The sacrament of the First Holy Communion took place on Sunday, May 1st, 2011 at 10 a.m. in the church of St. James in Medjugorje. After being prepared through the religion classes in the last few months, finally seventy-four children received this sacrament, 42 boys and 32 girls from Medjugorje parish. Parish priest, Fr. Petar Vlašić, was the main celebrant and celebration was even more beautiful thanks to the lovely singing of children's choir „Doves of peace“.
Apart from this solemn event, the atmosphere in Medjugorje is very uplifting thanks to numerous pilgrims from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the United States, England, Ireland, Italy, France, Korea, Slovenia, Belgium, Libanon, Spain, Poland, Portugal, Canada, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Due to the requests of many pilgrims, the beatification of John Paul II that took place in Vatican, on Devine Mercy Sunday, was broadcasted on the video wall next to the White Dome. (photos)
Number of Holy Communions: 131.600
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 2539 (84 per day)
Numerous pilgrims arrived to Medjugorje this year and joined many local people and parishioners in celebration of the Easter Triduum. The Information Office registered groups from Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain, Ireland, the United States, England, Poland, Korea, Luxemburg, France, Hungary, Canada, Switzerland, Ukraine, Belgium, Slovenia, Denmark, Romania, Argentina, Uruguay, Lebanon, Brazil and large number of pilgrims from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. (photos)
“Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”
To all parishioners, pilgrims, friends, benefactors, and to all men of goodwill a
Blessed and Happy Easter!
Parish priest and the Franciscans
Holy Thursday, April 21, 2011 – On this day when Church remembers institution of Holy Eucharist and Priesthood, it is allowed only to celebrate Holy Mass of consecration of the oil and Holy Mass of Lord’s Supper. Holy Mass of consecration of the oil can be celebrated only by bishop in his cathedral. Therefore, on that day before noon, in Medjugorje there are no confessions and no Holy Masses celebrated. Prayer of the Rosary begins at 5 p.m. and solemn Holy Mass of Lord’s Supper at 6 p.m. After Holy Mass there will be Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and all faithful will have opportunity for silent prayer until Midnight. There is also opportunity for sacrament of Confession from 4 to 6 p.m.
The tradition from the past in our Diocese is that faithful pray from the Fifth Sunday in Lent until Palm Sunday to prevent cursing and blaspheming of God. All parishioners and pilgrims have been invited this week to offer up all of their prayer intentions, especially the prayer of the Way of the Cross on Friday, as atonement to God for all of the sins caused through cursing.
Palm Sunday is the beginning of the Holy Week, the highlight of the preparation for the Feast of Resurrection. The Holy Mass on Palm Sunday will start at 10.30 a.m. at the ruins of the old parish church. The procession will go from there to the church of St. James, where Holy Mass is going to be celebrated. There will be also two other Holy Masses in the Croatian language, at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the evening. The blessing of the olive and palm branches will take place at all of those Holy Masses. The Rosary at Apparition Hill will be at 2 p.m.
On Tuesday, April 5, 2011, Raymond de Cordona, the Ambassador of the Republic of Italy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Giuseppe Pizza, the Minister for the Scientific Research of Italian Government, presented Italy at the opening of the 14th International Economy Fair in Mostar.
They visited Međugorje on the same day and parish vicar, Dr. Fr. Miljenko Šteko, welcomed them on the behalf of Herzegovina Franciscan Province. In his interview for radio station “Mir” Međugorje, Giuseppe Pizza said: “I wanted to use this little time I had prior to my return to Rome, so I could pray in this famous shrine where I came for the first time. I am impressed with simplicity of this place and with hospitality of the people. This is indeed a special place and it is well-known throughout the whole Europe.” He added how Italy has a great devotion to Our Lady and that he is very proud that Italians are amongst the most numerous pilgrims in this place of prayer. “I came here for just a short period of time, but I would like to come back and spend all day here. One can truly feel peace and it is not surprising that Italians come in such a great number”, said Mr. Giuseppe.
The Ambassador de Cordona said that he had been in Međugorje before: “I gladly come to this place where one can experience peace. We should all thank Franciscans who are serving in this parish and I wish them all the best.”
Numerous pilgrims arrived to Međugorje in the beginning of April. Due to the large number of pilgrims, and thanks to the beautiful weather, the evening prayer programme was held outdoors, at the White Dome, on Saturday, April 2, 2011. The Information Office registered groups from: Mexico, Austria, Germany, the United States, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Spain, Albania, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Korea. There were organised groups of Croatian pilgrims from the following towns: Šibenik, Split, Zagreb, Požega, Drvar, and many others.
Anna Maria Brancatelli from Catania, Italy, said in her interview for radio station “Mir” Međugorje: “Pilgrims come to Međugorje bringing their own problems, sufferings and crosses. Many come in a very difficult state, and upon their arrival, I see how they completely change. I think it is a miracle that many of them join our prayer group as soon as they return home. People change and their families change along with them. Every pilgrim comes back again with at least ten other people. This time we had two major conversions in our group”, she said at the end of the interview.
Number of Holy Communions: 85.600
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 1838 (59 per day)
The young Franciscan Peter Kim Dae Woo visited Međugorje for the second time. He comes from the parish Incon in Korea, where he serves as the assistant parish priest. He was ordained in 2009, despite his great desire to become a singer. He studied at the University for electrical engineering, but he dreamt of music, and that had even reduced his student’s performance at the university. “I studied for four years, but I was not interested in that at all. I would spend most of my time playing and singing, the music was my whole life. I was student only up to the moment when I got to know music a bit better. At one point, I was no longer attending classes. Back in those days, I used to have a nick name “factory of curses”, because all of the words that were coming out from my mouth were bad, but I did not care for that at all. I only cared for music and lived in its world completely. I socialised with ‘so-called musicians’”
He came to Međugorje in September 1998, for the first time. He heard about Međugorje in February 1998, when he read a book about the phenomenon of Međugorje. Fr. Peter continues: “Up to that time, I used to go to Holy Mass only on Sundays. But, after reading that book, I started going to the Holy Mass on a daily basis. I felt desire to start praying the Rosary and I started doing that every day as well. I began to live the five main messages of Our Lady of Međugorje. At the time when I started reading that book, my life was not very bright and easy. I was even depressed. My mother suffered a lot because of my condition. To help me, she suggested that I come to Međugorje. I came, and my spirituality started changing. The change was huge, but yet I had burning desire to become a famous singer one day. In those days when I arrived to Međugorje, I used to cry every day, especially during the Adoration, after hearing the sound of violin.”
Many pilgrims from all over the world arrived to the parish of Medjugorje, for the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25th, 2011. There were many pilgrims from Croatia, Italy, Germany, the United States, Romania, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Poland, Slovenia, Puerto Rico and Argentina. Eleven Holy Masses were celebrated during the day in both, the Chapel of Adoration and the Church of St. James. Three of those were in Croatian - at 8 a.m., 11 a.m., and 6 p.m. We also had the whole-night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., as we always have every 25th in the month, in thanksgiving to Our Lady for Her messages.
During the Lent, in a particular way, we meditate on Christ’s passion and death, praying the devotion of the Way of the Cross on Fridays at Cross Mountain at 2 p.m. and after evening Holy Mass at 7 p.m. This devotion is also on Sundays before the main Croatian morning Holy Mass, at 10.30 a.m., and after the evening Holy Mass at 7 p.m.
The visionary Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo had daily apparitions from June 24th 1981 to December 25th 1982. During the last daily apparition, Our Lady gave her the 10th secret, and told her that she would appear to her once a year, on the 18th of March. It has been this way through the years. Several thousand pilgrims gathered in prayer of the Rosary at the 'Blue Cross'. The apparition lasted from 13:46 to 13:50.
Dear children! I am with you in the name of the greatest Love, in the name of dear God, who has come close to you through my Son and has shown you real love. I desire to lead you on the way of God. I desire to teach you real love so that others may see it in you, that you may see it in others, that you may be a brother to them and that others may see a merciful brother in you. My children, do not be afraid to open your hearts to me. With motherly love, I will show you what I expect of each of you, what I expect of my apostles. Set out with me. Thank you.
The spiritual renewal for the whole Province for March was held in Međugorje today. This renewal was intended as the retreat and part of the programme of the permanent formation. The main theme was the Reconciliation with God – Theory and Practice. This is the second time that similar retreat with the theme of reconciliation is being held in Međugorje.
This retreat was held in the Yellow Hall, at the back of the church of St. James. It started at 9.30 a.m. with the Mid – Morning Prayer, and was followed with the lecture of Dr. Fr. Ante Mateljan, the Professor of the Dogmatic Theology at the Catholic University in Split.
Professor Mateljan spoke for one hour about dogmatic and sacramental aspect of the sacrament of the healing, with a special emphasis on penance and reconciliation, giving details of all of the important parts of this sacrament.
After short recess, pastoral aspect of this issue was discussed, and questions were at the end. The discussion lasted for half an hour.
The Provincial, Fr. Ivan Sesar, celebrated the Holy Mass that began at 12.00 a.m., along with Fr. Ante, lecturer, Fr. Petar Vlašić, the parish priest, and 47 other priests who concelebrated. Fr. Ante gave a homily.
Novices and postulants were singing, with their Master, Fr. Stanko Mabić.
At the end, the Provincial thanked professor Mateljan, as well as the other Franciscan brothers, hosts and all those who were involved in the organisation of this retreat. This seminar was organised thanks to the cooperation of the Moderator of the Permanent Formation, Fr. Iko Skoko and thanks to Fr. Danko Perutina, Head of the Council for the Spirituality.
Seventy Franciscan brothers participated at this retreat. At the end, they all had a lunch together.
A group of eight pilgrims arrived to Medjugorje on Friday, March 4, 2011 from little town of Kamnik, Slovenia. They have planned their pilgrimage for a long period of time and all eight of them walked the first part of their journey when later six of them continued in their car and two of them – Miha Hribovsek and Vido Kregar walked another 560 km in 14 days. Upon arriving to Medjugorje, they first prayed before Our Lady’s statue in front of the church of St. James and thanked God and Our Lady for the journey they had taken and for all of the graces they had received. This was the first time for two of them to come to Medjugorje after they heard so much about it from their friends and relatives many years ago. They told us that during their journey most of the people were surprised after hearing that two of them were walking to Medjugorje. Nevertheless, they received so much support while travelling from those in the traffic to the people that offered them food, drinks, refreshments and even places to stay overnight.
Upon arriving to Medjugorje, they climbed the Apparition Hill and prayed the Rosary there and on the following day they climbed the Cross Mountain with other Slovenian pilgrims and at the end took part in the evening prayer programme. Bostjan Krajnc was with them, as a pilgrim, in the first part of their pilgrimage when eight of them walked together and he told us: “We have visited many pilgrimage destinations in Slovenia, we walked to Rome and Santiago de Compostela, but this pilgrimage was definitely the experience we never had.” When we asked them if they were planning to come back any time soon, their reply was that it would be in a few months time, for the 30th Anniversary of the apparitions.
According to the records from Information Office, groups from Italy, France, United States, Germany and Romania have come to Medjugorje in the first days of March. Holy Masses were celebrated in Croatian language as well as in the languages of those above mentioned countries. There were 23 priests concelebrating at the evening Holy Mass on March 1, 2011 in the church of St. James. We are still in the winter programme schedule that lasts until May 1st. From March 6th to March 10th there will be a seminar for group leaders and organizers of pilgrimages, heads of Medjugorje peace centers in the world and prayer group leaders. The theme of this seminar is: “….I am with you in all of the days until the end of the world”. Lecturers are Fr. Tomislav Pervan, Fr. Danko Perutina and Fr. Mate Dragicevic.