Danko Kustura from Split came to Medjugorje for the first time soon after the apparitions have began and continued coming at least twice a year ever since. He lived all of his life as a Christian, but it was the apparitions in Medjugorje that have strengthened his faith. He regularly reads Catholic newspapers, and despite his modest pension allowance, he gladly gives a gift of annual subscription to “Glasnik mira”, monthly bulletin from Medjugorje, to his family and friends. He said that news about Medjugorje have spread so fast in the very beginning and he came here on April 10, 1983 for the first time.
Holy Mass for all killed Franciscans during and after the World War II, as well as for all parishioners killed in the First, Second and recent Homeland War was celebrated in the parish church of St. James on Monday, February 10, on the feast of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac. Up to this day, graves of so many killed persons have remained unknown, but memory on them is still alive in hearts and prayers of faithful. Fr. Ivan Dugandzic celebrated the evening Holy Mass with six priests that have concelebrated.
The members of band “The Apostles of Peace” from Zagreb/Madjarevo were in Medjugorje not long ago. During their visit they came to radio station “Mir” Medjugorje and shared their personal experience of Medjugorje, as well as their own testimony of praising God with song. They said how every time they come to Medjugorje, they feel peace that cannot be described in words. “It is always nice to come here, to recharge our batteries and later on to return to everyday life, to obligations we have, but every time with Mary’s blessing that is present on every step. One can feel here really special joy and special love.” This band for spiritual music was founded in 2000, and so far they have performed at many prayer meetings.
Clemens from Martinique came to Medjugorje for the first time with a group of pilgrims from France. He heard of Medjugorje long ago and wanted to come earlier, but there were obstacles every time that prevented him from coming. He said how Medjugorje is a world famous place: “There is a radio station called Radio St. Louis and it is religious radio station where they speak a lot about Medjugorje and now everyone knows about this place. I would like to thank people in Medjugorje, people of this country for their way of accepting everyone who comes here, for preparing to meet more people because this is the only place where we can talk to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus. She gives us beautiful message for the time we live in, and that is peace. After all of the sufferings from this world are gone, what is left for us is peace, peace and love”, said Clemens and added that it is easy to live messages of the Queen of Peace if we surrender to be guided by Her heart. “Medjugorje is a sensation of peace; I personally have feeling of respect towards people that I see praying Rosary as well as towards you who are receiving us here. Let us maintain that spirit, because the enemy would like to interfere everywhere and always. Let us maintain the spirit of love and peace. Every place of the apparitions gives us different sensations, but this place here fills us with love.”
On Sunday, February 2, in the church of St. James in Medjugorje, young people, members of the Franciscan Youth, had ceremony of solemn promises during the evening Holy Mass at 6 p.m. that Fr. Slaven Brekalo, regional spiritual assistant, had celebrated in con-celebration of 11 other priests. It was Sunday of Presentation of our Lord, and Fr. Slaven had combined those two events into his homily.
A member of Croatian Salesian Province of St. John Bosco, Josip Petricic, is a frequent pilgrim in Medjugorje. He comes from Zagreb and he is 25 years old. He graduated in high school for graphics. As a young boy he was thrilled with priesthood, because his uncle is a priest. “During the summer, I was going with him to help him out and I was thrilled with that because it made me content and fulfilled to help others. It was a little fervor that moved me to go to priesthood. But, I did not know which order to choose. I shared that with my uncle and he told me that he could see vocation growing within me. He advised me to join the order of Salesians that I heard of for the first time at that time”, said this pilgrim and added that he came to Medjugorje for the first time while he was in the seminary. “I was thrilled when we climbed Apparition Hill during the night. I was also thrilled to see such a great number of young people who were seeking for the Lord and found Him here. It was a family atmosphere that was created among us and all pilgrims. We did not differentiate because of our nationality, but were all united.”
We would like to inform all groups of pilgrims that the 25th Jubilee Youth Festival will be held in Medjugorje from July 31 – August 6, 2014, which means that it will begin one day earlier than in the previous years. We hope that you will be able to organise and reserve plains and buses for this event on time. The Youth Festival was initiated by late Fr. Slavko Barbaric in 1990, when he gathered around 100 young people, two guitar players and a couple of singers, while the whole programme was held in the green tent behind the church. The number of participants increased each year and in the last few years, that event is the greatest of all Medjugorje events. We are looking forward to your coming!
Number of Holy Communions: 50 000
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 870 (28 per day)
Young people, members of the Franciscan Youth from Medjugorje, will give their solemn promises during the evening Holy Mass at 6 p.m. on Sunday, February 2, in the church of St. James. The Franciscan Youth is active in Medjugorje since 1995, and it grew out of the prayer group that late Fr. Slavko Barbaric led. The first meetings were held oon Fridays, after the evening Holy Mass and that remained the same in all of these years.
Numerous pilgrims visit Medjugorje every year and their testimonies are like little pieces that form beautiful mosaic, picture of Medjugorje. Married couple, Neli and Igor Kanizaj emphasise that every visit to Medjugorje is for them great joy and new, deep experience. Igor got to know Medjugorje in his young days, while he was a member of the Franciscan Youth, and each of his visits was bringing him something new, primarily peace:
The theatre performance “In the years of the famine”, created by Fr. Ante Maric, and directed by Tina Laco, was held in the Hall of the Blessed John Paul II in Medjugorje on January 19, 2014, before the large audience. This theatre performance is made on the theme of the difficult time of famine in the beginning of the 20th century here in Herzegovina, when one priest, Fr. Didak Buntic, despite many problems and difficulties that he encountered, was able to save several thousands of poor and hungry children.
The members of music group “New Heaven” from the parish of St. Elijah in Zenica, came for their visit to Medjugorje. Music directors are Danijela and Zoran Curic, married couple. Danijela said that her first encounter with Medjugorje took place in 1995, when she was 15 years old. “I was not aware back in those days what this place meant. Now, every time I come here, I feel peace, serenity and that is something that cannot be denied. Every person who comes here experiences something that is absolutely immeasurable.” Zoran told us that Medjugorje means so much to him in his life, and there is something really special for him here:
The International Investigating Commission held its last session on Friday, January 17 regarding Medjugorje
Vatikan, (IKA) – The International Investigating Commission on Medjugorje, presided by former Roman Vicar, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, has held its last session on Friday, January 17, 2014, confirmed on January 18, Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi. The results of this investigation are going to be handed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for the further examination.
According to the personal statements of six persons, Our Lady has appeared in Medjugorje in June 1981, and those apparitions are still ongoing. The Bishop’s Conference in charge for this place, has expressed their restraint attitude regarding this phenomenon and they have forbidden the official pilgrimages into this place.
Vatican Commission has undertaken from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in March 2010, the task to investigate this pilgrimage destination. Nevertheless, the centre of their work was not only the apparitions of Mary, but also the spiritual life and spiritual care of pilgrims who are coming to Medjugorje.
The alleged apparitions of Mary have begun in Medjugorje on June 24, 1981. Six children have then stated that Our Lady have appeared to them while they were minding the sheep out in the village. The apparitions, according to six grown up persons now, are still ongoing every day. During those encounters, Our Lady is entrusting them with precise statements about various topics in the church as well as about other issues.
A writer from Rijeka, Diana Rosandic, witnessed for radio station Mir Medjugorje about her journey of discovery faith and peace in Medjugorje. Mrs. Diana was born in the family that lived without the Lord and it was one extraordinary event in her childhood, after which she received the sacraments, got to know about God, but her true faith and peace she discovered only in Medjugorje. “I remember that in my family, we did not go to Sunday Holy Masses, nor we said grace before the meal. Christmas was celebrated only because of family unions. I was very happy after I received all of the sacraments, after which a period of searching for God began in my life. It was then I met one wonderful man that I married later on. He was an artist and writer. At that time he was working on his second novel, where he actually wrote about Medjugorje but in codes. He got sick and we decided to come to Medjugorje in 1995. That was my first encounter with this place where I came with my sick husband”, said Diana and added how she described her experience of Medjugorje in one of her novels. “My husband was not able to climb Apparition Hill. He died afterwards, and that is what brought a wound of Medjugorje to me. I knelt here, prayed and begged for healing and that did not take place. That was my will, but God obviously had some other plans. I was not able to accept that and therefore, I refused to accept Medjugorje for many years. My friends invited me to come and join them for the Youth Festival. I was not willing to do that, and after the initial refusal I came here and this is where completely new discovery took place for me. It was wonderful, full of young people. This is where my wound was healed, wound that I got on my first trip here. I said later on that I need to continue coming to the Youth Festival in the future. This is where I receive my peace, there are no distractions and it is truly genuine feeling of Christian brotherhood”, said this pilgrim from Rijeka.
On Tuesday, January 21, we will commemorate the twelfth anniversary of death of former Medjugorje parish priest and the founder of religious – humanitarian organization “Medjugorje – Mir”, Fr. Leonard Orec (born in Posuski Gradac, 1928 – died in Zagreb, 2002). Fr. Leonard served in Medjugorje from 1988 to 1991, in that period he served as a parish priest for more than one year. During those three years, he indeed left a permanent mark as a wise and experienced priest, and fervor promoter of Our Lady’s messages of peace and reconciliation. In 1992, he established humanitarian association “Medjugorje – Mir”, with its seat in Split, Croatia. This Association was able to distribute through the friends of Medjugorje dozens of tones of the humanitarian aid to our people during the period of the homeland war. Since 1997, Fr. Leonard was active in the General Curia of the Franciscan Order in Split, until 2001, when he got seriously ill. It was in those last days that he had celebrated his 50th Jubilee of Priesthood and then he died in Zagreb on January 21, 2002. He was buried on January 23, in Posusje.