Christmas is about to be solemnly celebrated in Medjugorje, as it is mostly appropriate for the most joyful Catholic solemnity The evening prayer programme will begin at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve with Rosary and Holy Mass will be at 6 p.m. All priests from Medjugorje parish will concelebrate in that Holy Mass. After the evening Holy Mass, community Cenacolo will have their live performance of Nativity Scene. It will take place outside the parish church of St. James’. The Christmas Vigil will begin at 10 p.m. and will be continued with Midnight Holy Mass.
Early Holy Masses at 6 a.m. are celebrated since November 28, and that is preparation for all of the parishioners for the feast of Birth of Jesus. Novena started on Thursday, December 15 with Rosary at 2 p.m. on Apparition Hill and will last until December 23rd. Radio station “Mir” Medjugorje is broadcasting early Holy Masses and that began on Friday, December 16th, 2011.
The evening prayer programme begins with Rosary at 5 p.m., Holy Mass at 6 p.m. and regular prayer programme follows afterwards. Confessions are available from 5.30 a.m. until 7.30 a.m., and during the evening prayer programme. In the last few weeks members of Cenacolo community are making a set for live Nativity Scene that will take place during Christmas season outside the church of St. James.
Three-day seminar was held from December 9th to December 11th, in house of prayer and encounters – “Domus Pacis” for members of music groups of local Franciscan youth. This seminar was organized by Branch Council of Franciscan Youth with Fr. Josip Vlasic, Branch Spiritual Assistant as the main leader and with two seminarians Fr. Marin Kracic and Fr. Zvonimir Pavicic who assisted him throughout the retreat. There were forty-one members of Franciscan Youth who participated and they came from fifteen different branches (Suica, Tomislavgrad, Rosko Polje, Kongora, Posusje, Posuski Gradac, Kocerin, Drinovci, Ruzici, Humac, Medjugorje, Citluk, Cerin, Mostar, Siroki Brijeg).
The feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was solemnly celebrated this year as well. Along with many local faithful, there were groups from Germany, Austria, Italy, Korea, Spain, France and the United States. Eight Holy Masses were celebrated, four in Croatian language at 6, 8, 11a.m. and at 6 p.m. There was a retreat of fasting, silence and prayer for pilgrims from Croatia prior to this feast. A little before this retreat there was Advent spiritual renewal in Domus Pacis for youth from Sarajevo. It was conducted by Fr. Danijel Rajic, spiritual assistant of Franciscan Youth from Sarajevo. He was a guest of Radio “Mir” Medjugorje along with two girls who participated in this retreat, Verica Kramer and Karolina Baresic. “Students who study in Sarajevo and come from other regions like Dalmatia, Vojvodina, etc. are all here as well as the members of Franciscan Youth from Sarajevo who are engaged in different activities in the church of St. Anthony in Sarajevo. Their wish was to have this retreat in Medjugorje. Verica, a student of Faculty for Traffic, said: “After Holy Mass, one feels relieved and renewed.” Karolina, a journalism student, said: “Young people who come to Bistrik are celebrating community and prayer, and this is opportunity for us to renew ourselves in spiritual way.” (photos)
The meeting of Provincial Boards of six Provinces of South Slavic Conference of Provincial Ministers of the Franciscan Order was held in Medjugorje for the first time. During their meeting all participants had chance to get to know different ways of their work and to share their experiences. Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar presided over this meeting, since he is the host Provincial. Dr. Fr. Nikola Vukoja, the Secretary of the Conference, gave a lecture and suggested some guidelines for further work. On the first day of the meeting, all participants concelebrated in the evening prayer programme in the church of St. James, and Dr. Fr. Nikola Vukoja gave a homily. (photos)
Number of Holy Communions: 66.000
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 1348 (44 per day)
On Thursday, November 24th we commemorated the 11th anniversary of death of Fr. Slavko Barbaric. Fr. Ivan Dugandzic was the main celebrant of the evening Holy Mass in the church of St. James, and there were 25 priests that concelebrated. Fr. Ivan said in his homily: “We are remembering today 11th anniversary of death of Fr. Slavko, Franciscan and a priest who was in Medjugorje more than any of us and who served to Our Lady through Her messages. Fr. Slavko was not the one who taught about fasting and prayer, but he was genuine example and encouragement to many. He did not have to direct pilgrims to go and climb Apparition Hill and Cross Mountain, he was going before them. Therefore, we are proud and grateful for his life and we pray to our Lord to give him reward he deserves.” (photo)
Radio Station “Mir” Medjugorje celebrated its 14th anniversary of their work on November 25th, 2011. Since this anniversary happened to be this year on Friday, day of prayer and fasting, director, workers, associates and supporters of Radio Mir Medjugorje will climb Cross Mountain and pray the Way of the Cross along with the rest of the parish.
The station was blessed and opened on November 7, 1997 by Msg. Lazaro Perey, bishop from Mexico and the official start of programme was on November 25, 1997. After the station was initially just transmitting the evening prayer programme from the church of St. James, the programme was developed and broadened and now we have 24 hour – radio programme.
On Thursday, November 24, we will commemorate the 11th anniversary of Fr. Slavko Barbaric’s death. Fr. Slavko was born on March 11, 1946 in Dragicina, and he was educated in Cerin, Visoko and Sarajevo. He graduated in Graz and received his doctor’s degree in Freiburg. He was ordained in 1971, and since that time he was active in several Herzegovinian parishes. He became familiar with the events in Medjugorje in 1982, and from that time became servant of Our Lady in everything he did: prayer, talks and testimonies, prayer encounters throughout the world, his fatherly love and acceptance of all pilgrims, his care for addicts, poor and abandoned children. He also organised various events like: Peace Walk, seminar for priests, Youth Festival, seminar for married couples, seminars of prayer, fasting and silence. All of these events became essential part of Medjugorje programme.
Fr. Slavko died on November 24, 2000, after having completed prayer of the Way of the Cross on Cross Mountain. He was buried in Kovacica cemetery.
We will commemorate his death by climbing Cross Mountain and praying the Way of the Cross at 2 p.m., and celebrating Holy Mass at 6 p.m. in the church of St. James.
Journalists of radio station “Mir” Medjugorje regularly invite pilgrims who come to Medjugorje to witness about their apparitions. Here, we will bring some of those experiences.
Davor Terzic, musician and composer from Rovinj came with his wife Vesna to Medjugorje. Davor is very much present at Croatian music scene and he is regularly participating at every festival of spiritual music. “We visited other Croatian shrines like Marija Bistrica and Vepric, and here we are in Medjugorje, for seventh, eighth time. We try to have a little bit time for ourselves every year. Our work is related to music, we make our living from that. We come here to thank God for everything he has given us in the previous year. This is where we feel fulfilled.” (photo)
Pilgrims from all over the world arrived to Medjugorje during the last October. One hundred thousand more Holy Communions were given this October, in comparison with the same month last year. Along with numerous Italian pilgrims, there were larger groups from Brazil, Hong Kong, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, Germany, the United States, Canada, France, England, India, Romania, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Australia, Ireland, Belgium and Croatia. The evening prayer programme was held outdoors, just like it is the case in the summer time, all due to the large number of pilgrims.
Number of Holy Communions: 251.500
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 4539 (146 per day)
As we celebrate thirty years of Our Lady’s apparitions in Medjugorje, Parish Office of Medjugorje parish together with editors of Scientific Bulletin “Herzegovina Franciscana” decided to organise International Scientific Symposium titled “Thirty years of Medjugorje”. This symposium was held on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 in the Hall of Bl. John Paul II in Medjugorje. Respectful and eminent theologians, historians, sociologists and psychologists participated, as well as other speakers who were involved in the events in Medjugorje in the last thirty years. This symposium was opened for the public and parishioners of Medjugorje parish were invited, as well as all of the pilgrims, but in a particular way invitation was directed to the guides and employees of Information Centre “Mir” Medjugorje.
All of the works that were presented during this symposium are going to be printed in the following edition of “Herzegovina Franciscana” that should be ready until Christmas this year, and we are hoping that there might be special edition of all of these works.
Number of Holy Communions: 300.500
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 5441 (181 per day)
The 12th International Seminar for Married Couples that gathered more than 250 participants from eight different languages was held in Medjugorje from 21st to 24th September 2011. The theme of seminar was „Marriage – in faith and with faith“, with prof. Ljilja Vokic as the main lecturer while Fr. Miljenko Steko was the coordinator of the seminar. The programme consisted of morning and afernoon lectures, continued with the evening prayer programme in the church of St. James and there were morning prayers on Cross Mountain and Apparition Hill as well.
The seminar finished on Saturday with Holy Mass at 11 a.m. and Fr. Marinko Sakota was the main celebrant.
Among various participants we met those who came all the way from Alaska, the United States. Ralph and Edith came to Medjugorje for the first time in 2000. Ever since that time they started following all of the events from Medjugorje through the official web site of the shrine. That is how they found out about this retreat for married couples and decided to come with another couple. This is what they said for radio station „Mir“ Medjugorje: „We are happy to be here, this is our first time to attend this retreat, we indeed feel content and welcomed from the moment we first arrived to Medjugorje. We were immediately able to feel that something special takes place here.“ (photos)