Early Holy Masses at 6 a.m. are celebrated since Monday, December 3, and those Holy Masses are opportunity for parishioners to prepare for celebration of Christmas, the birth of Jesus. Novena is going to begin on Saturday, December 15 with prayer of Rosary on Apparition Hill at 2 p.m. every day and will finish on December 23. The evening prayer programme is according to the regular schedule, Rosary at 5 p.m. and Holy Mass at 6 p.m. Confessions take place every morning from 5.30 a.m. and in the afternoon at 4 p.m. Every Sunday after the morning Holy Mass for children at 9.30 a.m. there is Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Members of community Cenacolo have been busy in the last few days preparing setting and scenery for live manger that will take place in Christmas time. We had our first snow this winter on Monday, December 10, 2012.
Stephane Galbert comes from Martinique. This is his first time in Medjugorje. He said how many people in Martinique know about Medjugorje since many of them came on pilgrimages in the last few years and they witnessed about what they experienced. They were saying how every Christian should come here. “I always felt close to Our Lady, ever since I was eight I had Our Lady’s statue and I was always connected to Our Lady. When my mom told me about Medjugorje and invited me to come here, I accepted her proposal immediately and I realised this was Our Lady’s home. We usually see Mary with her opened hands because that is her mission, She is inviting us to come to Her.”
On Saturday, December 08, 2012, we are celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Holy Masses are at 6, 8, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Holy Masses in other languages are like on Sundays and feast days. The evening prayer programme will begin with Rosary at 5 p.m. and then solemn Holy Mass will follow with regular evening prayer programme that finishes with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 9 to 10 p.m. On Sunday, December 9, 2012 there will be annual concert of parish choirs from Herzegovina. All choirs will be singing together during the Holy Mass at 6 p.m. and after Holy Mass every choir will perform two songs. The whole event is going to be broadcasted live on radio Mir Medjugorje.
Anton Guanaratnam is a pilgrim from Canada and he heard about Medjugorje six years ago. He said how his friend had a brain tumour and he wanted to be able to say to her that God exists. “She was not baptised and I was trying to explain to her that God exists. Then, I heard about Medjugorje and I started to return to my faith. After hearing about messages, I started loving Our Lady and God more. This is where I have been coming for the last six years and I want to spread Our Lady’s messages to the world. Our Lady has done so much for me. I felt great peace here on Apparition Hill. I love to listen to homilies during Holy Masses. I find Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament really special since so many people are adoring Jesus and everything here is so peaceful and that is why it is so special”, said this pilgrim from Canada.
The Advent began on Sunday, December 2 and this is the time of preparation for Christmas. Early Holy Masses begin in Medjugorje parish on Monday, December 3 and Holy Mass will be celebrated every morning at 6 a.m., except on Sundays. Those Holy Masses will also be broadcasted on radio station Mir Medjugorje. The schedule of prayer and liturgical programme remains the same for Croatian and foreign pilgrims. Parish office has invite families to increase their family prayer, to participate in the prayer programme in the church and in prayers that are organised on hills. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will take place every Sunday at 10.30 a.m., half an hour prior to the main Holy Mass at 11.a.m. for parishioners and Croatian pilgrims. This is a quiet period in Medjugorje and there are groups of pilgrims from Italy, Romania, the United States, Slovakia, Ukraine, Germany and Croatia.
Number of Holy Communions: 72 000
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 1731 (57 per day)
Some of the pilgrims who come to Medjugorje are indeed attracting us with special attention. That was the case recently when Siaosi Talitimu, chief at the island Samoa, Pacific, came to Medjugorje. He was a guest at the radio station “Mir” Medjugorje. “We think that heart is the core of human being. The word MOA means heart and SA means people. When you put these two words together it means people of heart – that is exactly what my people are like”, said chief Talitimu. At the beginning, he introduced us with his people and island. Later he told us how he arrived to Medjugorje looking for a miracle, and then the Lord showed him in one Bible excerpt what his life mission should be, what is that he should be doing. He is joyful because Medjugorje message has found opened hearts and he also witnessed about difficulties and doubts that he as a chief has, as well as about why he lives in the United States even though he is a chief of people in Samoa. He heard about Medjugorje from his friend and his first visit was in 1995.
On Sunday, November 25, we have celebrated the 15th Anniversary of work of Radio Station “Mir” Medjugorje. The evening Holy Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated in the church of St. James and Fr. Ivan Sesar, the Provincial of Herzegovina Neretva Province was the main celebrant. Fr. Miljenko Steko, Director of the Radio Station, gave a homily. All employees, friends, representatives of media, as well as many supporters and donors continued their celebration in new premises of Radio Station. The whole day was in festive atmosphere and two singers Alen Nizetic and Ivan Mikulic gave their contribution with live performances on radio. Radio Station “Mir” Medjugorje is broadcasting programme 24 hours a day and covers the whole region of Bosnia and Herzegovina, major part of Republic of Croatia, while all five continents are covered with satellite and internet programme. Ever since the very beginning, the programme was directed according to the principle: “genuine humanity, healthy spirituality”.
The 12th Anniversary of death of Fr. Slavko Barbaric was commemorated in Medjugorje on November 24, 2012. Fr. Marinko Šakota, parish priest, celebrated the evening Holy Mass with 18 priests who have concelebrated with him. Fr. Marinko said in his homily: “Fr. Slavko is a model and inspiration for me personally. I can witness that as well as many people throughout the world. Why is Fr. Slavko inspiration and model in spirituality, in life in general? My impression was that Fr. Slavko did everything with the heart, with his whole being. There were no compromises with him when it came to important issues. He was a man who knew what he wanted. There was special clarity of understanding and his view in his soul, he was harmonised with the truth and goodness. He had perfect measure in everything he did, as well as in his prayer. It was not that he only worked, or that he only prayed. He did both in perfect harmony. He was able to be where he needed in exactly the right way.”
Fr. Slavko was remembered on Cross Mountain as well on that day. Fr. Miljenko Steko led the prayer of the Way of the Cross at 2 p.m. Mother’s Village, institution founded by late Fr. Slavko, remembered its founder and commemorated his death anniversary as well.
On Saturday, November 24, we will commemorate the 12th anniversary of Fr. Slavko Barbaric’s death.
Fr. Slavko died on November 24, 2000, after having completed prayer of the Way of the Cross on Cross Mountain. He was buried in Kovacica cemetery.
We will commemorate his death by climbing Cross Mountain and praying the Way of the Cross at 2 p.m., and celebrating Holy Mass at 6 p.m. in the church of St. James.
Bishop from Philippines Julito Cortes was in Medjugorje in the company of thirty five witnesses. He heard about Medjugorje in the very beginning of the apparitions at the time he was a student in Rome. In his interview for Radio Station Mir Medjugorje, the Bishop spoke about joy of him being able to come, but also about the difficulties that are preventing people to come to Medjugorje.
Father Joseph Horn from the United States arrived to Medjugorje in his twelfth visit with a group of pilgrims. “I am here to deepen my faith and I always try to pray better even though I have been a priest for fifteen years now. This time I have brought twenty six pilgrims and my only prayer is to discover the grace of knowing what our Heavenly Father desires of me. I feel that we have a little time left and this world is in the need of prayer and peace, and I have asked my group to pray for peace”, said Fr. Joseph who added that Medjugorje is very well known in Michigan state where he lives.
Maria Rosa and Gino Sorenzo, married couple from Italy, have arrived to Medjugorje for hundred times. They are coming from the shrine of St. Anthony of Padua in Italy and they have been bringing pilgrims from Italy eight times each year. Only in the previous year they have brought twenty-eight buses to Medjugorje. Maria Rosa arrived for the first time to Medjugorje in 1988, and she came with her family in 1993 in the middle of the war in our country.
Franciscans from the province of St. Casimir in Lithuania came in Medjugorje for six-day spiritual retreat that is conducted by Fr. Miljenko Steko. Their Provincial Fr. Astijus Kungys is with them and this is his first visit to Medjugorje. In their interview at Radio Station Mir Medjugorje they said how they came to pray and to seek for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary that she may intercede and guide them during the elections in their Province that will take place next January. “Christianity began with the Blessed Virgin Mary when she said her Fiat, through the Holy Spirit and through Mary’s Yes, Jesus was born. That is why we wanted to come to our Mother, to learn from her how to be humble and opened to God’s spirit, how to say our own Fiat every single day. May it be to me according to Thy will! Another reason why we wanted to come here is because Franciscans work in this parish and we wanted to meet their experience. What we encountered here is so simple – traditional prayers: Adoration, Way of the Cross, Rosary, Litanies. It is wonderful to be simple!” said Fr. Astijus Kungys.
The funeral began on Friday, November 9, 2012 at 3.00 p.m. with Holy Mass for dead, which was celebrated by Bishop Ratko Peric, together with Fr. Ivan Sesar, the Provincial of Herzegovinian Franciscan Province, who gave a homily and with numerous priests who had concelebrated. After Holy Mass, Fr. Petar’s remains were taken to Kovacica graveyard where he was buried.
Fr. Marinko Sakota, current parish vicar will be the new parish priest in Medjugorje parish. The Provincial has proposed this and Bishop of our Diocese, Ratko Peric has confirmed that in the official Decree. (photos)