Kathy Nolan, from Indiana in the United States, arrived in Medjugorje at the beginning of March. It was the first time she had participated in the seminar for group leaders and organisers of pilgrimages. Kathy told us about her work with pilgrims:
A married couple, Yvette and Armand Joseph Grah from the Ivory Coast, have been bringing pilgrims to Medjugorje. Yvette heard about Medjugorje from a book she was reading and decided to come on a pilgrimage with her husband. Yvette recalled the first organised pilgrimage from the Ivory Coast to Medjugorje in 2007:
Medjugorje was busy during the last few days due to a large number of pilgrims from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. We would mention particularly the pilgrimage of people from the parish of Sts. Phillip and James in Vukovar which took place from March 21-22, 2015. Their parish organised this year’s pilgrimage to Medjugorje for the parents of children who will receive the Holy Communion and Holy Confirmation for the first time. “This pilgrimage is the spiritual preparation for those parents whose children will receive the sacraments. Also this year we arrived in two buses and immediately upon arrival, we greeted the Queen of Peace outside the Medjugorje church and then we climbed Cross Mountain. Another bus from Slavonia joined us there – The Union of Croatian Police. Later, we visited the Cenacolo community where the boys shared their life testimonies with us. It was really interesting to listen to them, I believe that many parents found it very educational as well. On the second day we also climbed Apparition Hill and joined the parish for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist”, said Fr. Ivica Jagodić who was the main celebrant on Saturday, March 21, 2015, here in the church of St. James, with all of the pilgrims from Vukovar participating.
The documentary “IN ODIUM FIDEI – Out of the hatred towards the faith“will be shown in Medjugorje on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 7.30 p.m. in the Yellow Hall (Hall of St. John Paul II). The film was produced bv Laudato, with Ksenija Abramovic as the executive director. The director is Nada Prkacin. The duration of the documentary is 60 minutes and the central theme is the murder of 66 Herzegovinian Franciscans during World War II and the post-war period.
As has been the case for many years and in the past, the whole week from the 5th Sunday of Lent, until Palm Sunday will be offered in prayer to prevent curses and blasphemous language in our people. All parishioners and pilgrims are invited to offer their prayer intentions, especially the Way of the Cross on Friday and to present these to the Lord in atonement for all the pain He receives caused by slandering and blasphemous language. Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and is the highlight of preparation for the Easter celebration.
Fr. Charlie Nakouz comes from Lebanon and he visited Medjugorje for the first time in 1997, but since 2001 he has been coming here three times a year as the group leader of pilgrims who come from Lebanon. Fr. Charlie told us: “It was long ago when I had the chance to meet the late Fr. Slavko and the visionaries Marija and Ivan. Whenever I would ask them to pray for me so that I would be able to discern my vocation, their response was always the same. They would tell me to pray to the Queen of Peace to lead me in my life.
Sr. Biserka Jagunić, a Franciscan School Sister from the Bosnian – Croatian Province of Christ the King, arrived durig these early spring days in Medjugorje. She told us that this is the 214th time she has come here and she is in the parish of Remete in Zagreb at the moment. The first time she came was in 1982 when she came with the parish priest and a few other nuns.
On Wednesday, March 25, we will celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation and Holy Mass in the Croatian language will be at 8 and 11 a.m. and at 6 p.m. On Wednesday, as on every 25th of the month, we will have Eucharistic Adoration from 9-10 p.m., followed by silent adoration until 7 a.m.
The Annual Meeting of the Herzegovinian Regional Fraternity of the Third Franciscan Order was held in Medjugorje from March 20-22, 2015 in the Franciscan House of Prayer – Domus Pacis. Members of the regional councils, ministers of the local fraternities, representatives of the fraternities as well as the regional president of YouFra, participated in this meeting.
The visionary Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo had daily apparitions from June 24th 1981 to December 25th 1982. During the last daily apparition, Our Lady gave her the 10th secret, and told her that she would appear to her once a year, on the 18th of March. It has been this way through the years. Several thousand pilgrims gathered in prayer of the Rosary.. The apparition lasted from 13:47 to 13:53.
Melinda Dumitrescu, a musician from Romania, came to Medjugorje for the first time in the 1990s. This place immediately found a special place in her heart. Even though at the time she was studying the violin at the Music Academy in Germany, and was expected to have a brilliant career due to her extraordinary skills, she decided to come to Medjugorje and to remain here. With a great smile on her face, she told us: “During all of these years I never regretted having made that decision as I am happy and contented: I have even learned a little bit of Croatian”. Her music and the sound of her violin immediately win over all those who come to Medjugorje for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament or to other gatherings. Melinda was given the nickname "the Gospa's violin player”.
A Lenten talk with the theme “Man – husband and father“ was given on Tuesday, March 17, in Medjugorje in the hall of St. John Paul II at 7 p.m. The lecturer was Dr. Jozefina Škarica, a specialist in the school of medicine and a counsellor for marriage and the family in the Sibenik diocese for many years. The talk was organised on the eve of the Feast of St. Joseph, the patron saint of families and fathers. Speaking about the theme of the talk Dr. Škarica said:
On March 15, 2015, a ceremony of vows and promises took place as part of the Holy Mass at 9.30 a.m., when new members were welcomed into the Fraternity of the Third Franciscan Order in Medjugorje. Thus the fraternity gained seven new members who made permanent vows, three made temporary vows and twelve members were introduced into the Novitiate. (photos)
Jelena Soldo, OFS Međugorje
Many prayer communities have been created as a fruit of Medjugorje and Patiricija Simunic Čakovec from Croatia gave witness to this during the International Meeting for Group Leaders, which was held recently in Medjugorje. She is a member of the Marian prayer community “Totus Tuus” and this community was founded as a fruit of Medjugorje. A young couple from Germany decided to visit Medjugorje during their holiday in Croatia, and this is where they experienced a conversion. After their return to Germany, they began to pray and to live the Gospa’s messages.
Mr. Paul Wallace from Ireland introduced us to the National Council of Medjugorje for Ireland. Paul said that the Irish were among the first groups of pilgrims which arrived in Medjugorje: “When we heard back in 1981, that the Gospa was appearing behind the iron curtain in Medjugorje, we were all very curious. I personally know two ladies who came here as long ago as 1981. In those early years, people came individually or in small organised groups. They would bring back information about what was happening, but often it was wrong.