Our Lady into the 21st century. The lectures and exchange of ideas in the discussions and work according to language groups has brought us to conclusions that we wish to announce to all prayer groups, Centres of Peace, pilgrims and to the parish of Medjugorje:
- The future, no matter how uncertain it might be in itself, rests in the hands of God. But God awaits our contribution for making it safer and more human. And Our Lady has called us all, in the words of her Son, to full conversion (June 1990; July 1991).
- . "Read Sacred Scripture, live it, and pray to understand the signs of the times" (June 1991; August 1993). Our Lady's Medjugorje messages are an urgent call for us - to live the Gospel of her Son.
- It is Our Lady's desire that throughout the whole world prayer groups be organized that will open the participants to the Spirit of God to recognize in the Bible God's word for our time and in prayer to discover ways for its accomplishment.
- Prayer groups should be the heart and soul of parish communities, a source of confidence and efficacious love and peace.
- With its archive, library, information booth, Press Bulletin, Robofax, Internet, BBS, and its radio, soon to come, the Information Centre "MIR" Medjugorje is at the service of pilgrims, Centres of Peace and prayer groups.
- Cooperation and exchange of information is recommended between the Information Centre "MIR" and the Centres throughout the world, as well as a supportive mutual closeness of the Centres within each individual country.
Tucepi, March 17 - 21, 1996
4th International Meeting for Guides, Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups
Theme: “Spirituality of the Family”
Neum, February 24 – 28, 1997
On the 4th International Meeting for Guides and Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups at Neum, February 24 - 28, 1997, the lecturers were: Dr. Paul M. Zulehner, Prof. Dr. Ljudevit Rupčić, Dr. med. Fr. Joško Srdanović, Dr. Fr. Slavko Barbarić, Fr Miljenko Stojić, Dr. Fr. Rene Laurentin and the Franciscan fathers serving in Medjugorje.
The 130 leaders of prayer groups, Centres of Peace, and organizers of pilgrimages, from 21 countries, have dedicated our Fourth International Prayer Meeting at Neum from February 24 to 28, 1997 to meditation on spirituality of the family. Through our listening to the lectures, our group discussions, the sharing of experiences, praying and celebrating the Eucharist, we have come to understand more profoundly that the family is:
- essentially rooted in the creative plan of God;
- particularly honoured in the Holy Family through the Incarnation;
- in Christianity consecrated by the sacrament of matrimony.
We have become more aware that today's family is in crisis, but also that hope exists for the family and for the world. To all men of good will we wish to testify to that hope. To all who revere the Queen of Peace we recommend striving to live Our Lady's messages:
- by community prayer in the family;
- by the reading of Sacred Scripture;
- by communal celebration of Holy Mass.
If God obtains his own true place in the family, then the Church, the family, and the world will be renewed. That way we will become capable of joyfully entering the new millennium with renewed hope.
To everyone in the world that spreads Our Lady's messages we recommend to remain in the service of the truth and not to spread ideas in the name of Medjugorje that are not in agreement with those messages. We recommend, therefore, interpersonal communication, as well as communication with the "MIR" Information Centre in Medjugorje.
Neum, February 24 – 28, 1997
5th International Meeting for Guides, Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups
Theme: “The Medjugorje Spiritual Movement”
Neum, March 9 – 13, 1998
The Prayer-Educational Seminar for leaders of prayer groups, pilgrim groups, and Centres of Peace throughout the world was held from March 9 to 13, 1998, in Neum. About 150 leaders from seventeen countries took part in the work of the seminar on the theme "The Medjugorje Spiritual Movement". Lecturers were: Dr. Marianne Tigges, Dirk Grotheus, Dr. Fr. Ivan Dugandžić and the Franciscan friars serving in Medjugorje. The aim of these seminars, which have already been held for five years in a row, is better acquaintance and the exchange of experiences of those who work with pilgrims in Medjugorje and in their own centres.
At the end of the seminar, a common Declaration was drafted.
In community of prayer and fellowship, the 150 leaders of prayer groups from seventeen countries listened to lectures on spiritual movements in general (Marianne Tigges from Bonn), on the Medjugorje spiritual movement in the Church today (Dirk Grothues from Munich) and on the contribution of Medjugorje to the new evangelisation (Ivan Dugandzic from Zagreb).
In group discussions according to languages and in conversation with the lecturers, we drew up the following conclusions:
- We are grateful to God that in our time he is giving the Church new impulses of the Holy Spirit, which sometimes mature into genuine spiritual movements. We are happy that Medjugorje can be characterized as a spiritual movement in today's Church.
- We consider it our duty to preserve the originality of the Medjugorje spiritual movement and to offer testimony of authentic Christian life based on Our Lady's messages, which express the marrow of the Gospel, so we might make our contribution to the renewal of the Church.
- In order that the spiritual movement, which has originated from Our Lady's messages, obtain a still greater significance, the need was proclaimed for extending a path of peace in the world and in the local Church to which the parish of Medjugorje belongs.
Neum, March 9 – 13, 1998
6th International Meeting for Guides, Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups
Theme: “Pilgrimage - Part of Our Journey of Faith”
Neum, February 28 to March 5, 1999
150 leaders from fifteen countries attended the meeting. The lecturers were: Prof. Dr. Adalbert Rebić, Fr. Stanislaw Kania, Dr. Fr. Slavko Barbarić and Franciscan friars serving in Medjugorje. On this occasion, the participants made the following
We have reflected on the Document of the Holy Sea "Pilgrimage in the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000" - the characteristics of pilgrimages to large Marian Sanctuaries - as they apply specifically to Medjugorje. Conscious that pilgrimages play an important role in the life of the faithful, we want to organize our pilgrimages even more wisely so that they truly become an opportunity and an occasion for the faithful to find spiritual edification through them, to deepen their spiritual life and to orientate their way of life towards God.
This is why we make the following recommendation to all Medjugorje Centres and prayer groups:
- to participate in the pilgrimage programs organized by their local parishes for the Great Jubilee 2000;
- in light of the above-mentioned Document of the Holy Sea, to prepare, accompany and organize pilgrimages to Medjugorje so that the pilgrims can experience "the silent and attentive contact with God and with themselves", especially in the Sacrament of Holy Confession and in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
Neum, February 28 to March 5, 1999
7th International Meeting for Guides, Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups
Theme: “Medjugorje - A Prophetic Thrust For the 21st Century”
Neum, March 19 to 24, 2000
At the seventh meeting for leaders of centres of peace about 100 participants from twenty countries from all five continents took part. The lecturers were: Fr. Ivica Vidović, Fr. Sabino Palumbieri, Alphonse Sarrach and the Franciscan friars serving in Medjugorje. On that occasion, as every year before, the participants adopted the following
Gathered in Neum from March 19 to 24, 2000, at the seventh meeting for the leaders of Centres of Peace and Medjugorje prayer groups, we address ourselves to the friends and the pilgrims of the Queen of Peace:
- We are in the year of the Great Jubilee of Christianity. Let us strive to put Jesus Christ at the centre of our lives and so to make our contribution to the renewal of the Church of our times and of the local Church.
- Within the content of the program of the Jubilee and of Our Lady's messages from Medjugorje we recognize connecting points. Our Lady's word: "Do whatever He tells you" reveals to us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
- Proclamation of the Gospel is the prophetic task of all Christians. It realized by taking first place in one's own life. A life in keeping with that is the very best proclamation. The same is valid also for those who spread Our Lady's messages.
- Let Our Lady's invitation to peace and reconciliation be present in a special way in the life of individuals, of families and groups, especially in this year of the Great Jubilee.
- Again, we call on all to get to know better and faithfully to preserve the originality of Medjugorje spirituality.
Medjugorje, March 24, 2000
8th International Meeting for Guides, Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups
Theme: “Peace and reconciliation”
Medjugorje, February 26th to March 1st, 2001
The 8th International Meeting for Leaders of Centres of Peace and Medjugorje Prayer and Charity Groups in the Shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje. It took place from February 26th to March 1st, 2001. The theme of the meeting was “Peace and Reconciliation”. 140 participants from 20 countries gathered for this event. The speakers were Dr. Fr. Božo Lujić, Dr. Fr. Ljudevit Rupčić, Dr. Fr. Tomislav Pervan, Fr. Ljubo Kurtović, and Fr. Jozo Zovko. The host of this meeting was Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar, the pastor of Medjugorje. During four days, the participants had prayed and meditated on the theme of peace and reconciliation. They also climbed Apparition Hill and Mount Križevac, and shared practical questions regarding the apparitions of Medjugorje.
For twenty years, we have been witnessing that Jesus, the King of Peace, has become the centre of our pilgrim journey to Medjugorje through His Mother Mary, the Queen of Peace.
Gathered for the 8th International Meeting for Leaders of Centres of Peace and Medjugorje Prayer and Charity Groups, we meditated on peace and reconciliation through speeches, prayer and sharing. In order to better comprehend our role, we understood that it consists foremost in living the Word of the Gospel: “And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5:18-19)
We want to become betteraware of the Word of the Lord, Who founded the most fruitful soil in the heart of Mary, His Mother and our Mother; we want to imprint this in our hearts as a sacred task and mission.
May this Lent, which has begun, be a fruitful time on this journey!
Medjugorje, 1st of March 2001
9th International Meeting for Guides, Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups
Theme: “Pray, Pray, Pray…”
Medjugorje, 17 – 21 February 2002
From February 17th to 21st, 2002, the Ninth International Meeting for Guides and Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity Groups was held in Medjugorje. 170 leaders and priests accompanying these Medjugorje organisations in the world attended the meeting. The lecturers were Dr. Fr. Ivan Dugandzic, Fr. Ivan Landeka. Fr. Jozo Zovko, and Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic. In the name of the organisers, Fr. Branko Rados (Pastor) and Fr. Mario Knezovic (Director of the Information Centre “Mir” Medjugorje) welcomed the participants and coordinated the meeting. During the five-day seminar, there was also a day of prayer and fasting. At the end of the encounter, the participants adopted the following declaration:
The Ninth International Meeting for Guides and Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity Groups was held at the beginning of the Lenten graceful time of prayer, fasting, penance and conversion, and under the shelter of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje. At the meeting under the title, “Pray, Pray, Pray…” 170 participants from 15 countries from all over the world gathered.
Aware that, as Christians, we are called to follow Christ completely (Lk 5:1-11), we understand our responsibility for the tasks given by our Saviour in this contemporary, sometimes godless world.
The world and each individual can be open to the grace of God through prayer and thus establish a dialogue with the Creator of the world (Mt 6:7-15). Precisely in Medjugorje, the prayer movement represents a specific way of renewal of the Church and a specific response to the generosity of God.
Our Lady calls us with perseverance to pray with the heart for this peaceless world (message of September 25th, 2001), which tears itself down in hatred and selfishness. This is why we, the participants of this seminar invite everyone to abandonment in prayer, because this is the road that can lead the world and each individual to Christ, who is our peace.
Encouraged by the presence of Our Lady in this Shrine and by her motherly patience and love for us, we invite all human hearts to recognize Our Lady’s voice that calls us to prayer and conversion.
In the time of Lent, we encourage in a special way generosity, renouncement and fasting as a form of encounter with Christ in those who are hungry, thirsty, imprisoned… (Mt 25:31-46).
From this meeting held in the spirit of prayer, and from this place, which has become a sign of encounter and prayer of the whole world, we invite everyone to pray for unity of the Church, for peace in the world, and for the conversion of sinners.
Obedient to the message of Our Lady, we tend also to make her voice present in every heart, and to implant her school of prayer into our parish communities and our families.
Although coming from different parts of the world, through prayer we were united in one family. May this fruitful sign speak to the contemporary humanity, which is so disunited.
Medjugorje, February 21st, 2002
10th International Meeting for Guides, Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups
Theme: “The Essential of Medjugorje”
Medjugorje, February 23 to 27, 2003
The 10th International Meeting for Guides and Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity Groups took place in Medjugorje from February 23 to 27, 2003. There were 150 leaders and priests who lead the Medjugorje Associations all over the world. They adopted a common declaration, which we publish entirely:
Gathered in a place of prayer and of peace, following the voice of Our Lady and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, 150 of us gathered for the 10th International Meeting for Guides and Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity Groups. In an atmosphere of prayer and in brotherly and sisterly union, we reflected on the theme “The Essential of Medjugorje”.
Knowing the powerful message that comes from Medjugorje to the Church, to the world and to each individual, we considered it important to consider once again the power of this message and of what it means today. Our Lady’s messages from Medjugorje come to us for almost 22 years now. Our Lady wants to tell us to come back to Jesus, the source of our life. “I desire to draw you ever closer to Jesus and to His wounded heart that you might be able to comprehend the immeasurable love which gave itself for each one of you.” (Our Lady’s message, November 25, 1991) This is why, inspired by the experiences of many individuals, we consider that the ambience of Medjugorje is a new stimulation and invitation to go to the source of our faith and to seek our Saviour. “There is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4,12).
Without Jesus, the world in which we live and whose destiny we share goes into the unknown. In such a world, the paths trodden by millions of people who pray inspired by Medjugorje, can only be a new hope and a prophetical voice. As such, Medjugorje obliges all those who have heard and understood the voice of God, to announce and to witness to others. In this sense, in this year of the Bible, we invite all those in the world who venerate Our Lady, to be the most beautiful bearers of the Good News by their own lives. In this task, God will surely not leave us alone. “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.” (Mk 16,20)
During this meeting, we reflected also on the role of the Church in new forms of evangelisation and on its openness in observing the apparitions of Medjugorje. In the year of the Rosary proclaimed by the Holy Father John-Paul II, it is our duty to invite all the pilgrims of Medjugorje to put this invitation into their daily practice. May the Rosary, as a powerful weapon from heaven, be the answer of Christians to the increasing peacelessness and divisions in the world. This is why, in the spirit of this meeting, which was filled with prayer and sharing, we invite all men of the world to open themselves to Jesus through Mary and to become active members of the Church.
Medjugorje, February 27, 2003
11th International Meeting for Guides, Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer, Pilgrim and Charity groups
Theme: “Penance and contemporary men”
Medjugorje, February 22 to 26, 2004