On Thursday, June 16, the 1st International Pro-Life Seminar began in Medjugorje with the registration of participants and the evening prayer programme. This seminar will be finished on June 19, and the theme is “Infant in the womb” (Lk 1, 41), „Be merciful as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6, 36).
The coordinator of the seminar that gathered 124 participants from 16 countries is Fr. Marinko Šakota, Medjugorje parish priest and the lecturers are Fr. Ante Vučković and prof. Zrinka Jelaska.
The morning lectures began on Friday, June 17, after Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament that was led by Fr. Ante. Parish priest, Fr. Marinko Šakota, welcomed all gathered participants and lecturers: „I am greeting you all, welcome home! You are all at home, are you aware of that? You are at your Mother’s place and that means you at home. Even though we all come from 16 different countries, we are still at home and I hope you would feel that way. Dear friends, we began seminar for life, the first such seminar here. In a certain way, it is not the first as all of the seminars held here have the theme of life imbued in them, but this is one is specially focused on life. I believe we would have chance to experience the exact essence of it in the days to come”.
Professor Zrinka Jelaska, said that it was her father who got inspired here in Medjugorje to pray for her conversion and whenever he would pass by Kamenita vrata (famous place of devotion of Blessed Mother in Zagreb, Croatia), he would say at least one Hail Mary for the intension of her conversion. „During my teenage years, like many young people, I walked away from the Church. My dad was religious all of his life, he never missed Holy Mass. It was in 1982 when he came to Medjugorje to see what was happening here. He told me that he prayed for my conversion and made a vow that he would say at least one Hail Mary when he passes close to Kamenita Vrata. After my wedding in the church, he shared this with me. I was surprised he prayed only for me, I had sister, why wouldn’t he pray for her too. I asked him that. He said that I was a person who influenced others a lot and whenever my conversion takes place, the others would convert around me too. Soon, I was able to realise that what he decided was not his will, but it was Gospa’s wish placed in his heart. After my conversion I began to pray more and to go for daily Holy Mass and he joked and said that perhaps he prayed more than he was supposed to”, said prof. Jelaska for whom children in the womb are the theme of her life, her prayers and emotions are all towards that…she even wrote two scientific articles about the language development in the pre-natal period.
Fr. Ante spoke about the theme of the seminar: „At the time when we were thinking about the theme of the seminar, title that would concise these days, we searched for the appropriate quotation and found very famous excerpt from Luke’s gospel, when Elisabeth said to Mary during their encounter: The child in my womb leapt for joy. We wanted to have that strength of the Word of God, that once we take it, there may be reflection in it for that what God desires for each child, which means that God’s intention is for every child to be beloved infant in their mom’s wombs, as it is God’s intention for that child to be beloved from the very beginning. Infant, that means child plus love”.
Ružica Krnjak, mother of three from Zagreb is also participating at this seminar. This is what she said inspired her to come here: „On the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, I was absent on the trip to Bratislava and I went for Holy Mass there. The priest had amazing pro-life homily and I was able to understand only parts of it. Then he said that he would come here for this seminar to Medjugorje. I felt calling to come here and registered. I used to come here many times, before my marriage and even later on with my children”. (photos)