The spiritual retreat for the parishioners of Medjugorje was held last week and Fr. Zvonko Benkovic was the leader on Wednesday, March 13, while Archbishop Hoser, the Apostolic Visitor for the parish of Medjugorje gave talks and homily on Thursday evening. He spoke in French, apologising for his Croatian is not good enough to use it still.
''France was once called the first daughter of the Church, but Croatia and Herzegovina are also the first daughters of the Church. This used to be Roman province that gave doctors of the Church, such as St. Jerome. You have the heritage and treasure that some do not know how to use in the good way. This treasure is the part of your identity. Croatian identity, amongst all, is the Christian faith and strong family relationships. We are witnesses in this time that the family life in the world is being degraded and it is breaking apart. The culture that you have here is pretty strong. I can see families here in Medjugorje that are still very united, having several generations in it. Once you lose this, you will lose your national identity and your connection to the Church. Family is the bondage to the Church, family is older than the Church. It was created by God, the Creator in the Garden of Eden. Family is the smaller version of the Church'', said Mons. Hoser who also spoke about the task and mission of the family in the Church and of bringing the children in families in the spirit of prayer that needs to be present in their lives.”
''Family is the school of living together. Family is the community that believes and evangelises, not just within itself, but also towards the others. Family as the community talks to God all the time and it is serving to humans as such, it does not just deal with its own problems, but it is involved in the various charity works. The prophetic role and the mission of the family is not just to profess, but also to interpret the signs of the time in the light of the Gospel. Parents take part in the priestly mission of Jesus Christ. They, together with the others, live in the same home and need to praise the faith in their prayer together. Christ’s role is the one of the King too, it is the function of ruling over the others, just like married couple has. I would like to congratulate all married couples present here, as their dignity is great indeed. John Paul II spoke that dignity is the measure of one’s value. Great dignity is the great value, the small dignity is the small value. I congratulate you for being the carriers of such family tradition present in the Croatian and Herzegovinian identity, said Mons. Hoser, and Medjugorje parish priest Fr. Marinko Šakota thanked him and added that the family is the most beautiful environment for life. (photo)