The National Seminar of the Permanent Formation of the Third Franciscan Order was held in House of Peace in Medjugorje from November 8 – 10, 2013. This seminar was organised by the Herzegovinian regional fraternity and the theme was “The Gospel and Life”. The leader of the seminar that had more than 50 participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina was Fr. Ante Vuckovic, professor at the Catholic Theology Faculty in Split. National Minister Nives Kanecev, Minister of Herzegovinian Regional Fraternity Marija Brekalo and Zeljko Majnadzic, Minister of Bosnian Regional Fraternity of “Kraljica Katarina”. National spiritual assistant of the Third Franciscan Order, Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic and Fr. Danijel Rajic, national spiritual assistant of the Franciscan Youth were also present.
Marija Puljić, Third Franciscan Order and Franciscan Youth from Bosnian Province
Pilgrims from Italy, France, Portugal, Germany, the United States, Singapore, Canada, Brazil and Croatia were in Medjugorje in the last few days. We had chance to meet Biljana Pesorda, a pilgrim and composer of the spiritual music from Slavonski Brod, who at the same time is a mother to eight children. She said that it is beautiful to live in such a big family and it is a fulfillment of everything she ever wanted. “God was merciful and gave me a big family with beautiful, healthy and smart children”, said Biljana and she added that apart from family her biggest joy is to compose the spiritual music.
Fr. Jamail Samal Lotrivera from Caribbean and Fr. Perkas Danilo Hali from Indian province participated last summer at the General Assembly of Dominican Order that was held in Trogir in Croatia. During that visit they came to Medjugorje and gave interview at the radio station “Mir” Medjugorje. For the last few years Fr. Perkas Danilo Hali works in Rome, in the Roman Curia. He heard about Medjugorje from his brothers Dominicans, who came here three years ago. “They told me I should come to Medjugorje during my visit to Croatia because it was very near. I wanted to see what was attracting so many people to come here and how they lived their faith, and what could we as Dominicans, preachers, learn from all that.” Fr. Jamail said that he was on Apparition Hill and regardless of the fact that they did not have a guide, people still climbed on their own and prayed. “As I sat next to the Statue of Mother of God, the Queen of Peace, I felt peace as well as all the time when I was in the church and at the outside altar. There is some special peace here and I really learned that this is the place of peace.” Fr. Jamail added that he heard about Medjugorje when he was 20: “I read books about Medjugorje and this place was always in my mind, especially when people told me that I needed to come here. I came because I had to and I promised to pray for them. The most powerful message is the one that Gospa loves us, that we need to love other people in the same way she loves us and that is the most important message of the Gospel.”
Foundation “I hear, I believe, I see” from Zagreb, headed by Foundation Administrator Mirko Hrkac, organised a pilgrimage and educational trip of young people and students with disability to Medjugorje in the period from October 18-20, 2013. Apart from Medjugorje they also visited National Park Krka, Sinj and Makarska. After they arrived, Fr. Dragutin Goricanec, their spiritual assistant led the Way of the Cross at the back of the church for the whole group. Young people, especially those with disability, were thrilled to climb Apparition Hill on Saturday, October 19, 2013. They also participated in the evening prayer programme that was held outdoors and they were there for the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament that was translated in various languages. This is what some of them shared with us: “Many pilgrims were around the church and nearly all seats were taken, but even in the silence one could hear the prayer and gentle sound of music, true food and repose for our souls. After the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was finished, we all met at the Statue of Our Lady and thanked our dear Mother for the grace of being here and for all of the gifts She gave us.”
You probably had chance to hear many stories of people who arrive to Medjugorje by various means of transport. Surely, one of the most interesting visits took place in the end of October. A German pilgrim, Gerald Dany who is 49 and lives in Slovakia at the moment, came to Medjugorje by bicycle. He heard about Medjugorje in 1989 for the first time during his visit to Belgium when he met one Catholic family. Then, he arrived to Medjugorje in 1990. Just twelve days ago, he began his pilgrimage through Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina where he plans to stay for a few days. He said how he is very connected to Medjugorje and added: “Now I will continue my journey and I want to go to Rome by bicycle. Most likely I will go to Spain afterwards and visits places of pilgrimage there.”
Pilgrims from all over the world came to Medjugorje in the end of October and those great numbers continued in the beginning of November when we celebrated feasts of All Saints and All Souls Day. The Information Office registered groups from Spain, Slovenia, Italy, France, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ukraine, England, the United States, Brazil, Ireland, Korea, Belgium, Portugal, and Venezuela. Apart from them there was a young group from Zagreb, parish of Queen of the Holy Rosary. They had two-day spiritual renewal led by six Dominican students. They visited Apparition Hill and Cross Mountain and participated in the evening prayer programme. The entire prayer programme in Medjugorje was held at the White Dome throughout the whole October, just like in the summer days.
On Friday, November 8, 2013 we will celebrate first anniversary of death of the former Medjugorje parish priest, Fr. Petar Vlasic. Holy Mass will be celebrated for him at 6 p.m. in Medjugorje church of St. James. Fr. Petar died in his 75th year of life, in his 51st year of priesthood and he was a priest for the last 47 years. He served in the various parishes as the parish vicar, the parish priest and the guardian of the monastery. He was in Medjugorje since 1999, and he was appointed as the parish priest in August 2007. He was buried in Kovacica graveyard. Fr. Petar was the assistant parish priest in Humac from 1967-1969, parish priest in Rasno from 1969-1977, parish priest in Kongora from 1977 – 1983, province secretary from 1981 – 1988, the assistant parish priest in Posusje from 1983 -1985, parish priest in Ljuti Dolac from 1985 – 1988, guardian and parish priest in Mostar in 1988,parish priest in Siroki Brijeg from 1988 – 1991,parish priest in Blagaj from 1991-1999, de familia in Mostar in 1999, the assistant parish priest in Medjugorje from 1999-2007 and finally parish priest in Medjugorje from August 25, 2007 until the day of his death.
John Barwa, Archbishop from Archdiocese Cuttack Bhubaneswar in Odisha, came recently in his first visit to Medjugorje. His Archdiocese has 11 million people and 70 000 are Catholics. He came to Medjugorje in a group of 43 Chinese and some of them live in America, Canada, Malaysia and Hong Kong. He said how Medjugorje is a place famous in the whole world. “My first impressions are really beautiful. This is a place where Mother Mary is truly present. People here act according to that, with that feeling that Mary is our Mother and they are prepared to share that experience with other pilgrims. That is why I am really proud of Medjugorje and I am very happy.
The Academic Choir Pro musica from Mostar organised concert in the occasion of All Saint and All Souls day with the theme of Mozart’s “Requiem”. This famous and extraordinary music piece was performed in the church of St. James and radio Mir Medjugorje broadcasted the entire programme to the listeners throughout the whole world. “Requiem” is the last piece that Mozart began to compose in 1791. He was composing it in his last earthly moments, after he was tied to bed, sensing that the end was near and that is what gives such strength to this music piece. “Life is so beautiful, but no one can influence our life duration. I will finish now, this is my Requiem. This cannot remain unfinished”, said great artist. (photos)
Number of Holy Communions: 211 500
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 3914 (126 per day)
There are many pilgrims in Medjugorje at the end of this October and they came from all over the world. The Information Office registered groups from: Italy, Austria, Korea, France, the United States, Germany, Slovenia, Belgium, Ukraine, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Venezuela, Canada, England and Switzerland. Leo Palladinetti comes from Senegalia, region of Ancona in Italy. After he retired as a police officer he started coming to Medjugorje since October 1984.
Prior to the feasts of All Saints and All Souls Day, the Academic Choir Pro Musica from Mostar is organising concert W.A. Mozart “Requiem” KV 626 that will take place on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 7.30 p.m. in the church of St. James in Medjugorje. Performers are: soloists of Opera of Croatian National Theatre in Osijek: Jasna Komendanović, soprano, Iskra Stanojević, mezzo-soprano, Ladislav Vrgoč, tenor, Berislav Puškarić, bas; Academic Choir Pro Musica – Mostar: Dragan Filipović, conductor, Marijana Pavlović, prof., corepetitor; Orchestra of Croatian National Theatre Osijek, Chamber Group of Symphonic Orchestra Mostar, conductor is Filip Pavisic. The entrance is free.
The same concert was held the evening before at 7 p.m. in the church of St. Mathew in Mostar.
Dr. Fr. Miljenko Steko, the Provincial of Herzegovina Franciscan Province from Mostar, was elected as the President of the Conference held in Rome from October 21-25, 2013 during the 11th General Assembly of the Conference of Franciscans from Europe. This Conference gathered 49 Provincials of the Franciscan Order from Europe as well as 5 General Definitors.
World famous pianist Gergely Bogányi from Hungary held a concert in the Hall of the Blessed John Paul II in Medjugorje. This concert was of a humanitarian nature because all donations were given to Mother’s Village and he did it out of gratitude to Our Lady. Along with him, the young musicians from Surmanci opened this concert with theme: “Hungarian games” of Johannes Brahms. “This place is the most important in my life. It is important to give a message to people through the music, but here I came to give a concert to the place that means so much to me. I only have big gratitude in my heart”, said Gergely prior to the concert. (foto)
Italian priest Fr. Giuseppe Sometti has been in Brazil in missions for the last 40 years. He spoke about his work in missions and of the experience of Medjugorje that he visited for the first time in 1985. Fr. Giuseppe said that he was happy when he heard about Gospa’s apparitions but he had a spirit of criticism within him because he had degree in paranormal activities. He is working with addicts and with abandoned children and this is what he said about his work: “I travelled to the islands where people who had terrible diseases lived and I was trying to give them medical help. They were involved in spells and black magic and that is why I spent five years studying psychology and parapsychology, so I could get to know that in the better way. I travelled to various places in Brazil and we tried to reveal to those people that they were not dealing with spirits but with something that was in their sub-consciousness. When I came to Sao Paolo I saw the world of drugs and lost children and I was very moved by that. I kept thinking what Jesus would do if He was there instead of me and then a revolution within me began. I wanted to feel and to get to know what God was asking of me.”
Giuseppe came in that year seven times to Medjugorje and he had brought many people here. “I immediately understood that something special was taking place here. I was very moved by friendship with late Fr. Slavko. Medjugorje has many good fruits. After the experience with children and the Sabbatical Year that I took and after talking to Fr. Slavko, I decided to devote myself to the work with children. Now I have 80 000 children and we have 13 active homes. We educated those children and teach them to have some craft skills. Fr. Gainni Bovo, who converted and lives close to Padova arrived with Fr. Giuseppe and said: “I met Fr. Giuseppe twenty years ago and I am helping to him, I experienced my own conversion, came to Medjugorje on few occasions and with great joy felt how my heart was opening. This is a place of prayer and conversion because of Gospa’s intensive presence.”