On Sunday, January 31, we remembered 2nd International Day of Prayer for Peace in Holy Land, and Fr. Miljenko Šteko was the main celebrant during the Holy Mass celebrated for that intention in the church of St. James at 6 p.m. Međugorje, famous place of peace and reconciliation, was one of 1000 places throughout the world where faithful gathered to pray for peace in Holy Land. In the message of support, that is read on that day, Monsignor Mario Toso, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, emphasises how peace is always gift of God and encourages participants: Persevere in prayer for peace! Međugorje, along with Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Gaza, Rome, Moscow, Paris, London, New York and other towns of Europe, Asia, Africa and America, accepted the invitation of associations Young for Life from Jerusalem and Papaboys from Rome, actively participating in this whole day prayer programme opened by Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of Holy Land.
On Wednesday, January 27, Međugorje woke up under a snow layer, and children were the ones that were most excited because of that. Peace is part of Međugorje everyday reality, and under snow layer it is even more intense. This all gave unique opportunity to many photographers to shoot some of the unrepeatable scenes of Međugorje countryside.
Members of football club Dinamo from Zagreb, Croatia, together with their President Mirko Barišić and Coach Kruno Juričić, spent some time in Međugorje, preparing for the forthcoming spring season. Along with regular sports activities, members of this leading Premier league club were also participating in one day spiritual retreat that Međugorje Franciscans organised for them on January 22. First, they all climbed Apparition Hill and prayed Rosary, then talk was given to them and day finished with Holy Mass that was celebrated for them in Adoration chapel. As one of the most common sacraments in Međugorje is sacrament of Holy Confession, they also had chance for either confession or spiritual talk with one of Međugorje Franciscans.
Besides members of Dinamo football club, Međugorje is hosting other Croatian football clubs as well, and their members are also participating in regular prayer programme of this famous parish.
Members of Franciscan youth (FRAMA) of Međugorje parish had the ceremony of promises and incorporation into Franciscan youth that took place on Sunday, January 24th during the evening Holy Mass at 6 p.m. that was celebrated by Fr. Marinko Šakota. Fr. Danko Perutina, spiritual assistant of Medjugorje Franciscan Youth was present as well. 63 members of Franciscan Youth gave their promise for the first time, or repeated the promises given in the past. Franciscan Youth from Humac, Ljubuški accompanied this ceremony with their singing, and there were members from different parishes as well, such as Čerin, Čitluk, Drinovci, Gorica, Sovići, Ružići and others.
On Thursday, January 21, 2009 at 6.p.m. Holy Mass was celebrated in Međugorje parish church for late Međugorje parish priest and for all departed priests who used to serve in Međugorje parish. Concelebrated Holy Mass was led by Fr. Miljenko Šteko who, as he quoted verses of 56th Psalm, amongst other things said the following: “All is written in the Book of God. Even according to that Book, we ourselves are counting this period since we are no longer in the presence of our late priest brothers, and exactly today we celebrate eight years since our late Međugorje parish priest Dr. Fr. Leonard Orec died. He was born in Posuški Gradac in 1928, and met with his “Sister Death” in 2002 in Zagreb. His days were counted down in his 74th year of life, 55th year of ordination and 51st year of priesthood, little after his celebration of Golden Jubilee – 50 years of priesthood! His earthly remains are waiting for the resurrection of the death in Franciscan grave in Posušje.
From Vecernji List daily newspaper for Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
“Medjugorje is again in the center of attention, church and public as well. Though the visit of Cardinal Shonborn is private, it did not leave anybody indifferent because he is the member of Congregation for Doctrine of Faith. We talked to Cardinal while he was visiting Medjugorje.
“We came here to be close to the Lord’s mother”, you said during the Christmas Eve Mass, Your Eminence. These words had a great echo. We would like you to explain them?”
Cardinal: “We cannot deny that pilgrims have been coming over here for the past 20 years, as we can not deny what they experience in Medjugorje and how close they feel to the Blessed Mother. This is my first visit, but since I’ve been a Bishop since 1991. I have simply noticed the fruits of Medjugorje.
Max Domej from Gebetsktion Wien spoke to Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna, during his visit to Međugorje.
Both in Lourdes and Fatima the events first ceased and than Church had its decision about that. Its final decision. Sooner or later that will take place here as well, but in this case we let Mother of God with freedom of choice...I think that Medjugorje can continue well on their journey, with full trust that Church, Mother and Teacher, in this case, is going to continue to monitor their journey.
Martin Pero Boras, aged 55 and born in Hardomilje, Ljubuski, died in Clinical Hospital Centre in Mostar on Wednesday, January 13, 2010 after being very ill for a short period of time. Prof. Boras was Music Professor to many generations of Franciscans in Seminary and Novice in Humac, he was also music teacher in many schools in the area, and many groups of Franciscan Youth FRAMA were under his guidance throughout Herzegovina, as well as in Medjugorje. He was especially famous and well known for his leadership and professional guidance of International Choir and Orchestra for Youth Festival and New Year’s Eve in Medjugorje. He was married and had four children.
His funeral will take place at 2 p.m. on Friday, January 15, cemetery Zabari, Humac parish.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace!
Dear brothers and sisters here in the church and on the squares in front of the church, and in the yellow hall... We are all conscious of the fact that it is a big privilege to not have to celebrate the New Year with champagne. (laughter) Maybe later. (laughter and applause)
But now we are allowed to celebrate the beginning of the New Year with Mary and Joseph and with the child that is lying in the manger and with the shepherds. These days, we have all come to Medjugorje to be especially close to the Mother of the Lord. To be more exact, we have to say that we have come here because we know that the Mother of the Lord wants to be close to us. With her, we want to begin the New Year. And the first thing that moves me when I think about the manger and the shepherds is that there were no angels present. Here there is an angel at the nativity set (points), but in the gospel there are no angels there. They were on the hills with the shepherds. An entire host of angels. But Mary and Joseph only heard about it. The shepherds told them. We also didn't see the Gospa. But there are people here who told about it. And we trust that the Mother of God really is close to us.
Kardinal dr. Christoph Schonborn - Medjugorje, 31. December 2009
This year as well as in previous years, more than ten thousand young people came to Medjugorje for New Year’s Eve from all over the world. Holy Mass of Thanksgiving for previous year took place at 6 p.m. and Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic was the main celebrant. Live Nativity scene followed and members of Cenacolo community recited parts from Gospel, sang and performed the events from Bethlehem. Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament followed from 10 to 11 p.m. and was led by Fr. Miljenko Steko.
Holy Mass began at 11.15 p.m. in Latin language and Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Dr. Christopher Schonborn was the main celebrant, while Fr. Ivan Sesar, Provincial of Herzegovinan Franciscan Province, concelebrated along with 120 priests. International Choir and Orchestra accompanied the whole programme with their music and singing.
Kardinal dr. Christoph Schonborn - Medjugorje, 31. December 2009
Number of Holy Communions: 62700
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 1271 (41 per day)
In the previous 2009 there have been 1 378 600 Holy Communions given in the church, and total of 33 302 priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses.
Numerous pilgrims, especially young ones, have arrived to Medjugorje in the last couple of days to be here tonight, for the traditional evening prayer programme in the church of St. James. Evening prayer programme begins with Rosary at 5 p.m, and at 6 p.m. Holy Mass of Thanksgiving for the previous year. Just before Vigil prayer, boys and girls from Cenacolo community will have live Nativity performance at the area in front of the Church. Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament begins at 10 p.m. and Holy Mass will begin at 11.15 p.m. that Cardinal Dr. Christopher Schoenborn will celebrate in Latin language. Cardinal Schoenborn has arrived to Medjugorje on Monday, December 28 on his private visit, and so far has led Adoration in the Church and had given lecture yesterday in the church of St. James. Prayer programme tonight will be held in the church and will be transmitted to Yellow Hall, green tent and area around the church. Whole programme is simultaneously translated in many world languages, and radio station “Mir” Medjugorje will have live broadcasting of whole programme. International choir and orchestra will follow whole programme, and they meet especially for this occasion as they do every year.
Annual meeting of members of Association “Fra Slavko Barbaric” was held in Medjugorje on December 30, 2009. The President of the Association, Dr. Fr. Miljenko Steko, opened the meeting at 2 p.m. with prayer and greeting of all the students, thanking all of the members on their cooperation and joint work. President has also thanked numerous benefactors, who despite many difficulties and problems in this year of recession, were prepared to help out and contribute to the work of Association. In this academic year 265 students have signed up for scholarship, out of those 228 fulfilled prerequisites for receiving scholarship. Also, in this year Association received many requests for short term help.
Vienna Cardinal dr. Christoph Schonborn arrived to Medjugorje on his private visit on Monday, December 28, and he will stay here for couple of days. Cardinal, amongst other things, wants to visit Cenacolo, the community of former drug addicts and their house in Medjugorje, since one of their houses exists in Austria as well. He emphasised that he, above other things wants to be person who prays in this famous place of prayer. Cardinal Schonborn (1945) from 1975 to 1991 is professor of Dogmatic Theology and Theology of Christian East in Freiburg, Switzerland, and from 1987 to 1992 he was selected to serve as the Editing Secretary for the pontifical commission charged with drafting the new Catechism of the Catholic Church. In 1991 Schönborn was appointed as the Auxiliary Bishop of Vienna, and from 1995 he is the Archbishop of Vienna. In 1998 he was appointed as Cardinal and elected as president of Austrian Bishop’s Conference. Today, Cardinal Schonborn is one of the most eminent experts for theology of Christian East, and member of Vatican Congregation on the Doctrine of Faith.
Kardinal dr. Christoph Schonborn - Medjugorje - 31.12.2009.
And indeed, from His fullness we have received grace to grace, for He is our peace!
With desire that God’s peace reigns in all of the hearts, all of the families, all of the countries and in the whole world, united in prayer with all of the friends of Medjugorje throughout the world:
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
May this Christmas be for you day of joy and peace. May Jesus visit you in your families and may he be born in the hidden place of your heart!
Parish Office of Medjugorje
Information Centre “Mir” Medjugorje