November 1994 - Month of All Saints - Orig.Italian edit.: Eco di Medj., C.P.149, I-46100 Mantova,
Italy. Yr 9 no.7. All mail to: Echo of Medj., Casella Post. 27, I-31030 Bessica (TV), Italy
Message of the Queen of Peace, 25 Sept. '94
Dear children, I rejoice with you and
I invite you to pray. My dear children,
pray for my intention. Your prayers are
necessary to me. Through them I wish to
bring you closer to God, for He is your
salvation. God sends me to help you and
to lead you to Paradise which is your
destination. Thus, my dear little children,
pray, pray, pray. Thank you for having
responded to my call.
Mary wants to lead us to our
destination, but we remain
firm on the earth
I rejoice with you... With whom is Mary
rejoicing? Perhaps with the children of the
land that was graced with the presence of Her
beloved son who fulfilled the fathers’ dream,
or could it be the irrepressible joy a Mother
feels in seeing that Her children pay heed?
For it is through praying that they help Our
Lady lead "Her children" Home. Our Lady
sees far beyond our earthly lives and rejoices
at the fact that our names are written in
heaven (Lk 10:20).
God sent me to help you and to lead
you to Paradise. That is our destination.
Life has no other meaning to it if not this.
Our Lady reminds us what the real meaning
of life is; that we are destined for the
Kingdom of Heaven. This contrasts the
present-day mentality which concentrates
attention and efforts on earthly riches.
Infact, under the influence of this material-
istic mentality we have gone as far as nearly
eliminating (even from Christian preaching)
the realities of death, judgement, resurrection,
hell and heaven. Many, in fact, consider
these, and the devil, to be fables for children.
Consequently, people are no longer aware of
their sins. More over, Christians have
forgotten about the escatological dimension
of their lives (the eternal future that awaits
us all) and have tragically fallen into line with
the mundane expectations of development
and progress in the earthly order that ignores
the "diverse" aspect of a Christian whose
hope is in the future and who considers his
life of trial on earth as exile.
Pray for my intention. Our Lady asks
that we put aside our requests (even though
good) and offer all for our ultimate and
eternal end in God our salvation. By doing
so, we include all else, even the peace and
goodness of this life. Our world is immersed
in grave problems that seem to have no
solutions. The political and social events
seem to be its only concern. Our Lady leads
us to the basics, to that which never dies, as
if She were saying: That which is not eternal
is null. What gain is it for a man to win the
whole world and ruin his life?
Our Lady needs our prayers. He who
created you without you cannot save you
without you (St Augustine). I prayed... I
entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to
me (Ws 7:7) to understand that possessing
Mary invites us to imitate the Saints. The antique Church has always offered them to us as models.
Our Lady’s message of 25 October 1994:
Dear children, I am with you and also
today I rejoice, as the Most High has given
me the gift to remain with you, to instruct
you and guide you onto the way of
perfection. My dear children, it is my
desire that you be a beautiful bouquet to
offer to God on All Saints Day. I invite you
to open yourselves and to take the Saints
as your models. The Mother Church chose
them so that they may be incentive for you
in your daily lives. Thank you for having
responded to my call.
I am with you to make you holy
Imitate the Saints
"I am with you" is the most important
and most repeated of the messages. Also
today, Mary rejoices because God has
allowed Her to be with us, in our times, in
a special, extraordinary way, as a teacher
and guide on the way of perfection. In fact,
our destiny is this: we were created to be holy
and spotless and to live through love in his
presence (Eph 1:4); you must be perfect just
as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48).
I am with you - "We do not realize how
much God has given us through Mary.
Unfortunately, we will understand when it
will be too late. God sent Mary to be with
us in this time so as to take care of us, just
as a Mother would. You all know how much
trouble a mother takes in caring for her child,
how many times she gets up during the night
to check him - for in fact, even while she
sleeps she is tied to him" (Fr. Tomislav 26-
10-85). Our Blessed Mother will keep us
under Her wings even during the »» pg. 6
God is worth more than all the earth's riches.
The young rich man of the Gospel did not
understand this, and I wonder if he is saved.
Salvation is not possible for men, but for God
everything is possible (Mk 10:22-27). This
is why we must pray for our salvation.
Thus: I need your prayers. Could it not
be that Our Lady is asking for the Rosary,
the chain that takes us to God? With this
message, are we not being called to prepare
ourselves for the month of the Holy Rosary,
the weapon that defeats evil? Let us take hold
then of our Rosary beads and pray!
Our "modern" Christianity and
the call to: "pray, pray, pray!"
Our Lady echoes Jesus’ words: You must
pray always, without tiring (Lk 18). Does
our so-called modern Christianity believe
though? For sure, people talk about prayer,
but when it comes down to actually praying
and seeing prayer as an essential part of
Christian living, many turn their noses up
and talk about the need to "change."
What happens in many parishes is that
people who understand prayer is essential are
put aside. Instead of pray, pray, pray, these
others do, do, do, followed by prayer if time
allows! Yet, without me you can do nothing,
Pray, pray, pray! Over these 13 years
Our Lady has patiently and lovingly repeated
this to us and we haven’t yet realized that
what She is asking of us is a radical change.
It is because we are not open to God (who
always works) that we have let ourselves
become trapped by apparently gratifying
canons, by worldly efficiency, thereby
making our "missions" become shoddy and
competitive forms of human efficiency. This
has caused an ever-spreading sterility.
Mary invites us to what is man’s main
activity: prayer. Praying is letting God work.
He sends His Spirit and His power, so that
our talk and our works are done in the name
of the Lord Jesus; yes, we move, but moved
by Jesus’ Spirit; we "fish," but in the name
of the Lord. This way, it will be the Lord to
return and save, not man, and we will bear
Mary’s prophetic voice, though, is not
heeded by man. She wants us to see that we
are facing the world’s evils in the wrong way.
How can we oppose Satan’s powers with our
"bullets" which are dampened by our endless
meetings, debates, methods and programmes?
They’re nothing but a heap of paper. We
make the devil laugh because of our stupidity
- only Jesus can defeat him, and all we have
to do is to use our faith, to ask in prayer. We,
with all our methods, think we are serving
the cause, but are we serving the right cause?
In reality we are the ones being defeated.
Our Lady has come to tell us: God is your
Feast of the Family
with Pope in St Peter’s Square
"You are the domestic Church
you are joy and hope!"
World Meeting with Families, St Peter's
Square, 8 October. Families from the 5 con-
tinents are gathered with the Pope. The service
consists of prayers and songs, but especially
of testimony given by families about their own
experience of faith. We report part of the Holy
Father's impassioned discourse, partly read
and partly improvised:
"Family, what do you say about yourself?
We already find an answer in early Christian
times: 'I am the domestic Church.' We see the
same parallelism: Family-Church; the
apostolic and universal dimension of the
Church on the one hand, the family, domestic
dimension of the Church on the other. Both
are nourished by the same sources. They have
the same genealogy in God: in God Father,
Son and Holy Spirit (...) and they both find
their source in the mystery of divine Love."
Bringing up the theme of the Synod on
Consecrated Life, the Pope said: "... these two
themes are are very closely related - because
in the mystery of the Church, family and
consecration go together. Are not married
couples consecrated as it were to God in the
sacrament of marriage? They are consecrated
to create an environment of love and life. Yes,
this is your vocation."
Speaking of the latest documents and
catecheses on the family, the Pope said of Paul
VI: "One of his unfading merits is that of
having given the Church the Encyclical
Humanae vitae (1968), which in its day was
not understood in all its importance but
which, with time, has come to reveal all its
prophetic content. In it, the great Pontiff
indicated the criteria for preserving the love
of a couple from the danger of hedonistic
selfishness which in many parts of the world,
is tending to lessen the vitality of families and
render marriages almost sterile..."
He then put down his papers and
improvised: "Beloved, these lights we see are
lights that come from all over the world. Each
family bears a light, and each family is a light!
It is a beacon which must illumine the way
of the Church and of the world in the future...
Dear married couples, the communion of man
and woman in marriage corresponds to the
specific requirement of human nature. At the
same time it is a reflection of God’s goodness,
which becomes fatherhood and motherhood.
Sacramental grace - first in Baptism and
Confirmation, then in Matrimony - has
poured a fresh and powerful wave of
supernatural love into your hearts. It is love
which flows from the inner depths of the
Blessed Trinity, of which the human family is
an eloquent and living image. This is a
supernatural reality which helps you to
sanctify your joys, to face hardships and
sufferings, and to triumph over difficulties and
moments of fatigue. It is a source of sancti-
fication for you and a source of strength for
self-giving. It grows by constant prayer and
above all by your sharing in the sacraments
of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.
Strengthened by this supernatural help, be
ever ready, dear families, to account for the
hope that is within you.
May you always be examples of openness,
dedication and generosity. Preserve, assist
and promote the life of every person, especially
the weak, the sick and the handicapped. Bear
witness to love for life, and sow that love
abundantly. Be builders of the culture of life
and the civilization of love.
In the Church and in society, now is the
hour of the family. Families are called to play
a primary role in the task of the new evangel-
ization. From the heart of families devoted to
prayer, to the apostolate and to the Church’s
life will develop genuine vocations not only
for the formation of other families, but also
for the life of special consecration, whose
beauty and mission is being described during
these very days by the Synod of Bishops.
Family,what do you say about yourself?
'I am,' Why do you exist? He who said: "I
alone am what I am," has given me the right
and strength to exist. I am, I am the family,
I am the environment of love ... of life.
What do you say about yourself? I am
gaudium et spes (joy and hope)."
The day after, 200,000 people from all
over the world participated in the Eucharistic
Concelebration presided over by the Pope. In
his homily he said: "Today this is what Jesus
tells all of you: 'Go to all the world and teach
the families. Proclaim to them the Gospel of
eternal salvation.' "
Cairo Document is marked by an
individualistic (thus egoistic) interpretation
of sexuality, which does not give enough
attention to the importance of reciprocal love
and the capacity to decide, which characterize
a conjugal relationship."
The conflict is destined to bare its head
every time the so-called developed Western
powers think up initiatives for questions
Under this light we also understand the
European Parliament’s reproach (29 Oct.) of
the Vatican (thus the Pope) for its attitude in
Cairo. It accused the Vatican of "diverting
the discussion from the problems of develop-
ment and over population."
In truth, this European pronouncement is
laden with an individualistic mentality, which
does not recognize the values of the family
as the basic unit of society, and of responsible
parenthood, and does not provide forms of
solidarity for difficult or unwanted pregnan-
Cairo: the worst was avoided
but value of life wasn't considered
It was due to the firm position of the
Vatican and other nations, that the most
negative parts of the document were removed,
for example, the statement that speaks of
"abortion as a method of birth control." No
clarifications were made, however, with
regards to fundamental problems such as the
value of life, the rights of a family and the
economic and social development of less
wealthy peoples which is the only means of
permitting responsible procreation. This you
see, would have required an unthinkable
adjustment on the part of the wealthy
countries. The only way they think the
world’s population can be controlled is by
reducing births (with the various means
propagandized by them).
The fact that the Conference’s final
document talks about protecting the family
and marriage, the social condition of the
woman and other theoretical points, is positive.
Msgr. Martino who headed the Vatican
delegation to the Conference said: "The Holy
See, however, because of her specific nature,
does not think it opportune to consent to the
operative chapters of the document." This
means that, besides the vague humanitarian
ideals affirmed by the Conference, the
operative chapters contain are radically
incompatible with the Christian faith. All of
them mention abortion as though necessary
to the public health and there is a notable lack
of a serious plan for sex education that is
worthy of man’s dignity. The Vatican had to
specify that it had not modified its moral
position with regards to abortion,
contraceptives, sterilization and the use of
condoms in programmes for the prevention
At the end of this event that disheartens
us all, it must be stressed that the conflict
between the Gospel and the UNO
programmes, between the thought of Christ
(1Co2:16) and the thought of the world is
not occasional, but is a consequence of a
mentality that makes the so-called lay
morality unacceptable for a Christian. In fact,
in the official document of the Holy See, on
the question of sexual ethics, we read: "the
Voices from Synod for Religious
Consecrated life is choice of love
The Holy Father opened the Synod of
Bishops on the 2nd October. The theme was
The Consecrated Life and its Role in the
Church and in the World, to recall that:
"religious communities are called to the duty
of perfection, clearly expressed by Christ in his
conversation with the young man: 'If you wish
to be perfect' " (Mt 19:21).
In his Angelus reflection, the Pope said:
"Their choice of life, especially through the
practice of the evangelical counsels of chastity,
poverty and obedience, is nothing other than
a great choice of love, one could say a 'super-
abundance of love.' It comes from listening to
Christ’s voice: 'If you would be perfect, go, sell
what you possess... and come, follow me’'(Mt
19:21). Answering this invitation places
religious in the very heart of the Church... and
they become a sign-existence: all that they do
must echo the Apostle Paul’s cry of love: 'For
to me life is Christ!' " (Ph 1:21).
Consecrated persons, precisely because
they are totally dedicated to God, also feel
naturally devoted, in accordance with the
charisms proper to each institute, to serving
their brothers and sisters, especially the poorest.
The consecrated person is by antonomasia the
'universal brother' whom his other brothers and
sisters can always count on, finding in him
someone who will listen, welcome and share.
The most specific service asked of consecrated
people today is that of reaching out to the
greatest poverty of our time: many today,
because they have rejected God, have lost the
meaning of life. The consecrated person stands
in their midst as a living prophecy of God’s
saving love, and for that very reason, as a
witness of joy and hope, as the builder of the
future in view of the kingdom."
The other Christian faiths, including the
Patriarchate of Moscow, intervened at the
Synod on 15 October. They all expressed their
gratitude and happiness for being able to share
this experience with the Catholic Church. The
Lutherans and other reformed churches spoke
of how consecrated life had been rediscovered
by their communities: "Centuries after the
destruction of every religious order, the Holy
Spirit has moved also our communities,
bringing forth the thirst of total consecration
Some of the interventions by Bishops, such
as Card. Meisner and Archbishop Duval,
seemed inspired by the Fathers of the Church:
"After the secularization that made people lose
their sense of God, all we can do to reach
consciences is to testify with our lives where
God is mirrored, because it is when we are
possessed by Him that we become reasons for
attraction and a promise of a fuller realization
of one’s own life. The religious are the most
credible testimonies precisely because in them
God’s presence is made transparent."
Mother Teresa of Calcutta said on the 6th
October: "Our life as religious and especially
as women must be to thirst with Jesus by taking
upon ourselves the thirst of our people... To
be able to become true consecrated women we
must more and more fall in love with Jesus .
We must give love the first place in our lives.
Our vows, our apostolate, our community life
are all the fruit of our love-union with Jesus.
Our vow of chastity liberates us totally to
contemplate God and to give wholehearted and
free service to all men...
Mary was the first consecrated woman. We
must become pure and humble like Mary so
that we can become holy like Jesus. Our
consecrated life should be one of loving trust,
total surrender and joy, as were the lives of
Jesus and Mary in the Gospel."
Prayer is a live
relationship with God
who totally changes our life
At the beginning of Our Lady’s apparitions
in Medjugorje the people immediately
discovered a profound need for prayer. Quite
simply, every soul opened itself up to God. It
is only through prayer that we can approach
God, but with the type of prayer that takes over
our whole being, that carries us away to God.
The Church teaches us that the presence of
Our Lady or of a saint, or even any particular
moment of extraordinary grace, opens our
souls up to God, making known to us the way
to go to Him. We can approach God only
through prayer, of the type that carries us away.
Like the way a plant will turn to the sun, we
also must turn to our Sun to find the centre
of our existence, to discover the hidden
treasure in our souls, to put God above all else,
to be immersed in Him.
With the extraordinary presence of Grace,
as in the case of Marian apparitions, man
discovers how simple prayer is; he discovers
how easy and natural it is to pray. All we need
to do is create the right conditions in us, in our
minds, our hearts, our families and in our days.
If we do not make these preparations to
encounter God, then our prayer becomes
heavy, even impossible, and we anxiously start
looking - in vain - for other teachers and
Prayer as a space for God. In Our Lady’s
message of 2 October 1986, She speaks of a
time to give to God for prayer, when no other
person or thing is important, only God. My
dear children, dedicate yourselves to prayer
with special love. You see, Our Lady prepares
us and it is Her desire that we prepare in
ourselves a space for prayer, that we understand
the importance of prayer to the point of saying:
"I now desire being immersed in God." This
prepares us for a continual, daily aperture
towards God, it helps us feel His presence, and
we will be unable to stay without God. We will
feel the need for God, to be joyful in Him, and
His presence will be beneficial to us.
This is why Our Lady said: consecrate
yourselves every morning to my Immaculate
Heart and your day will be different. The
aperture that comes from prayer will totally
change our life. In prayer we encounter God
in all His beauty and wealth, so you see we
need to be with Him, we need this type of
relationship all day long. This was normal for
the saints and for uncomplicated people. If you
read Genesis, chapter 24, you will see how
Abraham fully trusted everything to God, even
his future. When Abraham decided his son
Isaac should marry, he was careful that all he
did was according to God’s will. So he sent his
servant to his homeland to find a girl belonging
to his same lineage. The town was distant and
the servant’s every step was done with God.
He asked God to give him a sign, to take him
to the right girl, the right family.
These days parents don’t do this. They
accompany their children only as far as the first
girl/boy that comes along. It is done without
being immersed in God. All things, all people,
all events need to form this relationship with
God. When we pray we form this relationship
- not to remain for Him for only an instant,
but to form a live relationship with Him. When
a person lives a continuing relationship with
God he discovers how all his words, desires
and thoughts are part of God’s plan for us. He
discovers what Christian living is. This allows
him to feel God’s grandeur, the beauty of living
Until we form a similar relationship, our
life as Christians remains superficial, we are
not aware of the fact that God is the master
of our life, that God gives us life, that He is
the master of our past, present and future. We
do not discover that in God lies all our
problems and that from Him come all our
answers to them, even for insignificant things.
We think it superficial the fact that the
guests at the wedding of Cana were drunk, yet
Jesus still transformed the water into wine. It
seems irrelevant, doesn’t it? How wonderful it
is then when we understanding how all things
are in God, that we can count on Him in
whatever situation, because He is present and
He wants to be present. Jesus said how it still
wasn’t His time, yet His mother simply said:
Do what he tells you to do. Father God wants
to make us understand that every man is dear
to Him. Do you know what this means? It
means feeling loved by God from within, it is
feeling God’s love penetrate our whole being.
All this can be experienced in prayer, when we
are open from within.
Pray with the heart. Our Lady invites us
to encounter God with prayer from the heart.
Our prayer, then, must prevail over every
other situation. Why? For in whatever context
or condition we may be in, we always receive
more from God than from men or things. God
always helps us, He always desires giving us
what we need. With God we are happier, more
serene and more joyful. When we pray with
the heart it is because we are in love with God
and in our hearts we feel that no one can love
us as much as God. If we pray with the heart
we are aware of how we are drawn to Him,
and how no other thing can lead us to Him.
Mary, who desires being our guide, suggests
we let our days be marked out by the rhythm
of prayer. In the morning place yourself before
God, invoke His Spirit and read the Gospel.
Choose a word that strikes you the most.
During the day take that word and put it in your
heart, meditate upon it. Allow it to accompany
you throughout the day. In the evening find
the time to pray, to thank God, and to confide
in Him, asking forgiveness for the wrong you
did so that you may fall asleep in peace,
allowing your soul to continue offering your
prayer to God as you sleep.
Prayer and prayers. How should our
prayers be? At this point, we must discern
between prayer and prayers. There are many
different prayers, eg. for communities, formal
and vocal prayers, etc. Of course they are
important since we, as human beings, live in
the "form" of our human bodies and minds and
in a social form. The important thing is that
we recite them with the heart.
As you can see, our Christian life is
immersed in prayer. Our Lady calls us in a
special way to personal prayer, prayer in the
family and the prayer of the Church. The core
of this prayer is Confession and Holy Mass
which serve as introductory Sacraments for
this journey, for the life of every Christian.
Prayer, though, is not only important from
an individual point of view, as it benefits the
entire Church and all of humanity. In prayer
we discover God’s call for every man. Like St
Francis, Moses had to pray to discover the
treasure that was hidden in him.
We have often heard the Blessed Virgin say
how even wars can be stopped with prayer. But
which [type of] prayer can stop wars? The
prayer that unites us to God can. We know
Moses prayed with his arms outstretched while
Israel was in battle, and as long as Moses
prayed, Israel won. This is the power of prayer!
Prayer is also a source of praise and adoration
of God who makes us plunge into Him, be
immersed in Him, to rejoice in Him.
Fr. Tomislav Vlasic - 22 Jan. 1994
Singular homage to Pope
amid joviality and emotion
Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New
York, USA, paid homage to the Holy Father
at the Synod of religious for the 16th anniv-
ersary of his election as Supreme Pontiff .
In a humorous tone he said: "Going by the
news that the Pope is seriously ill and
practically on his death-bed, I should ask
myself: 'Is this the Holy Father here before
me in the synodal hall, or is he a double, a
counterpart?' A Pope as sick as you could
never stay here hour after hour, day after day,
so attentive and watchful, whilst more than
a few of us are sleeping! We know only too
well that you have no need for a double! You
are the same Pope that we have known for
16 years, ever strong and untiring, who
works more hours in a day than what the
majority of men half your age could support.
Yes, we can tell the world that you are ready
to serve us a further 16 years."
The Cardinal then added: "Talking
seriously, Holy Father, though we recognize
you as the vicar of Christ on the earth, we
also know that you are a human being and
we love you and revere you as such. You
suffer for Sarajevo and Rwanda, for Haiti
and Irak, for wherever blood is spilt, for
wherever other human beings suffer... You
are torn to bits together with the children who
are ripped away from their mothers’ wombs.
You cry for the world, just as Christ cried
for Jerusalem. Holy Father, let me tell you
about one of my priests who had both his legs
amputated. That priest begged me to tell you
that he offers both his legs so that your leg
may heal soon."
A great round of applause broke out. To-
gether with the Bishops, the religious and the
representatives of the other Churches, we
also applaud and wish to offer ourselves
entirely through praying and working for the
Holy Father’s new book launched in Italy,
Crossing the Threshold of Hope, is to be
published in 21 languages and 35 countries.
The 224-page book, launched on 19 October
is already a best-seller.
tragedy does not interest the calculating
international communities. The humanitarian
convoys of the UN get aid into the risky
zones when possible, but there is another
fount that has continued delivering aid to the
refugees and remote villages since the war
began. It is the untiring work of lay people
and religious. Yes, it was the Queen of Peace,
with Her love, who induced these people into
working so hard without tiring, who place
their own lives at risk. The parish priest of
Medj. said some time ago that 80% of the
aid that went into Herzegovina came from
friends of Medj. How important it is, though,
to veil this charity with evangelical silence:
do not let your right hand know what your
left hand does. Do not blow your horn when
you give alms so as not to lose your reward.
People are now giving less and this
makes it even more difficult to continue
organizing aid delivery because of the high
costs involved. The volunteers, sensitive to
the cry of help by these abandoned peoples,
and inspired by the Mother who continues
to call, keep on working with admirable
enthusiasm, in subordination to pastors who
do not acknowledge and who even oppose
the reason behind their generosity: the
presence of Mary in that land. These pastors
gather up, give thanks and encourage, but
they deliberately ignore the message for
which the aid deliverers work.
We do not bear any grudges against them,
of course. What we have said is simply out
of admiration for the kind of charity that
cares not about what the others say, that
cares not about its own interest, that benefits
also he who disapproves, that keeps no count
of evil received, that kisses the hand that
strikes out. This is Our Lady's style, for She,
too, is treated in the same manner: ignored,
unheeded and opposed. Yet She continues to
call us, to offer us love and graces, that men
may convert and avoid a catastrophic end.
This is the sublime charity of the Gospel,
a spectacle unknown to men, written up in
heaven in golden letters.
emphasis on two facts: the apparitions and
the pilgrimages. Concerning the apparitions,
they declared: 'On the basis of investigations
made to date, it is not possible to affirm that
[the matter] is one of supernatural apparitions
and revelations.' This is a provisional verdict.
In other words, the investigations were not
complete or exhaustive enough to permit a
definite verdict. So, the Declaration continues:
'Through its members, the Commission [of
the Bishops’ Conference] will continue to
follow the events of Medjugorje and carry
out further investigations.'
Concerning the pilgrimages (which are
very important for the spiritual life of the
faithful, thus the Church cannot permit
herself not to show interest in them or to
defer her interest to a time when a definite
pronouncement will be made) the Bishops
declared: 'In the meantime, the great gatherings
of faithful from various parts of the world
- who come to Medj. for religious or other
reasons - necessitate pastoral care and
attention, first by the local Bishop, then by
the other Bishops - so that in Medj., and in
collaboration with Medj., the promotion of
a sound devotion to the Blessed Virgin
conforming to Church teachings is ensured.
With this in mind, the Bishops will emit
special and suitable liturgical and pastoral
The immediate reaction of the
management of GK to the Declaration was
positive. They said: 'For the many people
devoted to Medj. all over the world, this
Declaration will serve to clarify their con-
sciences. In other words, those who now
desire going to Medj. for religious motives
will know that their gatherings are the
object of constant and responsible care by
the successors of the Apostles' (GK 5.5.91).
Thus, it is clear that with this Declaration
all reservations that had been expressed with
regards to 'non-official' pilgrimages to Medj.,
have been dissolved. As in the case of
Lourdes and Fatima, pilgrims in great numbers
visited the sites before they were publicly
acknowledged. They were non-official pilgr-
images, even though priests were available
to assist them. Likewise with Medj., many
pilgrims come, in groups and non: they are
all non-official pilgrimages even though
often assisted by priests. Moreover, the
Hierarchy from now on, together with the
local Church, intends organizing and
furnishing spiritual assistance for the pilgrims
- because: 'above all other things, the Church
respects the facts, attentively evaluates her
own responsibilities and with all regards, her
main concern is to take care of the spiritual
good of the faithful' (GK 5.5.91).
Though the outcome of the pronounce-
ment of Zara is so clear, the Curia of Mostar
is not happy about it. In citing the Bishops’
Declaration, the Vicar General, Fr. Pavlovic,
is careful to avoid mentioning the last words
where it says that the Bishops’ Commission
will "continue to follow the events of Medj.
and carry out further investigations." In his
articles published in GK (10 July, 7 Aug.'94),
he ignores the expression "investigations
made to date." For him they are "the most
responsible and serious... done over various
years... that have covered all aspects." So, for
him, they are "definite!" The Bishops’
provisional pronouncement for him has
become conclusive and resolute - in a
negative sense of course. He concludes with:
"This negative pronouncement by the Bishops
HOW GOES MEDJUGORJE
Present position of Church
Medj recognized as Sanctuary.
Investigations on supernatural continue
Pilgrims have returned, so has criticism
By Fr. Barnaba Hechich. The original title
can be translated as: Regurgitation of old-hat
interpretations and positions. It was published
in the Catholic weekly of Zagreb called Glas
Koncila ("the voice of the Council") on 11 Sept.
the day the Pope was in Zagreb.
"Now that pilgrimages to Medj. have
again become very numerous, the curia for
the diocese of Mostar has started campaigning
against the facts and official declarations
regarding the apparitions of Medj. through
distorting and disinforming articles in Glas
Koncila. The intent is to discourage pilgrims
and extinguish the facts - to do so they resort
also to applying canonic pressure.
Appeal has been made to the famous
Declaration of Zara, which was emitted by
the Bishops’ Conference on the 10th April
1991. The Declaration is presented as though
it were a negative and definite pronouncement.
Thus, standing by this affirmation, the
phenomenon of Medj. has never existed, but
is a falsehood invented for personal interest.
According to that Declaration, things
stand as so: the Bishops in Zara placed
New times: don't talk too much
about Medj.: live the peace, spread it
The August ’94 edition of the "What do
you think of Medjugorje?" column in the
Glas Mira magazine reports that Fr. Tomislav
said in a homily in Medj. in June 1994:
"Do not speak too much about Medj., but
do all you can so people may understand, so
peace and joy may enter them. All this will
be easy if in Medj. you fill yourselves with
peace and joy and make the decision today
to become bearers of peace and joy.
Filled with joy and peace, we race
towards the events, not like those who spread
fear for our tomorrow, but like those who
rejoice for the encounter with the eternal
Father and Jesus Christ. We are beginning
a new time in our life; it is a new time for
our family, for this parish and for the whole
world. May the Queen of Peace place in our
hearts Her peace, and through every pilgrim
may this peace flow onto the whole world."
Reflections on Medj. by new provincial
When Fr. Tomislav Pervan was recently
elected as the new superior for the Francis-
cans of Herzegovina, he spoke of Mary’s
presence in Medj. "I have felt strongly tied
to Medj. since its beginning; and I was the
parish priest from August '82 till October '88.
Much has been written on Medjugorje; a
great quantity of information has been
recorded about it. Medj. is now part of the
Catholic Church so much so that it has had,
and I believe it will continue to have, a
fundamental role in the revival of the Church.
I see in Medj. the fulfilment of an authen-
tic re-proposal of the Bible and of biblical
times, a new chapter in the history of the
Church, an intervention by God who alone
is the true Power in the context of the so-
called great powers of the earth.
I am a realistic type of person, I studied
theology in German schools and I know that
modern theology and biblical science have
gained a lot of ground. I am convinced,
though, that it is the Holy Spirit, not science,
who has the last word. The Holy Spirit is
present with His action also today in the
Church and in the world. In my opinion, His
action in Medjugorje, through Mary, is
unquestionable. The fruits are so great and
numerous that denying them would be a sin
against the Holy Spirit.
Concerning the judgements against said
phenomena, the Church allows for three, not
two, possibilities. She can say: "It is evident
that said phenomena are real," or: "It is not
evident that they are real," or: "It is evident
that they are not real." The third judgement
has never been pronounced by the Church
with regards to Medj., even though some try
hard to misinterpret the Declaration of Zara
of '91 made by the Yugoslav Bishops’
Conference." (Nasa Ognjista, Sept. 1994)
A river of love
The mass media give little mention to the
war in the former Yugoslavia, but the tragedy
of a population still living out the nightmare
of weapons and hunger continues. Their
on the impossibility of affirming [the presence
of supernatural] gives us the right to say that
Our Lady has not and does not appear to
anyone in Medj." (GK 7 Aug. 1994).
The Chancellor, Fr. Luburic, thinks along
this same line. He says that 'the investigations
made to date' have been transformed into
'competent investigations' - thus tending to
exclude the provisional sense from the
Declaration, giving it an ultimate sense (...).
[It is to note that the Church never
expresses definite opinions on such events
whilst the events are still in course.]
With the responsibility and authority as
President of the Bishops’ Conference, Card.
Kuharic said with regards to the Declaration
of Zara: 'After three years of study conducted
by the appropriate Commission, we Bishops
have accepted Medj. as a place of prayer,
as a sanctuary... With regards to the
supernatural factor of the apparitions, we
have said that for now we cannot affirm that
it exists; we still have important reservations.
We therefore leave this aspect for further
investigation. The Church is in no hurry"
(GK 15 August 1993).
The action taken by the Curia of Mostar
is indeed disappointing. Millions of people
(including dozens of bishops and thousands
of priests) look upon Medj. with feelings of
gratitude for having found light, strength,
peace, healing, conversion and incitement to
live a more holy life. Moreover, the entire
question concerning the authenticity of the
facts has been entrusted to the Bishops’
Conference which has said it will carry out
further investigations. Yet despite all this, the
Curia of Mostar is again trying to appropriate
the problem so as to gain control of it! With-
out doubt, greater service could be done to
the truth, the peace, the faith and the good
of the faithful if they were more serene, more
objective, more open and less factious about
Fr. Barnaba Hechich
Bishop of Namur on
Medjugorje: I went,
I saw, I believe
On 25 August, Ivan visited Beauraing in
Belgium where Mary appeared to 5 children
for 33 times in 1932. Mass was celebrated by
the Bishop of Namur, Msgr. Léonard. The
following is from his eloquent homily.
"(...)Which are the churches that please the
Lord? Crowded churches. He loves them,
because a crowded church for the Lord is a
prophecy of what will be at the end of time,
when God’s Kingdom will be everything in
This vision of the Kingdom is seen in
today’s first reading (Rev 22:9): the Kingdom
of Heaven is a gift of God who comes from
above. The heavenly city opens its arms to the
earthly city and is united to the history of our
world. The angel speaks of this city as if it
were a fiancée loved by Him and which will
become His bride forever more. When all of
us will form this Kingdom, we will be this
That is why the entire Church and the
entire Kingdom are portrayed by a woman, the
Virgin Mary. The 2nd Vatican Council tells
us: When we see Mary we see, in anticipation,
how humanity will be, how the Church will
be when she will become God’s Kingdom. We
can think of every Marian apparition as an
announcement of the holy city, of the Fiancèe,
of the Bride, that descends from her place
beside God in Heaven. Therefore, what else
could Mary be when She appears, if not the
prefiguration, the sign, the anticipation of the
Holy City that will descend from Heaven?
Today’s Gospel uses a similar language.
Nathanael was sceptic: can anything good
come from Nazareth? (Jn 1:46). We must
admit that each time Mary has appeared in the
world, including those place where the
apparitions have received Church approval,
scepticism were the order of the day.
Scepticism and doubt always accompany
Our Lady’s apparitions! What, Mary is
appearing to little Bernadette Soubirou who
lives with her parents in Lourdes? What, Mary
is appearing to three little shepherd children
of Fatima? Mary is appearing in Beauraing,
in a little corner of Belgium? Thus, we have
the beginning of scepticism and doubt. The
right way to feel, instead, can be seen in
today’s Gospel. When Philip says to Nathanael,
"come and see," he goes and he believes. For
God’s signs to be accepted, it is necessary for
one to go and see.
With regards to the apparitions in Medj.,
the Church has still not given her official
definite recognition. We await it with trust and
in prayer. Personally, I went there in 1984, I
saw and I returned convinced.
Nathanael was struck by what he saw and
he understood. His proclamation of faith is
one of the most beautiful in the New Testament:
"Rabbi, you are the son of God, you are the
King of Israel" (Jn 1:49). Nathanael went from
scepticism to faith, because he went, thereby
allowing Jesus to touch his heart. Jesus tells
him: "You will see greater things that that...
You will see heaven laid open and, above the
Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and
descending" (Jn 1:50-51). We can apply these
words to the various apparitions in the world.
Each apparition by Mary is Heaven laid open
to the earth, it is Heaven that smiles to the
Does Mary appear too much, speak too
much? I am greatly impressed by Mary’s
insistence in talking to us. Just think how
Holy Father in Zagreb
invokes Queen of Peace
The Pope spoke to an enormous crowd
(more than 1 million people) which had
gathered at the race course. John Paul II
spoke to them about the journey that must
be taken to bring peace back to the Balkans,
using the Our Father prayer to emphasise the
fact that we are all brothers. Forgive and ask
forgiveness; this is the only way for peace to
return.How can we invoke Our Father in
heaven and hate our brothers? At the end
of his discourse he prayed: Queen of Peace,
pray for us.
There was a large group from Medj. close
to the altar. Fr. Jozo, Fr. Tomislav Pervan and
Marija Pavlovic were present, plus many
brothers and sisters from the communities
present in Medj. A group of young people
were carrying a large "Medjugorje" banner
with them and the Holy Father looked
lovingly at them and blessed them.
The mere presence of the Holy Father
was enough to transform the tense atmosphere
of this stricken capital into a joyous occasion.
President Tudjman said how he desired:
"eliminating every form of nationalism from
The Bishop of Mostar on Medj.
Mons. Ratko Peric’s intervention at the Synod
of Religious concerned: "an inter-ecclesial
thorn in his Church," revealing how: "the
obedience professed by the religious is being
greatly put to the test now that some parishes
are passing from the hands of the meritorious
Franciscans to the diocese. This also includes
Medjugorje, a parish entrusted to said religious."
He then speaks of the official position of
the Bishops’ Conference (as above) and adds:
"The alleged apparitions create confusion and
division, and not only in the local Church.
Consequently, we await the Holy See to use
her ways so that the unity of that particular
Church may be made full and stable" (Avvenire
12 Oct. 1994).
We are grieved by the fact that not even
the tragedy caused by the war with all its
sufferings, not even the grace that has
accompanied these years, have been able to
appease the controversies within the Church
where Our Lady came to bring peace. (In truth,
the Franciscans offered the seven parishes to
the new bishop, but because of their condition,
he did not accept them.)
We are surprised that there was no positive
acknowledgement of the fruits of Medj. in his
discourse (at least reported by the media), nor
of the quantity of aid that has reached the
war-torn country thanks to the reality of Medj.
In any case, the Queen of Peace arrived as far
as the Synod, though only as a sign of contra-
diction. It doesn't matter how, but mention was
made of Her (cf. Phil 1:18).
many apparitions there have been in this last
century! Rue du Bac in Paris, Pontmain,
Lourdes, La Salette, Fatima, Beauraing,
Banneux, Kibeho in Rwanda, Medjugorje...
People often ask me why Mary is still
appearing in Medj. after 13 years. Some say:
"Mary talks so much! In other places, She only
said a few words, appeared for only a few
days!" Personally, I have no idea about Mary’s
reasons, about what She should say and do.
I know that if Mary knocks at our door with
such insistence, intensity and duration, then
there must be urgent need.
Have you noticed how committed our
Pope is to his mission as universal pilgrim?
Have you noticed his force and insistence in
drawing our attention to the world’s present
day problems, such as peace, true conversion
and the family? He insists so much because
he is convinced that these years are decisive
years for the history of humanity. Personally,
I see Mary’s insistence in talking to us and in
calling us in this light.
The fruits of Medj. are blessed fruits. I
have witnessed these fruits myself. They are
conversion, the re-discovery of prayer, love
and peace, the return to the Sacraments, to the
Eucharist, to penance and fasting.
If you truly desire peace in the world, in
our families and hearts, then my invitation to
you is to truly accept Our Lady’s pressing
appeals, in particular the ones concerning
prayer and fasting. Jesus Himself tells us that
some demons can only be driven out by prayer
and fasts. I simply repeat what Our Lady tells
us wherever She appears, and I invite you to
true conversion through praying and fasting."
So the bishop’s invitation is to create in
every home a corner for personal and family
prayer, to keep the churches open for Adoration,
the Rosary and prayer (which is also the best
way to prevent vandalism).
"If Jesus and Mary talk to us," the Bishop
concluded, "it is not to frighten us, but to call
us to conversion. All that you will do to better
your praying and fasting, to open your hearts
and to offer yourselves to Jesus, will be a
blessing for all humanity. It will be a step
towards peace in the hearts of men and in the
THE MEDJUGORJE SCENE
us: 'eat and drink in abundance, for you cannot
live without Me.' "
Mary asks us to live the Eucharist, to put
it before everything else. She cries because we
do not want to live it, we escape from it.
Why is it that the discotheques today are
more crowded than the Church? Our Lady tells
us that this happens because families don’t
pray, thus, faith cannot be born in the hearts
of its members, nor can love for Eucharistic
Christ be born in their hearts. When parents
live out Christian values, these values become
desires in the hearts of the children, because
grace is always stronger than sin.
We must become bread that is offered, that
nourishes, bread of love. The example that
comes from the Cross is one of offering our
life for others. If as a parent you desire doing
something for your children, then renew
yourself, renew the presence of the Eucharist
Our Lady repeatedly asks us to also hold
the Rosary in our hands, similar to the ten wise
girls (cf. Mt 25) waiting for the Groom with
lamps in their hands so as not to remain in the
dark and thereby not be able to recognize the
Groom on his arrival. Each Hail Mary is like
a drop of oil that falls into our lamps, and we
will not be in the dark if our prayer will be
constant, for it will be our guide."
Fr. Jozo to war orphans and
sponsors: Pray, to forgive!
On 17 and 18 August 1994, in Medj. and
Siroki Brijeg, the 1st spiritual meeting was
held for war orphans and their sponsors (who
came from Italy, Holland, Germany and
America). The children were accompanied by
their widowed mothers.
The two days were marked by intense
prayer and moving testimonies. The children’s
hearts were wounded but open to receiving
consolation by other hearts full of understanding
and loving care.
Fr. Jozo guided the Rosary during the
climb up Apparition Hill, offering words of
comfort and hope to the war victims, often
taking the children by the hand. Some of the
children did the climb with bare feet.
At the top, standing before the Cross, Fr.
Jozo said: "The Queen of Peace invites us
continually to be witnesses and promoters of
peace. You must forgive and pray for your
persecutors. You, mother, must think that the
person who killed your husband could only
hear the voice of Satan in that moment, telling
him: kill and destroy. You must forgive and
pray for them even if it is not easy. To receive
the strength to do this you must pray every day
and receive the Holy Eucharist. The things of
the world do not belong to you anymore. With
your sacrifice, you are united to Christ.
Persevere, so that your sacrifice and the
persecution you underwent may bear fruits of
reconciliation and peace for the whole world."
Vicka also intervened and spoke about Our
These meetings for war orphans and
sponsors will be repeated. For information,
contact Fr. Jozo’s delegates: Angela and Matteo
Rossi, Via delle Grazie, I-54100 MASSA,
Italy. Ph: 0585-436563. M. Rossi
News from the Blessed Land
(taken from Sr. Emmanuel’s diary)
* Pray for the Pope - Our Lady has said
to Ivan who was in Belgium, and to Vicka:
Pray for the Pope, for the Bishops and the
priests. According to Vicka, the Blessed Virgin
wishes to realize a plan during these next few
weeks, and She invites us to get together to
pray for this intention of Hers.
* The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross
(9 Sept.) drew big crowds, as it does every
year. The big cross in Medjugorje was erected
in 1933, and without doubt, its presence is
meaningful to the events happening here, and
to Our Lady who desired remaining next to the
Cross of Her Jesus and Her people in this time
* The month of the Rosary has brought
numerous pilgrims to Medj. from all parts of
the world, who are taking advantage of the
mild climate to come and pray on the hills.
* Fr. Slavko took the message to Poland
and Germany. He has now left for Boston to
celebrate the marriage of Ivan and Laureen (23
October). Best wishes for a holy family in the
year of the family! Fr. Slavko will then leave
for South America.
* Vicka said no to the many invitations
received. She preferred remaining in Medj. to
greet the pilgrims. The only trip she has
planned is the one to Boston for Ivan’s
wedding, her father’s health permitting.
* Michele, Marija and Paolo’s little baby
boy, was baptised on 25 Sept. by Fr. Slavko.
Hearts of distant are opening
* It was a Protestant doctor this time to
have confirmed the events in Medj. He came
to Medj. to see by himself what the apparitions
were about - it seemed so strange to him. Like
many Protestants, he thought the Marian cult
was an obstacle on the way to Jesus. He arrived
with uncertain feelings, but as soon as he
neared the church, Jesus spoke to his heart and
the doctor began crying like a child. The day
after he could "hear" Jesus’ voice telling him:
'I asked my Mother to come here. She draws
all the peoples here and leads them to me. All
generations will call Her blessed.' After this,
Mary became as a trampoline for him to get
* A Swiss Pastor who arrived in Medj. 5
days ago, told me: "There is nothing in my
theology that opposes Mary’s apparitions.
Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus on the
Tabor, so why couldn’t the Mother of Jesus
appear?" What the Protestants like the most
is that Mary has repeatedly said, and often
while crying: You have forgotten the Bible! If
only the Catholics would listen to Her!
* In France, a student in pharmaceutics,
was refused a diploma because he had AIDS.
Rejected by many because he was homo-
sexual, he ended up taking a large dose of
alcohol to then throw himself off a bridge. He
awoke in hospital and saw before him a figure
of a woman which at first frightened him, but
later attracted and comforted him. "Maybe
she’s a saint," he told himself, in his religious
ignorance. He left the hospital a weakened
person - his lymphatic and nervous systems
were destroyed. Time passed, and who knows
how, he ended up in Medj., even though his
doctors advised against it.
Once in Medj., he was surprised to see a
statue in a shop- and then understood that the
woman he saw in the hospital was the
Madonna of Medj. He made the decision to
never abandon Her from then on. When he
returned home, his doctors were surprised, for
after a medical exam he was found to still have
the disease, but all symptoms had disappeared
and his nervous and lymphatic systems were
Crowds pray with Fr. Jozo
From 29 Sept. to 5 Oct. Fr. Jozo visited
various towns in Italy. The meetings were
attended by many people who met to pray for
life and peace.
We attended the one held on the 29th
September. There were about 1500 people
present. After the Rosary and Holy Mass,
which was concelebrated by the monks from
the parish, Fr. Jozo transmitted to us with the
power of the Spirit the teachings of the Queen
of Peace. Fr. Jozo urged us to love Crucified
Christ, because the sign of love of the cross
can be seen too little these days.
"Remaining before Crucified Christ means
learning to forgive, for it was on the Cross that
Jesus forgave his enemies. Our Lady desires
putting us before the Cross, which is the only
sign of salvation and love. If I do not love Jesus
Who died for me how can I know His Word,
or live the Eucharist? Everything is false if you
are unable to love your enemies: He who does
not love his brother whom he sees, cannot love
God whom he has never seen (1 Jn 4).
Our Lady taught Jesus to accept the Cross.
She does not take the cross from us, but She
teaches us to love it and to bear it. From Jesus’
Cross comes the Light that enlightens our
During Mass his homily was directed
particularly to families: "Joy, love, peace and
light can be found in the Eucharist. Jesus tells
»» from pg. 1: sad moments that await us.
Our Lady wants us to be a lovely
bouquet to present to God the Most Holy,
for having called us to take our place among
the saints (1 Co 1:2). A bouquet, however,
is made up of many flowers. We cannot tend
towards sanctity as individuals. We must be
in communion with our brothers and sisters,
our church and our community, with those
who pursue the same scope, so that we may
advance together and be presented together:
vis unita fit fortior! (unity is strength).
Take the Saints as your models - Many
Christians these days desire moving onto the
"new." With this attitude, the Saints can be
considered old hat. Man needs inspiration
from those who have already fulfilled the
Gospel in concrete, human situations. Man
doesn’t know what to do with vague ideals
and deceptive spontaneities. The first
Christian generation was inspired by the
Apostles, by the faith of the martyrs, the
holiness of the confessors of the faith and by
the virgins, by the examples of the desert
fathers and by the monks. The Saints of all
times became such because they drew from
the experience and the writings of these. So
let us begin reading the Saints’ autobio-
graphies and other testimonies; let us visit
their sanctuaries and their tombs, just as the
first Christians used to do.
Our Lady shows us a way that has been
neglected under the influence of this easy-
going generation that tends to reject the past.
History, though, is our teacher, it shows us
how to live, and in the same way the Saints
show us how to be sanctified. The Church
teaches us all these things, so it is not by
chance that she chose them to be inspiration
for us. Not only do they serve as inspiration,
but they also intercede before God for us and
for all men. When we love, honour and
celebrate for the Saints, we obtain the fruits.
Let us heed Our Lady’s advice. Fr. A.
The Holy Father has granted Plenary
Indulgence under the usual conditions for
those who shall go on pilgrimage to the Holy
House of Loreto during the year of the
Centenary celebrations from 9.12.94 - 10.12.95.
Can Satan impede
People often ask this question, especially
since Our Lady of Medjugorje has often said:
Satan wants to impede my plans ... Satan is
strong and wants to annul God’s plans.
Lately, we must admit, we were all
greatly disappointed by the cancellation of
the Pope’s voyage to Sarajevo. We fully
understand his reasons: the Holy Father did
not wish to expose the people that would
have gathered to hear him to the danger of
an armed attack. We must also consider what
may have happened had they panicked in
such an event. Nonetheless, we were
disappointed, very much so. First of all, the
Pope himself was disappointed; this voyage
of peace meant so much to him. Then the
peoples who were expecting him were dis-
appointed. We must also admit that our hope
had been nourished by Our Lady’s message
of 25 August '94 where Our Lady said She
was praying with us for: "the gift of the
presence of my beloved son in your home-
land." She also said: "I pray and intercede
before my Son Jesus, that the dream had by
your fathers may be realized." (If the fathers’
dream refers to the Croatians, then it was
realized with the Pope’s voyage to Zagreb.
Is it possible that Mary’s prayer, united
to ours, had no effect? Is it possible that Her
intercession went unheard? I believe the
answer comes from reading on in that same
message: "Satan is strong and wishes to
destroy the hope..." Well, what can Satan do
after all? There are two limits to the devil’s
power, very precise limits. The first is
imposed by the will of God, who lets no one
guide history, even though this is done while
respecting the freedom He gave to each of
us. The second is made up of man’s consent.
Let it be clear that Satan can do nothing to
man if man is opposed to him. If Satan is so
strong today it is because men give him their
consent, because they listen to his voice, as
our forefathers did.
To make it clearer, I shall give you some
examples. When I sin, I break God’s will over
me, and for the devil this is a victory. It is
a victory, though, obtained through my fault,
because I consented to an act that was
contrary to the divine will. Even in the great
historical events the same thing happens.
Think of the wars, the persecution against
Christians, the genocides, the mass atrocities
done by Hitler, Stalin, Mao...
It has always been because of human
consent that the devil has had the upper hand
over God’s will, which is a will of peace, not
affliction (Jer 29:11) - but God does not
intervene, He waits. Like in the parable of
the weed growing with the wheat, God
awaits the time of harvest, and He gives to
each person according to what he earned. Is
this, though, a defeat for God’s plans? No,
it is the way in which His plans are realized,
with respect for free will. Even when it seems
that the devil is winning, we must remember
that the devil always is the loser.
The best example comes from Jesus’
sacrifice. There is no doubt that the devil
used all his power to get Christ crucified -
he obtained the consent of Judah, of the
Sanhedrin, of Pilate... And then what? That
which he believed was a victory in his
favour, turned out to be a defeat. God’s plans
great trust in God helped her to accept her
sufferings and offer Him her worry for her
children, knowing that He would take care
Louis and his daughters agreed to move
to Lisieux to be close to the girls’ aunt and
uncle and their family. In their new home,
called Les Buissonets, Louis was an attentive
father, dedicating his life to the girls and
watching over their education. Though it
sorrowed him, he gave his blessing to the two
eldest girls when they decided to enter the
Carmel of Lisieux. The other three would
also make the same decision. In exchange
God granted him great spiritual joy for
having given over his most precious
belongings. Louis saw it as the realization of
the desire both he and Zelie had to enter
It cost him a great deal though when
Therese, his little "Queen," decided to enter
the convent. Therese herself describes his
father’s reaction: "When I told him I wanted
to enter Carmel, he mixed his tears with
mine, but he didn’t say anything to dissuade
me from entering. He simply objected that
I was so young, but I quickly convinced him
of my sincerity and urgancy. He said how
God was doing him 'a great honour’ asking
his children of him in this way." During a
pilgrimage to Rome, when Therese decided
to ask for the Pope's permission to enter
Carmel (she was only 15), Louis consented.
Another great trial had been reserved by
God for Therese’s father: a physical and
mental disorder. Though he had regained his
peace after two crises he was to stay in the
asylum of Caen for nearly three years. To a
doctor he said: "I have always been
accustomed to commanding and I see myself
reduced to obeying, it is hard, but I know
why God has given me this trial: I have never
had humiliation in my life, I needed it."
Therese had been in the Carmel 4 years when
her father returned to Les Buissonets. It was
here that he died, after a long and painful
decline. On the 28th July 1894, Louis
reached Zelie in heaven. Therese died 3 years
later of tuberculosis.
The saintly lives of Louis and Zélie was
the seed that matured into fruits of holiness
in their daughters, particularly in Therese.
The official declaration regarding their
saintliness is all the more effective in this
year dedicated to the family. The example
they leave us is the testimony that God calls
us to holiness wherever we are; and that
house, work, children, etc. do not impede us
from reaching holiness, but can assist us as
long as God occupies first place in our lives.
From the tree you will recognize the fruit,
Jesus tells us, but such extraordinary fruits
also tell us that the tree too is extraordinarily
Parents of St Thérèse of Lisieux
soon to be made saints
Married couples as saints who sanctified
themselves together with their children is not
a novelty to the Church. Among the oldest
known couples we remember Mario and
Martha with their children Audiface and
Abacum who were all martyred in Rome in
270 dc, and the Greek couple, Senofonte and
Maria with their children John and Arcadio
who were all confessors (6th century). We
also have St Basil the Great, bishop of
Caesarea and doctor of the Church. Six
members of his family are venerated as
saints: his paternal grandmother Macrina,
his parents Basil and Emilia, his elder sister
Macrina, and his brothers Gregory and
Peter who became bishops. Many also
reached levels of sanctity just by carrying out
their family duties, such as St Monica the
mother of St Augustine and St Silvia the
mother of St Gregory the Great.
This brings us to our present day. Louis
and Zélie Martin, the parents of St Therese
of the Child Jesus, are about to be sanctified.
The decree was signed by John Paul II on
the 26th March 1994.
Louis and Zélie Martin married on the
13th July 1858 and had 9 children. Though
four of them died very young, the faith of
Louis and Zélie remained strong and
continued to grow. The other five, Marie,
Pauline, Leonie, Celine and Therese, grew up
in a prayerful and hard working family -
Louis was a watchmaker, Zélie a lacemaker.
The Martin family were renowned in all of
Alençon for their generosity and many
works of charity.
Zélie loved children "to the point of
folly" - "they are God’s blessings" - which
is why she educated her daughters to be
humbly and heroically subjected to the will
of God, knowing that God loved them and
desired being loved by them. Louis and Zélie
both firm believers and totally trusting in
God, were careful to do only that which was
pleasing to God. This can also be seen in
Therese’s Little Way.
Zélie nourished her soul with the writings
of St Francis of Sales and was inspired by
the gentleness of this saint. She joined the
Third Order. On his part, Louis was careful
to be obedient to God in the family, at work
and in the Brotherhood of which he was part.
In Alençon he was known as the "Patriarch."
He was a strong-minded man, but at the
same time he could be affectionate and
considerate. In the light of these examples,
the religious vocation matured in all five
daughters. They were not to enter the
convent, though, until after the death of their
mother who died at the age of 46. Zélie's
for the world’s history (the history of salvation)
are always realized. The ways taken to get
there, though, are not the ones we think they
are (My ways are not your ways, the Bible
warns us - Is 55:8). God’s plan is done while
still respecting the freedom He gave us. We
are the only ones responsible when we make
God’s plan fail in us. It is His will that
everyone be saved, that no one perish (1 Tm
2:4). Therefore, I, and no one else, will have
to pay the consequences, even if God’s plan,
which began with creation, will infallibly be
Fr. G. Amorth
* The Court of Appeal in Rome, on the
4th July 1994, declared null the proceedings
against Bishop Paul Hnilica which began on
23 March 1993 for allegedely having received
stolen goods. We rejoice at the news of the
acquittal of this honest and disinterested
bishop. The lie, the weapon used most to
condemn innocence, has been unmasked.
Also Renato Baron was acquitted by the
Magistrates’ Court of Schio on 7 Oct. He had
been accused of embezzlement. Five years of
suspicion, controversy and legal quibble have
thus come to an end. Renato affronted it all
with immense patience and dignity.
Sped.Abb.Post.3/70, Aut.Trib.Mant.#13-8.11.86; Legal Dir: A.Lanzani; Printed by DIPRO, Italy, Fax: 0422-840804
Letters chosen from the hundreds received:
* Readers of Echo in Albanese wrote
from Shkodër, Tirana and Durrëss. One
"group of faithful" said: "Echo in Albanese is
a wonderful gift for we who have thirsted for
so long for the Word of God. Our Lady’s
messages are a light that guides our hearts.
They help us support the sufferings and to
strengthen the newly born faith of our people.
Thank you." The translator of the Albanese
edition, Robert Prendushi, has received a
computer from us to help him in his work.
Providence is always ready to help those of
* From the Pacific - Hans Schjang and
Christiana Acoba distribute 300 copies of
English Echo in Hawaii. They tell us: "Many
readers call us to express their satisfaction,
and to urge us to keep up the divine and
blessed work for Mary."
* From Kathmandu in Nepal, Chirendra
Satyal writes: "(...) Our small Catholic
community (4,000 out of a population of
20,000) is growing. We had our annual
Marian procession on May 31st. The first
Fridays are also celebrated with a night-long
vigil. Jesuit Father Antony Sharma, the head
of the Catholic Church of Nepal, told me to
'thank you for the copies of Echo.' Our church
now has its first photocopier, which we can
use to make more copies of Echo." Chirendra
then told us about a group of Italian mountain
climbers who "tried to climb Mt Everest in
May with a statue of Our Lady which they
wanted to place on top. Because their leader
died above the 5,000 metre level, the group
gave up the climb and donated the statue to
the Catholic Church in Kathmandu."
* From Skopje in Macedonia, Sr.
Joselette wrote to thank us for the copies of
Echo which she distributes to people who
have never heard about Medjugorje.
Macedonia has only just gained independence
* From Perth, Australia: "I thank you so
much for 'Echo.' For months I had been feeling
dry and unable to pray. Today I received the
Echo (113) and so much liked your article on
'religious fetishes.' It made me realize how I
too had burdened myself with too many prayer
formulas." (C. Watts)
* From Aberdeen, Australia: "Your
bulletin is my life and my well spring, it has
kept me alive and not allowed me to perish
in the face of all the trials I have gone through
over the last few years..." (Jennifer)
* From Münster in Germany, Sr. Hadburg
said she "joyfully receives Echo each month.
In it I perceive the universal action of God for
our times. I pray that it may continue."
* From Uganda - "Now I understand that
your bulletin is the means used by Mary to
communicate with me. I have no doubt: Echo
is Her voice." (Joseph Kassani)
ECHO IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Italian: Eco di Medj., C.P. 149, 46100 Mantova,
Italy. English: Echo of Medj., Cas.Post. 27, I-
31030 Bessica (TV), Italy - ph/fx: 0423-470331.
French: Echo de Medjugorje, 18 Allée Thévenot,
F-39100 Dole, France. German: Echo aus Medj.,
C.P. 149, i-46100 Mantova, Italy. Fax 0376-
245075 Spanish: Roger Watson, c/o Antonucci,
Via Verrotti 1, I-47100 Aquila, Italy. Catalan:
Amics de Medj., c.Carme 11 baixos, E-08700
Igualada-Catalonia, Spain. Portughese: a) Gilberto
Correia, rua de Brito 24, 4915 Vila Praia de Ancora,
(ph.911181), Portugal; b) Servos da Rainha, Caixa
p. 02576, 70279-970 Brasilia DF, Brazil. Dutch:
Int. Medj. Comité afd. Nederland-Belgie,
Misericordeplein 12C, NL-6211 XK Maastricht,
Holland. Polish : Czeslawa Mirkiewicz,
ul.Ign.Krasickiego 21a/3, PL 30-515 Krakow-
Podgorze, Poland. Russian: Dom Marii, Plotnikov
3, 121003 Moscow, Russian Federation - fax
007095-2415057. Hungarian: Fraternitas, 1399
Budapest, p.f. 701/85 Hungary - fax 36-11329001.
Romanian: Ecou din Medj., P.O.B. 41-132,
Bucharest, Romania; Albanese : Jehona e
Medjugorje, L.1 p.10, LAC, Albania
Reduced editions: Greek: Soeur Despina de la St
Croix, 69 Rue Epirou, Agia Paraskave, 15341
Athens, Greece. Czech: Medzugorské ozveny,
Ilbenstädter, Str.6, D-60385 Frankfurt, Germany.
Distributors: USA: Peter Miller, POB 2720-230,
Huntington Beach CA 92647 - ph. 714-374 0530,
fax 374 9490. Mrs. Joanne Clark, 17503 Applewood
Ln, Rockville, MD 20855. Canada: Giuseppe
Bozzo, 8324 Nicolas Leblanc, Montreal Que H1E
3W5 - ph. 648-3420. Spain: Josè L. Lopez de S.
Roman, Ap.246, Palencia, Spain. Australia (all
editions): Medjugorje Sentinel, P.O.B. 746, Pennant
Hills NSW 2120 - fax 02-9807806.
Echo turns 10
On 21 November Echo turned 10 years
old. We thank God for this work that spreads
Mary’s voice in the more than 700,000 copies,
of which 385,000 are in Italian; the rest covers
the 13 foreign editions. To God we offer the
sacrifices of those who bear the weight of the
various editions and who write to tell us how
they too are hindered in their work.
The Friends of Medj. who produce Echo
in Catalan, which quality-wise is the best
among those not published by us, write: "We
pray that Echo may continue for it is nourish-
ment that keeps alive the life which began in
Medj. We work in difficult conditions. We
only have one person for the translating, one
(with health problems) for the mailing who is
helped by a 90 year-old man and some others
who can help only occasionally. So far the
Lord has assured us the minimum needed for
this to continue, and I’m sure He always will."
It is a similar situation for the Polish
edition. All the weight is borne by Martha
who is seriously ill. It truly is a case of: my
power is at its best in weakness (2 Co 12:9).
Fr. Pedro A. Bach is the head of the Servos
da Reinha group which produces the Brazilian
Echo (150,000 copies). He writes: "Since
there was no one to help Reinaldo (the trans-
lator), he decided to resign from his job last
year (where he had been in charge of a
department in the central Bank for the last 16
years) to dedicate himself totally to Our
Lady’s cause. The Echo has been a funda-
mental element in the communication of the
Medj. graces to this population, and requests
continue to come in. We have distributors in
every state - and hundreds of groups for non-
stop Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, plus
others who recite the Rosary, etc."
From Budapest, Elisabeth Varga continues
to edit the beautiful, complete edition in
Hungarian, though her health is precarious,
which also creates problems with her job as
The German edition is done in Bolzano
(N. Italy), and God knows how difficult it is
for our friend Hermann to get the translations
done. He loses hours of his sleep, so precious
for his busy life as a travelling salesman. We
ask God to find us a person whose mother
tongue is German, who is spiritually mature
and who is also familiar with computers, to
give Hermann a hand. At the moment Sr. M.
Grazia from the Oasis of Peace community is
helping out, but most of her time is divided
between community life and university studies.
Of course we cannot forget the many
distributors all over the world. They work
with such zeal and dedication, all for the cause
of Mary. They will be abundantly rewarded.
New year, new heading: The Echo of
Mary Queen of Peace. We think this will
better suit Mary’s mission for today’s world,
which echoes that of Jesus: I give you my
peace ... a peace which is greater than all
intelligence. Besides, Medjugorje has spread
out to cover the ends of the earth and this grace
is not limited to places of apparitions, but
wherever the fire of love and peace is lit up,
wherever children "open their hearts to Her
message" which is: Peace be to you!
It is an honour for us all to serve Mary,
to help Her fulfil Her plans through letting Her
message reach so many people who anxiously
await it as their indispensable bread.
With Mary and all the Saints, we bless
We are our brothers’ keepers!
People are donating less but the need for
food, medical and other supplies is still great.
Let us continue giving them our support.
Contact your nearest Medj. or Caritas centre.
Donations may be sent to us for this purpose,
if you indicate who the money is for. Send
cheques to: Eco di Medj., C.P. 149, I-46100
* Hospital of Mostar - Thanks to
donations received by friends of Medj., the
hospital was able to buy important equipment.
They send their thanks.
ECHO IS FREE - it lives on your
donations. Personal cheques accepted. Please
forward to Eco di Medj., Casella Postale 149,
I-46100 Mantova, Italy. If you wish to
communicate with us, please forward your
mail to Echo of Medjugorje, Casella Postale
27, I-31030 Bessica (TV), Italy. Ph/Fax:
Bus service from Trieste to Medj.
continues. Departure 6 pm daily from bus
station (adjacent to train station). Return 6 pm
daily from Medj. Return price Lit. 86,200 Ph.
bus station Trieste: 040-360300
Craig Lodge (in Scotland), is a Family
House of Prayer. The house is set in 7 acres
of beautiful woods and gardens. It offers a
unique opportunity to step aside from the noise
and rush of everyday living and to join in the
daily prayer life of the house and resident
Youth Community. There are many conducted
weekends with emphasis on Adoration. Prayer
groups and individuals are welcome. For
information contact Calum and Mary Anne
MacFarlane-Barrow, Craig Lodge, Dalmally,
Argyll PA33 1AR, Scotland.
* "A Heavenly Journey" by Veralyn R.
Alpha - a fictional story based on historical
and biblical facts. Available from: The
Medjugorje Appeal, Unit J Lambs Bus. Park,
Tilburstow Hill Rd, South Godstone, Surrey
RH9 8JZ, England.
The White Army (int'l movement): the
message of Fatima to the children of the world.
It is an invitation to families and to their
children to heed the Fatima requests. Padre Pio
said: "The children with the rosary in their
hands shall save the world." Usually priests are
involved because they bless the children, say
a Holy Mass for them, bring the Blessed
Sacrament for Adoration and might say the
Rosary with them. For more information,
contact: The White Army, C.P. 135, I-67100