Fr. Robert Bahcic, a member of the Slovenian Franciscan Province, was in Medjugorje in the end of April. Fr. Robert spent last seven years living in Rome in the Franciscan General Curia, where he served for the first three years as a guardian priest. At the same time, he was also responsible for the bulletin “Fraternitas” that brings news about the activities of the Franciscans in the world. “I was in Medjugorje on several occasions, but this is the first time that I took some time for myself only. I found lots of faith here. There is something in Medjugorje that attracts people to pray and to meditate; this is where they feel inner peace. This is indeed richness that needs to be spread”, said Fr. Robert.
Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow from Scotland is the founder of the Humanitarian Organisation Mary’s Meals. This global project was initiated in 2002 with the project of providing food for 200 hungry children in Malawi. Mary’s Meals provide food today for more than 730.000 children in 16 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and Caribbean.
Magnus is a father of seven children and they gladly come to Medjugorje on a pilgrimage, because this is where his life was completely changed. He came here for the first time in 1983, as fourteen years old boy, together with his brothers, sisters and cousins. He told us that it was in that week lives of all of them were changed: “We returned to Scotland and made strong decision to live God in our lives. Our parents could see something was different with us and later, they decided to come here with us. Ever since that time, I came here, to Medjugorje on many occasions.”
Mary’s Meals have developed out of the humanitarian work Marcus had initiated during the homeland war in this region.
Fr. Andrea Murabale, Vicar of the Franciscan Province in Congo, was in Medjugorje in the last few days. He told us how the first missionaries in one part of Congo were from Croatia and he especially remembered late Fr. Jozo Vasilj, who left a profound trace in that country.
Fr. Andrea spoke about numerous spiritual vocations in his country, about life in Congo as well as about experience of Medjugorje. “Fr. Jozo did many good deeds in Congo. I remember him as an exceptional person. I met him in 1989, during my time in the Novitiate. The first thing I noticed about him was his intelligence and the warmth and gentleness he had when he spoke to us. He came into the Novitiate in the evening, and already the next morning, he knew the names of all twenty candidates. He was my professor and my educator for full six years and his lectures were so vivid that it was pure joy to listen to him. At the same time, he remembered birthdays of all candidates and students and never missed opportunity to congratulate us on those days.” As he spoke more about Fr. Jozo, who was born in Medjugorje, Fr. Andrea especially remembered his sense for brotherhood and love he expressed towards his brothers, men: “He was man of love. Once, we went together into the prison, and Fr. Jozo, after he saw prisoner that had nothing to put on him, he took off his shirt and gave it to him.” This was Fr. Andrea’s second trip to Medjugorje, and this is what he said: “This is indeed the place of prayer. Franciscans from Medjugorje speak to me frequently about Croatian missionaries, and that is always a wonderful opportunity to remember the encounters that have contributed to wellbeing of my people so much. It is really beautiful for me to be here.”
More pilgrims started arriving to Medjugorje in this period after Easter when weather is so beautiful. The journalists of Radio Mir Medjugorje spoke to some of them.
“My name is Maria Degola and I am coming from Verona, Italy. This is my third time to Medjugorje and I came here in 1990 for the first time. That is when I experienced complete silence during the apparition time, despite the big crowds that was around me. I thought about what made me come there in those days. My second visit to Medjugorje was in 2003, after my husband and my daughter, that was only 34, had died. One of my friends told me: “Maria, you should go to Medjugorje, so God could give you strength to overcome all that you have been going through.” That is what I did. This time, I arrived with my son Francesco who has Down syndrome. We were in Fatima last year and this year we came to Medjugorje.”
In the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina has been designated a new Administration. As Provincial has been chosen our director of ICMM, Fr. Miljenko Šteko. We send ours congratulations to Fra Miljenko and we wish success on its task, the God’s Blessing and the intercession of the Queen of the Peace in the exercise of this service of responsibility.
There were many pilgrims who arrived to Medjugorje this Easter, among them was Fr. Manoj Pathiyil from India, who lives in Germany at the moment where he studies Theology. This is his first visit to Medjugorje. It was in India where he heard about the apparitions in Medjugorje, and after he came to Germany, he heard about Medjugorje again. “In the beginning, I found it hard to believe that Mother of God is personally coming to this place every single day, but after I arrived here, I can see that this is something real and these apparitions are really taking place. It seems to me that people are ready to accept God’s plan. I see that all pilgrims who have arrived here are so happy to be here and to share their experiences of how Mother of God influenced their lives and still influences them.” said Fr. Manoj. (photos)
Number of Holy Communions: 102 500
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 1577 (50 per day)
Many pilgrims gathered in Medjugorje this year to participate together with parishioners in the liturgy of the Easter Triduum. Pilgrims have arrived from Italy, the United States, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Ukraine, Belgium, Slovakia, Romania, Lebanon, Russia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Rosary on Holy Thursday began at 5 p.m. and solemn Holy Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 6 p.m. that was celebrated by Fr. Slaven Brekalo along with 29 priests. Many pilgrims were climbing Cross Mountain on Good Friday, from the early morning hours and they all prayed the Way of the Cross as they went up. Devotion of the Way of the Cross began at 11 a.m. for parishioners and Croatian pilgrims and Fr. Marinko Sakota, the parish priest, was the leader of that prayer. Rosary began at 5 p.m. and Good Friday Service was held at 6 p.m. with Fr. Tomislav Pervan as the leader. Easter Vigil began at 8 p.m. on Holy Saturday and Fr. Miljenko Steko was the main celebrant.
Holy Masses were celebrated in many languages on Easter and Croatian Masses were at 7,8 and 11 a.m. and at 6 p.m. (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
Uskrsna cestitka 2013 - fra Marinko Sakota
Holy Thursday, March 28, 2013 – 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.
Holy Week is going to start on Palm Sunday and that is the peak of celebration for Easter. The liturgy of Palm Sunday, on March 24, will begin on the ruins of the old parish church at 10.30 a.m. After that, the procession will start towards the parish church of St. James where Holy Mass of Passion of the Lord is going to be celebrated. Holy Masses will be celebrated at 7, 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. The blessing of the olive trees’ branches will take place at every Holy Mass. Prayer of Rosary on Apparition Hill will be at 2 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.. The apparition lasted from 13:52 to 13:58.
Dear children! I call you to, with complete trust and joy, bless the name of the Lord and, day by day, to give Him thanks from the heart for His great love. My Son, through that love which He showed by the Cross, gave you the possibility to be forgiven for everything; so that you do not have to be ashamed or to hide, and out of fear not to open the door of your heart to my Son. To the contrary, my children, reconcile with the Heavenly Father so that you may be able to come to love yourselves as my Son loves you. When you come to love yourselves, you will also love others; in them you will see my Son and recognize the greatness of His love. Live in faith! Through me, my Son is preparing you for the works which He desires to do through you – works through which He desires to be glorified. Give Him thanks. Especially thank Him for the shepherds - for your intercessors in the reconcilliation with the Heavenly Father. I am thanking you, my children. Thank you.
On Saturday, March 16th, we will celebrate 79 years since Cross on Cross Mountain was built and blessed during the solemn Holy Mass. It took parishioners only 52 days to build the cross, after their parish priest Fr. Bernardin Smoljan, had given them that proposal on January 21, 1934, all because the whole world was celebrating Jubilee Year of our Salvation.
The construction plan was made by engineer Simun Boras from Mostar and construction was supervised by Ante Dugandzic Redzo from Medjugorje. Next year, on April 12, they have organised procession of penance to the top of Cross Mountain and Holy Mass was celebrated at the top. In September 1935, they have celebrated the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, after the decree of local Bishop at that time, Fr. Alojzije Misic. Cross Mountain has become one of the most visited pilgrims’ destinations in Medjugorje, and parishioners and pilgrims gather every Friday for prayer of the Way of the Cross on this mountain.
New Holy Father is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, a 76 year old Jesuit, who has been elected to be the 265th Successor of Saint Peter in the conclave. He has taken the name Francis. This is the first time in the history of the Church that one Roman bishop has taken that name, the first time that one Jesuit was elected as Holy Father and the first time that Holy Father comes from Latin America.
He was born on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires, and comes from a family with five children, his father being and Italian immigrant. He gained degree in chemical technology, and later joined Novice of Jesuit order on March 11, 1958. He gained title in Arts in Chile, and in 1963, after he returned to Buenos Aires, he received degree in Philosophy at the Faculty of Arts “San Jose” in San Miguel. He taught literature and psychology for the next two years at the Faculty “Immacolata” in Santa Fe, and until 1966, he taught same courses at the Faculty “Salvatore” in Buenos Aires. He was ordained for the Jesuits on 13 December 1969 during his theological studies at the Theological Faculty of San Miguel.
Among participants of the 20th International Meeting of organisers of pilgrimages, leaders of peace centres, prayer and charity groups leaders related to Medjugorje that was held from March 3 to March 7, we are emphasising participation of Hubert Lepherr who has started Peace Walk in 1992, along with his 300 friends from all over the world. “I have received many blessings from Heaven through Medjugorje, I am trying to change my life every day even though that is really hard. Ever since 1987, I have been coming to Medjugorje and I’ve been bringing groups from South German, from Stuttgart and Munich, each year 800 to 1000 pilgrims.”He said how he was coming to these seminars from the very beginning in 1991 when these encounters were held in Tucepi. (photos)