Pilgrims from Pula and Istria, grateful to God and Gospa, after 34 years of Our Lady’s apparitions have recalled their trips to Our Lady, the Queen of Peace. Many of them have been coming since the beginning and so many of them were witnesses of abundant graces they received through Our Lady’s intercession. Inspired by the prayer communities from Medjugorje, Siroki Brijeg and the whole world, fifteen years ago they felt calling to found their own prayer community.
The parish office Medjugorje is organising three days spiritual renewal for parishioners of Medjugorje that will be held from February 6-8, 2015. The programme of the spiritual renewal begins with the prayer of Rosary at 5 p.m. and will continue with Holy Mass at 6 p.m. After the evening Holy Mass there will be lecture and prayer in the Hall of St. John Paul II. Fr. Damir will conduct the spiritual renewal. Parish office encouraged everyone to come and enjoy this spiritual retreat.
For the last 20 years, the Franciscan Youth is active in Medjugorje and their members Zdravka Šego, Antonija Sivrić and Marija Vasilj, presented their activities in the programme of radio Mir Medjugorje. Their president, Zdravka said that YouFra has around 130 members and last Sunday they had ceremony of solemn vows and promises: „Not all of our members were there as some of them were not ready. 105 members gave their vows. Our YouFra is active in various activities and groups such as creative, music, reading, media, multimedia…
Vatikan (IKA) – „I would like to announce that, God willing, I will be coming to Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on June 6” – said pope Francis after the Angelus on Sunday, February 1. Holy Father invited all faithful to accompany this journey of his with prayer, as his wish is to visit faithful Catholics who live in that country, to wake up the yeast of goodness and to contribute to strengthening of brotherhood and peace.
On Sunday, February 1, 2015, the young members of the Franciscan Youth from Medjugorje, had ceremony of solemn promises and vows during the evening Holy Mass, celebrated by Fr. Slaven Brekalo, the regional spiritual assistant, along with 9 priests concelebrating. 34 members gave their first promises, and 28 of them confirmed their vows to the Franciscan Youth. At the end of the solemn Holy Mass, their spiritual assistant Fr. Stanko Cosic, and Fr. Marinko Sakota, the parish priest, congratulated them and wished them to continue their journey with St. Francis towards Christ:
As every February, Medjugorje is going through a very quiet period with fewer pilgrims, and there are smaller groups from Italy, France, Austria and the USA. The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord was solemnly celebrated on Monday, February 2, when four Holy Masses were celebrated in Croatian language and one in Italian, German, French and English. The evening prayer programme began with the Rosary led by Fr. Karlo Lovric, and Fr. Dragan Ruzic was the main celebrant, with five other priests concelebrating.
Number of Holy Communions: 45 050
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 943 (30 per day)
The Third Franciscan Order has been active in Medjugorje in the parish of St. James for many years now. The spiritual assistant Fr. Ivan Landeka Jr., together with the members of Fraternity: Jure Cilic, Marija Vasilj and Sanja Ivankovic, presented the activities of the Third Order in the programme of our radio station. The Third Order has a long tradition, since the charisma of St. Francis thrilled parishioners and inspired them to imitate principles and the spirit of St. Francis in their families.
Fr. Marinko Šakota, Medjugorje parish priest, who was our guest in the programme of our radio spoke about the upcoming the Fourth International Pilgrimage for Special Needs Persons that will be held from June 11-14, 2015, in Medjugorje. This pilgrimage is already announced so there could be more room for all participants in the homes of parishioners. Fr. Marinko said: “Last year the pilgrimage was held in October, the year before in September, we are trying to find the best time for parishioners who would like to take all participants in their homes. People want to come here; this experience for them is really special. It is special for us too, as we all felt love.
The Fourth International Pilgrimage of Special Needs Persons will be held from June 11 -14, 2015 in Medjugorje. The pilgrims will again be hosted by Medjugorje parishioners. The last pilgrimage was held in October 2014, with the theme “In Our Lady’s School”, and more than 1350 participants were gathered. The pilgrimage was organised in association of the Medjugorje parish office, association “Susret” from Ciltuk and of Mother’s Village. Despite such a great number of pilgrims, they were all hosted in family homes or hotels in Medjugorje, and all accommodation expenses were for free. 85 families from Medjugorje took part in this good deed of love. The participants told us many beautiful impressions and this is what Vilma Lazaneo from island of Brac in Croatia, told us:
Last spring we had a visit from one Benedictine priest, who has been coming to Medjugorje for years for the Youth Festival. He spoke about his experience that the spark was lit in my heart and I had to travel to that place as well. My husband told me that he would accompany me. For years before that, I lived in some sort of irrational fear that I could not explain. In the last few years the fear was intensified. I was trying to conquer it with various treatments and my own forces, but all was in vain. The fear was all around me at all times. Together with two other problems – heart difficulties and loosing of consciousness, the fear was just becoming bigger. In the medical terms, no one could define it. There was no organic cause for it. In my religious world, they were always telling me it was a spiritual struggle.
Parish choir "Queen of Peace" was established in 1990, and every since then they are making all liturgical celebrations more beautiful and solemn. At the moment there are 40 great singers and since 2010, Sr. Irena Azinovic is conducting the choir. They have performed at few important events last year and they also had independent concert in July last year with quite interesting programme. Sr. Irena thanked everyone and said during that occasion: "I would like to thank everyone who is supporting our work, especially to our parish priest Fr. Marinko as well as to the families of our members for their great understanding. It is a huge grace and responsibility to be here in Medjugorje, but it is not easy to persevere. That is why I thank dear God and Gospa for all these wonderful people that I work with. We have enormous help in our assistant professor Katja, that makes all this possible.
Web site fratri3.net, the official web site of seminarians of Herzegovinian Franciscan Province, published the interview with Fr. Ante Vuckovic, a priest, a theologian and a philosopher. Fr. Ante among other things spoke about his experience of Medjugorje and the 25th Youth Festival. Every day, through the lectures, he was teaching young people how to pray, how to participate in the community and in their work by entrusting themselves to the Blessed Mother, inviting them just like Jesus invited St. John when he said "Behold your Mother". He said:"The Youth Festival was precious experience of encounters with young people who are led by their longing for God, prayer, communion in the spirit of God. I did not hide how thrilled I was. Even more, I felt so happy that I was able to be part of that event. After the whole-day prayer programme, young people wanted more and more. They had huge hunger for God and for praising Him.
The Third Franciscan Order was established in Medjugorje on September 17, 1885, by Fr. Anzelmo Culina. According to the information from 1940, the parish had 625 members of the Third Franciscan Order. After the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1981, not just the Third Franciscan Order but the whole parish radiated with peace and joy. The new members were taken into the Order, and since then, members were celebrating all major feasts in their communion. From1991 -2007, we do not have any official record about the work and the activities of the Third Franciscan Order.
This year we will celebrate 46 years ever since the solemn blessing of Medjugorje parish church of St. James. After the parish was established in 1892, the first parish church, beautiful and spacious at the time, was completed in 1897. Due to the unstable grounds it was built on, the walls began to crack and the building started to sink, so immediately after the World War I, the parish began to consider the construction of the new church. The works lasted from1934 until January 19, 1969, when the church was blessed. The church of St. James is today the centre of the sacramental and prayer life, not just for the parishioners but for the pilgrims from all over the world. The historian Dr. Fr. Robert Jolić said for the programme of radio Mir Medjugorje that even Glas Koncila, famous Croatian Catholic magazine wrote about that: „Everything was solemn and really superb and I believe it was the event that deserved all those praises. That event, the blessing, was the end of one long journey that had started more than thirty years before. But in 1969, only the rough construction works were completed and many more works followed even afterwards. Our Franciscans, Fr. Stanko Vasilj and Fr. Leonard Oreč had sent one report to Glas Koncila magazine that was published in the beginning of February 1969, and published in our magazine Oasis of Peace in 2012. There were many people and the Provincial was also invited. They also read the list of donators for the church.”- said Dr. Fr. Robert Jolić.