BULLETIN 2000.


Međugorje -157, December 26  2000

 

"Dear children!

Today when God granted to me that I can be with you, with little Jesus in my arms, I rejoice with you and I give thanks to God for everything He has done in this Jubilee year. I thank God especially for all the vocations of those who said ‘yes’ to God completely. I bless you all with my blessing and the blessing of the newborn Jesus. I pray for all of you for joy to be born in your hearts so that in joy you too carry the joy I have today. In this Child I bring to you the Savior of the your hearts and the One who calls you to the holiness of life. Thank you for having responded to my call."

December  25, 2000

 

Christmas

 

“These days, we are celebrating the coming of the Lord. According to our human standards, if we were asked to prepare no less than the reception of God Himself, what would the setting be? What would we undertake?” (J. Turcinovic)

This is the question we have to face at Christmas. A surprising question, as surprising as the unusual ways God chooses to come and to speak to us. Christmas brings a good surprise: we all feel that throughout the year, we could live with one another and with God in a better, more meaningful and in a less complicated way. This is why Christmas is an exceptional feast.

Elisabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist, had a pleasant surprise – of another type, through another Visitation – the coming of Mary: “And whence is this to me, that the mother of my lord should come to me?” (Luke 1,43)

Such a Visitation, pleasant and challenging, was accorded the parish of Medjugorje. Millions have come to “see this thing which is come to pass” (see Luke 2,15), and they found Jesus in the sacrament of Reconciliation and in the Eucharist, in fasting and in prayer.

Blessed Christmas to you who have found Him and to you who seek Him!

 

            Fra Ivan Landeka

N E W S

 

JAKOV’s ANNUAL APPARITION on DECEMBER 25, 2000

 

At Her last daily apparition to Jakov Colo on September 12, 1998, Our Lady told him that, from now onwards, he would have only one yearly apparition and that on Christmas day, December 25th. Thus it was also this year.

The apparition began at 3:20 pm and lasted 10 minutes. Our Lady came joyful with baby Jesus in her arms. She blessed everyone and gave a message:

 

"Dear children!

Today when Jesus is born and by His birth brings immeasurable joy, love and peace, I call you, in a special way to say your ‘yes’ to Jesus. Open your hearts so that Jesus enters into them, comes to dwell in them and starts to work through you. Only in this way will you be able to comprehend the true beauty of God’s love, joy and peace. Dear children, rejoice in the birth of Jesus and pray for all those hearts that have not opened to Jesus so that Jesus may enter into each of their hearts and may start working through them – so that every person would be an example of a true person through whom God works.

 

 

Father Slavko's burial

 

Fr. Slavko Barbaric was buried November 26th in the local cemetery of Medjugorje “Kovacica”. The funeral mass, concelebrated by some 150 priests and assisted by more than 10.000 faithful, was presided by Mgr Ratko Peric, Bishop of Mostar.

All speeches held at the funeral are published on our web-pages: www.medjugorje.hr

 

Father Slavko’s work is alive

 

Humanly in deep sorrow, but carried by Christian hope, we wish to tell to all pilgrims and friends of Medjugorje that God’s work, started through Fr. Slavko Barbaric, continues to live on through his collaborators who followed Fr. Slavko’s inspirations throughout the years.

 

Works of Christian charity (Mothers’ Village, Fond of the Friends of Talents, Fond for Children of Departed Defenders, Fond for Families with Numerous Children, help for different persons in distress) will continue to live on, thanks to your active charity; also the prayer seminars (for couples, for priests, for young people) will continue in the spirit of the Gospel of Jesus and of Our Lady’s messages.

For all information linked with Fr. Slavko’s work, please contact the parish priest, Fr. Ivan Sesar and the Parish Office.

Thanks and praise to the Lord for having given to Medjugorje such a man, priest and Franciscan.

 

NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS

 

During the month of November, 40.000 Holy Communions were distributed and 1.144 priests from the country and from abroad concelebrated at Holy Mass in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje.

 

Statesmen from Slovakia in Medjugorje

 

On Tuesday November 7th, two statesmen from Slovakia visited Medjugorje: Jan Petrik, extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of Slovakia in Croatia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Pavol Danic, consul in Zagreb. In their conversation with the parish priest of Medjugorje, they manifested their interest in the history of the apparitions in Medjugorje and, in a special way, in Slovakian pilgrims coming to this place. They visited the sanctuary and expressed their gratitude for the care the Franciscan friars accord to Slovakian pilgrims. They wish to maintain good contacts with the Sanctuary in order to be able to offer the best possible information to all those who are interested in visiting Medjugorje. After their visit to the parish, they visited Sister Elvira’s therapeutic community for former drug addicts. It is an international community, representing about 10 different nations at the moment – among them also some Slovaks.

 

Austrian Ambassador’s visit

 

Dr. Gerhard Jandl, Austrian ambassador in Bosnia and Herzegovina, came to Medjugorje on November 27th. During his visit, he spoke of his interest in the history of the events of Medjugorje and also for the Austrian pilgrims coming to this place.

 

To Medjugorje on a bicycle

 

Antoine Lamy and Fabrice de Rivet, two young Frenchmen, came to Medjugorje on November 18th after one month’s journey from France on a bicycle. They spent one day in the sanctuary of the Queen of Peace and continued their journey to the final destination of this exceptional pilgrimage - the Holy Land.

 

pilgrimage of Mentally Handicapped persons

 

40 handicapped persons from the Institution for Retarded Persons from Vrlika, Croatia, came to Medjugorje with their caretakers on the feast of St. Elisabeth of Hungary. Their pilgrimage has become a tradition. Their first visit to Medjugorje was on the feast of St. Elisabeth of Hungary. The homily given then spoke about how much this saint cared for the poor and the sick, and so they decided to come every year on her feast day to Medjugorje. After Holy Mass, they climbed the Apparition Hill where they prayed the Rosary – especially for peace and the strength to be able to continue to live with the burden of their illness and the handicap they carry from their early childhood.

45 pilgrims from the Centre for Work Therapy in Dubrovnik, came to Medjugorje with their parents on November 23rd. In spite of their difficulties, they showed exceptional joy, displayed by their singing in Holy Mass. After Holy Mass, they offered their handicrafts to the Franciscan friars from Medjugorje.

 

FRAMA’s Engagements

 

On Sunday, November 19th, 50 youths from the parish of Medjugorje made their promise of fidelity to the Gospel, according to the example of St Francis.

The Franciscan Youth Group – FRAMA – has been active in the parish of Medjugorje for the last five years. These young men and women try to be joyful witnesses of the Good News of Jesus, according to the example of their founder, St. Francis of Assisi. From year to year, Frama has increased its membership and has become more and more involved in the life of the parish and society. They meet weekly for prayer and sharing, they help in different ways in the pastoral life of the parish: singing, playing instruments and reading during the liturgy, taking part in processions, helping in the organization of important feasts and prayer-meetings. They are also involved on a cultural, ecological, charity and media level. After spending a year in Frama, they make a promise to live the Gospel in their fraternity. This year, 26 young people renewed their promises, and 24 of them made their first promises. During a very beautiful liturgical celebration full of songs, dances and fervour, these young people pronounced their “yes” to Christ before fra dr. Ivan Sesar, parish priest of Medjugorje, fra Branko Rados, their chaplain, and in the presence of a great number of parishioners and pilgrims.

 

American soldiers in Medjugorje

 

About 100 American soldiers, members of SFOR based in Tuzla, came to Medjugorje with their military chaplain on November 21st. They celebrated Holy Mass and climbed Apparition Hill.

We are most pleased to see that also soldiers recognize Medjugorje as a place of prayer and of peace.

 

14 Franciscan provincials in Medjugorje

 

On November 23rd, Franciscan provincials from 14 provinces, situated in Slavic countries – the Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, headed by fra Antonio Ricci, Definitor General and Delegate of the General Direction of the Franciscan Order, came to Medjugorje.

After their meeting, which took place this year in the Franciscan monastery in Slano, they came to Medjugorje get better acquainted with the life and work of Herzegovinian friars, members of the herzegovinian province, the hosts of this year’s meeting. They visited Mostar, Siroki Brijeg and Humac, and came to Medjugorje in the afternoon. They visited Sr. Elvira’s community for former drug addicts and also the Mothers’ Village, which takes care of orphans and children from broken families. They concelebrated Holy Mass in St. James’ church.

This year’s theme of the meeting was the announcing of the Gospel and witnessing the Gospel today.

Their meeting with the above-mentioned communities and their participation in the evening program in church made them understand that the Word of God is announced powerfully in Medjugorje in three different ways: prayer, the care for former drug addicts, for abandoned and neglected persons. In their conversation with the friars from Medjugorje, they emphasized their interest in the events of Medjugorje and for the pilgrims coming from their countries. They expressed their gratitude for the pastoral care given to their pilgrims in Medjugorje.

 

“Boney M” in Medjugorje

 

Members of the rock-group “Boney M” came to the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje on November 23rd, before going to Mostar, where they gave a concert.

They participated in the English Mass for pilgrims and sung with them. After Mass, they met with fra dr. Ivan Sesar, parish priest of Medjugorje, who spoke to them about the events of Medjugorje: Our Lady’s messages, the visionaries, the spiritual life of the parish and of the pilgrims. He told them that Medjugorje was not a place to come to in order to see something, but rather a place of prayer where people come in search of inner peace. He gave a rosary to each one of them. “Boney M” also visited the former drug addicts living in the Community of Cenacle.

“Boney M” left Medjugorje full of enthusiasm, and they shared their spiritual experience with their public in Mostar.

 

Franz Gollowitsch 250 times in Medjugorje

 

On Friday, November 24th, the day father Slavko Barbaric passed away, he celebrated Mass for the German speaking pilgrims and marked a significant jubilee. It was the 250th pilgrimage of Franz Gollowitsch from Steiermark in Austria.

Franz Gollowitsch, owner of a travel agency, came to Medjugorje for the first time 15 years ago. Since then, he has brought more than 12.000 Austrian pilgrims to this Shrine. He became a tireless witness and herald of Our Lady’s messages in his homeland Austria. He not only brought pilgrims to Medjugorje, but also those who desired to deepen their faith by attending prayer and fasting retreats.

In difficult years during the war, he stretched out his hand to the needy in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the help of Medjugorje-pilgrims from Austria. He was most involved in helping children, being himself a father of 5 children and a grand-father of 13.

This great man was recently awarded the “Golden Heart” price of Austria and 10.000 schillings. He gave the entire amount to the 12-member family of Danijela and Marinko Maric from Rastovaca near Posusje.

May the shining example of this man be a guide line for us, as are his words: “I see in children the joy of a new life and hope. We are children of God, and all children are our future; every day, they give us new strength.”

A sincere and big thanks to this man, with our promise to pray for his work.

 

Mgr Georg Eder, archbishop of Salzburg’s, thanksgiving letter

 

At the occasion of the accident that struck the winter-sport village of Kaprun in Austria, the parishioners of Medjugorje sent a letter of condolence to Mgr Georg Eder, Archbishop of Salzburg, expressing their faith in the resurrection of the dead.

These days, Mgr Eder responded, saying:

“We have received the encouraging letter signed by the parishioners of Medjugorje with a special feeling of recognition. We are grateful to hear that the parish of Medjugorje prays for the souls of those who lost their lives in this accident. This is a manifestation of the unity of the Catholic Church: when one member suffers, the whole Church suffers.”

Mgr Eder, Archbishop of Salzburg, has come to Medjugorje on several occasions. He blesses the whole parish, and, in a special way, the parish priest, who signed this letter.

 

Meeting of the radio prayer group “Let us pray together with a joyful heart”

 

The Radio Prayer Group “Let Us Pray Together With a Joyful Heart” had its second meeting in Medjugorje on December 3rd. About 300 members of the group came from Herzegovina, Split, Sarajevo, Knin, Drnis, Livno and other places.

This meeting in memory of Fr. Slavko, who had founded and led this prayer group over the radio, was led by Fr. Branko Rados.

The members of the group met at 2 p.m. at Apparition Hill for the Rosary and then at 4 p.m. in the parish. They went together to Fr. Slavko’s tomb and ended their meeting with the evening program in the church.

All members received medals, certificates and an audio tape of the last radio prayer meeting led by Fr. Slavko.

 

CELEBRATION OF ST. NICHOLAS DAY

 

On the feast of St. Nicholas, December 6th, a large number of children of the primary school of Medjugorje gathered in the large hall behind the parish church to celebrate the feast of their beloved saint, the protector of children and sailors. They sang various songs and gave a small performance. In the afternoon, they came together in the parish church to celebrate holy mass.

This year also the arrival of St. Nicholas aroused joy in the hearts of the children. There was no end to their prayers, enthusiasm and joy. As usual, St. Nicholas rewarded the children who had been good and those who were not always obedient were invited to be better, especially now as Christmas is approaching.

 

FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

 

In recent days, the atmosphere of prayer, peace and community characterized the shrine of Medjugorje due to a large number of pilgrims that visited it for the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. Local pilgrims came from all parts of the country, while the most numerous foreign pilgrim groups were from Italy.

On the day itself, the Rosary for Peace was prayed on  Apparition Hill. Several thousand took part in the evening Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Miron Sirkic, professor of Canon Law on Franciscan Theology at Sarajevo.

 

Christmas at Medjugorje

 

In addition to the evening prayer program in church, and to prepare for Christmas, the Rosary was prayed on Apparition Hill during the novena before Christmas. During Advent, three fasting and prayer seminars were conducted at "Domus Pacis", the House of Prayer. About 100 pilgrims from home and abroad participated in these seminars, desiring through prayer and fasting to prepare for Christmas and to draw closer to the mystery of God born on earth.

During the Christmas holidays, peace prevailed in the shrine of the Queen of Peace with an atmosphere of prayer and unity among the faithful who arrived from all parts of the world. On Sunday, December 17th, “Little Singers from Dubrovnik”, a children’s choir from Dubrovnik directed by Djelo Jusic, and “Little Doves of Peace”, children’s choir from Medjugorje directed by Sr. Slavica Kozul, performed a Christmas Concert in the church of Medjugorje. With this joyful event, in preparation for Christmas, the little one’s wished a Happy Christmas to the faithful and to pilgrims from all over the world.

On Christmas Eve, several thousands of faithful took part in Holy Mass. The Eucharistic celebration began at 10 p.m. with a prayer vigil that ended with Holy Mass at midnight. The feast of Christmas itself passed in the Christmas peace and joy of pilgrims and parishioners gathered around their Mother.

 

Seminar for married couples

 

The Information Center “Mir” Medjugorje is organizing the 1st International Seminar for Couples from February 8th to February 11th, 2001, with the theme: “COUPLES IN THE SCHOOL OF THE HOLY FAMILY”

Recommendations of things to bring with you:

1. Small headphones and small radio with fm frequency (can also be purchased here)

2. Bible and umbrella

All meetings will take place in the new building behind the Church. Costs of the Seminar: 30 DM per couple. You may make reservations by calling the Information Center at Tel: 00387-36- 651-988 or fax: 00387-36-651-888, or by E-mail medjugorje-mir@medjugorje.hr

 

Međugorje -156, November 26  2000

 

"Dear children!

Today when Heaven is near to you in a special way, I call you to prayer so that through prayer you place God in the first place. Little children, today I am near you and I bless each of you with my motherly blessing so that you have the strength and love for all the people you meet in your earthly life and that you can give God’s love. I rejoice with you and I desire to tell you that your brother Slavko has been born into Heaven and intercedes for you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

November  25, 2000

 

   

COME, LORD JESUS

 

            Throughout the history of the Church, grace and sin, good and bad have been intertwined. Anyone who looks at his life objectively will see that also in his life grace and sin, good and bad are intertwined. There is no human being who does not want to be a better human being and no Christian who does not want to be a better Christian. Rarely will anyone want to be a lesser human being and rarely will a Christian want to be a lesser Christian. Wanting to be a better Christian is the best soil for the work of God during the time of Advent. Not so much because it is Advent – surely also because of it – but more because it is a true need. This Advent is an opportunity not to let overwhelming responsibilities become an excuse to leave everything as it was. Jesus and His mother Mary are the company with which one can truly attain a fulfilled Christmas.

            Let us welcome them as our fellow-travellers and accept their companionship with everything that emanates from it.

 

            Fr. Ivan Landeka

   

N E W S

 

IN MEMORY OF FATHER DR SLAVKO BARBARIC

 

Father Slavko Barbaric died on November 24, 2000 at 3.30 p.m. After the Way of the Cross, that he animated usually every Friday on the Hill of Krizevac for parishioners and pilgrims, he felt some pain. He sat down on a rock, then lay down on the ground, lost consciousness and gave his soul over to the Lord.

Father Slavko Barbaric was born on March 11, 1946, as the son of Marko and Luca born Stojic at Dragicina (parish of Cerin). He attended elementary school in Cerin and then went on to high school in Dubrovnik. He entered into the Franciscan order at Humac on July 14, 1965. He made his final vows September 17, 1971. He was ordained priest the December 19, 1971. He studied at Sarajevo, Graz and Freiburg. He finished his studies at Graz (Austria) with a master's degree. After 5 years of pastoral service in the province of Herzegovina, in the parish of Capljina, he continued his studies at Freiburg, where he obtained his doctorate in religious pedagogy and the title of psychotherapist.

As Franciscan priest, he was in Capljina from 1973 to 1978. From the spring of 1982 to September 1984, he was chaplain for students at Mostar, and he held retreats in the house of religious sisters at Bijelo Polje near Mostar. His fruitful work with the students and his retreats very well accepted by the students, however, the Communist government in power at that time persecuted him. In those difficult moments, his eminence, Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, protected father Slavko’s mission.

Thanks to his knowledge of the main European language and despite his numerous obligations in different parishes, father Slavko put himself ceaselessly at the service of Medjugorje pilgrims from the time he finished his studies and came back to the country in 1982. He was officially sent to Medjugorje in 1983. According to the order of Mgr. Zanic, bishop of Mostar, he was transferred to the parish of Blagaj, and in 1988 to Humac, where he was parish vicar and assistant of the master of novices.

 

At the beginning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, when all elderly friars were exiled to Tucepi, with the oral accord of + father Drago Tolj, former provincial, father Slavko remained at Medjugorje.

From the very beginning of his mission in Medjugorje, father Slavko has been writing spiritual books: «Pray With the Heart», «Give Me Your Wounded Heart», «Celebrate Mass With the Heart», «In the School of Love», «Adore my Son With the Heart», «With Jesus and Mary Climbing the Golgotha to Meet the Risen Lord», «Pray Together with a Joyful Heart», Interviews, and «Fast With the Heart», which is now in print. Fr. Slavko Barbaric’s books have been translated in twenty languages and more than 20 million copieshave been printed in the whole world. He published also numerous articles in various publications. He was editor of the St Francis’ Bulletin in Capljina, collaborated in Krsni Zavicaj, Glas Mira and the Radio “Mir” Medjugorje. He gave unceasingly conferences for pilgrims, animated adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, veneration of the Cross, the rosary up the Apparition Hill, the Way of the Cross on the Mount Krizevac, where he finished his earthly life. He animated annual meetings for priests and youth, in the prayer house of the Franciscan province “Domus Pacis” he animated “Fasting and prayer retreats”. The destructions of the war inspired him to found and lead an institution for the education and care of the young, the “Mother’s Village”, where more than 60 persons have found their home (war orphans, children from separated families, unwed mothers, elderly abandoned persons and sick children). If there was a man who loved children, it was Fr. Slavko. Children loved him in return: they always gathered around him and he knew always how to gather them – just like Jesus! His psychotherapeutic formation and education allowed him to work with drug addicts in the Community of the Cenacolo, founded by Sister Elvira, mostly in their house in Medjugorje, “Campo della vita”. He oriented the help received from the whole world in two directions: “Foundation for children of deceased defenders” who died during the war, and “Foundation of friends of talents” to help students.

It is difficult to extract something from the life of this big and unusual man. If we would try to do it, it is undoubtedly the period of his life in Medjugorje. Father Slavko Barbaric has traveled throughout the whole world, spreading the message of peace and reconciliation of Our Lady. He was the soul and the heart of the peace movement born in Medjugorje 19 1/2 years ago. He had wonderful gifts: knowledge of languages, facility of communicating with people, education, simplicity, care for human beings in need, inexhaustible energy – one could not believe that one single man could have it, diligence, and above all piety, humility, charity. He prayed and he fasted a lot, he loved Our Lady with a childlike love. It was, in fact, the essence of his life: through prayer and fasting to take souls to God through Mary - the Queen of Peace.

It seemed sometimes above the reality to live near him – he was here, in the world, but at the same time so much out of the world. In his presence, the words of Jesus from his high priestly prayer became reality: “They do not belong to the world, as I myself do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, I sent them into the world. I sanctify myself for them, in order that they may be sanctified by the truth…” (Jn 17,16-19)

The funeral took place at the cemetery in Medjugorje “Kovacica”, on Sunday, November 26, 2000, after the mass in the church of St James at 2 p.m.

 

 

 

NUMBER OF HOLY COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS

 

            Since – according to Catholic tradition – October is the month, which is especially dedicated to the Virgin Mary, a great number of pilgrims chose this time for their pilgrimage to Medjugorje.

            During the month of October, 120.000 faithful received holy communion in the parish of Medjugorje and 2.870 priests from home and abroad concelebrated at holy masses.

 

            The most numerous groups of pilgrims came from Ireland, the United States, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Poland and, of course, Croatia.

 

 

THE ‘CENACOLO’ COMMUNITY  - HOUSE FOR WOMEN

 

            On November 1, 2000, a house for drug-addicted girls was solemnly opened and blessed here in the parish of Medjugorje. Many girls and boys of the ‘Cenacolo’ community were present, as were many of their parents and friends. This house is one of 60 houses and the second in Medjugorje which the ‘Cenacolo’ community has opened for youths with drug problems.

            This community’s path from the hell of drugs into a new life is based on prayer and work; therefore, it is not surprising that such a large number of youths are being healed here. Searching for a way out for the increasing number of young drug addicts, Sister Elvira Petrozzi founded the ‘Cenacolo’ community in 1983.

            Prior to their acceptance into the community, the girls and their parents have to take part in so-called ‘colloquiums’ – informative talks – which take place every Saturday at 9 am at the parish office in Medjugorje.

 

RELIEF OF FRANCISCANS FROM MEDJUGORJE WHO WERE KILLED DURING WORLD WAR II

 

            On November 3, 2000, reliefs of five Franciscans from the parish of Medjugorje who had died a martyr’s death in World War II were blessed in the Adoration Chapel. These five Franciscans were among a total of 66 Franciscans who were killed under the Communist regime, bearing witness to their faith in Jesus Christ.

            The parish of Medjugorje wanted to honour these Franciscans in a special way in this year of the Great Jubilee, and had five reliefs made which were then put up in the Adoration Chapel. Dr. Fr. Tomislav Pervan, the Provincial of the Franciscans in Hercegovina celebrated Holy Mass on the occasion. In his homily, Fr. Pervan reminded us of the many who have given their lives for Christ – almost a thousand Croatian priests died during the last wars.

            At the end of Holy Mass, Fr. Ivan Sesar, the parish priest, thanked the former parish priest, Fr. Ivan Landeka, who had suggested that these five Franciscan be honoured during this Jubilee Year for having died a martyr’s death. Many members of the numerous families, as well as parishioners of Medjugorje attended the ceremony. They will now be able to show their solidarity with their Franciscans - whose graves are unknown - by coming to Adoration Chapel, being there with them, praying for them and asking them for their intercession.

 

 

FR. IVAN BRADVICA HAS DIED

 

            On Saturday, November 4, 2000, Fr. Ivan Bradvica, Franciscan from the Franciscan Province of Hercegovina, died in Camogli, near Genova in Italy. Fr. Bradvica was buried on November 9th in Humac.

            Fr. Bradvica was born on May 9, 1944 in Veljace. He attended elementary school in Vitina and continued his studies at the Franciscan Seminary in Visoko. He then attended the seminary for priests in Sarajevo, Trento and the Antonianum in Rome, where he received his diploma in 1971. He gave his monastic vow in 1969 in Trento, Italy, where he was ordained a priest. From 1971 to 1991, he worked as a Franciscan priest with the Croatians in the Diaspora in the United States and Canada. He worked as chaplain in the Croatian parish St. Hieronymus in Chicago and then worked for one year in the parish of St. Kyrillos and Methodios in New York. He was parish priest in the parish of St. Nikola Tavelić from 1976 to 1987. There he built a new church and the Croatian Catholic center. He then worked in the Croatian Franciscan center in Norval, Canada, and from 1989 to 1991, he was parish priest in the parish of the Holy Family in Kitchener, Canada. As the democratic changes began to take place in his homeland of Croatia, Fr. Ivan Bradvica returned to the country of his birth. He first worked in the Franciscan monestary in Široki Brijeg and then in the beleaguered town of Konjic. In August 1995, he came to the parish of Medjugorje und worked there tirelessly until March 1999; he then returned to Konjic, where he worked devotedly to spiritually and physically restore the devastated parish.

            The funeral on November 9th in the new cemetary in Ljubuški was attended by a great number of Franciscan brothers and sisters, priests and faithful. Holy Mass was celebrated in the church of St. Anthony in Humac by Mgr. Ratko Perić, the Bishop of Mostar-Duvno and the permanent representative of Trebinje-Mrkanj, together with 85 priests.

            Fortunate to have been able to work near this magnanimous Franciscan and live with this extremely capable spirit, we feel a great loss, as we were accompanied for many years by the pastoral care and the high standards of this diligent Franciscan, who had such a special devotion for Our Lady. Fr. Ivan’s seminars and his spiritual guidance gave not only the parishioners of the parish of Medjugorje, where Fr. Ivan worked for four years, but also many pilgrims from abroad new incentives to change and start a new life upon their return home.

            Also in this way, we thank God once more for all the good He has done through His servant and we recommend him to your prayers.

 

SEMINARS IN 'DOMUS PACIS'

 

            Several prayer seminars have been held in 'Domus pacis', the house of prayer.

            From November 3 - 5, 2000, Franciscan sisters of the Franciscan province of Hercegovina held a seminar for 40 girls. Two fasting and prayer retreats were also held; one for French-speaking pilgrims from November 5 to 11 and another from November 13 - 18 for German-speaking pilgrims.

            From November 10 - 12, members of the Franciscan youth from the parish of Medjugorje had a spiritual renewal, together with their leader, Fr. Branko Radoš; and from November 24 -26, the FRAMA from various parts of the Hercegovina gathered for a two-day seminar.

            Such seminars show how much everyone – young and old – needs spiritual renewal and growth. And this is exactly what Medjugorje offers them with its prayer life. That is why all seminars are booked out in advance and, each year, there are more.

 

 

THE BULLETIN IS PUBLISHED ON THE 26th OF EACH MONTH

 

            The Press Bulletin with the monthly news will be published on the 26th of each month, rather than on the 5th, as we had previously announced.    

 

 

Međugorje -155, November 1  2000

 

 "Dear children!

Today I desire to open my motherly heart to you and to call you all to pray for my intentions. I desire to renew prayer with you and to call you to fast which I desire to offer to my Son Jesus for the coming of a new time – a time of spring. In this Jubilee year many hearts have opened to me and the Church is being renewed in the Spirit. I rejoice with you and I thank God for this gift; and you, little children, I call to pray, pray, pray – until prayer becomes a joy for you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

 October  25, 2000

 

WHAT DOES HOLINESS HAVE TO DO WITH LIFE?

 

                The feast of All Souls’ Day is casting more and more of a shadow on the feast of All Saints’ Day. Whether justified or not, that’s how it is. Piety, honouring and praying for the deceased are highly esteemed and without them the world would be remarkably poorer. Remembering the dead is something everyone can accept but the feast of All Saints’ is something that only has meaning for Christians who believe.  The question is, to what extent and what? Jesus Christ specifically calls us to live a holy life. Writing to the Christian communities, St. Paul addresses them as ‘holy’.

                What is valuable and important to us, we call ‘holy’, ‘holiness’. With the belief that God is our creator, we assume that we are valuable and important to Him, that a human being and his life are holy to Him. The more radically we become conscious of this  - without planning to become holy - the more open we become for a holy life, which is uniquely perceivable in Jesus’ entire life and in the lives of well-known and lesser known holy women and men.

Fr. Ivan Landeka

N  E  W  S

 

VISITS OF BISHOPS

 

            Mgr. Joseph Das of the Indian bishopric of Berhampur visited Medjugorje from October 12th to 15th. On Sunday, October 15th, he celebrated holy mass for the English-speaking pilgrims and he also held the homily. This was his first visit to Medjugorje.

            On October 26th, Mgr. Florencio Olvera Ochaoa, Bishop of Mexico, from the bishopric Tabasco, visited Medjugorje on his way to Dubrovnik. He was accompanied by Ante Luburić, Chancellor of the bishopric Mostar-Duvno. He said that it had been his ardent desire to visit Medjugorje, as a great number of his faithful come on pilgrimage here.

            At the end of October, four bishops were in Medjugorje: Mgr. Leo Drona from the bishopric of San Jose from the Philippines, Mgr. Nestor Carino, General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Mgr. Cirilo Almario, retired Bishop from the bishopric of Malolos of the Philippines and Mgr. Nicodemus Kirima, Archbishop of Nyeria, Kenya. These four bishops were part of a group of 700 American pilgrims, who were taking part in a pilgrimage to several Marian shrines throughout Europe. This pilgrimage was organized by an American organization and one of the Shrines they visited was Medjugorje.

SEMINAR FOR COUPLES

 

            The Information Center “Mir” Medjugorje is organizing the 1st International Seminar for Couples from February 8th to February 11th, 2001, with the theme:

 

            “COUPLES IN THE SCHOOL OF THE HOLY FAMILY”

 

February 8        10.00 am – 4.00 pm                   Registration

(Thursday)          4.00 pm                                  Introduction of program

              5.00 pm                                  Holy Rosary

  6.00 pm                                 Holy Mass

 

 

 

THEME OF EACH DAY:

 

February 9        “Let Prayer Take the First Place in Your Families!” (Nov.1, 1984)

(Friday)              9.00 am                                   Morning Prayer 

              2.00 pm                                  Way of the Cross on Križevac

        5.00 pm                            Rosary

        6.00 pm                            Holy Mass

  7.00 pm                            Veneration of the Holy Cross

 

 

February 10      “I desire you to awaken love in your families so that where there is unrest

(Saturday)         and hatred, love will reign…!” (April 25, 1993)

 

                          9.00 am                                  Morning Prayer 

                          3.00 pm                                  Testimonies

        5.00 pm                            Rosary

        6.00 pm                            Holy Mass

  9.00 pm - 10.00 pm                        Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

 

 

February 11      “…dear children, let your family be a place where holiness is birthed. Help

(Sunday)           everyone to live in holiness, but especially your own family!” (July 24, 1986)

 

             9.00 am                                   Morning Prayer

             Time for Commentaries, Opinions, Thoughts and Testimonies

 2.00 pm                            Hill of Apparitions (Podbrdo)

                         The seminar will end with the celebration of Holy Mass at the evening program

 

Daily Schedule:9.00 am                       Laudes in Latin

                        9.30 am                                    Speech and Discussion

                        11.00 am                       Pause

                        12.00 am                       Prayer and Pause

                        3.00 pm                        Discussion

5.00 pm                        Evening Program (Rosary, Holy Mass and Healing Prayer)

9.00 pm - 10.00 pm        Adoration (Saturday)

Speakers at the Seminar: Don Cosimo Cavaluzzo, couples from the ‘Cenacolo’ Community of Sister Elvira, Fr.  Jozo Zovko, Fr. Slavko BarbariF and other witnesses.

 

Recommendations - Things to Bring With You:

1. Small headphones and small radio with fm frequency (can also be purchased here)

2. Bible and umbrella

 

All meetings will take place in the new building behind the Church. Costs of the Seminar: 15 $ per couple. You may make reservations by calling the Information Center at Tel: 00387-36- 651-988 or fax: 00387-36-651-888, or by E-mail medjugorje-mir@medjugorje.hr As the number of places is limited due to space, those who would like to participate in the seminar, should make reservations as soon as possible but no later than by the end of December. We ask all couples taking part to please make arrangements for their own accommodations.

 

FR. FILIP PAVIĆ HAS LEFT MEDJUGORJE AND TAKEN ON A NEW ASSIGNMENT

 

            After 13 years of selfless and devoted service for God and the pilgrims, especially the English-speaking pilgrims, Fr. Filip Pavić has left Medjugorje and taken on a new assignment in the Franciscan province of Chicago, USA. On behalf of everyone who experienced Fr. Filip’s care and help during their pilgrimage to Medjugorje, we thank Fr. Filip wholeheartedly for all the good he has done. We promise to include him in our prayers that God may be with him in his continued work for his brothers and sisters.

 

IMPORTANT NEWS!!

 

            Starting with the next issue of the Bulletin – that is Nr. 156 – the Bulletin will be published at the beginning of each month (around the 5th of each month) in seven languages, as usual.

To get the most up-to-date information during the course of the month, please contact us via Internet on our web-site under the title NAJNOVIJE VIJESTI (LATEST NEWS). For reasons of efficiency and fastness, we will publish it only in the Croatian language. You will find a summary of these news in seven languages in the monthly Bulletin at the beginning of each month.We believe that this change will be satisfactory to all those who are waitingfornewsandinformation from the Shrine and that it will also solidify our working together in distributing reliable information regarding the events taking place in Medjugorje. 

 

 

Međugje -154, October 18  2000

 

"Dear Children!

Today I call you to open yourselves to prayer. May prayer become joy for you. Renew prayer in your families and form prayer groups. In this way, you will experience joy in prayer and togetherness. All those who pray and are members of prayer groups are open to God's will in their hearts and joyfully witness God's love. I am with you, I carry all of you in my heart and I bless you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call."

            September  25, 2000

 

WHAT DOES PRAYER HAVE TO DO WITH LIFE?

 

“In the camp, we prayed together frequently, and that was something very, very important …I have a great trust in God, from which emanates a basic optimism.” (Werner Wallert, hostage for many months on the island Jolo). We often think of prayer as being a separate part of our life, which hardly influences our daily life, our work, successes or failures, if at all. It seems to be much easier to pray only when difficulties arise, rather than when everything goes according to our wishes. But let us be honest: Is it too little, when we pray in times of distress? And what if this prayer brings forth optimism?

 

            Fr. Ivan Landeka

 

N  E  W  S

 

OCTOBER – THE MONTH OF OUR LADY

 

According to Catholic tradition, the month of October is dedicated to Our Lady and emphasis is put on praying the Holy Rosary during this month. So many times we have witnessed the strength and power of these prayers. For this reason, we are pleased that such a great number of pilgrims from all over the world come to Medjugorje during theses days. Especially numerous were the Croatian pilgrims who came for the Feast of the Queen of the Holy Rosary on October 7th, in order to honour Mary, the Queen of the Rosary. We would like to invite all and everyone in their communities, as well as the pilgrims in Medjugorje, to especially pray the Holy Rosary and thus to draw nearer to Jesus during the month of October.

 

TOGETHER WITH THE BISHOPS OF THE WORLD, THE HOLY FATHER DEDICATED THE THIRD MILLENNIUM TO OUR LADY

 

On Sunday, October 8, 2000, in the course of the Feast of the Great Jubilee, the Holy Father – together with all the bishops who were present - dedicated the future of the Church and of the world to the Mother of Christ. Kneeling in front of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, the Holy Father performed the consecration at the end of Holy Mass, which was attended by several thousand pilgrims from all over the world.


Many had been invited to attend this festive act, particularly those devoted to Our Lady and Marian prayer groups. On the occasion of the Feast of the Queen of the Rosary, just before the day of the dedication, the Holy Father prayed the glorious mysteries of the Rosary with those present. At the end, he emphasized among other things, “… In the course of the Big Jubilee 2000, we would like to express our thanks to the Church for the motherly care which Our Lady has always shown for her children, the pilgrims. There is no century and no people, in which She has not let Her presence be felt, by bringing light, hope and comfort to the faithful, particularly the small and poor …”

Among the numerous pilgrims and groups, were a great number of Medjugorje pilgrims, as well as the new parish priest from Medjugorje, Fr. Ivan Sesar.

 

THE FEAST DAY OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI

 

The feast of St. Francis is celebrated in the entire Catholic world on October 4th, but that feast day is nevertheless celebrated in an especially solemn manner in the Franciscan communities. On October 3rd, the eve of the feast day, St. Francis’ passing away was celebrated after the evening mass in the church of St. James in Medjugorje. The Franciscans as well as members of FRAMA, the Franciscan youth organization, of Medjugorje, formed a candle light procession and walked across the church yard into church and up to the altar, where the passing away of the seraphic father Francis was celebrated. This is always celebrated on the eve of the feast day of St. Francis. After the rite, the FRAMA remained to sing some songs and they were joined by numerous pilgrims.

 

PRAYER FOR THE SICK ON THE FIRST FRIDAY

 

During the Big Jubilee year, the evening prayer program on the first Friday of every month is dedicated especially to the sick.

Therefore, on this first Friday, the parish church of St. James was filled with a great number of pilgrims, among whom were many sick. At the end of holy Mass, the priests administered the anointment for the sick to all who wanted to receive this Sacrament.

 

EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR LEADERS OF CENTERS OF PEACE AND MEDJUGORJE PRAYER GROUPS

 

As we already mentioned in the previous Bulletin 149, the Medjugorje parish office is organizing the eighth meeting for leaders of centers of peace, charitable and prayer groups to take place in Medjugorje from February 26 - March 1, 2001. The theme of this year’s meeting is “PEACE AND RECONCILIATION”.

 

Daily program:

 

Monday, February 26, 2001

08:30    Morning prayer

09:00    Lecture: “The Message of Peace and Reconciliation”, Dr. Fr. Božo Lujić

10:00    Intermission

10:30    Meeting and Discussion with the lecturer

12:00    Lunch

15:00    Meeting with the Franciscans

17:00    Evening Prayer Program in Church

 

Tuesday, February 27, 2001

08:30    Morning prayer

09:00    Lecture: “Medjugorje in the Service of the Church and the World - 20 years”, Dr. Fr. Ljudevit Rupcic

10:00    Intermission

10:30    Meeting and Discussion with the lecturer

12:00    Lunch

15:00    Departure for Podbrdo (Hill of Apparitions)

17:00    Evening Prayer Program in Church

 

Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Ash Wednesday: Day of Prayer: Fr. Slavko Barbarić and Fr. Jozo Zovko

09:00    Lectures, Prayers, Discussions

12:00    Lunch (bread and water)

14:00    Departure for Križevac (Cross Mountain)

17:00    Evening Prayer Program in Church

21:00 – 22:00 Adoration

 

Thursday, March 1, 2001

08:30    Morning Prayer

09:00    Exchange of Experiences of the Participants

11:00    Holy Mass - Fr. Ivan Sesar, parish priest

        Joint Lunch      

Lecturers for this seminar:

 

Dr. Fr. Božo Lujić - born 1946 in Osječak, Odžak. In 1966, he entered the Franciscan Order, Province of Bosna Srebrena. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1974. He completed his study of theology in 1974 at the Franciscan School of Theology in Sarajevo, and in 1977 obtained his Masters’ Degree at the Theology Faculty in Ljubljana.  In 1982, he obtained his doctorate at the same Faculty on the theme “Experience of God and Man in the Book of Jeremiah.” He continued special biblical studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome where he obtained his licentiate in Biblical Science, after which he studied for a short time at the Franciscan Studium Biblicum  in Jerusalem. He also received a diploma in German language and literature at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo in 1984. Since 1977, he teaches biblical theology and exegesis at the Franciscan School of Theology in Sarajevo. Since 1993, he lectures at the Catechetical Institute, as well as at the Institute for Theological Culture of the Laity of the Theological Faculty in Zagreb and at the Evangelical Theological Faculty in Zagreb.

 

Dr. Fr. Ljudevit Rupčić - born 1920 in Hardomilje, Ljubuški, he entered the Franciscan Order in the Province of Hercegovina in 1939 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1946. He completed his study of theology in 1947 at the Theological Faculty in Zagreb. He obtained his doctorate in 1958 and was tenured at the same Faculty in 1971. From 1958 to 1988, he taught New Testament exegesis at the Franciscan School of Theology in Sarajevo and for some time also at the Theological Faculty in Zagreb. Under the Yugo-communistic regime, he was imprisoned in 1945 and in 1947 and from 1952 till 1956. He was a member of the Theological Commission for the Bishops’ Conference of ex-Yugoslavia. He translated the New Testament from the original languages into the Croatian language. His translation has undergone numerous editions. He has published many books, studies and articles in Croatian, German, Italian, French and English and has conducted many lectures at numerous congresses and symposia in Europe and America.

            The Eighth Meeting for Leaders of Medjugorje Centers of Peace, prayer groups and charitable organizations, connected to Medjugorje, will be held in the new hall in Medjugorje.

            As the number of places is limited by the space, and every year the number of participants increases, we ask you to register your participation at this seminar as soon as possible and no later than the end of December, 2000. You can register either by fax (00387 36) 651 444 or 651 300 (for Marija Dugandžić), or by e-mail: medjugorje-mir@medjugorje.hr (for Marija Dugandžić), or also in person at the Information Office of the Shrine, or by way of telephone at 00387 36 651 988.

Simultaneous translation will be organized for all language groups. The fee for the seminar is 120 DM per person. Included in the fee are all expenses for the organization and the work of the seminar (speakers, translation of texts, simultaneous translation and the joint lunch on the last day). Upon paying the fee at the beginning of the seminar, each participant will receive accreditation that enables him to participate in the work of the seminar. Every person must personally arrange for his own lodging in Medjugorje. We believe this won’t be a problem for you since you have been coming to Medjugorje for many years and have friends and acquaintances there. Radio and earphones for simultaneous translation should be brought along, but they can also be obtained during the seminar.

We are looking forward to your reservation and to meeting you on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions in the parish of Medjugorje!

 

 

Međugorje -153, October 4  2000

 

"Dear Children!

Today I call you to open yourselves to prayer. May prayer become joy for you. Renew prayer in your families and form prayer groups. In this way, you will experience joy in prayer and togetherness. All those who pray and are members of prayer groups are open to God's will in their hearts and joyfully witness God's love. I am with you, I carry all of you in my heart and I bless you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call."

            September  25, 2000

 

WHAT HAS PRAYER TO DO WITH FAITH?

 

            I believe, because I pray”, said Cardinal Ratzinger on one occasion. The experience of that great theologian who is our contemporary, is the experience of the great men and women of Christianity. For the walk of faith through life, nothing else can take the place of a life of prayer. As we begin the month of October which in the Church is also called the month of the rosary, it is a precious experience for us.

            The praying of the rosary is only a small part of the rich spiritual and prayer heritage of the Church. It is important because of its simplicity and yet one thing more: it takes the key experiences of  New Testament salvation history and considers them through Mary’s eyes. The one praying the rosary  understands it is Mary who takes him by the hand and that, yet once more while praying, all that is recalled together.

 

Fr. Ivan Landeka

 

N  E  W  S

 

 

NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRATIONS

 

            During September in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 160 000 holy communions were distributed and there were 3206 concelebrations at holy masses by priests from home and abroad, that is 107 per day.

            Going by the number reported it is evident that there were really a lot of pilgrims. To that we can add that they came to Medjugorje from all parts of the world.

 

 

VISIT OF ITALIAN BISHOP

            At the end of September retired bishop Msgr Janez Moretti was in Medjugorje for a two day visit. Before retirement Msgr. Moretti served as apostolic nuncio in Brussels, Belgium.

 


PRAYER MEETINGS IN BELGIUM AND GERMANY

 

            From September 15 - 18 Fr. Slavko Barbaric led prayer meetings in Belgium and Germany. Adoration was held on the evening of September 15 in the Franciscan Church in Brussels. Quite a few people gathered to pray. The already customary meeting was held on September 16th at the national shrine of Beauring where Our Lady at the beginning of 1930 and especially called for prayer for the conversion of sinners. Despite the bad weather and the barricades on the highways because of expensive petrol and gasoline, quite a few faithful gathered for the day-long prayer program which began at 10 AM and ended at 6 PM. After the community praying of the rosary in French, Flemish and German, there followed a talk on the Medjugorje messages. At 12 noon Father Jean Boulanger spoke about the sacrament of reconciliation. During the afternoon program the rosary was prayed, Holy Mass was celebrated and there was an hour of adoration with prayer for healing. Besides the faithful from Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg, a large group of faithful from Congo who are located in Paris also participated. They sang African songs and organized the solemn offering of gifts with music and liturgical dance. The prayer groups led the singing. There truly was a real atmosphere of prayer. Ten confessors were available for confession throughout the entire day. Those who know this shrine well, recognize that the Medjugorje days of prayer are always the most intensive.

            “Marian days” were organized September 16th and 17th in Fulda. It was the idea of Archbishop Johannes Dybe, who died in the meantime, and the auxiliary bishop Msgr. Ludwig Schick took his place.  Sunday morning he presided at the solemn mass in the presence of many Marian devotees, of which the majority were Medjugorje pilgrims. The first day, in addition to the themes “Mary, sign of unity”, “Renewal 2000 -The Church and a new Europe”, and “The visionaries of Fatima”, there was an organized devotion of the way of the cross, the rosary and celebration of mass. In the evening the well know convert  composer - singer Inge Brueck with a choir of young people from Neuhof prepared an evening program of music with testimonials of faith.

            The morning solemn holy mass in connection with this Marian days was celebrated in the cathedral  by the auxiliary bishop, Msgr. Ludwig Schick. He spoke on the theme, “With Mary into the third millennium”. In the afternoon there was the Medjugorje program (rosary, spiritual talk and adoration) in the Franciscan church at Frauenberg led by Fr. Slavko Barbaric. The church was filled to the last seat. The atmosphere of prayer was truly beautiful. These kind of meetings show that the Medjugorje spirit of prayer has caught many people in all parts of the world and that it brings fruits of conversion and enables the faithful to come with Mary to Jesus and so enter safely into the third millennium.

 

12TH  INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICAN CENTERS OF PEACE

 

            The representatives of about twenty Latin American countries gathered together from September 22 to 26 for the 12th international meeting of the centers for peace. The theme of this years meeting was “Celebrating the Great Jubilee With Mary”. These centers have arisen in parts of Latin American as the places for the gathering of all those who have felt the importance of the Our Lady’s call in Medjugorje. Their activity is considered mainly to spread the messages and to organize prayer groups and pilgrimages. As we have said, it was the 12th meeting, and the fourth time it was held in Medjugorje. The 650 participants spent the five days in prayer and meditation, exchanging the experiences of their years-long work in the spreading of Our Lady’s message of peace among the faithful of the Spanish speaking world.  Particularly stressed was the importance of spiritual growth for each individual in living Our Lady’s messages, as well as the spreading of the messages to others and the establishment and guidance of prayer groups. This is an incentive and a good example for everyone of how it is possible to work together in the spreading of the message of peace.

            After the program ended about 100 participants, mainly leaders of prayer groups and Centers of Peace, continued their pilgrimage stay with a three-day spiritual retreat in Medjugorje.

 

NOTICE TO MEDJUGORJE PILGRIMS ABOUT THE NEW SYSTEM OF VISAS AND PASSPORTS

            According to the newest regulations for visa and passport entry into Bosnia-Hercegovina, and so also for coming to Medjugorje, it is possible for citizens of certain countries only if they have an entry visa for Bosnia-Hercegovina in their passport. An entry visa is not necessary for citizens of the following countries: Austria, Bahrein, Belgium, Borneo, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Katar, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Norway, Oman, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United States of America, Vatican, and Yugoslavia,

            For citizens of all other countries a visa is necessary for entry into Bosnia-Hercegovina.

            According to the same constitution a passport is necessary for all foreign citizens.  Therefore, a personal identity card is no longer sufficient, except for citizens of Croatia.

 

Međugorje -152, September 20 2000

 

 "Dear children! I desire to share my joy with you. In my Immaculate Heart I feel that there are many of those who have drawn closer to me and are, in a special way, carrying the victory of my Immaculate Heart in their hearts by praying and converting. I desire to thank you and to inspire you to work even more for God and His kingdom with love and the power of the Holy Spirit. I am with you and I bless you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having  responded to my call."

August  25, 2000

 

WHAT IS BEING FORGOTTEN?

           

            The world in which we live is always getting smaller. The development and achieved level of modern communication in various fields have assisted people to get more personally acquainted. Better acquaintance creates a more desirable climate for the cooperation and understanding of diverse traditions and of diversity in general. All this has been created by the conditions for the process of globalization that is underway, the outcome of which at this moment we cannot attain to. The process here and there meets with approval. But then, the fears and concerns that are more and more expressed cannot be suppressed. The place and the role of little people is very much in question and the little people feel that. Associations based purely on the level of economy and profit will sooner or later turn into a time bomb. Both recent and more distant history is a sufficient proof of that. One historical content is lost by the marginalization of the religious and the spiritual.

            More than that, there is lost a connective tissue which was authentic and was abused, but upon its fundamental elements the greatest attainments of modern man and society blossomed and developed.

 

Fr. Ivan Landeka

 

N  E  W  S

 

NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS

 

            During August at the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 159,500 holy communions were distributed at holy masses and there were 3,404 concelebrations by priests from home and abroad, that is 110 priests daily.

            The number of our Croatian pilgrims in August was truly large. Since that is the month of annual vacations, many took advantage of their time by the sea for pilgrimage to Medjugorje.

            We recorded an exceptionally large number of foreign pilgrim groups. They came from Portugal, USA, Switzerland, Korea, France, Belgium, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Phillippines, Belorussia, Czech Republic, Holland, Austria, Italy, Brazil, Romania, Australia, Germany, the Caribbean, Slovenia, England, Ireland, Cuba, Nicaragua, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Paraguay, Indonesia, Lebanon, Canada, Albania, Lithuania, Montenegro, Japan, New Zealand and Spain.


 

FEASTS OF MARY’S NATIVITY AND EXALTATION OF THE CROSS

 

            The feastday of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary September 8th was solemnly celebrated. The evening holy mass was presided by the new Medjugorje pastor, Fr. Ivan Sesar along with 70 concelebrants. A great number of pilgrims had already gathered in Medjugorje for this feast day and many of them stayed in Medjugorje for the celebration of the Exaltation of the Cross.

            This year also the feastday of the Exaltation of the Cross was solemnly observed on the first Sunday after the Nativity of Mary - September 10th on Cross Mountain. In the presence of tens of thousands of the faithful holy mass was presided by Fr. Mijo Dzolan, the Provincial of the Bosnia Franciscan province along with 30 priests. As happens every year a stream of pilgrims flowed into Medjugorje already during the night. Many of them came hundreds and hundreds of kilometers by foot, and some were barefooted.

            Here are a few lines from the history of Cross Mountain [Krizevac] and the cross erected on it. About one kilometer from the church of Medjugorje, as the crow flies, Cross Mountain rises up as a continuation of Crnica Hill, forming an angle with it. On its peak (520 meters above sea level) the pastor and people of Medjugorje at that time in 1934 erected an 8.56 meter high reinforced concrete cross in commemoration of the 1900th anniversary of the Passion of Jesus. In it they engraved the words, “To Jesus Christ, Redeemer of the human race, as a sign of their faith, love and hope, the pastor Bernadine Smoljan and the parish of Medjugorje erected [this cross]. From every evil deliver us, O Jesus.” On the back side of the cross in memory of the 1900th anniversary of redemption are inscribed the dates "33 -1933". Relics received from Rome for the occasion are embedded in the cross bar itself. They are a piece of the cross venerated by Christians as the one on which Jesus Christ was crucified, the largest part of which is preserved in the Church of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem in Rome. The cross was completed on March 15, 1934. Later on the custom was established of celebrating Holy Mass at the base of the cross on the first Sunday after Our Lady’s birthday in commemoration of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The Cross Mountain does not so much attract pilgrims for its natural beauty nor because of the importance of the cross erected on it, but only because, after the Medjugorje apparitions began, a great number of people claim that they saw various luminous and other “signs” on that cross. Everyone connected them with the apparitions of Our Lady themselves, with the message of the Medjugorje apparitions - peace between God and man and between men. They understood that the way to that peace leads unavoidably through the cross. They included the veneration of the cross in their pilgrimage devotions and practices. Climbing up that difficult, near impossible path to the Cross on the mountain, pilgrims pray the devotion of the Way of the Cross. That is why, along the path on Cross Mountain, fifteen bronze reliefs are placed and the image of Our Lady is in each one of them. Our Lady accompanies both Jesus and us on the way of the cross in our life.

 

 

MISSIONARY TRAVEL OF FR. SLAVKO BARBARIC TO ENGLAND

 

            It is already a full ten years since there began in England regular annual prayer meetings of Medjugorje pilgrims. A Medjugorje convert from Judaism and a great benefactor of the Croatian people during the war, Mr. Bernard Ellis, felt the need for and suggested an annual prayer meeting of the English pilgrims.  The idea was adopted and since 1990 a day of prayer on the last Monday of August was organized every year.

            “Eight times we met for prayer with the Carmelites in their well known place of pilgrimage at Aylesford, then we transferred to Walsingham -the oldest Marian shrine in England. So it was also in this Great Jubilee Year. Altogether that was the tenth jubilee prayer meeting. Many gathered together to pray. The meeting began with praying the rosary as in Medjugorje. There followed a lecture and the solemn holy mass presided at by Marist Fr. Alan Williams, director of the shrine. Twenty priests concelebrated and heard confessions for hours before the celebration of mass. After mass there was adoration and prayer for healing.

 

            I had two prayer meetings prior to the prayer meeting in Walsingham. On August 26th there was a meeting at the parish of St. Margaret of Scotland where Fr. Alexander Sherbrooke is pastor. With Medjugorje pilgrims he has also introduced daily adoration from 10 AM to 10 PM into his parish church.  There is hope soon even to have perpetual adoration because there are more and more people willing to give Jesus an hour and to be with Him in adoration. The spiritual fruits, according to Fr. Alexander, are visible and he wishes to continue working in the same spirit.

            Along with the annual prayer meeting of all Medjugorje pilgrims, a meeting of Youth 2000 is being organized. This is already the ninth meeting. About 1,500 young people gathered from all of England and Scotland. These meetings are inspired by the Medjugorje youth prayer festivals, and their leaders are Medjugorje pilgrims. The head organizer is Prof. Robert Toone and his wife Amanda. They started on Thursday August 24th and finished on Monday, August 28th before noon. Sunday afternoon August 27th I met with the young people, I gave a talk and led adoration. Just like in Medjugorje! The theme is just the same as the Medjugorje youth festival and the meeting in Rome: “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us!” The experience of the young people was very rich. Along with all the problems of organization, Robert Toone does not give up because he sees the spiritual fruits in the hearts of the young people. We can only be grateful to Mary Queen of Peace, for all those children of hers who have gathered around her  and who unselfishly and with full dedication continue her prayer program.”

 

 

TIME CHANGE OF THE EVENING PROGRAM

 

            Since September 11th the daily evening program in the church begins at 5 PM and lasts till 8 PM (5 PM rosary, 6 PM Holy Mass, blessings and the third part of the rosary).

            Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is on Wednesday and Saturday from 9 to 10 PM, and Thursday immediately after the evening mass. Adoration and prayer before the Cross is every Friday in church after the evening mass. Every Sunday at 3 PM the Peace Rosary is prayed on the Hill of Apparition, and every Friday at the same time the Way of the Cross on Cross Mountain (after the change of time this devotion will take place at 2 PM).  Opportunity for confessions is provided every evening during the prayer program. After the time change the prayer program in church will not change.

            All announcements concerning the prayer program at the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje, as well as other announcements, may be obtained from the Information Office by telephone at 00387-36-651-988 from 9 AM till 5 PM. We request all organizers of pilgrim groups to give notice of their arrival in Medjugorje and to inform their pilgrims about the possibility of obtaining necessary information at the Information Office, which is located right in front of the parish house, and not at the parish office.

 

Međugorje -151, September 6, 2000

 

 "Dear children! I desire to share my joy with you. In my Immaculate Heart I feel that there are many of those who have drawn closer to me and are, in a special way, carrying the victory of my Immaculate Heart in their hearts by praying and converting. I desire to thank you and to inspire you to work even more for God and His kingdom with love and the power of the Holy Spirit. I am with you and I bless you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having  responded to my call."

August  25, 2000

 

THE CROSS AND THE CRUCIFIED

 

            The celebration of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in the parish of Medjugorje has acquired a special significance by the construction of a large cross on Mount Sipovac. The erected cross has changed the name of the mountain: from then on it is Krizevac: Cross Mountain. Since 1981, catching site of that cross from near and far, millions have prayed, wept and rejoiced. Under that cross the Crucified has changed many human destinies, under that cross innumerable conversions from disbelief to faith have taken place. A cross vowed by the parish on the occasion of the Year of Redemption has become the common good of Christians from the whole world.

            The cross, by itself, separated from the Crucified, does not mean much. The Crucified gives it sense and significance. Also those who stood beneath His cross give it meaning, especially the Lord’s Mother. Human life has from time immemorial been confronted with suffering and the search for relief. In the cross and in the Crucified both are contained - the reality of suffering and dying and that reversal that took place in the Crucified. In the cross and on Cross Mountain we commemorate that and build it into our life.

Fr. Ivan Landeka

 

 N  E  W  S

 

 

THE BISHOP OF SAINT VINCENT AND GRENADA TO YOUTH

 

            At the recently held Eleventh International Youth Prayer Festival on the theme: “The Word Became Flesh and Dwelt Among Us”, one of the speakers was Msgr. Robert Rivas, bishop of Kingstown, Saint Vincent and Grenada. On that occasions he addressed the assembled young people:

 

“My dear young people,

            I am writing to you in the spirit of the Great Jubilee Year. What a privilege it is to be here with you in Medjugorje for this International Youth Prayer Festival. Thank you for hearing the call and responding to our Blessed Mother’s invitation to come together in this oasis of prayer, devotion and spiritual renewal. I admire you for coming from many continents to bear witness to your faith in Jesus Christ, her Son. Thank you for keeping your appointment with Jesus for the Jubilee Year.

 

            Our great Jubilee profession of faith is centered in Christ, in the mystery of the Incarnation. St. John, the beloved disciple, beckons us to take a deep look into the mystery of the Incarnation and the birth of Christ when he writes in his Gospel: The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. These are words of life. This is how close God has come to us. The divine has touched the human. All that was waiting, indeed all of creation, jumped for joy at the announcement of Christ’s birth. This is the great event we are celebrating in this Jubilee Year. Young people, may your hearts leap for joy today for your God dwells with you.

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14).

            Mary is at the heart of this great mystery of faith. She said “yes” to God and gave Christ to us. The birth of Christ opens the door to the greatest love story ever told or written. Again, St. John takes us to the heart of the story: “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life” (Jn 3:16.) Mary is the bearer of that love incarnate. Her message to you, young people, is to be bearers of that love to your friends and your peers at the beginning of this new millennium. We are all part of this great love story which has to be lived and told until the end of time. He promised to be with us for all time. This is love, love that lasts for ever. Your faith in Jesus Christ is the most precious ‘gift’ of love you could share with others. Remember always your Mother’s words to you: “Do whatever He tells you!”

 


“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14).

            Jesus emptied Himself (Phil 2:7) and identified with us in everything except sin (Heb 4: 14-16). Jesus, therefore, knows where He stands with us. Where do you stand with Jesus? Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, says that Jesus expects great things of young people. Indeed, at the beginning of this new millennium a great responsibility is being placed in your hands: To receive the faith, to preserve it and to pass it on to your peers and to future generations. Therefore, you cannot wait to see what others are doing. You have to be a light! Do you have a vision of the way forward for you as young Christian women and men? Do you have a plan for deepening and strengthening your commitment to Christ? Where you stand with Christ is a commitment that requires the energy and vibrancy of your youth. Give your youthful zeal to Christ today! Empty yourselves in service and love for others. You could make a big difference in the Church and your society.

 

            Do not be afraid to be the saints of the new millennium!! (15th World Youth Day, message of the Holy Father #3). Do not be afraid to be women and men of hope. Your bishops are counting on you! The Church is counting on you. In his message to you for this year’s World Youth Day, our Holy Father points Christ out to you as the one Who is there for you and the one to Whom you must go. “Turn then to no one, except Jesus”, he says. “Do not look elsewhere for that which only He can give you” (#3).

            Seek always to find Christ everywhere, in everything and in everyone. See Him in the disfigured faces of young people, your peers. Hear His cry in the cries of the poor, the rejected and those crushed by suffering. Hear the cries for justice and be concerned about the needs of others. Meet Christ daily in His Word and fall in love with Him in the Eucharist. Let your prayer be nourished by Eucharistic Adoration. Without a personal relationship to Christ, our lives are empty. Endeavor to make this one of your youthful priorities. Christ wants you to be happy. Therefore, live your faith  joyfully. Jesus did not come to take away your joy but rather that through Him you would come to know real joy.

 

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”  (Jn. 1:14).

            Young people, I exhort you to make God’s choice for life, your choice for life. Become missionaries of life. Listen, as Mary did, to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and be ready and willing to go where Christ needs you to represent Him today. Do not be afraid. Jesus, the Word made flesh, the Bread of Life, your brother, is with you!

 

I bless you, with your families, your priests, Religious and friends.

 

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us.                                   Medjugorje, August 3, 2000

 

 

FR. IVAN LANDEKA LEAVES MEDJUGORJE - MEDJUGORJE HAS A NEW PASTOR

 

            After twelve years of unselfish and dedicated service to God and all the pilgrims who have sought their way to Him, and to the parishioners of the parish of Medjugorje, Fr. Ivan Landeka has gone to a different ministry. Fr. Ivan is undertaking the ministry of pastor in the parish of Humac which is known to pilgrims as the starting point of the traditional Peace March for the anniversary of the apparitions and the parish from which Franciscans have for years come to Medjugorje to hear confessions.


            In the name of all of you who have felt Fr. Ivan’s concern and care in the course of your pilgrimages to Medjugorje we wish to thank him heartily for every good deed he has done. And there was an abundance of them! We promise him also in this way that our prayers will accompany him in his continuing service to the brothers and sisters.

            Also assistant pastor Fr. Branimir Musa has left Medjugorje and undertaken the ministry of Guardian at the Franciscan monastery in Humac. In the name of all of you, who, moved by Fr. Branimir’s inspired sermons, have discovered the love of God, we heartily thank him and recommend his ministry to your prayers.

            The new pastor of the parish of Medjugorje is Fr. Ivan Sesar, a Franciscan of the Hercegovina Franciscan Province and a doctor of canon law. We hereby wish to express our sincere welcome to him and to the new assistant pastor Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic and promise them our cooperation and prayers.

 

JUBILEE 2000 AND MARY

            In the letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente Holy Father John Paul II proclaimed that “The affirmation of the central place of Christ cannot therefore be separated from the recognition of the role played by his Most Holy Mother”(43). The calendar of Jubilee celebrations commemorates in a special way the feastdays of Mary linked with the mystery of Incarnation. On September 8th the commemoration of Mary’s birth is celebrated in conjunction with the nativity of Christ.

            At the shrine of “Our Lady of Divine Love” in Rome the 20th International Mariological Marian Congress is being celebrated in conjunction with the Jubilee of Marian Shrines. At midnight on Saturday September 23rd the pilgrimage on foot starts from St. John Lateran to the shrine of “Divine Love”. On Sunday September 24th the Holy Father will close the Marian Congress and the Jubilee of Marian Shrines with a solemn mass in St. Peter’s Square.

            On the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, Saturday October 7th, the original Fatima image of the Mother of God will arrive at St. Peter’s Square where devotees of Mary from the whole world will keep vigil together in prayer in preparation for the act of consecrating the third millennium to the protection of Mary on the occasion of the Jubilee of Bishops. All the Marian groups of the world are invited to participate in the preparation and in this act of consecration.

 

SEMINARS AT “DOMUS PACIS”

            In recent days at the “Domus Pacis” House of Prayer three fasting and prayer seminars were conducted for Polish and French pilgrims. At the same place a seminar for a group of blind people from Croatia was conducted.

 

SEMINAR FOR GUIDES

            Because of the interest of many who wish to work as guides at the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje, the Association of Pilgrim Guides in the parish of Medjugorje organized a seminar from August 21 - 25th. After the seminar an examination was given. All those who finish this seminar successfully gain the possibility of membership in the Association of Guides, and by that fact also acquire the possibility of working with pilgrim groups. This means that all those who wish to work as guides in the shrine must have learned and acquired sufficient knowledge to be able to provide reliable information to the pilgrims with whom they will be working in the future.

            The young people heard lectures in five areas: Scriptural messages (Fr. Miljenko Stojic), Christian messages (Fr. Milan Loncar), History of the Church among the Croatian people (Fr. Ivan Maric), Our Lady’s Messages (Fr. Slavko Barbaric), and Tourism and pilgrimage in the Medjugorje events (Maria Dugandzic).

            We take this opportunity to request all those who lead groups to Medjugorje to hire a local guide  who can greatly help them during their stay in Medjugorje and, most importantly, they are the persons who are prepared and trained for providing reliable information, and who do their work in cooperation with the Information Office at the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje.

 

 

Međugorje -150, August 23, 2000

 

 "Dear children!

Do not forget that you are here on earth on the way to eternity and that your home is in Heaven. That is why, little children, be open to God’s love and leave egoism and sin. May your joy be only in discovering God in daily prayer. That is why, make good use of this time and pray, pray, pray; and God is near to you in prayer and through prayer.Thank you for having  responded to my call."

                                                                                                                                       Message of July  25, 2000           

 

FEARS AND FEAR OF GOD

 

            “The world is full of fears since we lost the fear of God. Hundreds and thousands of fears – fears of oneself, of the other, of the world, of the future, make us sick. The only one free from fear is the one who has the fear of God.” (Klaus Hemmerle)

            With the progress that is taking place in many areas of human life, and the ever increasing insignificance of a sense of the religious in the life of those who acknowledge themselves believers, it was expected that the feeling of fear would diminish – more so even disappear. However, it has been shown that the greater the attachment and dependence on material security, the greater also are the kinds of different fears. Such a condition curtails real freedom and becomes the driving power for conflict and manipulation. The fear of God about which the Bible speaks, is the least fear.  It is really speaking about confidence. And confidence is a sign that man cannot be sufficient unto himself, but that he needs someone else.

            The believer finds that o t h e r in God and that which we call fear of God is in reality faith.

Fr. Ivan Landeka

 

N  E  W  S

FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION

            On the feast of Assumption August 15th in the parish of Medjugorje there were about ten thousand visiting pilgrims from all continents. Among them, by all means, must be emphasized the great number of Croatian pilgrims who from all different parts of our homeland came bare-foot on pilgrimage to Mary Queen of Peace. The feast itself was preceded by a prayer novena during which a large number of the faithful gathered for the evening prayer program and the sacrament of reconciliation. Because of the variety of language groups holy masses were celebrated in nine languages during the course of the day. And over and above that variety of languages the pilgrims were bonded by prayer and petitions directed to Mary, mostly by prayer for the peace that we need so much. The festive evening mass, together with 52 concelebrants, was presided at by Fra Bozo Vuleta who in his inspired sermon proclaimed, “. . .that by the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven God made possible for us a view from Heaven to earth, a view on transience. Thus we can see our own life through Her eyes, Her heart, and feel the beauty of submission to the will of God  that we have to bear throughout life. . .”

 

DONORS’ CONFERENCE

            As we already wrote in Bulletin No. 147 June 26th, an International Donors’ Conference was held in Medjugorje at which the following was adopted

 


DECLARATION

 

            The international conference of representatives of humanitarian organizations and of individuals inspired by the messages of Medjugorje was held in Medjugorje June 26, 2000. About 250  participants from 16 countries and the priests who work in Medjugorje took part in this conference.

            Listening to what has been done through these ten years for displaced persons and refugees, the destitute and the infirm, invalids of war, war orphans and other needy people, we became more conscious that we must thank God through Mary Queen of Peace for the experiences of deepened faith and for the aid that we afforded to the imperiled people in Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina during and after the war.

            We also became more aware that there is still much need on various sides and therefore we decided, according to our capacities, to continue to do good, to broaden the areas of our activities, stirring others also to do the same, confident that we are doing to Jesus whatever we do to one of his least brethren (Mt 25:40).

            The presence of representatives from the Jewish, Muslim and Orthodox confessions shows that our help was not limited only to those “in the household of faith” (Gal 6:9). Therefore, we decisively reject all accusations that were expressed in various media about individuals and associations abusing humanitarian work.

            We invoke the intercession of the Queen of Peace on all and invite men of good will to join us in helping our brother in need.

 

In Medjugorje, June 16, 2000                             Fr. Ivan Landeka, Pastor St. James Parish – Medjugorje

                                                           Fr. Leonard Orec, President, Association “Medjugorje–Mir” Split

 

VISIT OF BELGIAN BISHOP

            In mid July the bishop of the Belgian city Namour, Msgr. Leonard Andre - Mutien made a three day visit to Medjugorje. On that occasion Fr. Slavko Barbaric spoke with Bishop Leonard Mutine for Glas Mira. We present here a part of that conversation:

            Bishop Mutien: “I met Medjugorje through my seminarians. When I was rector of the school of theology at St. Paul in Louvain-la-Neuve, 1982 and 1983, some of my students of theology went to Medjugorje. That was at the very beginning of the apparitions. I had never heard it spoken of before. Some students of theology came to me seeking permission to go to Medjugorje during their vacation.  I knew nothing about it and I asked them if there existed a position of the Church on Medjugorje. They told me no, that it had only begun a few years earlier, and that the Virgin seemed to be appearing there. They gave me an article to read and I told them, “Go and see, go and see!” They spoke to me several times about it and in 1984 I decided myself to go and see. Four of us priests came with the students of theology to Medjugorje in June1984. I must say that what I saw in the parish church in 1984, that  folk piety, the manner in which the rosary was prayed, the Eucharist celebrated, the meeting that I had with the visionaries two times during the “apparitions” in the sacristy – all that seemed to me very positive, especially the manner in which they prayed here.

            Glas Mira: How many times have you already come to Medjugorje?

Bishop Mutien: This is my second time. The first time, then, I came in 1984. I kept a very positive impression about what I saw here. Later I kept informed. I read the books of Fr. Laurentin, not all, but a few.  I read some articles, and , accordingly, took an interest. Especially while I was a professor at Louvain, I saw among the students some who had been to Medjugorje and who there had discovered prayer, confession, Eucharist, fasting, and I remember that in the theologate I began fasting Fridays quite regularly, following the example of some of my students of theology or other students who I met at the university and who had fasted after pilgrimage to Medjugorje. When I became a bishop I met some believers of my diocese who fasted every Friday, who discovered the sacraments, thanks to their encounter with Medjugorje. I established the fact that regularly among the students of theology there were those who experienced conversion and received a vocation, thanks to Medjugorje. Now I have thirty students of theology, among whom there are some who have undergone a spiritual experience here which has marked their vocation. Such fruits are of interest to me. I know that from false premises according to logic we can draw exact conclusions. But still, the fact that so many positive  discoveries take place, just with thanks to Medjugorje, is positive evidence in favor of Medjugorje. Accordingly, I continued to inform myself and said that some day I would be able also to return to Medjugorje. In the year 2000 I thought I might be able to take advantage of the Jubilee for a short pilgrimage. The fact that at the present time in France and in Belgium there exists much opposition to the Medjugorje events, books which criticize Medjugorje, moved me to come and see with my own eyes. I do not wish to judge things, situations, and persons from a distance, only from books. I would rather take a little more personal look. After I informed the bishop of Mostar about my coming, I came here as a pilgrim to pray, but also personally to convince myself, and I must say that what I see in the parish church on the pastoral level seems very good: praying the rosary, the Eucharist, adoration, solid devotion, balanced piety, cultivated devotion. As far as the Medjugorje events are concerned, it is not up to me to decide about that. It up to the local bishop, the bishops of Bosnia-Hercegovina, after a detailed study of the situation, to formulate a judgment about the authenticity or non-authenticity of the apparitions. That is not my business! In every case, I will accept the official judgment of the Church.

            Glas Mira: Why does the Church hesitate when good fruits are visible?

            Bishop Mutien: I think that the Church in her wisdom with these kind of phenomena wishes first to investigate the facts, and only then the fruits. I think that is the rule that Cardinal Seper already formulated when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. First the facts are studied, and only then the fruits. Investigating the fruits is not enough. The facts have to be investigated, but the abundance of positive fruits is in itself a positive evidence, even if it seems to me that there are, as in every human affair, also negative fruits. Wherever there are people, there are also human moments, sometimes far too human. As also among the twelve apostles. . .

            Glas Mira: From where does the opposition come?

            Bishop Mutien: I understand why questions are asked about the phenomena of Medjugorje and why there exist objections against the apparitions in Medjugorje. I understand why, for example, questions like these are asked: the multitude of apparitions, the fact that in some manner they are foreseen, known for a certain day. I understand why there is opposition. Personally there are not many a priori thoughts about what the Most Blessed Virgin would need, or what she would not need to do. I prefer to accept things, even if they disturb my personal ideas, but I understand why questions are asked and I believe that, according to what I have been able to see, there are in this phenomenon of Medjugorje essential things, but there are also parasites. I believe there exists that which is fundamental, but also accidentals. One is more positive, and the other is more negative. In Lourdes the testimony of Bernadette impressed me very much, I would say 100% pure. It seems to me that here there were parasites surrounding the central events. I understand why questions are asked. I keep informed also on the questions that the opponents of Medjugorje are asking. One has to hear them, and therefore I read the book of Joachim Boufflet from beginning to end. It is written in a polemical tone which does not seem to me to be in place, but there are real questions which are asked and which one day have to receive a clear and historically established answer. Accordingly, I accept those questions, but I wish to stay open to the event. I know bishop friends whose rule of behavior is to say: “Look out, if we are open to the events of Medjugorje, we can perhaps encourage something that is not authentic.” There exists a risk. I am more sensitive to the opposite risk and say: “Just the same, it is possible that Heaven has spoken to people at that place and I do not wish to take the risk of a priori being closed to that grace.” Two risks exist: the risk that we are being deceived in Medjugorje and the risk that we are bypassing a gift of grace.

            Glas Mira: A gift from Heaven?

            Bishop Mutien: My desire is that those who have the grace and the competence for that, the local bishop, the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia-Hercegovina, a theological and investigative commission, continue to study this phenomenon, to formulate one day the judgment of the Church about what has happened here. Until then, between the two risks, I prefer to take the risk of being open rather than the risk of a priori being closed to the grace of God which can be operating in this place. Accordingly, therefore, I take the position of openness and prudence.

            Glas Mira: We Franciscans, awaiting the final judgment, are placing ourselves at the service of the persons who come here. The bishop considers us “disobedient” because of the “apparitions”, but we do not have a big choice: if people come here, we have to serve them. . .

            Bishop Mutien: As far as I can see, your pastoral work in the parish church is not based on the apparitions as such. It seems to me that there is not a lot of mention of the apparitions when Holy Eucharist and the sacraments are being celebrated. From time to time I even hear: “All the fruits of Medjugorje come simply from the fact that the Eucharist is celebrated, that there is adoration of the Eucharist, that there is confession, that there is prayer. The fruits, accordingly, if there are some, do not come from the alleged apparitions but from the sacraments of the Church.”  I hear this from time to time.

            Glas Mira: Some say: “Where there is prayer, there is grace and miracles.”

Bishop Mutien: That logic does not seem to me completely correct. It is true that there where there is prayer, Eucharist, confessions, fruits do come. But there are many other places in the world where there is prayer, where there is confession, where Eucharist is celebrated, but there are not the same kind of evident fruits!

            Glas Mira: You, then, think that this dimension can be attributed to the apparitions?

            Bishop Mutien: I believe that it is an indication which has to be studied, an indication that leads to consideration. I regularly meet young people who think about the priesthood or who have had a profound experience of conversion coming here, much more so than in relation to other places and that makes me question. I cannot accept without reservation that the fruits of Medjugorje are connected only with the living of the sacraments. They are also lived in other places. Here there exists something that presents a special question. It is not up to me to pronounce about the reality of these fundamentals, but there is a question that cannot be avoided.

            Glas Mira: Finally, is it your wish to give some message here to the world?

            Bishop Mutien: I think that on the spiritual plane we are living in a period that demands urgency. I am convinced, as is also Pope John Paul II, that the time of the Jubilee is a time of special grace, as John Paul II has said several times, that is preparing a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church. That which I am expecting from Medjugorje is that it contribute to the preparation of that new outpouring of the Holy Spirit which the Church and world need. Therefore I think that it is more useful to concentrate on the most fundamental, as you are doing here in this parish: to concentrate on the Eucharist which is the source of Christian life, and for the rest I think we need to cultivate the grace of peace and seek for the discernment in connection with Medjugorje to be done in the best possible climate, for the good of the Church.

            Glas Mira: We will pray for you. Bless us! Thanks!”

 

VIDEO TAPES OF THE YOUTH PRAYER FESTIVAL

            In recent days many are looking for video tapes of the recent youth prayer festival. It is possible to get them in person at the Information Office of the shrine, but not by mail.

 

FRAMA OF HERCEGOVINA IN ROME

            About 200 young Frama members (Franciscan Youth) made pilgrimage to Rome in the middle of August on the occasion of the Jubilee Year for the International Youth Meeting with the Holy Father. The Frama of Medjugorje was led by Fr. Branko Rados. May the Queen of Peace accompany them and all youth on this important pilgrimage, so that they become and remain a part of the young generation dedicated to God and to the Church.

 

VISIT OF STATE OFFICIALS        

            In recent days Medjugorje was visited by the Vice President of Croatia, Dr. Goran Granic who was interested in the events of this shrine.

            Not long ago Medjugorje was visited by the family of the President of Bolivia: his wife and daughter, two sons-in-law and two grandchildren. On that occasion Mrs. Yolanda de Banzer proclaimed: “I fervently desired to come to Medjugorje. After several attempts it seemed to me that it would also remain an unfulfilled wish. Now it is fulfilled and I am exceedingly happy.” Her stay in Europe began with a meeting with the Holy Father and ended with pilgrimages to Lourdes, Fatima and Banneaux.

 

 

 

Međugorje -149, August 9, 2000

 

 "Dear children!

Do not forget that you are here on earth on the way to eternity and that your home is in Heaven. That is why, little children, be open to God’s love and leave egoism and sin. May your joy be only in discovering God in daily prayer. That is why, make good use of this time and pray, pray, pray; and God is near to you in prayer and through prayer.Thank you for having  responded to my call."

 Message of July  25, 2000    

 

REST

 

            “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while!” (Mk 6:31) So Jesus says to his disciples. During these summer days a lot of people talk about rest. Some, where they will go and how they will spend their vacation. Others will say, not again this year is it possible for us to go anywhere. Pupils, students, retired workers talk about a rest. Vacation is all the more tied to traveling and all the more connected with periods when there are no special obligations. Rest as a part of everyday is not sufficiently observed. And, maybe right there is the origin of many kinds of fatigue. From the beginnings of civilization rest is linked to both religious and pious contents and makes the rest complete. Sabbath in Judaism, Sunday in Christianity are unthinkable without  religious content.

 

Fr. Ivan Landeka

N  E  W  S

 

NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS

            During July in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 88,500 Holy Communions were distributed and at holy mass there were 3238 concelebrations by priests from home and abroad,  that is, 104 priests daily.

            Some of the countries from which pilgrims came during July to visit Medjugorje are: USA, Canada, Australia, England, Ireland, Holland, Germany, France, Austria, Litva, Letonia, Korea, Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro and, of course, Croatia.

 

INTERNATIONAL YOUTH PRAYER FESTIVAL

            The traditional eleventh international youth prayer festival was held from July 31-  August 6, 2000. The theme of this year’s festival, at which about 15000 youth participated, was “The Word Became Flesh and Dwelt Among Us”. The festival began July 31st with the evening prayer program. Minor themes on which the youth discussed and meditated were:

- “The Father’s Plan - to send Emmanuel!”

- “Mary - Mother of Emmanuel!”

- “Jesus - Bread of life - way of bread!”

- “Eucharist - medicine for wounds of soul and body!”

- “Dear children, fall in love with Jesus in the Eucharist!”

- “Go home and become bread for the life of the world!”

 


On the evening of August 4th the young men of the Cenacle community presented their ways of healing with a musical drama performance “Jesus, healer of the wounds of soul and body!”

            Speakers at the youth meeting were: Primo Martinuzzi, Wayne Weible, Fr. Francesco Carlino, Fr. Selwaine, Sr. Elvira Petrozzi, Don Cosimo Cavaluzzo, Fr. Jozo Zovko, Fr.Slavko Barbaric and other priests.

            The Medjugorje visionaries also spoke to the youth about their experience.

            The seminar ended on Cross Mountain with holy mass on August 6th, the feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus. There is a symbolic connection of the last day of the prayer meeting and the feast day that the Church commemorates that day. Many young people, namely, after a week spent in prayer, song, community and recollection go back to their home countries really transfigured. Proof of that is the already eleventh meeting of this kind. And all those in the future we place in the hands of God’s Providence commending them also to your prayers.

 

EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL MEETING FOR LEADERS OF CENTERS OF PEACE AND MEDJUGORJE PRAYER GROUPS

            The Medjugorje parish office is organizing the eighth meeting for leaders of centers of peace,  charitable, and prayer groups which will take place in Medjugorje from February 26 - March 1, 2001. The theme of the meeting is

 

THEME: “PEACE AND RECONCILIATION”

 

Monday February 26, 2001

08:30    Morning prayer

09:00    Lecture: “The Message of Peace and Reconciliation”, Dr. Fr. Božo Lujić

10:00    Intermission

10:30    Meeting and Discussion with the lecturer

12:00    Dinner

15:00    Meeting with the Franciscans

17:00   Evening Prayer Program in Church.

 

Tuesday, February 27, 2001

08:30    Morning prayer

09:00    Lecture: “Medjugorje in service of the Church and the world - 20 years”,

            Dr. Fr. Ljudevit Rupćić

10:00    Intermission

10:30    Meeting and Discussion with the lecturer

12:00    Dinner

15:00    Departure for Hill of Apparitions

17:00    Evening Prayer Program in Church.

 

Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Ash Wednesday: Day of Prayer: Fr. Slavko Barbarić and Fr. Jozo Zovko

09:00    Lecture, Prayer, Discussion

10:00    Intermission

10:30    Group discussion on the theme of the lecture

12:00    Dinner (bread and water)

14:00    Departure  for Križevac

17:00   Evening Prayer Program in Church.

21:00 - 22:00 Adoration

 

Thursday, March 1, 2001


08:30    Morning Prayer

09:00    Experiences of the Participants

11:00    Holy Mass - Fr. Ivan Landeka

            Community Dinner

Lecturers for this year’s seminar are:

 

Dr. Fr. Božo Lujić - born 1946 in Osječak, Odžak. In 1966 he entered the Franciscan Order, Province of Sarajevo. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1974. He completed his study of theology in 1974 at the Franciscan School of Theology in Sarajevo, and in 1977 obtained his Masters’ Degree at the Theology Faculty in Ljubljana.  In 1982 he obtained his doctorate at the same Faculty on the theme: “Experience of God and man in the book of Jeremiah.” He continued special biblical studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome where he obtained his licentiate in Biblical Science, after which he studied for a short time at the Franciscan Studium Biblicum  in Jerusalem. He also received a diploma in German language and literature at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo in 1984. Since 1977 he teaches biblical theology and exegesis at the Franciscan School of Theology in Sarajevo and since 1993 he also lectures at the Catechetical Institute as also at the Institute for Theological Culture of the Laity of the Theological Faculty in Zagreb and at the Evangelical Theological Faculty in Zagreb.

 

Dr. Fr. Ljudevit Rupčić - born 1920 in Hardomilje, Ljubuški, he entered the Franciscan Order in the Province of Hercegovina in 1939 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1946. He completed his study of theology in 1947 at the Theological Faculty in Zagreb. He obtained his doctorate in 1958 and was tenured at the same Faculty in 1971. From 1958 to 1988 he taught New Testament exegesis at the Franciscan School of Theology in Sarajevo and for some time also at the Theological Faculty in Zagreb. Under the Yugo-communistic regime he was imprisoned in 1945 and in 1947 and from 1952 till 1956. He was a member of the Theological Commission for the Bishops’ Conference of ex-Yugoslavia. He translated the New Testament from the original languages into the Croatian language. His translation has undergone numerous editions. He has published many books, studies and articles in Croatian, German, Italian, French and English and he has conducted many lectures at numerous congresses and symposia in Europe and America.

 

            The Eighth Meeting for Leaders of Medjugorje Centers of Peace, prayer groups and charitable groups connected to Medjugorje will be held in the New Hall in Medjugorje from February 26th to March 1st, 2000. The theme of this meeting for the 20th anniversary is:“Peace and Reconciliation

            The number of places is limited by the space, and every year the number of participants is greater. Therefore, we ask you to register your participation in the prayer-educational seminar as soon as possible and no later than the end of December, 2000. You can register by fax at 00387-36-651-444 or by e-mail: medjugorje-mir@medjugorje.hr or also in person at the Information Office of the Shrine or by way of telephone at 00387-36-651-988

            Simultaneous translation will be organized for all language groups. The fee for the seminar is 120 DM per person. Included in the fee are the expenses of organization and the work of the seminar (speakers, translation of texts, simultaneous translation and the community dinner on the last day) Upon paying the fee at the beginning of the seminar each participant will receive accreditation that enables him to participate in the work of the seminar. Each one must personally arrange for their own lodging in Medjugorje. We believe that will not be a difficulty for you since you have been coming to Medjugorje for many years and you have your friends and acquaintances there. Radio and earphones for simultaneous translation should be brought along. Radio and earphones will also be made available during the seminar.

            We are already happy in advance of your reservations and of this meeting for the 20th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions in the parish of Medjugorje!

 

Međugorje -148, July 26, 2000

 

 "Dear children!

Do not forget that you are here on earth on the way to eternity and that your home is in Heaven. That is why, little children, be open to God’s love and leave egoism and sin. May your joy be only in discovering God in daily prayer. That is why, make good use of this time and pray, pray, pray; and God is near to you in prayer and through prayer.Thank you for having  responded to my call."

 July  25, 2000          

 

 YOUTH FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM

           

            From time immemorial the saying is valid: “Youth are the hope of the world”. That is an incontestable truth. Thus it was for all times, and also today. It was especially revealed at a time of crisis. Today is also a time like that. The world today is tinged with different obscurities and confusions. Ideals are destroyed, values trampled. Before youth most often stands the monotony of everyday events for which it does not pay to go through any trouble. Youth today therefore are in great danger of quickly getting old. Many look at youth with fear and skepticism. Older people know how to speak up how it was different in their time, how they were younger in their youthful years. Youth put the blame on their elders, proclaiming especially how nothing is offered to them, how they are not taken seriously, how nothing is expected of them. And in that they are completely right. The greatest pain for youth is that nothing is expected of them. The Church in this Jubilee Year is especially proclaiming the role of youth, exhorting that youth be allowed actively to take their place in society. The Church thereby really is only illuminating the words of the Lord Jesus who said: “If you would be perfect, sell what you have and give to the poor and then come and follow me!” (Mt 19:21). We should help youth to grow, not only in age but even more in wisdom and grace. If the Church and society take that position, then there’s no need to fear for youth. Then they will be the hope of the world and that will be a hope that becomes reality.

Fr. Branko Rados

 

N  E  W  S

 

NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS

            During June in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 140,000 Holy Communions were distributed and at holy mass there were 3,089 concelebrations by priests from home and abroad,  that is, 103 priests daily.

            Since June 25th marked the 19th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions in the parish of Medjugorje more than 100,000 faithful were in Medjugorje just for those few days. For that reason it is not possible to enumerate the countries from which they came. There were pilgrims for every continent. But the most numerous were pilgrims from Poland and Croatia.

 

STATEMENT OF THE PRIESTS

            At the end of the seminar they issued this joint statement which we here present completely:


 

STATEMENT

            We, the 272 Roman Catholic priests and seminarians, religious and secular, are gathered here from 30 different countries, serving in the most diverse ministries, together with some representatives of the Greek Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican Church, for the fifth priests’ retreat on the theme: “Priest - Man of the Most Holy Trinity and Servant of the Lord’s Body.”  We listened to several talks by Fr. Daniel Ange, Fr. Rufus Pereira, Fr. Martin Ramoser, Fr. Manjackal, Fr. Cosimo Cavaluzzo, Sr. Elvira Petrozzi, Fr. Jozo Zovko and Fr. Slavko Barbaric.

            During this year of the Great Jubilee we desire to rejoice in being children of God, in being chosen by the Lord and consecrated in his priesthood. We are happy for all the gifts the Lord has given through his Church, entrusting us with his own Son Jesus now already for 2000 years.

            We are grateful that he made us servants of his Body and his Blood, witnesses of his mercy, men who give life to the world by giving it God, a God made present who is bestowed in the sacraments.

            As sinners, unworthy of the mysteries entrusted to us, we seek forgiveness of all those people we have offended, disappointed or saddened, beseeching them to call on God’s mercy both with us and for us.

            If we have also obscured the face of Jesus in his Church, we henceforth desire to do everything to make it radiate, intensifying our own consecration.

            We have come accordingly to let ourselves be fully renewed in the Holy Spirit, yielding to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we received at our priestly ordination. We have come to receive from the Father’s heart through the hands of Mary, Queen of Peace, a new burst of love for Jesus, a new zeal, a new apostolic thrust.

            We desire to become worshippers in love with Jesus in the Eucharist, thus courageous apostles of the Love that gives Life, ready even to lay down our own lives in order to protect life and rescue love.

            We thank God for the mystery of our Church. We desire to love her as Jesus loves her and, ready to shed our blood for her, to work with all our strength for her Unity, for the communion of the sister Churches, in the fullness of love and truth, so we can all know the joy of faith.

            We affirm our loyalty in heart and soul to the Holy Father, the servant of communion, the warrantor of Truth and the champion of life.

            We affirm our love for the divine Truth revealed in God’s Word which nourishes us everyday, and our fidelity to the great Tradition that is alive in the Church of the East and the West.

            We desire to be servants of the poorest, the most fragile, of the people that life has wounded the most, so that divine love may shine forth and so people may touch the heart of God.

            We desire to be consumed without restraint to offer the truth that sets free to the most poor, for whom hope and life is lacking: to those who yet do not know that God loves them. We desire to radiate the Gospel and do all that is possible to be able to give divine life to youth that are so lost.

            We thank God for the fortitude of the martyrs of this century which by wars and totalitarian regimes has caused more deaths than all the preceding centuries, especially among our brother priests. We not want our infidelity to render their blood unfruitful, rather on the contrary, to bear fruit, comporting ourselves proudly and worthily of these our elder brothers. Are we not the Sons of their tears, their prayers, their love? Of one thing we are certain: we are grateful to their blood, shed out of love, for the great outpouring of the Spirit that is renewing the whole Church.

            And finally, we bless the Lord who confides our priesthood and our ministry to the Holy Mother of God, the Mother of Christ’s priests, the Mother of the Church, the Queen of heaven and earth, the Queen of Peace and Reconciliation.

            We have come here to thank her for the countless fruits of this pilgrimage place which we have established with the faithful in all of our countries. We thank her for all the signs of her Motherly Presence at this decisive time of passing from one millennium to another. She constantly reminds us of the Gospel, she leads lost children toward the Father, she points us to our future: the return in glory of our Savior who will transform our lowly bodies into His Glorious Body.

            In expectation of our final Resurrection, may Mary keep us faithful to the end and make saints of us for the joy of the whole Church on earth and in heaven. Amen.

 

            Medjugorje, June 30 - July 6, 2000.            Participants in the fifth Retreat for Priests

 

 

FEAST OF ST. JAMES CELEBRATED

 

            The feast of St. James, patron of the parish of Medjugorje, was solemnly celebrated July 25th. In the presence of a large number of the faithful the solemnity began with a procession from the parish church with the statue of St. James to the park where Fr. Ivan Landeka presided at the solemn Eucharistic celebration.

            The parish of Medjugorje was established in 1892.  Already then the parishioners decided to take St. James as their patron, who is also the patron of all pilgrims! The old parish church was  built in 1897. Since it was built on soft ground, the construction of a new parish church was soon begun. The remains of the old church are located in the circle park next to the shrine. The new church was completed and blessed in 1969. It was too big for the people of that time and no one really knew why it was built so large. Just as in far back 1892 none of the parishioners could have imagined that millions of pilgrims would come to their parish and that St. James, the patron of their parish, would also become the patron of all those pilgrims.

 

SEMINAR FOR INNER HEALING

 

            Also this year in Medjugorje from July 8 - 12, a seminar for inner healing was held. About 600 of the faithful from southern Croatia, central Bosnia-Hercegovina participated in the seminar The seminar was in a special way aimed at people who have family problems. It was led by Fr. James Manjackal and Sr. Margaret Vallapila. For five days the faithful gathered to pray and meditate on the spiritual talks of Fr. Manjackal and participated in the evening prayer program. All those who spent these five days in prayer and meditation had power impressions. Therefore we believe that there will also be such an opportunity in Medjugorje every year for such a seminar.

 

INTERNATIONAL YOUTH PRAYER FESTIVAL

 

            The traditional eleventh international youth prayer festival will be held from July 31-  August 6, 2000. The theme of this year’s festival, at which a large number of youth is expected to participate, will be “The Word Became Flesh and Dwelt Among Us”. The festival begins July 31st with the evening prayer program. We wish a hearty welcome to all participants and abundant blessings from God.

            You still have time to register and participate in this unique encounter for youth of the world. Information and registrations can be made at the Information Office of the shrine. Tel: 00387 36 651 988.

 

 

 

Međugorje -147, July 12, 2000

 

 "Dear children!

Today I call you to prayer. The one who prays is not afraid of the future. Little children do not forget, I am with you and I love you all. Thank you for having  responded to my call."

June  25, 2000

 

THE HEREAFTER

 

            The man has always wandered what a future holds in store for him? In the past he would merely associate the future with great expectations. but, the contemporary man, although completely focused towards the future, bears many fears for yet pending issues. Indeed, one is to  feel frightened at all social levels  of incoming uncertainty.

            So, the  church is bound to challenge: what the future holds in store for her?

in the latest message, the holy mother-queen of peace, has explicitely drawn a link between the two issues: prayer and future; prayer as spiritual mood has strentgh to mould  the life, time and future. Martin Luther said on one occasion: today, i am very busy, but i ought to pray at least 5 hours''. An old monk had given yet another reccomendation:''if you cannot pray, if only you go and watch your brother praying''.

 

            Fra Ivan Landeka

 

N  E  W  S

 

THE DONORS CONFERENCE

 

            The first international donors conference was held on 26 june in Međugorje. Leading idea of the conference, attended by 250 participants from 16 countries was:''Whatever was done to one of my little ones, it was done to me proper...''

            The conference was opened by Međugorje parish priest- friar Ivan Landeka, and  respectful audience was welcomed by herzegowinian provincial - friar Tomislav Pervan and retired archibishop of split-makarska region- Frane Franić who arrived to Međugorje to witness an event marking  the 19th apparitions anniversary. Msgr.Franić has extended his appreciation for devote work and affection, all involved have offered over the past years, bearing in mind, as he highlighted, their work has been inspired and associated with the Međugorje message of peace.

            During the day participants of the conference were addressed by friar Leonard Oreč  sermon: 'From Međugorje to an unfortunate men'', ''what have you done to my little ones'' (friar Slavko Barbarić), ''How to recognize a man in need'' (friar Jozo Zovko).

            In the afternoon, benefactors were presenting in a modest way their rather impressive experiences . such a gathering  has prompted solid initiative for all to carry on helping out people in need.

            Coverage of the conference was available via radio-station ''mir'' and internet.


Following the church program of prayers, the benefactors were welcomed by the organizer and presented with a concert of close-harmony singing performed by groups Cambi, Hrvoje and Cenacolo. Let us take this opportunity to extend our gratitude to all good -hearted people for everything they have done so far. May Lord reward their work and life with holy blessing to give them strentgh to face incoming challenges.

 

 

MILITARY PILGRIMAGE TO MEĐUGORJE

 

            35o croatian soldiers have got together on 28 june in Međugorje. The meeting commenced at 17.30 in front of the church where friar Slavko Barbarić welcomed the soldiers.then, the soldiers joined an evening prayers to say rosaries and to attend the holy mass. In the course of rosary prayer soldiers were given an opportunity to receive a sacrament of reconcilement. The holy mass which was focal point  of the event was followed by procession and prayer meetings. On  behalf of the sanctuary the meeting was organised by friar Miljenko Stojić.

A brief message of the pilgrimage could be summarized into following words: ...whatever weapons the man may have had, without almighty god he would remain insecure...'' The message certainly got accross among gathered soldiers. their response reflected their understanding.

 

 

SEMINAR FOR PRIESTS

 

            The fifth interational seminar for priests-eccelesiastics was held in the holy mother sanctuary of Međugorje, from 30 june to 6 july. Almost 300 priests from England, Germany, France, Italy, Slovakia, Poland, America, Romania, Argentina, Russia, Checzk Republic, Mexico, Madeira, Portugal, Brasil, Slovenia, Lithuania, Hungary, Ukraine, Spain, Bosnia&Herzegowina, and Croatia have participated in the workshop of seminar with the topic:''Priest - a messanger of the holy trinity and attendant of holy communion wafer-the body of our Lord''. Sixty polish priests were the largest among groups. The sub-topics on eccelesiastics agenda were :''Jesus, the great priest has offered sacrifice for the sake of humankind-to be crucified'',''Priest-attendant of holy communion wafer'', ''Priest-preacher of the lord's mercy and affection, attendant of holy communion wafer and liberator of all evil mights '', ''Do come to me you exhausted and burdened...''

            Over the six days course, priests have attended lectures, meditated, prayed, jointly celebrated the holy masses, and visited the Apparitions hill and Križevac.

            On behalf of the sanctuary the  seminar was organised and run by friar Slavko Barbarić and speakers were: Daniel Ange, father James Manjackal, Rufus Pereira, father Martin Ramoser, don Cosimo Cavaluzzo, sister Elvira Petrozzi and friar Jozo Zovko.

 

 

BULLETIN - 146,  June 28, 2000.




 "Dear children!

Today I call you to prayer. The one who prays is not afraid of the future. Little children do not forget, I am with you and I love you all. Thank you for having  responded to my call."

June  25, 2000

 

PRIEST

 

            Cardinal Joseph Bernardin immediately before his death wrote that the sense of priesthood is to be to others a brother, friend, and sojourner. This, continues Bernardin, I wish to witness to others. The three aspects of community mentioned are not an easy task. Therefore, they demand a toilsome and painful learning of service. For the fifth year in a row in Medjugorje a retreat for priests is being arranged. This year about 200 priests from Bosnia-Hercegovina, Croatia and abroad will spend the week from June 30th to July 6th in prayer and brotherhood learning still better to be brothers, friends and sojourners to others. They recognize their own mission in the example of Jesus Christ. “The Priest in the School of Mary”, as these priests’ meetings in Medjugorje are called is sill one more contribution to the growth of that consciousness that Christ sends them to be to others, brothers, friends and sojourners.

 

Fr. Ivan Landeka

 

N  E  W  S

 

 

CELEBRATING THE 19TH ANNIVERSARY OF OUR LADY’S APPARITIONS IN THE PARISH OF MEDJUGORJE

 

            During the last 19 years Our Lady’s presence in the parish of Medjugorje has spread through the pilgrims to the whole world. In spite of the events of war that struck our homeland, now, thank God, Our Lady’s message of peace has reached to the farthest corners of the world and made Medjugorje a world parish. That was confirmed by the presence of more than 100 000 of the faithful who visited Medjugorje for the 19th anniversary. We will report only those with the most numerous groups: Germany, Italy, Canada, Reunion, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia, Portugal, USA, France, Singapore, Italy, Argentina, Slovakia, Hungary, England, Holland, Poland, Korea, Switzerland, Czech Republic and, of course, Croatia. Exceptionally numerous were also our pilgrims from home many of whom came barefoot to Medjugorje to pray to Mary, Queen of Peace, for peace.

            Because of the different language groups holy masses on the mornings of the 24th and 25th of June were celebrated in 15 languages. During the same two days of the 24th and 25th of June, 66 000 Holy Communions were distributed.

            The evening mass of the 24th of June for the vigil was presided by Fr. Miljenko Steko with 125 priests concelebrating. There were about 15 000 of the faithful present at the holy mass.

            The evening mass on the anniversary itself was presided by Fr. Mate Dragicevic. About 30 000 of the faithful participated and 150 priests concelebrated from twenty countries.

 


THE “PEACE MARCH”

 

            On June 24th, the vigil of the 19th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions, the “Peace March” was held for the ninth year in a row. It began at 6:00 with a prayer and blessing of the pilgrims in front of the Franciscan monastery in Humac. The pilgrims, about 3000 of them, set out for Medjugorje at 6:00. Priests from various countries carried the Blessed Sacrament and Fr. Slavko Barbaric led the “Peace March”. After their arrival in Medjugorje, the pilgrims gathered in front of the church for a brief community prayer. The idea for the “Peace March” was born in the hearts of the Medjugorje pilgrims and friends of Medjugorje during the most intense days of the way in 1992. That prayer march of 13 kilometers is a response to unrest, violence, and hatred, and an incentive to authentic peace and reconciliation which are also the basic messages of Our Lady.

 

THE ANNUAL APPARITION OF OUR LADY TO THE VISIONARY, IVANKA

 

            The visionary Ivanka Ivankovic Elez had her regular annual apparition June 25, 2000. Vicka, Marija, and Ivan according to their testimony still have the daily apparition, while Mirjana, Ivanka and Jakov have an apparition once a year.

            On the occasion of her last daily apparition May 7, 1985 Our Lady confided to Ivanka her 10th secret, and told her that for the duration of her entire life she would have an apparition once a year and that on the anniversary of the apparitions. Thus it was also this year. The apparition lasted 7 minutes and Ivanka had it in her family home. Present for the apparition were only Ivanka’s family, husband and three children.

            Our Lady gave the following message: “I introduced myself as “Queen of Peace.” Again I call you to peace, fasting, prayer.  Renew family prayer and receive my blessing.”

            Ivanka told us that Our Lady was happy and that she spoke to her about the sixth secret.

           

VISIT OF A LITHUANIAN BISHOP

 

            Msgr. Kauneckas Jonas visited Medjugorje June 19th with a group of 30 students of theology and the same day also participated with all of his seminarians at the evening prayer program in the church of St. James. Msgr. Kauneckas , was named bishop June 13th this year and will be consecrated as auxiliary bishop of the Lithuanian city of Telsiai.

 

NEW TELEPHONE AREA CODE

 

            In the following quarter the telephone area codes will be changed in the regions of Bosnia-Hercegovina. In place of 088 still valid for a couple months, all those who now call Medjugorje will use 036. It is already possible to use 036.

            The more important telephone numbers at the shrine of the Queen of Peace are:

 

Information Office: 00387-36-651-988

Parish Office: 00387-36-650-206; 650-310; 651-333

Fax: 00387-36-651-444

Radio: 00387-36-651-100; fax 651-300

 

Automatic Message: 060-325-325. By calling this number you can hear the latest message of Our Lady in Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and Germany, as well as also the meditation and the news from Medjugorje which is updated every Wednesday.

 

 

 

 BULLETIN 145,  June 14, 2000.

 

 "Dear children!

I rejoice with you and in this time of grace I call you to spiritual renewal. Pray, little children, that the Holy Spirit may come to dwell in you in fullness, so that you may be able to witness in joy to all those who are far from faith. Especially, little children, pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that in the spirit of love, every day and in each situation, you may be closer to your fellow-man; and that in wisdom and love you may overcome every difficulty. I am with you and I intercede for each of you before Jesus. Thank you for having  responded to my call."

May  25, 2000

 THE MODEL OF FAITH IN GOD’S WORD

            Immediately before the 19th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions it is necessary to return to the basic and central contents of Our Lady’s messages. It is necessary to renew them and to calling them to mind so as to preserve the authentic heritage of Our Lady that she is bestowing on us.  That heritage is the heritage of her Son which the Church received, which it must live and proclaim. According the testimony of the visionaries in the first encounters Our Lady appeared to them with the child Jesus and under the cross. In that light are understandable her calls to conversion, prayer, fasting and reconciliation. In the light of those first apparitions also the response of millions of pilgrims and of the parish can be understood. From the patristic period of the Church Mary has been held up as the model of faith and obedience to God’s world. That model of the Church is speaking today through the apparitions and events in the parish of Medjugorje and through the response of Christians throughout the world.

Fr. Ivan Landeka

N  E  W  S

NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRATIONS

            During May in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 102,000 Holy Communions were distributed and there were 2470 concelebrations at Holy Mass by priests from home and abroad, that is an average of 80 priests daily.

            A great number of pilgrims indeed chose May for pilgrimage to Medjugorje since that is the month dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The most numerous groups were from: Hungary, Italy, Luxemburg, USA, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Slovenia, Korea, Ireland, Germany, France, Reunion, Belgium, England, Canada, Lebanon, Australia, Romania, South Africa, Philippines, Switzerland, Singapore, Malta, Russia, Latvia, Indonesia and, of course, Croatia.  Among the native pilgrims and pilgrimages we also take note of about 200 sick and disabled persons from Zagreb, Djakovo, Osijek and Zadar. Their pilgrimage was organized by the “Truth and Light” community.

VISIT OF BRAZILIAN BISHOP

            From June 1st to 4th Msgr Waldemar Chaves de Araujo was here from Brazil with a group of pilgrims. Before his departure from Medjugorje Msgr. Araujo spoke with Fr. Slavko Barbaric.  We present here the full conversation.

S.B.:Your excellency, would you say something to our readers about yourself?


            WCH:  I am Msgr. Waldemar Chaves de Araujo, Bishop of the diocese of Sao Joao del Rei in Brazil. I studied in Brazil and in Belgium. The situation in my diocese is good. I have developed good relations with my priests, religious and laity and we have various groups of active people who are working on different levels. In my diocese there are about 300,000 faithful with 304 communities. I came on pilgrimage with a small group from Brazil that has made the pilgrimage here to this place dedicated to Mary’s presence. We pray together, meditate and remain in silence. This is my first time in Medjugorje.

S.B.:When and how for the first time did you hear about Medjugorje and what is your experience?

WCH:I read reports from Medjugorje about he apparitions and all that was happening, and I spoke with people came here on pilgrimage. I believe that Our Lady is appearing here. She is the Mother of Jesus and our Mother. She desires to help us. That is why I came with this group and why we are living these days conscious that she is present with us in a special way as Mother.  My experience is that this indeed is a real place of prayer. I can say that I have always nurtured devotion to Mary, but here I have renewed and deepened it still more.  Really, I have no difficulties believing that She is appearing here. God is working here how He wants to and when He wants to and He has decided to work in this manner to work in Medjugorje.

S.B.:Do you have some message for the parishioners, the pilgrims and people in general?          

WCH:My message from Medjugorje is a message of hope. Whoever decides for a true devotion to Mary and does what She says, will meet Jesus, and Jesus give hope. Whoever starts living the sacraments, as I saw they are lived here - the celebration of mass, confessions, adoration, prayer - will have his life path filled with hope and peace. With Mary our path is sure. Accept what she says, she knows the Way, she knows her Son and will help us on our path to the final homeland in heaven. May God bless you all. I shall pray for all of you.

NOTICE ABOUT THE ‘VIA LUCIS’

            In Bulletin No. 114 Fr. Ivan Landeka in his meditation wrote about an “. . .interesting prayer movement, better said, a new form of devotion. . .” that is called ‘Via Lucis’ [The Way of Light].

            Having read that text many have written us asking where and how they can better get acquainted with this form of devotion. For all those interested we have searched and obtained the following data: The person responsible for the internationalization of that movement is Mr. Piano Franco from Rome, and all information about the devotion ‘Via Lucis’ can be obtained on the web pages of the movement: http://www.vialucis.net

           

THE MALTESE ORDER IN MEDJUGORJE

            The Maltese Order from Germany already for the third year is providing medical aid to pilgrims in Medjugorje. So for more than 4,000 persons, both from the parish and from pilgrims, have sought their help. This year also they shall be with us in Medjugorje. The Maltese Order is active also in Lourdes, Rome and many other pilgrimage places throughout Europe and the world.

            All pilgrims who during their stay in Medjugorje require medical help can find it with the personnel of the Maltese Order in front of the church were it says “MALTESER”. The personnel of the “Malteser” will provide medical services to the pilgrims and in their office which is located on the left side of the road that leads from the Church toward Cross Mountain, from 9:00 till 21:00 and during the night for urgent cases.

            On this occasion we wish to thank them in the name of all those who during this summer will feel the need for their help and we want to bless their apostolate.

MEETING OF CHILDRENS’ CHOIRS

            In Tomislavgrad on May 28th the first meeting of Childrens’ Choirs from Hercegovina was held. The youngsters from nine parishes sang and among them were the “Doves of Peace” from Medjugorje directed by Sr. Slavica Kozul. Even though the purpose of this kind of meeting is for the youngsters to meet and sing together sing to the glory of the Lord, it is no less important that the “Doves of Peace”, according to the opinion of the judges, were the most successful in the performance of their pieces of music.




PRESS BULLETIN 144, May 31, 2000.




 "Dear children!

I rejoice with you and in this time of grace I call you to spiritual renewal. Pray, little children, that the Holy Spirit may come to dwell in you in fullness, so that you may be able to witness in joy to all those who are far from faith. Especially, little children, pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that in the spirit of love, every day and in each situation, you may be closer to your fellow-man; and that in wisdom and love you may overcome every difficulty. I am with you and I intercede for each of you before Jesus. Thank you for having  responded to my call."

May  25, 2000

THE PAPAL COAT-OF-ARMS

            A few days ago, Pope John Paul II celebrated his 80th birthday. During his long pontificate, much praise and criticism have been written about him. However, most agree on one point: Almost no one in this century has so perseveringly represented his fundamental values as he. One of these values is human dignity. He believes that the foundation of this human dignity is the bond of man with God. All his meetings with individuals, peoples and cultures, therefore, are designed to promote the values of life and man which must never submit to the interests of ideologies, economic systems or countries. In his papal coat-of-arms, the cross is the central point under which the letter "M" is engraved, symbolizing Mary, the Mother of God. The cross of Christ is the measure of man's value and at the foot of the cross are found God's mercy and consolation, as the Mother of Jesus has experienced.

                                                                                                                                 Fr. Ivan Landeka

N  E  W  S

VISIT OF THE MASTER GENERAL OF THE FRANCISCAN ORDER

            As they were travelling from Split to Mostar, the Master General of the Franciscan order, Fr. Giacomo Bini, and the Secretary of the Order, Fr. Stefan Ottenbreit, visited Medjugorje. During their short meeting with the Franciscans, they talked about the pastorale of the parish, life in the Shrine and about the Franciscans who work in the Shrine.

BENEFACTORS’ CONFERENCE

A meeting of benefactors inspired by the Medjugorje messages will be held in Medjugorje on June 26, 2000, with the theme: ”You did unto me.”


            The first international conference of representatives of humanitarian organizations and individuals who, inspired by the events of Medjugorje, are involved in humanitarian activity, will be held in Medjugorje June 26, 2000, starting at 9:00 AM. All those are invited who provided spiritual and material support to the war-stricken population during the war in Croatia and in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

            We request all benefactors and representatives of humanitarian organizations who wish to participate in the work of this conference to give all pertinent information about their organization, the participant, and the details of their arrival to the association ”Medjugorje-Mir” Split, either via fax: 00385-21-342-258 or by e-mail to <<medjugorje-split@st.tel.hr>>

            Simultaneous translation will be organized for the participants of the conference. For all additional information contact ”Medjugorje-Mir” in Split by telephone: 00385-21-361-354.

STUDENTS IN MEDJUGORJE

            At this time, there are a great number of students among the pilgrims from this country who regularly go on a well-deserved trip at the end of their school year. Many of the students chose Medjugorje as their destination in order to thank the Queen of Peace for their education and for having successfully completed their school year.

A DONATED PILGRIMAGE

            From May 5th to 10th, a group of pilgrims from Bulgaria visited the Shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje. An austrian parish financed this pilgrimage, which the bulgarian pilgrims more than happily accepted. The pilgrimage was led by nuns and, on their way back, they also visited Olovo inBosnia, an ancient place of pilgrimage. The Catholics in Bulgaria feel great gratitude towards the Franciscans in Bosnia and respect them deeply.

MEETING OF THE FRAMA (the Franciscan Youth)

            The yearly meeting of the FRAMA - the Franciscan Youth - took place in the marian Shrine of Siroki Brijeg from May 12th to 14th. About 450 youths - also some from the parish of Medjugorje - took part in this meeting which had as its theme, "In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit ..." (Mt 28:19). The activities of the FRAMA members during the Lenten season were numerous: at the beginning of Lent, youths from Medjugorje made an ecological contribution in cleaning the parc of debris; Saturday afternoon they prayed the Way of the Cross up on Mt. Krizevac; in addition to the regular prayer meetings which take place on Fridays, they also frequently attended holy Mass, joining the numerous pilgrims and members of the parish; every evening, they prayed the "Prayer of the Franciscan Youth", thus forming an invisible chain of prayer; they also gave up "small pleasures" during Lent and collected money, which they gave to the needy.

            The activities of the youths merit great praise, thanks to the tireless work of Fra. Branko Rados who is in charge of the Franciscan youth in Medjugorje.

            May God bless them and continue to guide them through the intercession of Mary!     




PRESS BULLETIN 143, May 17, 2000.




 

 "Dear children!

Also today I call you to conversion. You are concerned too much about material things and little about spiritual ones. Open your hearts and start again to work more on your personal conversion. Decide everyday to dedicate time to God and to prayer until prayer becomes a joyful meeting with God for you. Only in this way will your life have meaning and with joy you will contemplate eternal life. Thank you for having  responded to my call."

 April 25, 2000  

 

                                                                       CONVERSION

 

            In the message of April 25th Our Lady directly calls for conversion. And not only that, she calls us to conversion in a completely concrete question. We are witnesses, namely, that material values are all the more quickly pressing into the background of the spiritual content of life. Those who have become dependent on the material hold that such a development is a completely normal process. Yet, there is an ever greater number of those who are experiencing the disturbing balance between the material and the spiritual uncomfortably and are regretting that condition. Among these latter are also we Christians. But, among us then again there is an ever greater number of those who are quite at peace with this condition. Our Lady is siding with Sacred Scripture which constantly calls us to conversion on all levels of life, and that in a very sensitive question of human existence - that is, of the material and the spiritual.

            On the correct evaluation of the one and the other depends the quality of religious, community and social life.

Fr. Ivan Landeka      

 

N  E  W  S

 

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON THE VISIONARIES

            As we have already written in Bulletins 90 and 109, scientific medical research was carried out on the visionaries of Medjugorje in 1998. Research that was already carried out on the one hand by a French group of experts in 1984 and on the other hand by an Italian group in 1985, was repeated  on a still greater scale. The group of experts has promulgated two Protocols, one on April 23, 1998 and the other on December 12, 1998. We published them in the Press Bulletin. Recently under the title Vidioci iz Međugorja (The Visionaries of Medjugorje - A Psycho-physiological Research) the results produced in the research were published in a special book, for now only in Italian. The head of the research group, Dr. Andreas Resch, professor of theology at the Alphonsianum Papal University in Rome and an expert in the field limits of science briefly condensed the results:

            “The personnel submitted to the research were subjected to the various tests with full freedom and sincere collaboration.

            The results of this psychological-diagnostic research show that:

            After 17 years of apparitional experiences the personnel do not exhibit any kind of pathological symptoms, like trance interference, disassociative interference and loss of reality interference.

            All the personnel subjected to testing, however, did exhibit symptoms that could be related to stress reactions provoked by increased exogenous and endogenous stimulation as a  consequence of daily life routine.

            From their personal answers it can be concluded that the initial and subsequent altered state of consciousness occurs due to their unordinary experiences, which they called and understood as a vision/apparition of the Mother of God and still understand it that way also now

 

All the psychiatric and psychological investigations which were used for the description of personal characteristics of the individual personnel cannot be published for reasons of protecting the privacy of the data.

            The psycho-physical investigation was carried out on four states of consciousness:

                        -waking state;

                        -altered state of consciousness(hypnosis with investigation of the state of ecstasy);

                        -state of visualization of mental images;

                        -altered state of consciousness(defined as the ecstasy of apparition).

            The purpose of these investigations was to establish whether the ecstatic/apparitional state which the Italian work group measured in 1985 is also present today or are changes shown.  In addition it was desired to investigate potential coincidence/divergence with other states off consciousness such as guided visualization or hypnosis. The investigation carried out demonstrate that the ecstatic phenomenology can be compared to the one from 1985 with somewhat less intensity.

            Hypnotic returning to the ecstatic state did not produce the phenomenology of spontaneous ecstasy and therefore it can be said that the spontaneous ecstatic state of apparitions were not states of hypnotic trance.”

            The book Vidioci iz Međugorja (The Visionaries of Medjugorje) was published by Resch Verlag Publishing House of Innsbruck.

 

MAY IN MEDJUGORJE

            In May there are more and more pilgrims in Medjugorje each day. Except for the seasonal celebrations, May is the month that many choose for pilgrimage to the Queen of Peace, since it is the month of special devotion toward the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this Jubilee year everything seems alive. There really are a lot of pilgrims from home and abroad. During pilgrimage to Medjugorje they pay special attention to the sacrament of reconciliation. Every evening several thousand faithful come for both the evening prayer program and for adoration. And even though those gathered in prayer are literally from all parts of the world, one feels that they understand each other.

 

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION IN MEDJUGORJE

            In the parish of Medjugorje it has already become traditional for children to receive First Holy Communion on the first Sunday of May. So also this year 84 boys and girls received their First Holy  Communion on May 7th. On that day in parish communities a really special atmosphere prevails since the children are carrying within themselves the breath of life and joy. It is well felt also by those who on their vicinity. This year in Medjugorje a lot of local and foreign pilgrims joined in the celebration of the First Communicants and their parents.

 

FIRST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH

            Throughout the Great Jubilee every First Friday of the month an evening liturgical program is dedicated to the sick. The parish church of St. James for the evening Holy Mass this First Friday was filled with a great number of faithful among whom were also present a considerable number of the infirm. At the end of Holy Mass the priests distributed an anointing for the sick to all who wished the blessed oil.

 

SEMINARS AT “DOMUS PACIS”

            At the “Domus Pacis” House of Prayer in the past two weeks two prayer seminars were held. From May 2 - 4th, there were about 40 youth from Novi Travnik at the seminar. The seminar was conducted by Fr. Branimir Musa, and the organizer was the organization “Help” that works for the prevention and the fight against addiction.

            In the same house from May 5 - 7th the Salesian Fathers from Žepče organized a spiritual renewal for 30 youth from central Bosnia.



PRESS BULLETIN 142, May 3, 2000.



"Dear children!

Also today I call you to conversion. You are concerned too much about material things and little about spiritual ones. Open your hearts and start again to work more on your personal conversion. Decide everyday to dedicate time to God and to prayer until prayer becomes a joyful meeting with God for you. Only in this way will your life have meaning and with joy you will contemplate eternal life. Thank you for having responded to my call."

April 25, 2000



WE CANNOT BUT SPEAK . . .



"We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard. (Acts 4:20)" This sentence from Acts of the Apostles best describes the disposition, the experience, and the mission of the apostles after they met the Risen One. Prohibitions and threats had no effect whatsoever. They were so filled up and captivated by the event of his resurrection that they had to give their testimony.

That which is lacking to us Christians today is testimony for Jesus Christ. In reality that testimony is not even possible without being filled with and captivated by Jesus Christ. Perhaps it is also the reason that Our Lady keeps repeating in her messages: "Decide for God!" When our decision for God will be strong neither shall we be able but to speak what we have seen and heard."

Fr. Ivan Landeka



N E W S



EASTER IN MEDJUGORJE

During Holy Week and for Easter day itself in Medjugorje there were constantly arriving new groups of pilgrims who wanted to visit here and at the same time celebrate the greatest Christian feast day. Several thousand pilgrims celebrated Easter in the shrine of Medjugorje. Of the foreign pilgrims the most numerous groups were from Germany, Austria, and France. During all these days there was also an exceptionally large number of pilgrims that came to Medjugorje from all parts of Croatia, as well as from the surrounding parishes to make their Easter confession.

Evidence of the fact of how many pilgrims visited Medjugorje during the Easter days is also the fact that during the evening prayer program about twenty priests were hearing confessions for three hours every night.



NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS

During April at the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 95,000 Holy Communions were distributed and there were 1536 concelebrations at Holy Mass by priests from home and abroad, that is, an average of 51 daily.

April is one of the months with the greatest number of pilgrims visiting.

Thus we recorded the visit of groups from: Germany, Singapore, Latvia, France, Canada, Italy, Haiti, Argentina, Japan, Poland, Czech Republic, USA, Australia, Hungary, England, Ireland, Belgium, Holland, Mexico, Carribean, Korea, Slovakia, Letonia, Spain, Indonesia, Slovenia and, of course, Croatia.



MISSIONARY TRAVEL OF FR. SLAVKO BARBARIC

At the beginning of April Fr. Slavko visited Holland, Belgium and France. Upon his return he gave the following impressions:

"The events in Medjugorje, which have for these 18 years and 10 months gathered a multitude of believers from the whole world, are transported like a blessed flame to every part of the world and continue to gather believers who wish to stay connected in prayer with each other and all together with Medjugorje. Therefore, from time to time the Medjugorje Franciscans go and pray with believers in their local churches and thus by their own presence help the spirit of fire enkindled in Medjugorje at Our Lady's hearth to burn all the more brightly. For that reason the two places chosen in Belgium are those where believers gather who carry in themselves the spirit of the Medjugorje messages. That is their two national shrines: Banneux and Beauring.

On April 7th, I visited our prisoners in the Haag. This was not my first visit with them at the Haag, but this time there was somehow a difference in my spirit than in previous visits. Previously there was always in my heart a great hope that the court will do justice and act worthily. In September of last year when I was with them, we were hoping that the trial would be in keeping with personal culpability, which the court obviously could not prove for some of them even at the end of four years. We were always worried about the trial being politicized, and there were good reasons for being afraid of that. But still we were hopeful?! But, the Tribunal showed its face. The Croatian people have been condemned in those good and noble men. And the sentences came down 45, 25, 15, 10 and 8 years.

In my spirit it was difficult for me to meet those men again, but on the other hand I rejoiced over the meeting because Medjugorje means very much for all of them. And when the first group voluntarily went to the Haag, they stopped in Medjugorje, prayed and took courage under the patronage of the Queen of Peace. They never ever suspected that there was a different truth and justice for the great and for the small, for the powerful and for the weak. Nor did they suspect how very small they were and how small in the eyes of the great is the nation to which they belong and how it has no right to its own self defense, a thing the powerful in their sentences proclaim to be aggression!?! All these thoughts were in my heart while I passed through all those many prison doors and corridors. Waiting even for the last door to open, behind think glass I beheld General Blaskic with lawyer Nobilo and two other men. Many documents are in front of them. General Blaskic immediately stood up and said to wait for him, that he wanted to be at the Holy Mass and go to confession and that he was coming as soon as he was finished with the lawyers. His demeanor, the expression on his face, the happy wave with his hand, freed me from those anxieties that were in my heart when I was thinking how am I going to meet him now, after the passing of an unjust sentence against him, a sentence that the Croatian people at every level clearly and loudly condemned as unjust t! Passing through the last barrier I silently greeted all those who were waiting in the area set apart for visiting. My spirit was all the more freed and rejoicing because I sensed: These dear men had lost neither the hope nor the will to fight to prove their innocence. They had accepted the sentences as a fact, aware that they are continuing to suffer for that same people for whom they were ready to lay down their lives in defense of their own homeland. In my heart arose the thought: We must not be allowed to forget these men, we have to be worthy of them, they must know that their sacrifice was not in vain. They asked about everything that was happening; everything is of interest to them. The conversation flowed spontaneously, and then they wanted confession and a personal talk. In each individual conversation I am a witness, I felt a strong faith, a deep hope, a love that forgives and heals. After confession we celebrated Holy mass and stayed on in pleasant conversation. There was a certain festive atmosphere. They all greeted everyone and wished everyone a Happy Easter. I promised them that we will not forget them.

And while the prison doors opened and closed at the clang of big keys, I wished profoundly that the sacrifice of these men be blessed and that everything turns out for the good. And that is just what the Easter message is.

On April 8th a day-long prayer program awaited us in the shrine of "The Virgin of the Poor" in Banneux. While we prayed the rosary led by the groups "Famille de Medjugorje", "Alleluiah", "Group de Luxembourg", "Nouvelles de Medjugorje"and "Koningin van de Vrede", the priests who came with their faithful were available for holy confession. Groups from Luxembourg and Holland were present. After my talk Fr. Albert Franck from Luxembourg led in prayer for healing. Ten of them came for concelebration and the others continued to hear confessions up to the end of the evening program. Medjugorje with its spirituality has given many an incentive to prayer, celebration of mass and especially Eucharistic adoration. The Church is renewed in the spirit of prayer. From this encounter with "The Virgin of the Poor" it was again clearly seen that Medjugorje is alive and will live because Our Lady like a Mother has take a deep hold on the hearts of her children that she tirelessly follows. This day also confirmed that.

The same day-long program awaited us on April 9th, but this time in Paris with the community of believers from the Congo in the chapel of St. Leo. Gathered for the meeting were ten priests and about 500 of the faithful from the Congo and form Paris. The afternoon meeting continued in the nearby parish church: again prayer of the Rosary and confessions. About 1000 of the faithful gathered. Everything was festive, and especially the celebration of mass with a solemn entry into the church. For the offering of the gifts there was a solemn procession with the bread and wine and with fruits from the Congo. These people really know how to celebrate, they have time for prayer and for celebrating the mass. When they sang a song from which I understood only two words: Mama Maria, no one could have remained unaffected. I experienced a beautiful community in the diversity. Again Mary gathered us as her children around hr son Jesus. After these meetings we departed grateful to God for all the beautiful encounters with the people who have accepted the messages of the Queen of Peace and stimulated by her messages wish to live more fundamentally to live their life with God. And personally grateful to the Queen of Peace, I returned on April 10th to Medjugorje.



"THE RADIO PRAYER GROUP"

Every Tuesday on Medjugorje "Mir" radio station there is broadcast called "Pray together with a joyful heart." In Medjugorje on Monday April 24th for the second time there was a gathering of the members of prayer groups from all parts of Croatia, and Bosnia-Hercegovina for a not-every-day way of praying. We are, namely, talking about the prayer group that Fr. Slavko Barbaric leads every Tuesday at 9:00 PM over the radio waves of Medjugorje "Mir" radio station. The members are all those that the radio station broadcast reaches and who wish in this way to be connected with Our Lady's messages of peace and conversion through prayer. For the meeting there gathered a bout 270 members from Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Republic of Croatia. Their intention is to meet not only on Tuesday for prayer on the radio but all the more often also on pilgrimages to the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje. It was that way also this Monday when they made a group pilgrimage to the Hill of Apparitions. After visiting the mountain they continued their meeting in the church during which they had the chance better to get acquainted and to exchange their experiences. Each member also received a membership card - a symbolic sign of cooperating in this not-every-day way of gathering for prayer. We wish the Lord to bless them to be able to persevere and spread Mary's message of peace in their surroundings.

The Tuesday prayer meeting can be followed also on the Internet: www.medjugorje.hr



INDICATIONS FOR PRIESTS

We would ask priests coming to Medjugorje to bring with them their alb, stoles and "celebret" from their superior.

We would also ask that mass be celebrated in agreement with the Parish in the area of the sanctuary and not in private homes or Apparition hill or Krizevac...

Please tell the pilgrims of your language group not to enter a liturgical area during the mass of a different language group, since by their entering it they upset the mass in question by changing it into a non-serious atmosphere.





PRESS BULLETIN 141, April 19 2000.



"Dear children!

Pray and make good use of this time, because this is a time of grace. I am with you and I intercede for each one of you before God, for your heart to open to God and to God's love. Little children, pray without ceasing, until prayer becomes a joy for you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

March 25, 2000



THE WAY OF LIGHT - Via Lucis



During Lent but also in other seasons of the Church year, the Way of the Cross (Via Crucis) is prayed. We are immediately before the day of resurrection when the way of the cross - via crucis - for Jesus Christ and for Christians turns into via lucis - the way of light. The palpability of suffering and pain gently brings the suffering and pain of Jesus closer to us. The reality of resurrection is much more distant from our thinking and feeling. In recent years in Italy a very interesting prayer movement, or better yet a new form of devotion, is spreading. As in times past one used to meditate on the fourteen stations of Jesus's passion, so this new form of devotion meditates on the fourteen stations of the Risen One and the events of resurrection. In this way in the devotion of the people of God attention to the risen and glorious Jesus is more explicitly coming back. For all of us this Easter may the via crucis become the via lucis both in our personal lives and in the life of the whole Church.



Fr. Ivan Landeka

N E W S



SEMINARS AT "DOMUS PACIS"



During the past month at the "Domus Pacis" House of Prayer about 350 faithful gathered in prayer and meditation in the course of nine different seminars.

Members of Franciscan Youth from Hercegovina had two seminars: one in March and one in April. Fr. Miro Sego conducted the seminars.

The Franciscan sisters of the Hercegovina Franciscan Province and the organization "Help" that words for the prevention of addiction among young people each held one seminar.

At the end of March the Salesians from Bosnia organized a spiritual renewal for a group of young people from Bosnia.

During the past month four fasting and prayer seminars in different languages were also held.

These kind of seminars are evidence of how much spiritual renewal and growth is necessary both for youth and adults. Medjugorje with its life of prayer indeed provides that for them. That is why all the seminars are filled in advance and every year there are more and more of them.



PRIESTS AND LAITY FROM PORTLAND



Along with the large number of groups and individuals who visited Medjugorje this Lent, from March 23 - 31 at the shrine of the Queen of Peace there was also a group of eleven priests with their parish workers from Portland, Oregon in the United States. The pilgrimage to Medjugorje was really for them like an annual retreat Inspired by Mary's messages or peace and reconciliation they returned to their homes to served in their local Church.





CHANGE OF TIMES FOR PRAYER PROGRAM



We announce to all pilgrim groups and individual who come on pilgrimage to Medjugorje that since March 26th the daily evening program in the church is now from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (6:00 PM rosary, 7:00 PM Mass, blessing prayers and the third part of the rosary).

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is on Wednesdays and Saturdays for 10:00 - 11:00 PM and on Thursdays immediately after the evening mass. Adoration and prayer before the Crucifix is every Friday in church after the evening mass. Every Sunday at 3:00 PM the Peace Rosary is prayed on the Hill of Apparitions, and the Way of the Cross on Cross Mountain at the same time every Friday. There is opportunity for confession every evening at least one hour before the beginning of the evening prayer program.

Holy Mass for various language groups takes place during the morning according to previous arrangement.

All information in connection with the prayer program in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje as well as all other information can be obtained in the Information Office at 00387-88-651-988a from 9:00 AM till 6:00 PM. We request all organizers of pilgrim groups to notify their pilgrims upon their arrival in Medjugorje about the possibility of obtaining needed information at the Information Office that is located in front of the parish rectory, and not at the parish office.



PRESS BULLETIN 140, April 5 2000.



"Dear children!

Pray and make good use of this time, because this is a time of grace. I am with you and I intercede for each one of you before God, for your heart to open to God and to God's love. Little children, pray without ceasing, until prayer becomes a joy for you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

March 25, 2000



FORGIVENESS



During Lent we often hear the word f o r g I v e n e s s. God's activity in the Old Testament is permeated with forgiveness. The activity of Jesus is filled with events of forgiveness that are always tied to definite persons. In the profession of faith (the Creed) we declare our faith: "I believe in the forgiveness of sin". God on his part bestows forgiveness. The Lord's Prayer (Our Father) contains yet another aspect, and that is one commanded to Christians, but not only to Christians, among themselves. We pray, namely, "as we also forgive those who trespass against us." Experience shows that we forgive with difficulty and that we literally undergo pain when it is required of us. Yet, it belongs to the way of conversion which is a fundamental part of the faith. What is to be done?

I make mistakes, I commit sins. . .The feeling - I am better than someone else or even what I myself did is not so bad - does not contribute to forgiveness but rather hinders it. But if I have the feeling - I too am no better than anyone else - things change. I become more gentle, more compassionate toward my neighbor and his behavior. Here precisely is the core of what Jesus calls forgiveness.

Fr. Ivan Landeka

N E W S



NUMBER OF HOLY COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS

During March in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 58,000 Holy Communions were distributed and there were 1213 concelebrations at holy mass by priests from home and abroad, that is 39 priests daily.

March is a the months in which a greater number of groups and individuals come to Medjugorje. The greatest number of groups in Medjugorje were for the feast of the Annunciation on March 25th and on March 18th when the visionary Mirjana Dragicevic Soldo had her annual apparition. At the end of March Medjugorje was really alive!

So we recorded groups visiting from: Brazil, Belgium, Singapore, Switzerland, Slovakia, Litva, Latvia, Mexico, Hungary, France, Lebanon, Ireland, Poland, Austria, Czech Republic, USA, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Canada, England, Korea, Australia and, of course, Croatia.



VISIT OF BISHOP FROM GERMANY

From March 18th to 23rd Msgr. Franziskus Eisenbach, auxiliary bishop of Mainz, visited in Medjugorje. He said the following about his impressions:

"I am here as a pilgrim. I want to get acquainted with Medjugorje and to pray in it. For years already I know about and follow Medjugorje and I also wanted to come earlier, but I waited for a sure sign for myself when to decide to visit Medjugorje. This time I was expressly invited, therefore I came.

Already my first impression is that the church is continuously full at all the masses, and especially at adoration. It is obvious that many people have understood that this is a special place of prayer. The experience of many is that their personal prayer improves and that it is supported by the experience of community prayer. I know many people who in Medjugorje have renewed their faith and have learned to pray again. And now I too have personally been able to experience how Medjugorje helps in this sense.

Another experience that for me is very important is that in Medjugorje it is not just a matter of prayer, but that prayer also brings forth fruits in the service of man, especially of man in affliction. It was especially important for me to get to know the "Mothers' Village" where mothers with children, abandoned children and orphans of war find a refuge, and everything is also connected with a large garden where encounters take place between the children of healthy families and the children of those who for various reasons have lost a normal family. I saw that abandoned children here have a chance to learn how to live. And that is very important. The community of Sr. Elvira in which those addicted to drug and other evils find a place of refuge and healing also impressed me deeply. I celebrated Holy Mass and prayed morning prayer with them. It was very nice to see with what strength they pray and how joyfully they celebrate Holy Mass. I understood that the main method of healing is the deepening of faith and the experiencing of community in prayer and work.

It was important for me to hear about the God-Parent program for children, that is, the action of helping the children of fallen defenders, in which many families from Germany cooperate helping every month with a financial contribution for the destroyed families and their children. These works of active love for the needy especially showed me that in Medjugorje it is not just a matter of the correct spirit of prayer. Love toward God that is shown in prayer has brought fruits that are recognized in the care of man.

By all means I also wanted better to understand the very phenomenon of apparitions. Therefore I made an effort at least to meet someone of those who tell about their experiences and affirm that they see Our Lady. I met one of the visionaries, spoke with her and was present at an apparition. At my first meeting with Marija in her family home I found her in the garden working in rubber boots. She is a completely normal, young woman with three children. In conversation with her I understood that she is a very alert person, knows how to ask questions and to speak of her experiences and discerns things well, sees what is good and what is not good. She invited me also to participate in prayer with her when she prepares the encounter with Our Lady, that is continuing already more than 18 years. We prayed in the chapel of her home where quite a few people were gathered for this occasion. We prayed the rosary in various languages and waited for the moment of apparition. Marija gave a brief notice that the moment of apparition was getting close and after a prayer that she led, she remained in silence. We all knew that it was the moment when she sees Our Lady. After the apparition she told us that Our Lady prayed over everyone and blessed us all. Once more she invited us to take part in a prayer. The meeting with Marija showed me that she is a completely normal, young woman, that she is standing with her two feet on the ground and that she is taking good care of her children. I saw that she has a good relationship with her family and with the pilgrims. She is simple and natural, and then again clear and understandable when she talks about her experiences. In the end I can say that she is a woman who can be believed, who is trustworthy and therefore I have no difficulty trusting in what she says, that is, that she is seeing and that it is authentic. This for me is a very important experience, because I concluded that this place of prayer rests on the experience that these young people have received like a gift and which they confidently transmit to others.

Mary is venerated in Medjugorje as the Queen of Peace. This title and all that she sees had to prepare the world for that terrible experience of war. Ten years after the first apparition war broke out in Croatia and in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Medjugorje is a place that continuously prays for peace. The message of Medjugorje for the world is clear: it has to overcome wars and conflicts by the power of love. One gets the impression that in Medjugorje the whole man is affected: heart, soul and body. Prayers and the place of prayer here take a hold of the entire person. Therefore Medjugorje, in this sense, carries a message for the whole Church: allow God and Our Lady to touch us in the totality of our human reality and let us allow Mary to bestow her love on us, and thus learn to love with our whole heart. Therefore I can say that no one needs to be afraid of Medjugorje even if it has not yet been officially approved in the Church. Here prayer is really done in a way that changes a person. Therefore multitudes of the faithful who also wish to learn to pray come here. I wish that this message and this experience be carried also to Germany because we Germans are inclined to rationalism rather than to feeling. And here it is a matter of a message for man in his entirety, something that is really necessary for everyone."



SEVENTH MEETING FOR LEADERS OF CENTERS OF PEACE

At the seventh meeting for leaders of centers of peace about 100 participants from twenty countries from all five continents took part. On that occasion, as every year before, the participants adopted the following

DECLARATION



Gathered in Neum from March 19th to 24th, 2000 at the seventh meeting for the leaders of Centers of Peace andMedjugorje prayer groups, we address ourselves to the friends and the pilgrims of the Queen of Peace:



1. We are in the year of the Great Jubilee of Christianity. Let us strive to put Jesus Christ at the center of our lives and so to make our contribution to the renewal of the Church of our times and of the local Church.

2. Within the content of the program of the Jubilee and of Our Lady's messages from Medjugorje we recognize connecting points. Our Lady's word: "Do whatever He tells you. . ." reveals to us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

3. Proclamation of the Gospel is the prophetic task of all Christians. It realized by taking first place in one's own life. A life in keeping with that is the very best proclamation. The same is valid also for those who spread Our Lady's messages.

4. Let Our Lady's invitation to peace and reconciliation be present in a special way in the life of individuals, of families and groups, especially in this year of the Great Jubilee.

5. Again we call on all to get to know better and faithfully to preserve the originality of Medjugorje spirituality.



Medjugorje, March 24, 2000

BENEFACTORS' CONFERENCE

A meeting of benefactors inspired by the Medjugorje messages will be held in Medjugorje on June 26, 2000 with the theme: "You did unto me."

The first international conference of representatives of humanitarian organizations and individuals who, inspired by the events of Medjugorje, are involved in humanitarian activity, will be held in Medjugorje June 26, 2000, starting at 9:00 AM. All those are invited who provided spiritual and material support to the war stricken population during the war in Croatia and in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

We request all benefactors and representatives of humanitarian organizations who wish to participate in the work of this conference to give notice of their arrival with the pertinent information about their organization and personal information for the participant to the association "Medjugorje-Mir" Split at fax number: 00385-21-342-258 or by e-mail to <<medjugorje-split@st.tel.hr>>

Simultaneous translation will be organized for the participants of the conference. For all additional information contact "Medjugorje-Mir" in Split by telephone: 00385-21-361-354.



DEATH OF DON ANGELO MUTTI

Don Angelo Mutti, founder and editor in chief of Echo of Medjugorje, died March 3, 2000. The bulletin Echo of Medjugorje spread Our Lady's messages and news of the events in Medjugorje for a period of many years. Since it was translated into ten languages he caused Mary's message of peace and reconciliation to reach every continent. The worth of Don Angelo in that was inestimable. In gratitude to him and for everything he did this way, let us commend him to prayer trusting that his co-workers will continue on the path he started.

PRESS BULLETIN 139, March 22 2000.



"Dear children!

Wake up from the sleep of unbelief and sin, because this is a time of grace which God gives you. Use this time and seek the grace of healing of your heart from God, so that you may see God and man with the heart. Pray in a special way for those who have not come to know God's love, and witness with your life so that they also can come to know God and His immeasurable love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

February 25, 2000



L E N T



"Do not dedicate to anyone else the time that is reserved for God, not even when we do not succeed in taking good advantage of that time; to stay faithful, that is critical." That is the way deceased Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago described his decision of long-ago that he would arise early every morning and dedicate the first moments of his day to God. We have begun the preparation for Easter and at least externally stored some Lenten resolutions in our thoughts. Our own memory tells us that the Holy Seasons up till now have not yielded the shifts and radical changes needed. Perhaps it will also not happen this time. What we can certainly do is - not dedicate to anyone else or anything else the time that is reserved for God. Thereby it is possible also to achieve the many other necessary Christian values.



Fr. Ivan Landeka



N E W S





ANNUAL APPARITON TO MIRJANA SOLDO ON MARCH 18, 2000



"Dear children!

Do not seek peace and happiness in vain, in the wrong places and in wrong things. Do not permit your hearts to become hard by loving vanity. Invoke the name of my Son. Receive Him in your heart. Only in the name of my Son will you experience true happiness and true peace in your heart. Only in this way will you come to know the love of God and spread it further. I am calling you to be my apostles."



The apparition started at 9:55 a. m. and lasted about 5 minutes. Our Lady prayed over everyone and blessed everyone. Mirjana especially recommended the sick. This time Our Lady did not say anything about the secrets.





VISIT OF BISHOP FROM THE CARIBBEAN



As we published in Bulletin No. 137, in February Bishop Robert Rivas was in Medjugorje for a private visit. Many pilgrims come to Medjugorje, among them more and more priests, and men and women religious. It is completely natural also that more and more bishops are coming. According to the Zadar declaration of April 1991, the bishops should accompany the events in Medjugorje in order to know where their faithful are going. We took advantage of this opportunity and spoke with Msgr. Robert Rivas, bishop of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean Islands, who spent ten days in Medjugorje. We are grateful to him for being available to share his testimony with us. Fr. Slavko Barbaric spoke with Bishop Rivas. Here is a part of that conversation:

SB: Tell us a little about yourself first?

RR:My name is Robert Rivas. I was born in Trinidad, Tobago. I entered the religious life, the Dominican order, at the age of 18. I did my noviciate and studies in Ireland. I was ordained in 1971. I was born in June 1943. After my ordination in Trinidad, I went to the Engelicum in Rome, and completed my studies there -- I received a Bacaloriate license in Theology. I went back to Ireland and studied Communications, Radio and TV production. I was very interested in that kind of work. When I returned to Trinidad, my superior told me I had been gone to long, 8 1/2 years, and that I needed to be 'inculturated' again to the local situation. I worked in three parishes over 7 years. After 5 years I was given the job of Director of Communications which I did for 2 years and then I was appointed Novice Master for the Dominicans in Formation. I did this work for 10 years, preparing young men for the priesthood and religious life. I also was a Unversity Chaplain for 6 years during that time. In the early 1980's I was given an appointment in the Carribbean as the first Domincan to be the Assistant to the Master of the Dominican order in Rome for the promotion of Domincan life in the Carribbean. The idea was to promote unity on the various existences of the Dominicans in the various dioceses in the Caribbean. There are at least 6 provinces within the Caribbean. My work was to coordinate all these groups toward common formation, -- the dream was to have a Dominican province in the Caribbean. I did that for 4 years and then I was appointed Bishop of St.Vincent, an island in the Caribbean.

SB: When and how did you hear about Medjugorje for the first time?

RR: In Trinidad a lot was going on in regard to Medjugorje, and then already from the first days of the apparitions. One of the pilgrims invited me to come as a priest. I only responded to the invitation in 1988. I was very happy and satisfied with my first visit to Medjugorje, because I experienced a renewal of faith and life by the faith of the pilgrims. A special grace of Medjugorje is that the priests who come with a group, start to minister especially as priests, making themselves available for confession and for conversations. The greatest grace of Medjugorje really is confession. Pilgrims by their coming to Medjugorje become eager to be active in their own parishes - both in regard to prayer and the sacramental life, and parish activities in general. Due to all that I experienced with the people, I have to say that a special work of grace exists here and that Mary is present. I really believe that Our Lady is speaking here.

SB: What convinced you the most and helped you to accept Medjugorje?

RR: Again I have to say: It is the pilgrims who started to change their life here and decided to live the faith.

SB: Now you are in Medjugorje the second time and no longer as a priest, but as a bishop. Now what can you say?

RR: I decided this time to come and to be in silence and to remain ôincognitoö. I wanted to make a retreat here and to be in silence. However, that did not happen, because pilgrims sought me out for confession and I also preached. I understood that my role also as a priest has changed. The love of the faithful for a bishop especially touched me. Whoever loves a bishop, loves the Church. The Holy Spirit is at work here. Our Lady is work here. I personally want to be continually under Her protection.

SB: Would you like to say something from Medjugorje?

RR: What I am trying to realize in my life is simplicity. I think I have learned simplicity in suffering in my priesthood, and I have grown in profound love for God, Our Lady, the Church and complete surrender to Christ. All that I want is to do God will and Gods work. My message to the parish community, to the visionaries, to priests in the parish and to all pilgrims is that they be capable of surrendering their life completely to God and to be freed for love, that the gospel be lived in complete simplicity and beauty. I want for ll of us to know that Jesus is the King of our life. We Catholics must be capable of showing the world the beauty of our faith with the help of Our Lady. I would recommend to everyone to come to Medjugorje, because here they will deepen their faith for the Church and Our Lady and thus become good witnesses to others of the good news. And in Medjugorje the good news is: Peace.

SB: Thank you for this conversation and we promise you our prayers.





VISIT OF A BISHOP FROM BRAZIL



From March 3- 5th, 2000 Bishop Joao E. M. Terra was on a private visit in Medjugorje. He is the auxiliary bishop of Brasilia in Brazil. This was his second visit to Medjugorje.





A HEART FOR OUR LADY



On the path to Cross Mountain a group of Polish pilgrims from Krakow halted in prayer before the sculpture of Jesus resurrection and as a sign of love and gratitude toward Our Lady, made a large heart out of stones from the path around the one to whom they wrote out their wishes and prayers with the small stones. Truly extraordinary and touching.





SEMINARS IN "DOMUS PACIS"



During the past two weeks in the ôDomus Pacisö house of prayer Fr. Slavko Barbaric conducted two fasting and prayer seminars for young men in the Cenacle community who are being healed from drug dependency. About 80 young men took part in the seminars each of which lasted for a week.

In the same house of prayer from March 3-5th, Fr. Branimir Musa conducted a course for high school girls from Zagreb.





PRESS BULLETIN 138, March 8, 2000.



"Dear children!

Wake up from the sleep of unbelief and sin, because this is a time of grace which God gives you. Use this time and seek the grace of healing of your heart from God, so that you may see God and man with the heart. Pray in a special way for those who have not come to know God's love, and witness with your life so that they also can come to know God and His immeasurable love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

February 25, 2000



THE REALITY OF TESTIFYING



At all times throughout history the Church has tirelessly repeated Jesus' command: "Go and make all nations my disciples!" With the water of baptism God bestows on man the grace of adoption, but also the duty of making others Christians. That is a universal command that holds equally for each one. So the human creature would not forget its order, God arouses him in various ways: through joy and sorrow, sickness and health, success and failure. So that he would not forget the necessity and duty of testifying God again uses various occasions. One of them is also this Jubilee Year 2000 of the birth of Christ. Another occasion is the special presence of Our Lady here in Medjugorje. And her latest message again brings this problem to reality. A Christian is a man for others or he is not a Christian at all. Others on the path of our life are for this that they lead us to Life - Christ. Opening ourselves to them, therefore, we purify our heart and permit God to fill it with this immeasurable love.



Fr. Branko Rados





N E W S





NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS



In February at the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 23 000 Holy Communions were distributed and there were 608 concelebrations at Holy Mass by priests from home and abroad.

February, like January, is usually a month with the least number of pilgrims visiting. Yet, in spite of that, we recorded the visit of groups from: France, Lebanon, Ireland, Poland, Austria, Czech Republic, USA, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Canada, England, Korea, Australia and, of course, Croatia.





MISSIONARY TRAVEL OF FR. SVETOZAR KRALJEVIC



At the invitation of Medjugorje pilgrims and Centers of Peace, in February Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic visited the United States of America and England. Upon his return he said the following:

"Again and more than ever we realize that the priests from Medjugorje have to travel even to the most distant places in the world and get around to the prayer groups and communities that have come together for the purpose of personal and community Christian renewal, for a more intensive Christian living and for spreading the message that Blessed Virgin Mary has spoken through the visionaries in Medjugorje.

Already a tradition, a Marian conference is held every year in February (first Friday, Saturday and Sunday) in the California city of San Ramon, near San Francisco. The chief organizer is Anna Marie Maagdenburg with Rev. Richard J. Culver. Anna Maria is well known to us in Medjugorje for the expert and practical help that she unselfishly provides to young people with impaired hearing.

In this Jubilee Year the main theme of the meeting was "THE YEAR 2000 OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE". The principal participant was the Most Reverend bishop Kenneth D. Steiner. About 1200 participants with hearty applause welcomed his strong call to practical living of the holy sacraments and daily prayer. Listening to Bishop Steiner all of us again discovered how it is possible in a joyful and interesting manner to speak about the most serious truths of the Christian life. I spoke about pilgrimage as being prayer made incarnate. The believer on pilgrimage experiences the essence of prayer which biblically engages human life and helps the praying person especially to experience prayer and clearly to witness his Christianity to the world.

We all listened to the words of Fr. Rene Laurentin as to the words of one's beloved teacher. He spoke about the place, meaning, and nature of Marian calls in the modern Church and world. The words of visionary Ivan Dragicevic, full of courage and hope, were listened to by all with gratitude. The birth of his second daughter stirred a special feeling of respect in everyone.

The community of Medjugorje prayer groups held a retreat from February 18-20 in the town of Nuneaton near London. About 80 leaders and involved members of those communities gathered in the monastery of the Dominican Sisters. Daily Eucharistic celebration, praying the rosary, adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, meditation on the reality of the cross, sufferings, and death of our Lord, meditation on the Christian life and vocation that we have, were our themes that filled up those three days. The participants especially stressed how they realize that they need to organize these kinds of Christian, spiritual encounters to maintain the spirit that Mary began in the hearts of all and even more so to be able to live a Christian life in the modern world, full of temptations and doubts."





DAY OF THE SICK AND INFIRM



A day for sick and infirm people is designated in the program for the Jubilee year in the parish of Medjugorje and, that according to the recommendation of the bishops of Bosnia-Hercegovina, to be on February 11, the day of Our Lady of Lourdes. At the evening mass the parish church of St. James was full of sick and infirm people of the parish and of neighboring places. On every first Friday throughout this Jubilee Year the evening liturgy program will be dedicated to the sick. In future years in the parish of Medjugorje the day of Our Lady of Lourdes will be designated as a day for the sick and infirm.





"RADIO PRAYER GROUP"



Every Tuesday on the "Mir" Medjugorje radio station the program "Pray together with joyful hearts" is broadcast.

On Saturday February 19, the members of prayer groups for all parts of Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina gathered in Medjugorje for an unordinary way of prayer. In question, namely, is the group that participates every Tuesday in the prayer that Fr. Slavko Barbaric leads on the waves of the radio station "Mir" Medjugorje. The members are all those that the radio broadcast reaches, and wish also in this way to be connected with Our Lady's messages of peace and conversion by means of prayer. About 130 members from Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia came together. Their intention is to meet in prayer by means of radio not only on Tuesday, but all the more often also on pilgrimages to the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje.





REMEMBERING THE HOLY LAND



The Medjugorje parish group of pilgrims that went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in November last year, gathered February 19th at the evening prayer program in the church of St. James, Medjugorje. The evening mass was presided at by Fr. Bozo Lujic, who was their guide in the Holy Land. In a moving sermon he reminded those present of the Divine footprints and the ways on which they made pilgrimage, stressing the healing activity of Jesus, both the bodily as well as the even more important way - the spiritual. Something that in this Jubilee Year we should not forget!





ON FOOT TO MEDJUGORJE



The Polish pilgrim Henrik Kozlowski stayed in Medjugorje some days on his journey to the Holy Land. Henry is 48 years old and has already made pilgrimage on foot to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes and Fatima. The goal of his journeying on foot is to reach the Holy Land on March 23rd to meet with the Holy Father who will then be on pilgrimage in the homeland of Jesus.



PRESS BULLETIN 137, February 23, 2000.



"Dear children!

I call you, little children, to pray without ceasing. If you pray, you are closer to God and He will lead you on the way of peace and salvation. That is why I call you today to give peace to others. Only in God is there true peace. Open your hearts and become those who give a gift of peace and others will discover peace in you and through you and in this way you will witness God's peace and love which He gives you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

January 25, 2000



JUBILEE 2000 - A YEAR OF SOLIDARITY

Conversion, penance, making pilgrimage, and reconciliation are not acts that are only done inside the human person. The fruit of such a life becomes recognizable also in life and relationship toward others. Many years ago one heard about the idea of writing off the large debts of poor countries. The economic dependency of poor countries on highly developed and wealthy countries is becoming an ever greater social, community, and existential problem. Still, solidarity in an economic sense is only a part of the task that a Christian bears in today's world. The man of our times is living through many situations from which, if left only to himself, he can hardly get out of in the end. All the periods of life also have their own completely specific conditions. The Christian feeling of solidarity of the individual can really be demonstrated, developed and realized here. In the feeling of solidarity of every Christian toward the nearest one in need the richest yield of the Holy Year comes to maturity.

Fr. Ivan Landeka



N E W S



VISIT OF BISHOP FROM THE CARIBBEAN

Msgr. Robert Rivas, bishop of Kingstown in the Caribbean Grenadine Islands came to Medjugorje for eight days in the first part of February. On February 13th Bishop Rivas preached to the assembled faithful at the evening mass. On that occasion he gave a testimony on his experience of faith and conversion that he experienced in meeting with a lady sick with leprosy.

In the next Bulletin we shall talk about the impressions of Bishop Rivas.



LEADERS' MEETING IN NEUM

In previous issues of the Bulletin we announced the Seventh Meeting for Leaders of Medjugorje Centers of Peace and Prayer Groups. This is the already the seventh year that the Medjugorje parish office is organizing the international meeting for leaders of prayer groups and of charitable and pilgrimage groups connected with Medjugorje. It will this time also be held in Neum at Hotel "Sunce" from March 19th to 24th, 2000 (Hotel "Sunce is renovated!). The theme of the seminar is: "Medjugorje - A Prophetic Thrust For the 21st Century." You can find the program for the seventh international meeting our web pages and you can also obtain it at the Information Office of the Shrine during your pilgrimage.

This meeting is the only opportunity for all leaders of pilgrim groups, and leaders of prayer groups spread throughout the whole world to meet together with those of us who are trying by our work here in Medjugorje to help them in their ministry. It is an opportunity for the exchange of experiences had so far as well as discussion about possible changes in working with pilgrims. Therefore we consider that this kind of meeting once a year is of exceptional importance first of all for the welfare of all the pilgrims who find their spiritual benefits in Medjugorje. The number of those registered so far is somewhat less that in previous years. We invite you once more this time to participate in this seminar which has proven to be exceptionally useful for all the participants. We ask you to register your participation in the prayer-educational seminar at the latest by March 10, 2000. You can register by fax at 00387-88-651-444 or by e-mail: medjugorje-mir@medjugorje.hr (designated "For the Leaders' Meeting in or right at the Information Office of the Shrine.

We have assured simultaneous translation for all language groups. The price for lodging, transport and seminar is 315 DM per person for double room. Single supplement is 40 DM. Payment will be made to the Seminar organizer upon arrival at the hotel. There is possibility for organized transport from the Split airport to Hotel "Sunce" in Neum. All who need transport on March 19 should give notice of the exact time of arrival with flight number to the Association "Medjugorje-Mir" in Split by March 10, 2000 at the latest at fax number 00385-21-342-258. For the last day transport will be organized from Neum to Medjugorje. Radio and earphones for simultaneous translation should be brought along. Radio and earphones will also be made available during the seminar.



MEETING OF THE ASSOCIATION OF GUIDES

On February 4th the annual meeting of the Association of Guides for pilgrims in the parish Medjugorje was held at the "Domus Pacis" House of Prayer. The meeting opened with a talk by Medjugorje pastor, Fr. Ivan Landeka. He informed the guides about the importance of the Jubilee Year, of spiritual growth and involvement in this Holy Year in their work with pilgrims. After meetings and discussions of groups and individuals the meeting ended with a Holy Mass presided by Fr. Ivan Landeka. This kind of all-day meeting is a chance for the guides in prayer and meditation to deepen their consciousness about the importance of their work and apostolate in the shrine of Medjugorje.



SEMINARS AT "DOMUS PACIS"

In the past two weeks at the "Domus Pacis" House of Prayer a seminar was held for the FRAMA youth of Hercegovina led by Fr. Miro Sego and a seminar for the humanitarian organization "Help" which was led by Fr. Branimir Musa. The Association "Help" works for the prevention of addiction among youth. Regular spiritual renewals in Medjugorje are part of their program.



NOTIFYING THE ARRIVAL OF GROUPS

With the coming of warmer days in Medjugorje the number of pilgrims also increases. We kindly request all of you that organize pilgrimages to Medjugorje to notify the information office of your group's arrival at fax number 00387-88-651-444 or by e-mail: medjugorje-mir@medjugorje.hr That is very important to us for a more effective organization of pilgrimages.



PRESS BULLETIN 136, February 9, 2000.



"Dear children!

I call you, little children, to pray without ceasing. If you pray, you are closer to God and He will lead you on the way of peace and salvation. That is why I call you today to give peace to others. Only in God is there true peace. Open your hearts and become those who give a gift of peace and others will discover peace in you and through you and in this way you will witness God's peace and love which He gives you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

January 25, 2000



CHRISTIAN UNITY



Every year a Week of Prayer for Christian unity marks the end of January. Painful divisions and dissensions during the history of the Church have forced Christians to start thinking about each other differently. And not only about others, but also about ourselves. It would be wrong to think that only today's generation has come upon this idea. Every time divisions occurred or blood was spilt there was not a small number of those who suffered because of it and recalled Jesus' prayer and command - that all be one. Prayer for the unity of all who believe in Christ shows that divisions hurt us, that in the originating of divisions no one is without fault. In these times divisions hurt us even more strongly, especially there where Christians have become a minority. Great advances have been made: hostilities, habitual cursings, and anathematizings have been removed. The atmosphere is no longer poisoned. The task that remains for all to do, is to keep the Gospel. And the Gospel is best kept in the live human being that lives it.



Fr. Ivan Landeka



N E W S





NUMBER OF HOLY COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS



During January in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 38,000 Holy Communions were distributed and there were 722 concelebrations at holy mass by priests from home and abroad, that is 23 priests daily.

January is one of the months with the least number of visiting pilgrims. But in spite of that visiting groups came from Italy, Slovakia, France, Korea, USA, Central and South America, Australia, and, of course, Croatia.





SEMINARS AT 'DOMUS PACIS'



At the 'Domus Pacis' House of Prayer a seminar was held from January 21 - 23, 2000 for 40 young ladies. The Franciscan Sisters of the Hercegovina Franciscan Province organized and conducted the seminar.

From January 28 - 30 a seminar for married couples was also held there. It was conducted by Fr. Ivan Bradvica.



MISSIONARY TRAVEL OF FR. SLAVKO BARBARIC



At the invitation of Medjugorje pilgrims Fr. Slavko Barbaric visited in Germany from January 14 - 23, 2000. Upon his return, among other things, he also said this about his impressions:

"I held a series of prayer meetings in parish communities, the first of which was in the parish of Saints Peter and Paul in Freising near Munich. Despite the very cold weather the church was filled with the faithful. Ten priests also came together for the concelebration. There was a beautiful atmosphere of prayer. After the prayer program there followed a talk and discussion with those present.

On Saturday and Sunday, January 15 - 16, a meeting with about 300 young people in Schäbisch-Gmünd was held at St. Bernard House which is directed by Father Hans Buob. We started the program already around 9:00. There was prayer, songs, talks, and an afternoon Medjugorje prayer program with a talk and testimonies of the young people about their personal encounters with Medjugorje and their conversions. After supper a part of the young people went home and others came. The program with a talk for them only began at 9:00 P.M. They stayed to pray the whole night arranged in groups. Especially noticeable was the group that carried the name "Totus tuus". They are very active and they gathered many young people from all of Germany. We finished the program on Sunday around noon. It is also worth mentioning a play that the young people put on Saturday night. They showed a real example of a family that was on the brink of breaking up. Life had become impossible. The mother was bitter about the behavior of her husband and children. There was no prayer in the family. Television, radio, departures and late arrivals, misunderstanding and quarrels were all that still kept them connected. The mother happened to find the rosary on which her grandmother used to pray and began to pray. Meanwhile they found out about Medjugorje and came on pilgrimage and everything changes. It was touching to watch, and the whole play was based on a real happening, how after a pilgrimage they begin to pray, to get rid of the television, and in the place where the television had been, they put the statue of Our Lady's that they brought from Medjugorje. The family starts to live happily and in peace. God comes back into their lives.

From Sunday January 16th to Thursday January 20th I was in Hochalting at St. Ulrich House. Father Hans Buob also directs this retreat house. About 70 participants gathered. The theme of the retreat was "The way with Mary to the Divine Heart." Talks, prayer, the Medjugorje evening program and adoration filled up the days. From every participant one could hear testimony about how pilgrimage to Medjugorje helped them to change their lives. Listening to their testimonies about the graced days in Medjugorje and everything that means for them, I wished that all the visionaries and parishioners could hear it, especially those who right in Medjugorje still do not understand the intervention of God's grace. We finished the retreat at noon on Thursday. While bidding farewell to the participants I constantly heard the same thing: 'Dovidjena u Medjugorju!' ('See you in Medjugorje!')

On Thursday, January 20th I went with Father Dietrich von Stockhausen to the parish community of Marksteinach near Schweinfurt. Before the evening prayer program we visited the family of Mr. Rudi Karg. With some of his friends he experienced a conversion in Medjugorje and because of that became very active in the collecting help during the war and after the war right up til today. Many faithful assembled in the modern church. Rudi is very musical and with this music group very beautifully accompanied the whole evening program, especially the adoration. After the program we stayed in pleasant company and then I found out more about the aid that he has organized with his friends. The first action is called "Windows for Mostar", and the other "Families Help Families" in which Rudi undertakes helping families from Kosovo. The first decision to get involved and help out was born in his heart and the hearts of his friends, when he visited Mostar, Jesenica and Rodo. They brought over 50 semi-trailer trucks to Mostar and 10 to Kupres. For Christmas 1998 they delivered over 2000 family packages and that many bags of clothing to the Franciscans for Kosovo through Pristina in Jakovici. Rudi and his friends are continuing to help. They invite individuals, families and factories to help. The people respond.

On Friday January 21st Father Dietrich and I went to Heroldsbach, began a course in prayer with the evening program for about 250 faithful. The theme of the meeting was: "Man as a pilgrim in search of God and the fullness of life." We also continued the program on Saturday. The day was filled with prayer and talks, the evening program and all night adoration in the apparition chapel. I met a man who recently celebrated the 50th year since he began to pray the whole night from Saturday to Sunday. Our Lady according to the statements of the visionaries asked for nocturnal prayer. He answered that call and has remained faithful. He spoke with me about the wealth of his experiences in prayer and joyful moments in prayer. Before ending our conversation he took a picture of Cardinal Stepinac out of his pocket and said some words in Croatian that he learned while he was on the front in Solun and met Croats from whom he learned them. He knows that Cardinal Stepinac was on the same front and he therefore particularly respects him. We finished the program with a solemn mass at noon on Sunday.

While saying our farewells with the participants of the prayer meeting at this place of prayer, many said, 'Dovidjena u Medjugorju!' ('See you in Medjugorje!')



PRESS BULLETIN 135, January 26, 2000.



"Dear children!

I call you, little children, to pray without ceasing. If you pray, you are closer to God and He will lead you on the way of peace and salvation. That is why I call you today to give peace to others. Only in God is there true peace. Open your hearts and become those who give a gift of peace and others will discover peace in you and through you and in this way you will witness God's peace and love which He gives you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

January 25, 2000



F A I T H



The society in which we live and the world which surrounds us do not, as in former times, mediate a Christian formed life. There is also the question whether everything that was presented and mediated as Christian was indeed Christian? The family today, which because of changed circumstances and the absence of a faith experience, is not the absolute means of mediating a faith-filled interpretation of and experience of the world. The institutions of social life and the media have a completely different field of interest. Thus it is all the more often left to each individual alone, although he springs from a Christian environment, to choose his own experience and behavior of faith. The long experience of the Church does not cease to proclaim the irreplaceable role of the family in the formation of every person. Here one, understandably, also has in mind the formation of spiritual content. Family community prayer and personal witnessing therefore also remain the rudimentary a-b-c's of all future Christian education.



Fr. Ivan Landeka



N E W S





PASSING OF BISHOP PAUL ZANIC

The retired bishop of Mostar-Duvno, Msgr. Paul Zanic, passed away January 11, 2000 in Split. The deceased bishop was born May 20, 1918 in Kastel Novo near Split. He was ordained to the priesthood June 1, 1941 in Split and was named coadjutor bishop of Mostar-Duvno December 9, 1970. He was consecrated bishop May 2, 1971 in Mostar. As bishop ordinary he presided over the Hercegovina dioceses from September 14, 1980 to July 24, 1993. The corpse of the deceased, according to his personal wish, was buried in the family plot in Kastel Novo, Republic of Croatia January 13, 2000.

Grateful to God for his ministry, we invite all Medjugorje pilgrims and friends of Medjugorje to keep the beloved departed Bishop Zanic in their prayers.



"DOMUS PACIS" SEMINAR

From January 14 - 16, 2000 at the "Domus Pacis" house of prayer a seminar was held for members of the Franciscan Youth movement "FRAMA" of Hercegovina. Thirty three young people participated in the seminar, the theme of which was "The Eucharist in the Jubilee Year".



SEVENTH MEETING OF LEADERS OF CENTERS OF PEACE AND MEDJUGORJE PRAYER GROUPS

In previous issues of the Bulletin we announced the Seventh Meeting for Leaders of Medjugorje Centers of Peace and Prayer Groups. This is the already the seventh year that the Medjugorje parish office is organizing the international meeting for leaders of prayer groups and of charitable and pilgrimage groups connected with Medjugorje. It will this time also be held in Neum at Hotel "Sunce" from March 19th to 24th, 2000. The theme of the seminar is: "Medjugorje - A Prophetic Thrust For the 21st Century." You can find the program on our web pages and you can also obtain it at the Information Office of the Shrine during your pilgrimage.

This meeting is the only opportunity for all leaders of pilgrim groups, and leaders of prayer groups spread throughout the whole world to meet together with those of us who are trying by our work here in Medjugorje to help them in their ministry. It is an opportunity for the exchange of experiences had so far as well as discussion about possible changes in working with pilgrims. Therefore we conduct this kind of exceptionally important meeting once a year first of all for the welfare of all pilgrims who find their spiritual benefits in Medjugorje. We invite you this time once more to participate in the work of the seminar which has proven to be exceptionally useful for all the participants.

Since the number of spaces is limited and each year the number of participants is always greater. we ask you to register your participation in the prayer-educational seminar as soon as possible and no later than the middle of February. You can register by fax at +387 88 651 444 or by e-mail: medjugorje-mir@medjugorje.hr (designated "For the Leaders' Meeting in or right at the Information Office of the Shrine.

Simultaneous translation for all language groups will be organized. The price for lodging, transport and seminar is 315 DM per person for double room. Single supplement is 40 DM. Payment will be made to the Seminar organizer upon arrival at the hotel. There is possibility for transport from the Split airport to Hotel "Sunce" in Neum. All who need transport on March 19 should give notice of the flight number and exact time of arrival to the Association "Medjugorje-Mir" in Split no later than the middle of February. by fax +385 21 342 258. For the last day transport will be organized from Neum to Medjugorje. Radio and earphones for simultaneous translation should be brought along. Radio and earphones will also be made available during the seminar.



Program of the Seventh Meeting for Leaders of Centers of Peace and Medjugorje Prayer Groups



Theme: "Medjugorje - A Prophetic Thrust For the 21st Century"

Hotel "Sunce" Neum, March 19 - 24, 2000



Sunday, March 19, 2000

Assembly

19:00 Holy Mass (Fr. Tomislav Pervan, Provincial of the Hercegovina Franciscans )

20:00 Supper

Monday, March 20, 2000

07:30 Morning prayer

08:00 Breakfast

09:00 Lecture: "Prophets in Sacred Scripture and the Tradition of the Church." Fr. Franjo Vidovic

10:00 Intermission

10:30 Group discussion on the theme of the lecture

12:00 Lunch

15:00 Meeting with the lecturer

16:00 Intermission

16:30 Meeting with the Franciscans (Fr. Ivan Landeka, Fr. Slavko Barbaric, Fr. Miljenko Stojic, Fr. Leonard Orec, Fr. Jozo Zovko, Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic, Fr. Branimir Musa. . .)

17:30 Rosary; 18:00 Holy Mass (Fr. Jozo Zovko) Dinner

20:30 Miscellaneous announcements

Tuesday, March 21, 2000

07:30 Morning prayer

08:00 Breakfast

09:00 Lecture: "The Position of Christians in Modern Civilization."

10:00 Intermission

10:30 Group discussion on the theme of the lecture

12:00 Lunch

15:00 Meeting with the Lecturer

16:00 Intermission

16:30 Meeting with the representatives of Medjugorje Tourist Agencies

17:30 Rosary; 18:00 Holy Mass (Fr. Ivan Bradvica ) Dinner

20:30 Adoration (Fr. Ivan Landeka)

Wednesday, March 22, 2000

07:30 Morning prayer

08:00 Breakfast

09:00 Lecture: "The Prophetic Characteristics of Medjugorje", Alfons Sarrach

10:00 Intermission

10:30 Group discussion on the theme of the lecture

12:00 Lunch

15:00 Meeting with the Lecturer

14:00 Intermission

14:30 Group Discussion - Resolutions

17:30 Rosary; 18:00 Holy Mass (Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic) Dinner

20:30 Community Meeting - Resolutions (Declaration)

Thursday, March 23, 2000 - Day of Prayer

07:30 Morning prayer

08:00 Breakfast

09:00 Lecture, Discussion, Prayer

12:00 Lunch

15:00 Lecture, Discussion

17:30 Rosary; 18:00 Mass (Fr. Slavko Barbaric) Dinner

Friday, March 24, 2000

07:30 Morning prayer

08:00 Breakfast

09:00 Departure for Medjugorje

Departure for Apparition Hill

(Departure for Krizevac - optional)



Lecturers for this year's seminar are:



Fr. Franjo Vidovic, - born February 19, 1960 in Crnkovci, near Osijek, Croatia. He completed elementary school in 1975 in Zagreb. In June 1979 he graduated from the Franciscan Classical Gymnasium in Visoko. On July 15, 1979 he entered the novitiate of the Hercegovina Franciscan Province in Mostar.

From 1980 - 1984 he was imprisoned in the Zenica prison sentenced for "anti-communist" activity. He obtained his diploma in philosophy-theology studies in 1987 and obtained a Masters degree in theology at Augsburg University in 1991 and in 1992 did pastoral work in Hercegovina at the monastery of Humac. During 1992 he was active as a military chaplain for units of the Croatian Armed Forces. He received a Doctorate in biblical theology in 1997 at the University of Graz in Austria. Presently he is engaged in pastoral work in Weissenstein in Austria. He works in a rehabilitation station and teaches Biblical theology of the New Testament at the Jesuit Philosophical Faculty of the in Zagreb.

Sabino Palumbieri was born 1934 in Lavello (Potenza). He is a member of the Congregation of Salesian Fathers. He was ordained priest in 1961. After his diploma in philosophy and theology, he obtained a doctorate in the field of anthropology. Currently he works as a professor at the Salesian Papal University (UPS). An essayist and journalist, he writes numerous studies from the anthropological viewpoint about the significant sources for events of our times. He is the founder of the "TR-2000" Society (Witnesses of the Resurrection for Jubilee 2000), and the organizer of national movements with interpersonal cultural ties and humanistic-Christian activities. He is also the organizer a new style of popular devotion among people, "Via Lucis" (The Way of Light) which is spreading throughout the whole world.

Alfons Sarrach - born 1927 in the then free state of Danzig, and grew up in the German-Polish tradition. In 1939 during the Nazi regime he was taken away along with his family to a concentration camp. After World War II he studied philosophy, theology and psychology in Rome and Paris. In 1965 he became a free lance journalist, and later was editor in chief for several daily newspapers. He is the author of numerous publications and books. In 1992 he published the book, The Prophetic Thrust of Medjugorje, which attempts to penetrate more profoundly into the secret of the great impetus which, starting in 1981, is coming from the little place of Medjugorje in Hercegovina and which has helped millions of people in the whole world again to find a sense of the future, after a century during which hatred reigned in many states.



PRESS BULLETIN 134, January 12, 2000.

"Dear children!

This is the time of grace. Little children, today in a special way with little Jesus, whom I hold in my embrace, I am giving you the possibility to decide for peace. Through your 'yes' for peace and your decision for God, a new possibility for peace is opened. Only in this way, little children, this century will be for you a time of peace and well-being. Therefore, put little newborn Jesus in the first place in your life and He will lead you on the way of salvation. Thank you for having responded to my call."

December 25, 1999



THE CULTURE OF SILENCE



The Jubilee Year that has begun is, among other things, also called the Lord's "Year of Grace." It has in mind the very broad field of human life and activity which grace encompasses. Still grace is not an inexpensive gift, because it can be threatened, fragile. It is the legacy of God, an undeserved gift. Precisely for that reason with regard to grace there is also a wonderful process between man and God. The primordial human yearning - begun anew - finds in grace the possibility of its realization. In the newer time in Christian spirituality there is all the more talk about the "culture of silence". That culture is generated and formed in the interior and means: to stop dead, to recollect oneself, to take up penance, to want steps of conversion and prayer. Such steps bear works by which we visibly cling to God. Then neither our neighbors nor their difficulties are any bother to us or any "foul play".

Fr. Ivan Landeka



N E W S





NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS



During December at the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 67,000 Holy Communions were distributed and at holy masses there were 1,064 concelebrations by priests from home and abroad, that is, 34 priest per day.

During December the most numerous groups were from Korea, Austria, Italy, England, USA, France, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Brazil, Germany, Canada, Belgium, Letonia, Lebanon, Holland, Poland and, of course, Croatia.

During 1999 in the parish of Medjugorje there were 1, 030, 000 Holy Communions distributed while there were 23, 472 concelebrations by priests at holy masses.





"DOMUS PACIS" - AT THE END OF A YEAR

On Saturday December 18 in the "Domus Pacis" house of prayer there gathered for the so-called "Christmas Dinner" all the co-workers of that house who during the year word with pilgrims while they stay for the seminars. During 1999, namely, there were held 57 seminars of various content. The venerable Franciscan Sisters organize monthly meetings for young girls, the

Franciscans for FRAMA (Franciscan Youth) of Hercegovina, the humanitarian organization "Help" which aids youth in the fight against and prevention of addiction. The organizer and leader of these is Fr. Slavko Barbaric.

Also on this occasion we thank all for their cooperation and we recommend them to your prayers for 2000 also to be fruitful for all those who will participate in one or more of this really interesting meetings.



THE NEW YEAR

As already for a number of years in a row now, so also this year there was held a prayer vigil for the New Year. It began with prayer at 10 PM and ended with a midnight Holy Mass. About 5000 faithful were present. Again for this occasion the most numerous were the youth coming from practically all European countries and the USA. Thus the parishioners and the pilgrims together saw the Old Year out and ushered in the New Year singing and praying for the peace so much needed for modern man in today's world. How profound the experience is for those who for once await the New Year in Medjugorje in prayer, is shown by the fact that the number of pilgrims for that occasions increases from year to year. All those who come once, come back again. In this uncertain and unpeaceful world youth are still deciding the entrust their future to God.

From December 29th to January 1 st a prayer seminar was conducted for the young members of "Friends of the Talented Fund". They are, namely, the members of the fore-mentioned Foundation which helps them during their studies at different Universities in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia. Already for some years these young people want to start the New Year in the joy of prayer and community. About 70 students from Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Republic of Croatia participated in the seminary. The "Friends of the Talented Fund" organized the seminary and it was conducted by Fr. Slavko Barbaric.



ELEVENTH INTERNATIONAL YOUTH PRAYER MEETING



The Eleventh International Youth Prayer Meeting will be held from July 31 - August 6, 2000.

The theme of the meeting is: "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us"



Mon July 31: 6:00 PM Rosary

7:00 PM Mass

10:00 PM Introduction of groups and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

THEME OF EACH DAY

1. Tue. Aug 1 "The Father's plan - to send Emmanuel!"

4:00 PM Testimonies

6:00 PM Rosary 7:00 Holy Mass

10:00 - 11:30 PM Adoration

2. Wed Aug 2 "Mary - Mother of Emmanuel!"

9:00 AM Morning Prayer

4:00 PM Testimonies

6:00 PM Rosary 7:00 Holy Mass

10:00 - 11:30 PM Adoration

3. Thu Aug 3 - "Jesus - Bread of Life - Way of Bread!"

9:00 AM Morning Prayer

4:00 PM Testimonies

6:00 PM Rosary 7:00 Holy Mass

10:00 - 11:30 PM Adoration

After evening mass Eucharistic Procession through the parish and silent adoration.

4. Fri Aug 4 - "Eucharist - healing for the wounds of soul and body!"

9:00 AM Morning Prayer

4:00 PM Testimonies

6:00 PM Rosary 7:00 Holy Mass

Sr. Elvira, foundress of "Cenacolo"community

9:30 PM Program of Sr. Elvira's community: "Jesus, healer of soul and body!"

5. Sat Aug 5 - "Dear Children, Fall in love with Jesus in the Eucharist!"

9:00 AM Morning Prayer

4:00 PM Testimonies

6:00 PM Rosary 7:00 Holy Mass

6. Sun Aug 6 Cross Mountain: "Go home and become bread for the life of the world!"

3:00 AM Rosary going up Cross Mountain

5:00 AM Holy Mass on Cross Mountain

Presenters at the youth meeting are: Primo Martinuzzi, Wayne Weible, Fr. Francesco Carlino, Fr. Selwaine, Sr. Elvira Petrozzi, Don Cosimo Cavaluzzo, Fr. Jozo Zovko, the visionaries, Fr. Slavko Barbaric and other witnesses.

We recommend you bring along:

1. ear phones and small FM radio

2. Bible

3. umbrella

Persons with classical instruments (violin, flute oboe, etc.), should give notice by fax number 00387-88-651-888. They will be given a room at "Domus Pacis". It is necessary to provide: name and surname, address, age, experience and type of instrument. You will get an answer to your offer.

Groups participating in the Youth Prayer Meeting should not plan any other programs during the week of the youth meeting.

Eucharistic adoration will be take place during the entire meeting.

During the Youth Prayer Meeting from Tuesday to Saturday there will be no morning masses for pilgrims. All pilgrims will there therefore celebrate together at the evening mass. Simultaneous translation will be provided.