The 16th International Seminar for Priests that gathered more than 300 priests, deacons and seminarians from twenty countries began on Monday, July 4th, in Medjugorje with the liturgical evening prayer programme. Fr. Ivan Sesar, the Provincial of Herzegovinian Franciscan Province from Mostar was the main celebrant at the solemn Holy Mass of introduction to the seminar.
The coordinator of the seminar is dr. Miljenko Steko, and the theme of this International seminar that will finish on Saturday, July 9 is “The priest and the sacrament of reconciliation – contemporary challenges”.
The lecturer at the seminar is Dr.Fr. Tonci Matulic, full professor of Moral Theology and of Social Teaching of the Church at the Catholic Theological Faculty of the University in Zagreb.
The seminar is simultaneously translated to more than ten languages. These international seminars began in summer 1996, at the request of priests themselves and grew with the time to these regular annual gatherings of priests from all over world.
The 16th International Priests Seminar will be held in Međugorje
From 4th to 9th July 2011 on the theme of: "THE PRIEST AND THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILLIATION – CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES"
Number of Holy Communions: 225.000
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 5136 (171 per day)
The visionary Ivanka Ivankovic-Elez had her regular annual apparition on June 25th 2011.
At Her last daily apparition on May 7, 1985, Our Lady confided to Ivanka the 10th secret and told her that she would have an apparition once a year on the anniversary of the apparitions. It was that way also this year.
The apparition, which lasted 8 minutes, took place at Ivanka’s family home. Only Ivanka’s family was present at the apparition. After the apparition, Ivanka said: “Our Lady spoke to me about the first secret and, at the end, said: ‘Dear children, receive my motherly blessing.’”
Thousands of pilgrims participated in this year’s jubilee Peace Walk that took place on the feast of St. John the Baptist, June 24th that was just one day prior to the 30th Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions. The Peace Walk started at 6 a.m. from the Monastery of St. Anthony in Humac and ended in front of the church of St. James in Medjugorje. The Guardian Priest of Humac Monastery, Fr. Velimir Mandić, blessed and greeted all pilgrims at the beginning of the Peace Walk. They represented the following countries: Austria, Germany, United States, Canada, Ireland, England, Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, China, Hungary, Slovakia, France, Romania, Poland, Czech Republic, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Korea, Ukraine, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Prayers were said and hymns in the honour of the Queen of Peace were sung all the time during the Peace Walk, that arrived in front of the church around 10.15 a.m. Fr. Miljenko Steko met all of the pilgrims outside the church of St. James and conducted Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as well as Benediction. The original initiators of this famous Peace Walk were there along with their leader Hubert Liebherr, converted German businessman. (photo)
On Saturday, June 25th, Medjugorje will celebrate 30th Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions. Day before the Anniversary, on the Feast of St. John the Baptist there will be traditional Peace March from St. Anthony’s shrine in Humac to the church of St. James in Medjugorje starting at 6 a.m. Confessions will be possible until noon on that day, as well as in the afternoon. The evening prayer programme will start with the Rosary at 6 p.m. and Holy Mass at 7 p.m. that will be celebrated by the Provincial of Herzegovinian Franciscan Province, Fr. Ivan Sesar. Whole night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will start at 10 p.m.
Holy Masses in Croatian language on the Anniversary day are going to be at 5,6,7,8,9,11 and 4 p.m., while the main Holy Mass is going to be at 7 p.m. and Fr. Zvjezdan Linic is going to be the main celebrant.
All of the drivers heading towards Medjugorje are kindly asked to be careful on the roads due to the large numbers of pilgrims that will walk, and all those arriving to Medjugorje are asked to respect spiritual and prayerful atmosphere.
Novena to the Queen of Peace will start on Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Every day, including Fridays, there will be Rosary on Apparition Hill at 4 p.m. The evening prayer programme will start at 6 p.m. with Rosary and Holy Mass at 7 p.m. Every evening during Novena there will be Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. This Novena is the opportunity for us to give thanksgiving to the Lord for all of the graces he had bestowed upon us through the intercession and presence of our Heavenly Mother over the last thirty years.
Number of Holy Communions: 195.500
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 4010 (129 per day)
Eighty children received the sacrament of Holy Confirmation in Medjugorje on Saturday, May 28th. This sacrament enriches those who have been baptised with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and renders the bond with the Church more perfect. Local bishop Monsignor Ratko Peric administered this sacrament at the Holy Mass at 10 a.m. In his homily that was directed to the recipients, their godparents and parents, he explained the excerpt from the Acts of the Apostles about the events that took place during the second mission journey of St. Paul.
Eight pilgrims walked from Belgium and arrived to Medjugorje on Monday, May 16, 2011. Croat, Marko Pincic, was the leader of this long journey together with his wife Yvonne Lespagnard. In his interview to radio station “Mir” Medjugorje, he spoke about this very unusual adventure. He was born in Zadar, in Croatia but his wife is from Belgium and they live there for many years. After talking to his wife and a few other people, they all decided to begin this pilgrimage. One of the eight pilgrims in this group is eighty-four years old, and there is a nurse who took care of them while they were travelling. Marko said: “We’ve been travelling for the last three years, and we tested our capabilities and decided to walk 500 kilometres a year. After we would interrupt our journey and take a break, we would always come back to the place where we last stopped. This year we walked our final part of a journey, what was left, and we think that we walked around 2000 kilometres.”
On Sunday, May 8th, 2011 during the evening Holy Mass in Medjugorje, around 80 members of the Franciscan Youth Fraternity made their promises and renewed their vows. Holy Mass started with the procession of these young people carrying candles in their hands and singing the Hymn of St. Francis. Fr. Josip Vlasic, the regional spiritual assistant was the main celebrant along with 40 other priests who have concelebrated at this Holy Mass. Fr. Slaven Brekalo, the spiritual assistant of Medjugorje Franciscan Youth conducted this whole service and choir of Franciscan Youth from Humac made this celebration more beautiful with their singing. At the end of the programme, Fr. Petar Vlasic, parish priest, spoke to them. Franciscan Youth Fraternity is active since 1995 in the parish of Medjugorje. With their singing, prayerfulness and numerous other activities they give their contribution to fruitful and spiritual atmosphere of this parish known throughout the world. (photo)
The sacrament of the First Holy Communion took place on Sunday, May 1st, 2011 at 10 a.m. in the church of St. James in Medjugorje. After being prepared through the religion classes in the last few months, finally seventy-four children received this sacrament, 42 boys and 32 girls from Medjugorje parish. Parish priest, Fr. Petar Vlašić, was the main celebrant and celebration was even more beautiful thanks to the lovely singing of children's choir „Doves of peace“.
Apart from this solemn event, the atmosphere in Medjugorje is very uplifting thanks to numerous pilgrims from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the United States, England, Ireland, Italy, France, Korea, Slovenia, Belgium, Libanon, Spain, Poland, Portugal, Canada, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Due to the requests of many pilgrims, the beatification of John Paul II that took place in Vatican, on Devine Mercy Sunday, was broadcasted on the video wall next to the White Dome. (photos)
Number of Holy Communions: 131.600
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 2539 (84 per day)
Numerous pilgrims arrived to Medjugorje this year and joined many local people and parishioners in celebration of the Easter Triduum. The Information Office registered groups from Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain, Ireland, the United States, England, Poland, Korea, Luxemburg, France, Hungary, Canada, Switzerland, Ukraine, Belgium, Slovenia, Denmark, Romania, Argentina, Uruguay, Lebanon, Brazil and large number of pilgrims from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. (photos)
“Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”
To all parishioners, pilgrims, friends, benefactors, and to all men of goodwill a
Blessed and Happy Easter!
Parish priest and the Franciscans