The first National Spiritual Renewal of Bosnia and Herzegovina YouFra was held from December 5-7, 2014 in Medjugorje, with the theme: “Freely you have received, freely give” Mt 10:8. The main goal of the spiritual renewal was the preparation for Christmas, but also bonding two fraternities of Herzegovina and Bosnia. Around 100 young people gathered for this event from all over the country. The programme began with registration and gathering in the Hall of St. John Paul II, and they all joined the evening prayer programme for the Rosary and Holy Mass in the parish church of St. James. During this period of three-day spiritual gathering, the Franciscan Youth had chance to participate in the evening prayer programme and they also visited Apparition Hill and Cross Mountain. Many of them said that the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was the most beautiful part of this spiritual renewal that ended with the Holy Mass for all of the participants.
The seminar for altar boys from Herzegovinian parishes where Franciscan priests are serving was held in Medjugorje from December 5-7, 2014, with the theme: Come, follow me, and there were thirty two altar boys from sixteen parishes. The seminar began with the Rosary and the evening Holy Mass in the parish church that was celebrated by Fr. Stanko Mabic, Promoter of the Spiritual Vocations. The conductor of the seminar was Fr. Perica Ostojic, Deacon serving in Mostar parish and the themes were various, from vocation of the altar boy to the spiritual vocation. Saturday was filled with various fun games, song, group work, prayer and social time. The event was concluded with the Holy Mass celebrated at 11 a.m. by Fr. Stanko Mabic and the lunch that followed after Holy Mass. The altar boys returned to their homes filled with joy because the experiences they gained at this seminar.
Major floods affected Posavina, northern region of our country, this May. Many have still not returned to their homes, and as Fr. Marijan Zivkovic, parish priest and the guardian in Tolisa, said that they are also accepting Christmas this year and are hoping for the light and the warmth little baby Jesus can give in the Christmas night. Many of their families have become very poor and are still hoping and rejoicing to every help that might come from the people of good will and good heart.
Radio station Mir Medjugorje and Humanitarian Association Medjugorje Mir - Mother’s Village are organising the humanitarian project “With our hearts to Posavina”. We invite you all to open your hearts in this Advent season and to provide to those in needs and to our neighbours as much as you can, with money contributions, food, hygiene products, household appliances or second-hand furniture. You can bring your contributions to the Humanitarian Association warehouse in Mother’s Village every day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Let us respond to this plea for help given in the words of the parish priest Fr. Marijan who said: “Do not forget us as we still need your help!”
Early on Tuesday morning, after getting ill with serious illness, Kresimir Sego died. He was the chief editor of Medjugorje monthly bulletin “Glasnik Mira” for many years. He was born in Medjugorje on February 11, 1950. He completed the elementary school in Medjugorje and Citluk, and High school in Capljina. He graduated sociology at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo and he worked as the journalist in Sarajevo and as the professor in Ciltuk. He wrote poetry, essays, and literature critics. His funeral was held on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, at 1.30 p.m. at cemetery Kovacica in Medjugorje. May he rest in peace!
Carla Nicolini comes from Italy. She works as a teacher and a school principle for many years. She came to Medjugorje for the first time in 1986, but had already forgotten about that experience. The second time she came was in 1999, and ever since then she came for about 30 times to Medjugorje. „That is so great, already in the beginning I was able to see what Medjugorje is and I realised that my desire was to get to know Our Lady more and more. She is so present here. That helped me understand who I am and in 2010, I did consecration of my life. Ever since then, a beautiful, powerful way of joy began, despite all difficulties and crosses that were also present. Medjugorje helped me to learn how to live with the cross and how to be next to the Cross. My life became completely changed. I need to say that the first year of my consecrated life was full of gifts in my parish. One religious community came into our parish, community made of priests who live Marian way of life, who placed the spirituality of Medjugorje in the concrete practice where I live. That was such unusual gift, something we wanted but never thought it was possible. I saw that Our Lady, through their way of life, came to be so close to me. At the same time, Our Lady was preparing another greater gift and that is perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It was accomplished thanks to the priests who came to live and work in our parish”. - said Carla.
On Monday, December 8, we celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Holy Masses in Croatian language were held in the parish church at 6 and 11 a.m. and at 6 p.m. The evening prayer programme is according to the regular schedule with Rosary at 5 p.m. and Holy Mass at 6 p.m. The early Holy Masses are held every day in Advent at 6 a.m. On Friday, December 12, after the evening Holy Masses, at 7.30 p.m. there will be presentation of the Collection of Works of Fr. Stanko Vasilj as well as the promotion of Collection of selected poems, hymns and Holy Masses of Fr. Stanko. The main Choir of St. James parish as well as the vocal group Luka.
Međugorje is at the moment preparing for Christmas. Along with the spiritual prayer preparation of parishioners and pilgrims at the early Holy Masses at 6 a.m., boys from Cenacolo community are also very busy constructing Betlehem scene outside the church of St. James that will be used for the live nativity performance starting with the Christmas Eve. This community has been doing this for many years now and it is something that all parishioners and pilgrims are looking forward to.
Fr. Pietro Paterlini, the Italian priest from the Diocese of Reggio Emilia Guastalla came to Medjugorje. He heard about Medjugorje for the first time in the 80's and his first visit was in December of 2009, when Fr. Pietro visited Medjugorje with one small group of pilgrims from his parish. „I wanted to come sam to Medjugorje, because I visited before Our Lady's shrines in Italy and France. I found a very profound atmosphere of prayer here in Medjugorje. Once you come here, you begin to pray simpler way. In a special way, I was really impressed by Apparition Hill where we pray Rosary and by Cross Mountain with the devotion of the Way of the Cross. I would call Medjugorje the great school of prayer "– said Fr. Pietro and added that he witnessed many fruits of conversion in Medjugorje.
Number of Holy Communions: 61 000
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 1264 (42 per day)
After 25 years of the Youth Festival in Medjugorje, the first Youth Festival was held in Poland. Croatia and Poland had many historical connections in the past, most recent one in the character of Holy John Paul II, and now they are connected through Medjugorje as well. Polish pilgrims have been coming to Medjugorje for many years and now this is a new opportunity when Medjugorje travels to Poland and we hope that relationship would be stronger and more fruitful in the future. That is how it seemed during three days of communion young people from Poland and Medjugorje had. (photos)
On Sunday, November 30, the Advent, time of preparation for Christmas will begin. Starting with Monday, December 1, early Holy Masses will be held at 6 a.m. in the parish church, every day but Sundays. Those Holy Masses will be broadcasted live on radio Medjugorje. The morning Holy Masses at 7.30 a.m. will not be held, masses for dead will be at 6 a.m. every day. This is traditionally quiet time in Medjugorje and there were groups from Poland, Latvia, the United States, Italy, Slovakia, Korea and Austria.
The Regional Council of the Franciscan Youth of Herzegovina for the first time organised the seminar for all their members who gave the first vows. The seminar was held in Medjugorje from November 7-9, 2014 at the theme: “Lord, what do you want me to do?” and 37 young people from 16 fraternities participated. Those members of the Franciscan Youth who gave their first vows or were just about to give them, had chance to learn more about the meaning of vows, their purpose, to whom they give them and why and they meditated on this great step as for them and for their fraternities.
Croatian Dominican Province in association with the youth from the parish of the Queen of the Holy Rosary from Zagreb organised in the beginning of November the spiritual retreat and the youth pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Fr. Ivan Marija Tomic and Maja Maric, parishioner of the parish of the Queen of the Holy Rosary, were the main organisers of this year’s pilgrimage. Young people climbed Apparition Hill and Cross Mountain and also participated in the evening prayer programme in the parish church. Upon their return homes, some of them gave testimonies about the graces they received at this pilgrimage.
On Monday, November 24, 2014, Medjugorje remembered the 14th anniversary of death of Fr. Slavko Barbaric. Fr. Stanko Cosic was the main celebrant of the evening Holy Mass along with 25 priests concelebrating. In his homily, among other things, Fr. Stanko said: “Today, we remember man who united his heart with the motherly heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary and who encouraged men to return to their hearts. Fr. Slavko, with his own example, was trying to pray, fast, celebrate Holy Mass, to confess and to talk, but also to be silent with the heart. As every prophet of his own time, he did not have answers to all of the questions, but he was facing many issues in his search for the truth. Fr. Slavko was discovering that treasure hidden in the depth of one’s heart and he invites us all to search for it as well.” Medjugorje parish also remembered Fr. Slavko on Cross Mountain when many faithful gathered to pray the Way of the Cross. Mother’s Village, the institution founded by late Fr. Slavko also commemorated the death of its founder.
Father Paulo Sergio Correia was in Medjugorje with a group of pilgrims from Sao Paolo in Brazil. This is his fourth visit to Medjugorje. He said that he heard about Medjugorje in the very beginning, but decided to come only in 2012: „Some parishioners were coming earlier and they were trying to bring me to come here. Now. I came to thank the Queen of Peace for all She gave me. I think the most important message of Medjugorje is the message of peace. I thank all for the hospitality I gained here” - said Fr. Paulo.