Every year on the feast of Blessed Cardinal Stepinac, Medjugorje Parish celebrates Holy Mass in memory of all the victims from this parish who fell during World Wars I and II, or during the recent war in defence of the country, and also in memory of all those who gave their lives for the faith and for the homeland. The parish remembers especially the Franciscans who were either born in Medjugorje or who had worked in the parish, and who - either during or immediately after World War II - perished at the hands of the partisans and the communists.
When Christmas is over and when the New Year has come, when the Three Kings are gone and all the Christmas decorations are put away, Medjugorje enters into the winter quotidian of January and February, which differ from the other 10 months of the year. Except for the presence of some foreign pilgrims or little groups who have purposely chosen this quiet time for personal prayer, in this period, St. James’ parish does not differ much from other parishes in Herzegovina.
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The leading team of the Croatian football, the FC Dinamo from Zagreb, spent seven days in Medjugorje on training. Under the guidance of Branko Ivanković, the chief of the team of experts, 25 players came to Herzegovina: Turina, Lončarić, Kelava, Vranić, Šarlija, Čale, Ćorluka, Drpić, Jertec, Tadić, Pokrivač, Mamić, Da Silva, Chago, Sammir, Modrić, Etto, Vugrinec, Ćutura, Vukojević, Carlos, Schildenfeld, Janjetović, Pandev and Antunović. They were exercising twice a day in the sport and recreation center “Circle International”. Every day, about 300 supporters were coming to Medjugorje to observe them. (photos)
On Sunday, January 21, 2007, was commemorated the fifth anniversary of the death of Dr. Fr. Leonard Oreč, former parish priest of Medjugorje and founder of the religious-humanitarian organization “Medjugorje-Mir”. Holy Mass was celebrated for him in the parish church. It was presided by Fr. Ivan Landeka, another former parish priest of Medjugorje and actual president of the organization “Medjugorje-Mir”, and concelebrated by the present parish priest of Medjugorje, dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar.
Holy Communions distributed: 50.500
Concelebrating priests: 1.301
Holy Communions distributed: 70.500
Concelebrating priests: 948
Twelve bishops from nine countries from five continents came to Medjugorje in 2006.
Prayer and Fasting seminars in silence
Croatian 4 seminars 150
Polish 3 seminars 88
French 3 seminars 88
Italian 3 seminars 111
German 3 seminars 61
Lithuanian 2 seminars 99
Czech 1 seminar 47
Ukrainian 1 seminar 43
Russian 1 seminar 40
Slovak 1 seminar 48
English 1 seminar 33
Hungarian 1 seminar 20
Total 24 seminars 828 participants
At the last daily apparition to Jakov Colo on September 12th, 1998, Our Lady told him that henceforth he would have one apparition a year, every December 25th, on Christmas Day. This is also how it was this year. The apparition began at 3:23 pm and lasted 6 minutes.
(Published in the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Spirit, October 19, 2006 and in http://www.spiritdaily.org)
Some years ago when I was first a bishop in Louisiana, it must have been 1988, I was making my first "ad limina" visit to the Holy Father in Rome.
The other bishops of Louisiana were with me and, as what the custom of John Paul II, we were invited in to enjoy a lunch with him. There were eight of us at the table with him.
Soup was being served. Bishop Stanley Ott of Baton Rouge, La., who has since gone to God, asked the Holy Father: "Holy Father, what do you think of Medjugorje?"
The Holy Father kept eating his soup and responded: "Medjugorje? Medjugorje? Medjugorje? Only good things are happening at Medjugorje. People are praying there. People are going to Confession. People are adoring the Eucharist, and people are turning to God. And, only good things seem to be happening at Medjugorje."
That seemed to have ended the discussion and we went on to another topic. But, I will long remember the very skillfully cautious response of our Holy Father.
The fourteenth International Meeting for Leaders of Peace Centres and Medjugorje Prayer and Charity groups will be held in Medjugorje from the 4th to the 8th of March 2007.
The theme of the gathering is: „By your perseverance you shall be saved“. (Luke 21,19) (Program and registration)
The 12th International Seminar for Priests will be held in Medjugorje from 2nd to 7th July 2007. The theme of the seminar is: “With Mary – waiting for the Holy Spirit”.
The preacher at the seminar is Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFMCap. (Program and registration)
Holy Communions distributed: 196.000
Concelebrating priests: 4.062
Holy Communions distributed: 170.000
Concelebrating priests: 3.677
Mons. Michael Pearse Lacey, retired Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, made his fifth private pilgrimage to Medjugorje from the 11th to the 16th of October 2006. He accompanied a group of pilgrims from Canada. He followed the usual program for pilgrims, and heard confessions. Mons. Lacey met the Franciscans serving in Medjugorje and he gave an interview to Radio “Mir” Medjugorje, in which he underlined the fact that he believes that Our Lady does indeed appear in Medjugorje.
Mons. Pavel Mária Hnilica, S.J., Titular Bishop of Rusado, died in the early morning of the 8th of October 2006, in Novi Hrady in the Czech Republic. He will be buried on the 18th of October in Trnava (Slovakia). Mons. Hnilica was ordained a priest on 29.09.1950, and consecrated bishop on 02.01.1951. He was appointed Titular Bishop of Rusado on 13.05.1964.