On Wednesday, May 25, in the Hall of John Paul II, after the evening Holy Mass, the evening on the Holy Land was held. Fr. Simun Sito Coric, Herzegovinian Franciscan, missionary in Switzerland, writer and composer, Fr. Darko Tomasevic, theologian and biblical expert, dean of Catholic Theology Faculty in Sarajevo and Fr. Antonio Sakota, parish vicar in Mostar, participated as the main speakers in this event. The event was organised by Parish Office Medjugorje and Information Centre Mir Medjugorje, and the occasion was recent publishing of Fr. Sito's travel book "In company of men, nature and God in Israel and Palestine". Fr. Marinko Sakota greeted and welcomed everyone at the beginning of the evening. Fr. Sito said he was once in the Holy Land when eight of them, college students, made pledge not to go there again until Palestine people gain their country and until peace is restored there. Then, one of his colleagues, Jewish lady, sent mail and said she was giving up on their promise. I was the second one who decided to break our promise and to travel tethered. I began to prepare three years ago and I was motivated by our Dalmatian fellow, St. Jerome. He said that the Holy Land was the fifth Gospel. I was inspired to start research and deeper preparation before traveling there. I waited for the occasion and went there last year. It was than when 101 stories from the Holy Land developed. I am glad that publishers from Zagreb and Mostar recognized that.
Fr. Darko said he never thought life would take him to the Holy Land, not even that he would have opportunity to study there for a while: "Least I have expected to have the blessing of traveling there once or twice a year in 2008 and 2009, not on a personal journey, but to be the one who would lead those who were coming there for the first time. I am grateful to God and I am trying to return that love by bringing close Jesus and the Holy Land to all who are coming there. Fr. Antonio also spoke about his three years he spent studying in the Holy Land. He had special honour and privilege in Jerusalem and that was to sing the Gospel during the historical encounter of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew. The Church entrusted Franciscans custody in the Holy Land. Thanks to them, tradition at the holy places was preserved and many faithful can be fed spiritually there. The history of the Holy Land custody is very similar to our own history here, when Franciscans were appointed as custodians in 1342. Holy Father Clement VI, in his two apostolic letters appointed Franciscans custodians of holy places and those who are to lead and guide pilgrims in the Holy Land. Those are basic missions that are kept even today in Holy Land."
Today there are only 2 percent of Christians in the Holy Land. At the end of the evening, one person had opportunity to win a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Vocal group Narenta from Mostar made this event more beautiful with their singing. (photos)