Mr. Rateb Rabie, KCHS, President of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, spoke with reporters for Radio MIR Medjugorje during his visit to Medjugorje.
Mr. Rateb is a Christian from Palestine, born in Jordan. His parents were forced to leave Jerusalem in 1948 and they had to immigrate to Jordan. He himself immigrated later to the United States where he got married and lived there for 35 years. Mr. Rabie is the citizen of the United States.
Regarding his life’s journey he said: "I was a businessman who was only consumed with the idea of gaining power and money. At that time, I received an invitation to return to the Holy Land and felt that I needed to do something for Christians and peace in that country.
Three years after I returned from that trip, I realised that I had to choose between continuing with my job and successful business career and pursuing the mission for the Christians in the Holy Land. I knew I could not do both of those tasks at the same time. I left everything I did and I completely devoted myself to this new ministry and I can say that I am happy now.
I have four daughters and at first my family questioned my decision because they could not understand why I decided to found this non-profit organisation. It took time, but finally the Foundation was formed that engaged the entire international community.
2nd Commemoration Days of Murdered Herzegovinian Franciscans were held in Siroki Brijeg from February 4 to February 7, when we commemorated 67th anniversary of brutal execution of Herzegovinian Franciscans.
On Friday, February 10, we are celebrating Memorial of Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac and it is also the day when we remember all murdered Franciscans from the parish of Medjugorje. Holy Mass at 6 p.m. is going to be celebrated for the following Franciscans who were brutally murdered during the Second World War: Fr. Krizan Galic, Fr. Jozo Bencun, Fr. Marko Dragicevic, Fr. Mariofil Sivric, Fr. Grgo Vasilj and Fr. Jenko Vasilj. We will also remember and pray for all of the parishioners who were murdered during the First World War, the Second World War and during the recent Homeland War.
This February we are experiencing real winter with really low temperatures and snow all over the country. On Wednesday, February 1st, it started snowing and heavy snow on Friday completely blocked all of the roads and towns around Herzegovina and Dalmatia. This weather will remain even in the days that are coming. Along with one football club that came to prepare for the spring season in Medjugorje, there are groups of pilgrims from Spain, the United States, Peru, Korea and Italy. They are all able to see amazing change in the nature around Medjugorje parish. (photos)
Number of Holy Communions: 54.700
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 1122 (36 per day)
The spiritual retreat was held in Medjugorje from January 27 to January 29, 2012 and it was held by Professor Tomislav Ivancic from Zagreb. Besides the regular evening prayer programme, Prof. Ivancic conducted several lectures for parishioners, employees of the Parish Office, the Information Centre, as well as for the owners of hotels and for the children and the youth.
He also celebrated two Holy Masses on Sunday morning, one for children at 9.30 a.m. and the main one at 11 a.m. The retreat ended with that Holy Mass. He gave interview for radio “Mir” Medjugorje and said that purpose of every retreat is to plant good seed for personal life and soul in order for our faith to grow stronger. “It is very important to open ourselves to God’s grace and to listen to everything God says to us. Medjugorje opens the mystery of Heaven and that is why it is so fascinating to us!”
Parishioners from neighbouring parishes participated in this retreat as well.
Sana Nassar and Sara Chaya are coming from Lebanon. Sana is the founder of the non-profit organisation “Friends of Mary, the Queen of Peace”. The purpose of that organisation is to serve to Our Lady’s messages from Medjugorje. She came to Medjugorje in 1986 for the first time, while in 1996, she organised the first pilgrimage to Medjugorje that was supposed to be just for her family and friends. That pilgrimage turned out to be pilgrimage for the whole Lebanese nation.
Few of them organised pilgrimages that became bigger and bigger with each time. Sana witnesses how more than 40,000 Lebanese came to Medjugorje through the group of forty volunteers. There were more than 300 priests and nine bishops that came along as well. Their office is at Lumiere TV station that is the only Christian TV station for twenty-four Arabian countries in the Near East.
On Saturday, January 21, 2012, we will commemorate the 10th death anniversary of former Medjugorje parish priest, Fr. Leonard Orec. He was born in Posuski Gradac in 1928, and died in Zagreb in 2002. We will celebrate the evening Holy Mass at 6 p.m. in the church of St. James on that day.
Fr. Leonard attended the elementary school in Posuski Gradac, Grammar School in Siroki Brijeg (1940 – 1945), as well as in Varazdin and Sarajevo. He spent his years as seminarian in Sarajevo. He received his Franciscan habit in 1946, and he was ordained as a priest in 1951. He worked as educator in Split and Kraljeva Sutjeska. He received his post – graduate title of doctor of science at the University of Theology in Ljubljana in 1956, with the thesis of “Relation of Mary and Christ in devotion of people in Bosnia and Herzegovina ferom 1463 to 1878”.
Apart from the parishioners of Medjugorje parish, there were numerous pilgrims from all over the world. According to the information of Information Office there were larger groups of pilgrims from Korea, China, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Hungary, Spain, Romania, Switzerland, Slovakia, Poland, the United States, Czech Republic, Portugal, Canada, Ukraine and Lithuania.
There were also large groups of pilgrims from Croatia and Canada, along with many groups from other countries that are not mentioned above. (photos)
Number of Holy Communions: 83.000
Number of priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses: 1452 (46 per day)
In the previous 2011 there have been 2 027 900 Holy Communions given in the church, and total of 41 094 priests that concelebrated at Holy Masses.
The 20th Anniversary of the “Fr. Slavko Barbaric” Association for providing stipends and grants to students was celebrated with solemn Academy held in Medjugorje on December 29, 2011 in the packed Hall of the Blessed John Paul II.
Twenty years ago Fr. Slavko Barbaric initiated founding of this Association, with the intention of offering material and spiritual help to talented and poor students.
Since Fr. Slavko had greatly contributed in foundation and work of this Association, the Board of the Association brought up decision in 2001 about changing the name the Fund “The Friends of the Talented” Medjugorje to the Association “Fr. Slavko Barbaric” Medjugorje. (fotos)
And indeed, from His fullness we have received grace to grace, for He is our peace!
With desire that God’s peace reigns in all of the hearts, all of the families, all of the countries and in the whole world, united in prayer with all of the friends of Medjugorje throughout the world:
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
May this Christmas be for you day of joy and peace. May Jesus visit you in your families and may he be born in the hidden place of your heart!
Parish Office of Medjugorje
Information Centre “Mir” Medjugorje (photos)
Čestitka - fra Petar Vlašić, župnik
At the last daily apparition to Jakov Colo on September 12th, 1998, Our Lady told him that henceforth he would have one apparition a year, every December 25th, on Christmas Day. This is also how it was this year. The apparition began at 3:30 pm and lasted 11 minutes.
Our Lady's Message to Jakov:
“Dear children! Today, in a special way, I desire to take you to and give you over to my Son. Little children, open your hearts and permit Jesus to be born in you, because only in this way, little children, you yourselves will be able to experience your new birth and set out with Jesus in your hearts towards the way of salvation. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
Christmas is about to be solemnly celebrated in Medjugorje, as it is mostly appropriate for the most joyful Catholic solemnity The evening prayer programme will begin at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve with Rosary and Holy Mass will be at 6 p.m. All priests from Medjugorje parish will concelebrate in that Holy Mass. After the evening Holy Mass, community Cenacolo will have their live performance of Nativity Scene. It will take place outside the parish church of St. James’. The Christmas Vigil will begin at 10 p.m. and will be continued with Midnight Holy Mass.
Early Holy Masses at 6 a.m. are celebrated since November 28, and that is preparation for all of the parishioners for the feast of Birth of Jesus. Novena started on Thursday, December 15 with Rosary at 2 p.m. on Apparition Hill and will last until December 23rd. Radio station “Mir” Medjugorje is broadcasting early Holy Masses and that began on Friday, December 16th, 2011.
The evening prayer programme begins with Rosary at 5 p.m., Holy Mass at 6 p.m. and regular prayer programme follows afterwards. Confessions are available from 5.30 a.m. until 7.30 a.m., and during the evening prayer programme. In the last few weeks members of Cenacolo community are making a set for live Nativity Scene that will take place during Christmas season outside the church of St. James.
Three-day seminar was held from December 9th to December 11th, in house of prayer and encounters – “Domus Pacis” for members of music groups of local Franciscan youth. This seminar was organized by Branch Council of Franciscan Youth with Fr. Josip Vlasic, Branch Spiritual Assistant as the main leader and with two seminarians Fr. Marin Kracic and Fr. Zvonimir Pavicic who assisted him throughout the retreat. There were forty-one members of Franciscan Youth who participated and they came from fifteen different branches (Suica, Tomislavgrad, Rosko Polje, Kongora, Posusje, Posuski Gradac, Kocerin, Drinovci, Ruzici, Humac, Medjugorje, Citluk, Cerin, Mostar, Siroki Brijeg).