Dr. Fr. Miljenko Steko, the Provincial of Herzegovina Franciscan Province from Mostar, was elected as the President of the Conference held in Rome from October 21-25, 2013 during the 11th General Assembly of the Conference of Franciscans from Europe. This Conference gathered 49 Provincials of the Franciscan Order from Europe as well as 5 General Definitors.
World famous pianist Gergely Bogányi from Hungary held a concert in the Hall of the Blessed John Paul II in Medjugorje. This concert was of a humanitarian nature because all donations were given to Mother’s Village and he did it out of gratitude to Our Lady. Along with him, the young musicians from Surmanci opened this concert with theme: “Hungarian games” of Johannes Brahms. “This place is the most important in my life. It is important to give a message to people through the music, but here I came to give a concert to the place that means so much to me. I only have big gratitude in my heart”, said Gergely prior to the concert. (foto)
Italian priest Fr. Giuseppe Sometti has been in Brazil in missions for the last 40 years. He spoke about his work in missions and of the experience of Medjugorje that he visited for the first time in 1985. Fr. Giuseppe said that he was happy when he heard about Gospa’s apparitions but he had a spirit of criticism within him because he had degree in paranormal activities. He is working with addicts and with abandoned children and this is what he said about his work: “I travelled to the islands where people who had terrible diseases lived and I was trying to give them medical help. They were involved in spells and black magic and that is why I spent five years studying psychology and parapsychology, so I could get to know that in the better way. I travelled to various places in Brazil and we tried to reveal to those people that they were not dealing with spirits but with something that was in their sub-consciousness. When I came to Sao Paolo I saw the world of drugs and lost children and I was very moved by that. I kept thinking what Jesus would do if He was there instead of me and then a revolution within me began. I wanted to feel and to get to know what God was asking of me.”
Giuseppe came in that year seven times to Medjugorje and he had brought many people here. “I immediately understood that something special was taking place here. I was very moved by friendship with late Fr. Slavko. Medjugorje has many good fruits. After the experience with children and the Sabbatical Year that I took and after talking to Fr. Slavko, I decided to devote myself to the work with children. Now I have 80 000 children and we have 13 active homes. We educated those children and teach them to have some craft skills. Fr. Gainni Bovo, who converted and lives close to Padova arrived with Fr. Giuseppe and said: “I met Fr. Giuseppe twenty years ago and I am helping to him, I experienced my own conversion, came to Medjugorje on few occasions and with great joy felt how my heart was opening. This is a place of prayer and conversion because of Gospa’s intensive presence.”
Damir Agicic from Slavonski Brod in Croatia came to Medjugorje for the first time thirty years ago. Ever since then, he comes to regular pilgrimages with his family or with groups of pilgrims to the Queen of Peace. He heard about Medjugorje from one of his colleagues during his student days. He spoke to his wife about that and two of them decided to come to Medjugorje after their honey moon spent at the Adriatic coast in 1983. “Before we arrived we always prayed to Our Lady and we wanted to come and thank Her for our marriage. We believed back then and even now, that we live Her blessing in fullness. What one feels here in Medjugorje are so many souls opened to the work of God and we felt that in the beginning and returned home spiritually refreshed and renewed. We were convinced later on in our lives that we received some spiritual strength during that first visit to endure everything that happened to us afterwards”, said Damir. His full testimony about Medjugorje is available in October edition of “Glasnik mira”.
Fr. Lionello Melchiori and Gregorie Ahangbonon came to Međugorje. Fr. Lionello serves in the African missions and he lives in Genova at the moment. He said that Gregorie has special mission from God, it is to seek God in sick people and he found them among those most abandoned ones more than thirty years ago. He was born in Benin but since 1971 he lives in Ivory Coast. He is married and has six children: “I am not a doctor; I am a simple worker, a car mechanic. I can say that I received Catholic education, my father was Catholic and they baptized me when I was born.
October is a month dedicated to Our Lady and numerous pilgrims are arriving every single day to Medjugorje. The Information Office registered groups from Hungary, Germany, Austria, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, France, Italy, England, Ireland, the United States, Belgium, Romania, Ukraine, Switzerland, Canada, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. We had chance to meet Fr. Domagoj Simunovic from Slavonski Brod. He heard about Medjugorje in the very beginning from one of his colleagues and in 1981, he came with a bus of pilgrims from Slavonski Brod.
Fr. Jilles Hodny from Switzerland came to Medjugorje three weeks after he began his journey. He is a parish priest in one valley in Switzerland and he served there for 26 years. It was this summer that his bishop decided to send him to another parish and he decided to come to Medjugorje before his transfer. He came here for the first time 25 years ago. It was just one day trip that did not leave too much impression on him.
Wayne Weldschidt, a priest from Republic of South Africa, came to Medjugorje for his third visit. He told us that his priesthood vocation is a fruit of Medjugorje. It is interesting that he is the Director of Our Lady’s Shrine in Ngome and he sees major connection between the messages of Our Lady of Ngome where she introduced Herself as the Tabernacle of the Most High and messages of the Queen of Peace. One book about Medjugorje that he read changed his life and ever since that time he comes to Medjugorje as to his own home.
The Feast of St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscan Order was solemnly celebrated in Medjugorje on Friday, October 4, 2013. The traditional service “Memoria Transitus” was held after the evening Holy Mass on October 3, 2013 at the White Dome of St. James’ church. Fr. Stanko Cosic celebrated Holy Mass and conducted that service during the Vigil Holy Mass.
The Feast of St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscan Order will solemnly be celebrated in Medjugorje on Friday, October 4 with Holy Masses at 7.30 and 8 a.m. and at 6 p.m. Holy Mass at 8 a.m. is specially for members of the Third Order of St. Francis. The traditional solemn service of “Memoria Transitus”, will take place after the evening Holy Mass on the eve of this feast, on October 3, 2013. Numerous pilgrims who arrived from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, England, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Mexico, Brazil, Vietnam and Lebanon are preparing for this feast with Three-day Prayer programme that began on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Rosary is at 5 p.m. and Holy Mass is at 6 p.m. Parish office invites all parishioners for these prayer meetings, especially all those belonging to the Franciscan family: Franciscan School Sisters, members of the Third Order and the Franciscan Youth.
Number of Holy Communions: 242 500
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 4880 (162 per day)
Bojan Zupanz, young man of 29 from Zagreb, arrived to Medjugorje on Sunday, September 22, 2013 after having walked for ten days. He began this pilgrimage of gratitude to the Blessed Mother for everything She gave him in his life. He did not make any accommodation plans and it was all in the hands of God’s providence. Bojan came to Medjugorje last year for the first time: “”That trip was beautiful, Holy Masses, homilies, climb of Apparition Hill but it is nothing comparing to the experience I just had”, said Bojan who thanked all who helped him on his pilgrimage.
Numerous pilgrims have said how they were mostly impressed by the devotion of the Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. From October 1, 2013, this devotion will be held on Tuesdays from 9 to 10 p.m., not on Wednesdays as it was the case up to now. All parishioners and pilgrims will be able to participate in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9 to 10 p.m. and on Thursdays immediately after the evening Holy Mass.
The 2nd Pilgrimage for Persons with Disability was held in Medjugorje from September 20-22, with theme “Live your faith”. This pilgrimage gathered more than 460 participants who were hosted by parishioners of Medjugorje. This was opportunity for them to show their big hearts once again and it was another proof to Our Lady’s choice of this parish in a very special way. Most of the programme was held in Mother’s Village that together with the parish of Medjugorje and association “Susret” from Citluk is the main organiser of this event. The idea for this pilgrimage came from Sr. Rastisalva Ralbovsky who was coming to Medjugorje for many years with community of people with special needs from Djakovo. The whole programme was full of workshops, lectures and prayers.
The pilgrimage for persons with disability “Live your faith” will be held in Medjugorje from September 20 – 22, 2013. Similar to the last year, most of the programme will be held in Mother’s Village that together with parish and association “Susret” from Citluk is the main organiser of this event. All participants will gather in the Thursday afternoon and the programme will be filled with workshops, lectures and prayers. Prayer on Apparition Hill will take place on Saturday and this pilgrimage will be concluded with Holy Mass on Sunday morning.