Mary says: your heart is hard
before God’s love
If you love you will not
fear the future
Our Lady said to Mirjana on the 18th
March (Mirjana’s birthday): "Dear children,
as your Mother, I have been teaching you for
many years about faith and God’s love, but
you have not shown gratitude towards your
dear Father, nor have you given Him glory.
You have become void and your hearts hard
and loveless toward the suffering of your
fellow men. I teach you love and show you
how much your dear Father has loved you,
but you have not loved Him. He sacrificed
His Son for your salvation, my children!
If you do not love, you will not recognize
the love of your Father. You will not
recognize it because God is Love. Love and
do not fear, because in love there can be no
fear (cf. 1Jn 4:18). If your hearts are open
to the Father and full of love for Him, why
should you fear what will come? Those who
do not love are afraid because they await
punishment and know how empty and hard
they are. I lead you, my children, to Love,
to your loving Father, to eternal life. Eternal
life is my Son (cf. Jn 17:3).”
Our Lady came at 3.15 pm and remained
with Mirjana 10 minutes. We heard her pray
3 Our Fathers and Glory Be's with the Blessed
Virgin... for those who do not know God’s
love, for the souls in Purgatory and for those
present at the apparition. When Our Lady
departed Mirjana was unable to hide her
She later told Fr. Slavko: " She was not
happy as in other times. She spoke to me
about the secrets, but I cannot say anything.
I cried because it is so bitter to see Her depart.
Our Mother, though, will not leave us
alone in these commitments she is asking of
us. She awaits us with open arms, desiring so
much to help us and remove us from Satan’s
grasp: I am with you, come into my arms.
Who else if not little children are seen in their
mother’s arms? Let us become little and run
to Her for protection.
But you do not want to
. In this glorious
day of God’s descent into her womb, Mary
does not invite us as other years to rejoice,
but appeals to us with tones of gravity, just
as she did in the message to Mirjana and in
the sad signs of the tears in Italy.
Every mother "knows" her children are at
risk when they are not with her. Only those
children who remain home and ignore their
parent’s love, like the elder son in the parable,
cannot see the loving anxiety, passion and
tears of Mary who is Mother also of those who
thoughtlessy race towards perdition.
Without Her, we are at Satan’s mercy who
tempts us in little things to make us then fall
in big things, as far as our faith falling short.
His evil power which influences everything
and everyone seems to carry away our every
defence with his power of deception (cf. 2Th
2:10-11) where if possible, even the chosen
ones fall into error. It is only too clear that
this is "his century.”
We need to be clothed in impenetrable
armour: Mary’s Immaculate Heart! Let us
consecrate ourselves to her Heart everyday,
entering into it to pray worthily, and our
Easter will be sincere - and we will have the
blessing and peace of God
"We are Risen with Christ" - The great Anastasis or Resurrection by the
"Comunità Cenacolo" of Medj. (see article Echo 117)
, oh Lord, with the sweet, burning
force of your love, all the worldly things in
my mind, that I may die out of love for your
love, just as you deigned to die out of love
for my love. (Prayer said by St Francis)
Message of 25 March 1995:
Dear children, I invite you today to live
peace in your hearts and your families. My
little children, there cannot be peace where
there is no prayer, and there cannot be
love where there is no faith. So, my
children, I invite you all to decide again
today for conversion.
I am close to you and I invite all of you,
dear children, to come into my arms so I
can help you; but you do not want to and
so Satan tempts you, and even in the
smallest of things your faith falls short.
So pray, my little children, and through
prayer you will be blessed and you will
have peace. Thank you for responding to
take refuge in my arms
Once again Mary is inviting us to prepare
for Easter and to decide for conversion.
Decide again, but make that decision today:
if you hear his voice today do not harden
your hearts so as not to fall, like your fathers,
into disgrace before the Lord. Just a few
words, but Mary has X-rayed our most inner
selves which she sees in the light of God: thus
each of us feel so touched by her words.
living peace in our hearts
and our families
."Living" peace is not a
nirvana of quiet individualism in the absence
of all needs and desires as in some oriental
ascetical practices, but it is the dynamic and
joyful acceptance of God’s will even before
obstacles and crosses, because we believe that
He guides all things and knows how to move
mountains. Thus, it becomes a relationship of
love, harmony, caring and understanding
Peace comes from prayer
with which we
subject ourselves to God. Through prayer He
gives us His peace and makes us see what is
necessary for our peace. Where there is no
prayer there is no peace, but there is anxiety,
worry and divisions. Love comes from faith
that God is Father and loves everyone, bad or
good: He sacrificed His Son also for the worst
of us. Jesus teaches us to donate our lives for
our brothers and do to others what we would
like them to do to us.
Without prayer you are anxious because
every negative thing upsets you. If you are
without faith you are in the dark and you are
unable to see your brother who needs love.
All you see is yourself and everything represents
an obstacle for you.
Mary thus reveals to us what is at the
bottom of lack of peace and love. If there is
no peace in you, if you do not cultivate love
in you, then your pretty words mean nothing
and your religiousness is a castle in the air.
E N G L I S H
- The Lord's Easter and ours -Yr.11 #4 Original Ital. edition: Eco di Maria RdP,
CP149 I-46100 Mantova. All mail to: Echo of Mary, Cas. Postale 27, I-31030 Bessica (TV), Italy
ECHO 120 OUT IN JUNE
to return to Christ
In his apostolic letter Tertio millennio
adveniente, so simple and so prophetic, the
Pope presents Christ as the centre to which
humanity must converge in these last and
troubled years of our century. With St Paul
he says: Our salvation is even nearer than
it was when we were converted (Rm 13:11).
"John Paul II is asking the aged, tired and
at times discouraged Christians to become
contemporaries of the Christ of the Gospel,
to rediscover the vigour and fervour of the
apostolic times," wrote Card. Etchegaray,
president of the Jubilee Committee. The
Church must make her original figure emerge.
A Church that taught only what the world can
learn on its own would soon become an
insignificant Church; it would stop being a
Church. From the start to the end of his letter
the Pope says how the future belongs to
Christ: In Him the Father gave the last word
on man and his story. Christ is the conclusion
of the yearning of all religions in the world,
thus he is the one and only approach.
Such is the central axis of our faith that
the Holy Father, in the name of the Gospel,
wishes to strengthen and even straighten the
Church which marches toward the year 2000.
More than a flight forward, it is a return to
the founts of salvation... An epochal passage
like this, from one millennium to another, is
like the passage over the Red Sea, a great
Easter, this time for all humanity: In a certain
sense, in fact, Jesus is in possession of all
A "trinitarian” triennium
to prepare for Jubilee
This is how the Pope, at the end of his
letter, traced out the journey which must lead
the Church to the great Jubilee.
1995-96: Ask for the intercession of all
SAINTS. For this reason the Martyrologies of
the universal church will be updated, paying
careful attention to the married and ecumenical
1997: JESUS CHRIST. "The distinctly
Christological character of the Jubilee needs
to be emphasized, for it will celebrate the
Incarnation and coming into the world of the
Son of God, the mystery of salvation for all
mankind: JESUS CHRIST, THE ONE
SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD, Yesterday,
Today and Forever.
Primary object of the Jubilee: the
strengthening of faith and of the witness of
Christians. Necessity to inspire in all the
faithful a true longing for holiness. A renewed
appreciation of catechesis about the person of
Jesus Christ and his mystery of salvation.
Mary contemplated in the mystery of her
1998: THE HOLY SPIRIT. "Incarnation
was accomplished by the power of the Holy
Spirit. The primary tasks of the preparation
include a renewed appreciation of the presence
and activity of the Spirit, who acts within the
Church in the Sacraments and the variety of
charisms, roles and ministries which he
inspires for the good of the Church. In our day
too, the Spirit is the principal agent of the new
evangelization. Christians are called to
prepare... by renewing their hope in the
definitive coming of the Kingdom of God.
Mary, who conceived the Incarnate Word
by the power of the Holy Spirit and allowed
herself to be guided by his interior activity,
will be contemplated and imitated during this
year above all as the woman who was docile
to the voice of the Spirit...”
1999: GOD the FATHER. Believers
should broaden their horizons, so they will see
things in the perspective of Christ who saw
things in the perspective of the Father.. The
whole of the Christian life is like a great
pilgrimage to the house of the Father: a
journey of authentic conversion... which
emphasizes the theological virtue of charity
and thus the Church’s preferential option for
the poor and the outcast. Mary Most Holy, the
highly favoured daughter of the Father, will
appear before the eyes of believers as the
perfect model of love towards both God and
The Year 2000: year of the Eucharist.
"The Celebration of the Great Jubilee will take
place simultaneously in the Holy Land,
Rome and the local Churches
the world, with the aim to GIVE GLORY TO
THE TRINITY from whom everything in the
world and in history comes and to whom
everything returns. Since Christ is the only
way to the Father, in order to highlight his
living and saving presence in the Church and
the world, the INT'L EUCHARISTIC
CONGRESS will take place in Rome, on the
occasion of the Great Jubilee.
YEAR 2000 intensely EUCHARISTIC:
in the Sacrament of the Eucharist the Saviour,
who took flesh in Mary’s womb twenty
centuries ago, continues to offer himself to
humanity as the source of divine life..." There
will be visits to the holy places: those
associated with Abraham and Moses, through
Egypt, Mount Sinai, Damascus, Bethlehem,
Jerusalem, plus a meeting for all Christians
(on Mount Sinai?).
Prayer to Mary
: "I entrust this
responsibility of the whole Church to the
maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of the
Redeemer. She will be for Christians on the
way to the Great Jubilee of the 3rd Millennium
the Star which safely guides their steps to the
The Pope: "Work without
spiritual life is slavery”
In his meeting with the "world of work”
on St Joseph day, the Holy Father went to
Molise (south Italy) to celebrate Mass at the
Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows. He spoke of
St Joseph’s life and saw in it the perfect
realization of the life of prayer where God
takes the initiatives - liberal and surprising -
and man trustingly obeys and gives up his own
ideas and evaluations... From the second
reading we see that Moses’ heart was so,
ready to listen to what God had to tell him,
Who desired letting Himself and His will be
known (Ex 3:1-15). For this reason man’s
every activity becomes good if his heart rests
in prayer, willing to listen first to the Lord.
Even work is part of the divine plan, but
respect must be given to: "its spiritual - and
in a certain sense - divine dimension which
reveals it as being the continuation of the
loving work of the Creator and makes its
burdensome aspect comprehensible and
acceptable in the light of the pasqual mystery
of Christ." Man bears fruit in his life if he is
subjected to God’s will, in the certainty that
God overlooks nothing, but takes care to see
that His children reach the goal for which He
created them. The Holy Father spoke of the
Gospel of Work, using an example from the
Bible: "The Pharaoh, or capitalism which
exploits man’s work, distracts men from
family life and from serving God. It is right
to fight for true social justice which consists
of recognizing the dignity of human labour in
fair reward and adequate interventions in
favour of those who - though unwillingly - find
themselves in precarious and discouraging
situations of disoccupation.”
Spiritual life is in fact, "like a renewed
offering of Alliance by God, who is tender
and compassionate, slow to anger and most
loving (Ps 103). The Lord’s grace and His
infinite mercy commit us, as individuals and
communities, to cultivating the plant of spiritual
life, hoeing around it with penance and
fertilizing it with the Word of God till it bears
fruit for the future (cf. Lk 13:8-9)."
The bond between the magisterium of
John Paul II and the school of Mary is
obvious. It is not just a matter of contents, but
of the same root of deep communion, and
infact, during the celebration, the Pope
reminded the faithful of that: "singular tie of
faith and suffering that binds him to Our Lady
In his invocation to Her at the conclusion
of his homily, he prayed so that She: "may
obtain for us abundant fruits of justice and
peace, eating the same spiritual food and
drinking the same spiritual drink from the
rock... which is Christ (1 Co 10:4). Christ
remains that rock from which we drink the
same water." This is precisely what Mary
wants from those who listen to her messages.
profound communion with her intentions -
which means converting to her desires of
primacy to faith, communion and prayer.
At the end of the celebration the Pope
asked the Blessed Virgin to protect all the
women who work at home like She did - today
she would have known as a "house-wife" and
as such is a model for all women, true
craftswomen of the house. "Grant that they
may be women of Christian wisdom, skilled
in prayer and human kindness, strong in hope
and affliction, artisans, like you, of authentic
When I am with Her there is a fullness in me
and when She goes I realize I am on the earth,
as if abandoned. It is so hard to accept that
if it happened more frequently I don’t know
how I would resist... I see this message as one
of love and consolation. We need not fear
when there is love in us."
(News from A. Bonifacio and Sr. Emanuel)
You are worth more than the
sparrows - not one hair on your
head will be removed!
The message seems to highlight the
division between man who believes in the
Father’s love and man who lives only for this
life. Do you fear future events? the secrets?
that the tears of blood may be announcing
catastrophes? Fear of the future is typical of
he who lives closed up in his earthly life and
does not foster hope (even if he "says" he
believes), as if it all ended here. He fears
losing these goods, not the true Good. He
who knows his life is in the hands of the
Father does not fear: You are worth much
more than hundreds of sparrows... and even
if the world was full of terror, he would see
and proclaim the Father's Love. **
Leave everything to God
and everything will heal,
rise and bear fruit
Fr. Tomislav Vlasic
was with us on St
Joseph’s day. He led Eucharistic Adoration,
the Rosary and Holy Mass. The following is
taken from his meditations.
Following Jesus for 40 days along the path
indicated by the Church means to be in a
healing and rising process for 40 days. This
is the liturgical sense of Lent. The basic
question is this: God has the reply for man
who laments, suffers, who does not feel
redeemed. God enters us and replies to these
laments. Participating in Jesus’ work is
listening to and understanding His reply.
If we do not listen and do not understand,
we remain in our sorrow like angry children
or immature people that flitter from one place
to another. In fact, we may feel perplexed as
we observe the problems of society, the
Church and the world, see only details and not
understand! Today the Lord desires that we
listen for and understand his reply as we make
our way towards salvation. Without this we
cannot understand the meaning of prayer and
penance or what Jesus wants ofus.
In the first reading (Ex 3:1-8, 13-15) we
heard how God made the first move to help
the people of Israel. It always is God who
makes the first move, even with us. Keep this
in mind: within you God acts. His Holy Spirit
moans within you. He wants your salvation to
a degree which goes far beyond your own
capacities and expectations, just the way we
saw how He presented Himself to Moses.
What did Moses do? When he sees the
burning bush God says to him: Come no
further, remove your sandals, the place
where you stand is holy ground. For us this
means removing everything in God’s presence:
our problems, thoughts, projects, worries, our
own justice and logic. This alone will enable
us to accept God’s reply. Jesus said that if we
remove everything and entrust ourselves to
God, we will be given all that we need, all
that is right for us.
In our prayer we must remove everything
before God, just as Moses removed his
sandals and prostrated himself. When the
religious prostrate themselves before the
Altar during the ceremony of solemn profession
it signifies a total surrender, because they have
chosen God. This type of attitude should be
in us all. It allows us to accept God’s presence
and his salvation. Moses had it and God
revealed Himself: I Am Who I Am, Yahweh!
God can speak in the same way to a soul who
has stripped itself of everything. Often, what
we think is useful for us is nothing but idols,
or just our way of seeing God.
The true image of God who reveals
Himself cannot penetrate our souls or reach
us because there are too many gods, worries,
values and priorities that fill our lives already.
All must go! Then God will be able to show
Himself the way He is. How is He? In the
Bible, God came to save the people of Israel
because he heard their laments. God always
presents Himself as He who saves, who heals,
rises, who gives divine life. When God shows
Himself to man He gives a full life which
cannot fail because He gives everything.
When a soul strips itself of everything, it
opens up to the encounter with God and it is
only then that a new world and a new society
begins being built in that soul.
Why did Our Lady appear? Why does she
appear in many places? Not for the pilgrimages
or to make us meet the visionaries or for the
souvenirs, but to help us meet the living God.
You will see that the crisis in our society that
is worrying you is natural and necessary for
man’s purification. He needs to see that he has
to open his eyes and look for God and a life
in God. These times of trial have to exist and
we have to use them to search for God’s hand
and His presence and His will to save each
of us and our society. Moses opened his heart
to God and was able to conduct his people.
Don’t anyone say that Moses was a special
person either, because each of us are special
and could be called: to conduct our family, to
live in harmony with our spouse or for any
other task. Each of us receive God’s grace and
if we open our hearts, if we strip ourselves
of everything else and allow God to show
Himself as our Saviour we will be able to
guide others in daily situations. God wants to
conduct souls; He wants to save them. This
is beautiful. He cannot fail. Happy are those
who desire understanding, being open and
being led by God.
That which happened to the Israelites and
the apostles when they understood they had
to depart, to overcome the hardness of their
hearts and trust in God, must also happen to
us. The Jews overcame the problem of the
Red Sea. Have you never encountered the Red
Sea in your lives? It is the sea of our problems
placed before us to make our faith grow. In
our faith journey there are stops that must be
So what is the meaning of prayer, fasting
and renouncements? Their purpose is to
remove our ideas and open us up to salvation
to see God within us and hear His voice which
saves, which cannot err!
I like the positive example offered by
Jesus in the Gospel (Lk 13:1-9) where He
allows the gardner to hoe around an arid fig
tree and fertilize it. When Jesus calls us to
conversion He means: 'You are a plant that
can bear fruit. I placed all the necessary grace
within you. If you are unhappy, if you have
hatred or anger within you, you are on the way
to being lost. Look at yourself! Start hoeing
inside yourself to cultivate that grace!’ If man
does not convert and does not understand that
all the wealth is contained within him he will
be lost. Jesus hands Himself over for each one
So what is conversion? Jesus wishes to
heal your personality, your life, so you may
become a fruit-bearing tree. The invitation of
this evening is one of healing, of a more fertile,
happier and more fulfilled life. Dear brothers
and sisters, I hope you will under-stand these
words this evening and start putting them into
practise; then you will be able to bear the
image of God the Saviour, His true image.
There is no one that cannot begin realizing a
happy and fertile life.
Being a Christian is beautiful! But it is
beautiful to be a Christian when our hearing
and sight are healed. It takes penance and
renunciation to be healed: removing our
"sandals” and prostrating ourselves before
God, before the Crucifix, even together with
our family and saying: "Hear I am, I entrust
all to you. You, God, unveil your face to me.
I wish to follow you like Moses and reach my
Pray, pray, pray for your heart to be healed
Mary’s Heart is calling us:
it is still time of mercy
Bishop Paul Hnilica
, known for hIs
dedication to spreading the Fatima message,
has written to Marian prayer groups so that
during Lent they may accept the call to
conversion through the consecration to
Mary’s Immaculate Heart. "...The Lord
comes again through an extraordinary
effusion of his Truth and Mercy to renew
the world and his Church which so needs
the new Pentecost to help her rise from the
deep crisis she is in.
Many are the prophetic voices that the
Lord has roused in this century to announce
the coming of the great purification for the
whole world... God does not want to
frighten us, but neither can He remain
indifferent before so many scandals which
have not even spared the Church... We are
far from having seriously taken Our Lady’s
requests to establish devotion and
consecration to her Immaculate Heart in
the world as the only solution to the
problems of the world and the Church...
Though the consecration of Russia and the
world has been done and was the cause of
the fall of Communism, still today Russia
represents a threat for the world peace
because it has not received from the
Western world that spiritual and material
assistance with which to heal her wounds
produced by 70 years of atheism...
Without a doubt the greatest threat
denounced by Mary in Fatima is eternal
perdition, a vision of which she showed to
the shepherd children: Look how many
sinners go to hell because too few offer
sacrifices for them. In the new evangelization
of the Immaculate Heart of Mary we are
called to be, together with Mary Co-
redeemer, apostles of the new advent, where
our lives are a sign of conversion and of
announcement of the approaching triumph
of her Immaculate Heart. We are responsible
for the salvation of others who do not know
Her love. Let us become little, with humble
hearts, so God’s saving grace may flow
through us which is impeded by the sin of
We, the little children of Mary Co-
redeemer, are her only hope . She is looking
for the just to help her save the world... We
are called to complete in our own bodies
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ:
accepting our crosses and making sacrifices
for the salvation of sinners...
I would like to conclude by recalling
what I witnessed in Fatima on the 50th
anniversary. I went there on pilgrimage
with Paul VI. At the tomb of Jacinta I saw
Sr. Lucia cry bitterly. The Bishop of Fatima
said: "Do you know why she’s crying?
Shortly before Jacinta died, Jacinta told
Lucia that she would remain on the earth
for many years to spread the devotion to
Mary’s Immaculate Heart. Sr. Lucia cries
because she feels she has failed since the
message of Fatima has not been accepted
as it should have...” **
and thus be able to accept God who reveals
Himself in your poverty. Even where things
seem to have reached their end, God reveals
Himself and says. "Here I am, I have come
to save you and lead you to a new land, a new
life." Let us pray with joy. **
During his mission in France, Fr. Jozo
visited 6 churches. He did not speak of
"Medjugorje," but of the Queen of Peace and
roused a profound spirit of prayer at the
meetings. At Rouen he held a meeting in the
house of the Beatitudes. One of those present,
Stephen, was healed from a heart condition.
Fr. Jozo also spent one week in Slovakia.
He is now in Germany. At the end of April
he will be in Italy.
* Our Lady prays in Hebrew
- In her
apparition to Marija on the 14th March Our
Lady first prayed in Croatian then in Hebrew.
She does this when there is someone present
at the apparitions belonging to her people. On
that day there was a Jewish woman who had
become a Catholic. It's interesting to note that
in the plan of salvation Israel and the Church
are the one and same thing and in the end the
chosen people will recognize Christ.
(From Sr. Emmanuel's diary)
* Bishop of Avellaneda tells of
conversion on Podbrdo.
- When Msgr.
Rubeiro, a Bishop from Argentina, was in
Medjugorje he told of when he was in Italy
and met his father’s cousins. One was a
Communist, the other a Fascist, and talking
to them was nearly impossible.
"After some time I heard that they had
become devoted Catholics. When I spoke to
them they told me how they had been to
Medjugorje to accompany their wives on
holiday. Curiosity took them up Podbrdo and
they saw the sun spin and the cross on
Krizevac in flames. They were so shocked that
they went straight to the church and lined up
for confession. They began a new life. It is
their conversion that urged me to come here
and thank Mary for having poured Her love
onto my relatives."
Humility and Charity
smooth the way to Unity among
Catholics and Lutherans
"The Catholic-Lutheran relations have
made giant steps ahead in these 30 years
since the Second Vatican Council,” said
Card. Ratzinger at the dialogue conference
in Farfa, Italy, on the 450th anniversary of
the Council of Trent. "It seems that the issue
which is giving less problems is precisely
the doctrine of justification” (which was
behind the Protestant schism). The
Lutherarns have also dropped the
excommunications and the doctrinal
condemnations that they held against the
Catholic Church, it has been informed.
The dialogue was a revision of reciprocal
prejudices and to the overcoming of
misunderstandings. From this point of view
the Pope’s visit to the Scandinavian countries
has become decisive. When the Pope received
the participants of the Conference he told
them: "what we have in common is much
more than what divides us,” and he
encouraged them to redouble their efforts so
"we can celebrate the Great Jubilee, if not
completely united, at least much closer to
overcoming the divisions of the second
millennium... When we look at what has
already been achieved, we have every
reason to be confident that the Lord himself
who has begun the good work within us will
bring it to completion (cf. Phil 1:6).
SEEN IN MEDJUGORJE
News from the blessed land
* Fr. Slavko’s Mission in America
returned to Medjugorje on the 13th February
after a month away. He took words of trust
to Guatemala - a land that in the last 34 years
has been torn apart by war, earthquakes and
poverty. Many here bore witness to benefitting
from Medj. In El Salvadore he was received
into the President’s family. He also led many
prayer meetings in Ecuador, Peru and Cile
where great crowds attended.
In Quito (Ecuador) he was received by
Cardinal Echeverrio who showed a lot of
interest in the apparitions. In La Paz (Bolivia)
6,000 people attended the prayer meeting
which received authorization by the
Archbishop Luis Sanz Hinojosa. Three days
of prayer were held in Paraguay with 2,000
people present. As reported in Echo 118 the
Archbishop of Asuncion had asked the Pope
about the mission of a priest from Medj. in
his diocese and received this reply: Authorize
everything that regards Medjugorje.
In Argentina Fr. Slavko guided numerous
meetings in Buenos Aires and Cordoba and
also met the Nuncio Msgr. Julio Calabres who
expressed his desire to visit Medj.
On his way back, Fr. Slavko also held two
meetings in Italy.
The new Episcopal Conference of
Bosnia and Herzegovina held its first session
from 27-29 January in Mostar. There is no
mention of Medj. in the official communiqué.
Fr. Adrian Langa, a Franciscan in
, was in Medj. for the first time.
Though this country has suffered greatly, first
under Communism, now because of poverty
and drugs, the Church knows about Medjugorje
even if the press does not mention it. "My
impressions of Medj. are very positive. I
admire the faith of the pilgrims and the work
of the Franciscans."
Besides the communities mentioned in
Echo 117, there is another called Regina
Pacis which is very near to completion. It
belongs to the Piergiorgio Community of
Udine (Italy) and is for the disabled and the
sick of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Fr. Ciani,
untiring in his work, has relied on Providence!
* Fr. Slavko’s Village for young war
orphans will be built, and also in Siroki Brijeg
a college for young girls is being built and
will be run by nuns.
(From the Press Bulletin, Medjugorje)
is a very strong experience here,
with some people living on bread and water
for the entire 40 days. Twice a week the parish
organizes the Way of the Cross after Holy
Mass. Many climb the hill to pray. During one
Lent Jelena received this message: Dear
children, during Lent I wish for you to
especially feel Jesus’ Passion. Only this way
will you be able to rise with Him. I desire that
among your proposals for Lent the first one
should be help for the people who suffer. (15
The prayer meetings of Ivan’s group
began again on the last Friday of February on
the hill, at the blue cross. Now they will meet
on Tuesdays (not Mondays) and Fridays. His
wife, Laureen, is expecting a baby.
Fr. Slavko explains
the sign of Medjugorje
In a meeting with Italian pilgrims in one
of the green tents on the 11th March Fr.
Slavko was asked if the tears of the statue of
Our Lady in Rome could be a sign. His reply
took in much more than this single fact.
Once, Jesus called this a perverse and
unfaithful generation because it asked for a
sign (cf. Mt 16:4). Yet He Himself gave signs
which means He had nothing against signs;
He knows our reaction to them can be
positive. What He condemns is that we want
"our" signs. So He said: You will be given no
sign other than the one of Jonah, i.e., His
death and resurrection, but they didn't accept
it because they didn't want to convert. They
were asking for signs that suited them.
We witness a similar thing for Medj.:
some can’t accept it because the apparitions
last too long, others because the messages are
too simple and old-hat. It is our pride and
mentality that makes us say yes to some things
and no to others. Jesus too was told: Come
down from the cross and we’ll believe! What
would they have said had He descended from
the cross? Perhaps that He worked with the
head of the demons like when He healed the
blind and deaf man (cf. Mt 12:24). They
lacked humility and open hearts to be able to
say: It really is Him.
Why do we accept the presence of Our
Lady? Because we did not try to reason, but
through accepting God’s will we were able to
understand that the messages were real. One
cannot impose conditions on God.
Being humbly disposed is what opens our
minds and hearts to understanding and desiring
God’s will and this brings true peace. Our
Lady wants to help us avoid fighting against
God’s will. Often our prayers are reduced to
a fight with just this as we try to get what we
want; and when we don’t get it we are
disappointed. In a message Our Lady says:
Turn to God for His love for you, not for your
needs. That is why we have people who feel
bitter towards God, but God doesn’t play
It is easy to say to God: have mercy on
me, but asking forgiveness of someone you
offended is easier than making peace with
someone who thinks badly of you even if you
haven't offended him. And if someone offends
you? Perhaps you'd like him to make the first
move. It is up to you, though, to go to him
and make peace. Jesus wants us to do this
before we make our offering to the altar. And
are you happy if your enemy suffers? How
much a mother must suffer!
If we do not want to leave aside the bad
things that destroy us, how can we leave those
things which are not bad but which impede
us from being free? You say: Mary asks me
to say the Rosary, to fast, to confess... but then
it comes to nothing! What she wants is your
spiritual growth, with freedom of heart.
The 14th anniversary is nearly upon us.
Mary is asking us to be missionaries, but this
is not a question of leaving the messages in
other people’s mail boxes - who perhaps
leave them there because they don’t like them.
Only those who live the message are true
missionaries and carriers of the message.
A mother never frightens her children!
Is Our Lady crying tears of blood? Is she
announcing sad events? I am the maid
servant, she said, and I am your Mother!
Let there be investigations, but when a
mother cries in her home it is not for the
future, nor to frighten anyone. She
undoubtedly cries for the present situation
of her children. It is today, right now, that
the children must change, for their own
good. When we speak of dramatic events
in the future people are immediately
alarmed, but two days after they have
forgotten everything. Our Lady wants you
to change today. If a son has not forgiven
by evening, his mother is uneasy because
she knows he feels wounded and will be
unable to start the new day well. If he does
forgive all will pass and he’ll be at peace.
The future? It depends on us. Jesus says
not to think about tomorrow, to carry one’s
burden day by day. A mother does not
frighten her children. Rather, she warns
and helps them, but she does not announce
frightful events to her children towards
whom she is loving and protective. Too
many already have too much fear in their
hearts. Our Lady wants to free us from fear,
though she sees that trials will be needed
to purify us. A child cannot accuse his
mother of not loving him or of frightening
him when she has to take him to hospital
for an operation.
Someone asked: "What about saying
something to people who behave badly to
frighten them?" This doesn’t help. How can
one help drug addicts just by talking about
the consequences of drug addiction? They
don’t care much. Love, on the other hand,
is far more convincing - as when a person
offers his life for them, like Sr. Elvira. For
her they are: "pearls fallen into the mud."
Our Lady teaches us to do likewise, to love
as a mother does.
In his letter of 8 December, the Pope
appeals to women so that with their
maternal hearts they become workers of
peace. That is what the Queen of Peace
wants and she is helping us to get there.
Our Lady is advancing with her army...
Post-war worse than war
- What can
one hope for when politicians treat both the
aggressors and the victims in the same
manner? What can one expect from a world
where politics and groups are more important
than individuals? where people kill to earn
money? where the trafficking of weapons is
the highest paid business? where peace
negotiaters are incentivated to continue
with their useless negotiations by their
earnings of $20,000 a day?
Post-war conditions are worse than the
war itself. Now not just the houses are
destroyed, but the social structures and
moral ethics. There is no more State, no
authority, which is why the mafia and the
black market are prospering and why the
drug market has moved to here. It is better
to have a son who is disabled rather than
one who is a drug addict. Here the way is
free for all criminals who collaborate with
Then we have those destructive
conditions of hatred, suicide, despair and
madness - destroying families and
individuals. Has the war really finished, or
will it start up again? Our Lady had
forewarned us, but she didn’t do as some
had wanted which is why they didn’t accept
her. For her to stay here they expected that
she should have their permission... **
Conversation with Vicka
Our Lady is often sad
If you wish to see Vicka go to the Campo
della Vita (Field of Life - Sr. Elvira’s
community) - you’ll probably find her there
helping out in the kitchen or greeting people
in the dining hall with her friendly, smiling
manners which immediately put you at ease.
Everything about this place echoes the
Queen of Peace. If you’re looking for
somewhere that speaks of Her, come here.
The "boys" invited me to lunch, and I was
pleasantly surprised to find that Vicka was
seated next to me at the table. The following
is from the conversation that followed.
Q. Do you still receive the apparitions?
Yes, every day at the usual hour.
Q. And where? A. At home or elsewhere,
like here, or when I visit the sick.
Q. Has anything changed or are things
like the early apparitions?
Well, the same, but every encounter
with Her is always new. Words can't describe
it, nothing can be compared to it, not even
being with your mother or a best friend.
Q. A spiritual director of visionaries in
Italy is surprised that the visionaries of Medj.
never talk about Our Lady being sad.
. Well I often see her sad because of the
way the world is going; and I have said it [see
Echo 116]. She cried the first day when She
said: "Peace, peace, peace!" but She has also
cried because men live in a state of sin and
because they do not understand the Holy Mass
or because they do not accept the Word of
God. But Our Lady does not want us to be
pessimistic; She wants us to look to the future
with trust and this is why She calls us to prayer
and fasts which can do so much.
Q. What does Our Lady do when She
appears? A. She prays with me; at times She
has something to tell me. Like what? Well,
like saying what Her desires are, or asking us
to pray for peace and for the youth, or telling
us to live Her messages so to defeat Satan and
let Her plans be realized, or to read and
meditate a passage of the Bible every day.
Q. Doesn’t She say anything for you
personally? A. Whatever She says for
everyone is said for me too. And don’t you
ask for anything for yourself? A. That is the
last thing I would ask for.
Q. When will you publish the story of Our
Lady’s life? A. It is ready and will be
published only when She says so.
Q. Are you living in your new home now?
No, I live in the old one with my
mother, father and three brothers. But haven’t
you got a new house? Yes, but it is for my
brother who has a family and for another two.
Q. Do you go to Mass every day? A. Of
course, it is the most important thing of the
day. Sometimes I go to morning Mass in the
church, at times here, and sometimes at home
when there is a priest with us.
Q. Vicka, unlike the other visionaries, you
do not intend marrying - and so in a way you
belong to everyone. Marriage is a great
sacrament for someone called to this vocation,
and today especially with so many families
breaking up, we need holy families which I
think the visionaries would have certainly
formed. However, a virginal state makes you
closer to those models of visionaries such as
the shepherd children of Fatima and Melania
of La Salette who consecrated themselves
totally to God... A. Yes, like this I have more
time for God and for the pilgrims since I have
no other ties.
Q. That’s why you’re the one who
everyone wants to see. I’ve heard that you
might be going to Africa with Fr. Slavko -
or would you prefer to stay home? A. I have
no preference - going or staying is the same
for me. What I care about is doing the Lord's
Q. Are you well now? A. Yes, very well.
(In fact, she looks it.) My arm is better and
I feel in perfect health.
And after eating a typical northern Italian
dish, and a delicious roast fish, she went to
the kitchen to help clean up for the happy
brigade of 60 table companions: the "boys"
and various guests.
In another interview
Q. Does Our Lady give the same graces
today as in the beginning?
Yes, it is we who must be open to
receive what She desires giving us. When we
don’t have problems we forget to pray; when
we have them we rush to Her for help. We
need to desire what She wishes for us, then
we can tell Her our needs. The important thing
is that Her plans, not our intentions, are
realized, for they are God’s plans.
Q.What do you say about the young
people who feel empty inside, and of their
absurd way of living?
It is because they do not give prime
importance to what really counts in life. They
must change; Jesus must occupy first place in
their lives. They waste so much time in pubs
and discos! If only they could find half an hour
to pray, the void in them would cease
Q. How does one give first place to
Starting from prayer to learn to know
Jesus as a person. Believing in God in an
abstract sense (someone up in the clouds) is
certainly not enough. We must ask Jesus to
give us the strength to meet Him in our hearts
so He may enter our lives and guide our steps.
Q. Why do you always speak of the
Mary appeared once with her Crucified
Son. Seeing how much He suffered for us just
that one time was sufficient! But we do not
see this and we keep on offending him day
after day. The Cross is something truly great
for us too if we accept it. Each person has his
cross. When we accept it it’s as if it disappears
and this enables us to see how much Jesus
loves us and the price He paid for us.
Suffering is also a great gift for which we
must be grateful. He knows why He gave it
to us and when He’ll take it away - He asks
us to be patient. Do not say: "why me?" We
do not understand what our suffering means
to God, so we should ask for the strength to
accept it with love.
(From Stella Maris 2/95)
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Thank you for all you can do.
The tears of Mary:
examine selves before denying,
they could be a sign for us
The first reaction of many environments,
Catholic and non, was to ridicule everything,
calling it "deviant religiousness," "paranormal
phenomena" or easily explained tricks,
especially on the eve of electoral competitions!
Why so much zeal in trying to deny it? Also
the Pharisees did this with Jesus’ signs. The
other possibility has not even been considered:
what if the tears were real? We could be
induced to change our course in time. "What
one shouldn’t do is close one's heart to the
possibility that there are things in the world
which cannot be comprehended."
There is a strict relationship between the
passion of Christ our Saviour, Mary our
Mother and our state of sin. We do not
understand and do not wish to admit how
grave our state of sin is and thus we do not
understand the infinite Love of Jesus which
is manifested in the Blood He shed for us.
Neither do we understand how fatal is our
refusal of His mercy. We can imagine how
much Mary suffers - to the point of weeping
tears of blood
- since her impassioned
appeals of love in Medj. have been refused
by the ministers of salvation. It was through
a statue from Medj. that Our Lady wept, and
in Medj. she said: I beseech you, do not allow
my Heart to weep tears of blood for souls
who are being lost in sin. Therefore, my dear
children, pray, pray, pray! (25 May 1984)
In Her apparition of 19 Sept.1846 in La
Salette Our Lady told the two visionaries
Melania and Maximino: "How long I have
been suffering for you! If I do not want my
Son to abandon you I have to pray to Him
continuously, while you do not care at all.
There is much to pray and do: you will never
be able to compensate for the suffering I
have taken upon myself for you.
Fr. Tomislav reminded me that on the 5th
August (the two thousandth birthday of Mary)
he and Jelena presented a statue of baby Mary
(brought from Lourdes) to Our Lady for Her
to bless it and thus have a memento of that
special date. Tears started rolling down from
Our Lady’s eyes, then these became tears of
blood, these then turned into golden tears
which descended onto the statue. "There is a
meaning in this," said Fr. Tomislav.
"Reparation will be made for the tears of
sorrow through the triumph of Mary’s
Immaculate Heart. The message given to
Mirjana on the 18th March regarding the
sufferance of God confirms this."
My Mother truly is crying
The message by Jesus to a charismatic
person on the 6th March thus doesn’t seem
so odd. It seems to refer to the lachrymations
of Civitavecchia, Rome.
"My Mother truly is crying, my children.
If an earthly mother wept tears of blood she
would be seen as a mother whose love is
indeed great, but, instead, the Heavenly
Mother is mocked: scandal for the press, an
object of derision for those who wear my
robes, reason for superstition for those whose
faith is fanatical and "wear" her to ward off
evil. In this moment of profound sorrow,
Mary is clothed in the robe of humiliation and
sheds tears of blood out of pure love, because
she sees her children going towards perdition.
No one listens to her anymore, brothers and
sisters. Love her; she will lead you to salvation
and you will see that my Name shall triumph
through her name. Do not be confused by the
disappointment of men. Do not renounce
being children of Mary and the object of her
Love - she calls herself Mother of humanity
because this grand title was bestowed on her
by the Father. Follow her steps and you will
certainly be saved. Cover yourselves with her
mantle; it is the mantle of humility.
Do not lend your ears to men; be silent,
as she is. Remain whole in your spirit and
rather than say vain words, remain silent. In
silence, my Mother meditated and was united
to God. Make room for Her in your hearts so
Her Heart may be joined to yours and the
communion between you will be one: a
perfect unity between Mother and children,
and She will make you sit at her dinner table
in the house of Nazareth.
Never feel that poverty and humility make
you a lesser person, but be proud to be the
children of such a Mother and worthy children,
through Her, of the Father. So venerate this
holy image which weeps tears of sorrow for
her children. I (Jesus) give you my Heart. love
her with my Heart."
What Card. Ratzinger says
to give a reflection on the recent and numerous
cases of lachrymations at the opening of the
international Marian Congress of Loreto, the
Cardinal replied: "Our faith is not founded on
signs and miracles, though these can help.
What counts in the end is the much more
profound and radical foundation in the
encounter with God. So, there can be an initial
time, an awakening of the sense of the
supernatural, but this cannot be the final
Much caution is needed: we never know
how these things end up. We cannot over-
estimate said phenomena. Yes, we can leave
men with these aspects which can help them,
but at the same time we must be very clear:
this is not a foundation of our faith, and if
something is shown to be non-supernatural,
our faith will not break because its foundations
are very much deeper." (22 March 1995)
Take the signs seriously. If from
God, they'll hold up to the test -
Following Card. Ratzinger's intervention, Fr.
"When placed before signs from heaven
we must be serious, not superficial, not look
at them with pure human logic. Some signs
of this type have been recognized by the
Church (eg. Syracusa, sth Italy). To these
phenomena we should reply with faith and
practical conversion to God, then they would
become the object of true discernment: from
the effects that result one would see whether
they are from God or not. If they are from
God the fruits of conversion will grow; if they
are false, all will finish.
A sacrament is a sign of the grace of God
who works through them, and He can also
work through many other signs. Also the
satanic manifestations are connected to
Satan who works through them.
Our faith cannot be founded on signs, but
only on the Word of God. If God calls or
makes Himself heard through signs, we must
accept them as they are because He has
thought good to give us a further proof of
His Presence, and to call us to live the
Some questions for Fr. Amorth
1. If a curse is launched against you what
is the difference between being and not being
in God’s grace? A. A person in God’s grace
is protected as if by a suit of armour. Look
at what St John says (cf. 1Jn 5:18): He who
is begotten by God does not sin and God
protects him so that the devil cannot touch
him. There can be exceptions permitted by
God for a greater sanctification of that person,
as has happened with various saints who were
tormented and bashed by the devil. Generally,
though, a person in God’s grace need not fear.
What we must fear, instead, is he who can kill
2. Only those priests who receive
nomination from their Bishops are authorized
by the Church to exorcise and can be called
exorcists. Can the other priests exorcise
people in private? A. Only the exorcist priest
(never a lay person) can administer the special
sacrament which involves the Church authority
and is a public prayer. The other priests, and
the faithful, can recite prayers of liberation
according to Christ’s mandate: those who
believe in me, in my name will cast out devils
(Mk 16:17). They are private prayers and if
pronounced with faith are very effective. No
authorization is required to recite them and
since they are not bound by any special
formulas, set prayers or improvised prayers
can be used.
3. Can prayers of liberation always be
recited, or should they not be said for people
who are under the care of an exorcist? Can
they be recited by individuals or should they
be done by groups prepared for this type of
prayer? A. Prayers of liberation can always
be done. Even if a person regularly receives
exorcism by a priest it is very useful that
prayers of liberation are also said for him.
Above all, it is useful that he be helped to
begin a life of prayer and Christian instruction.
Yes, prayers said by a specially prepared
group who know how to offer these prayers
with faith, while observing the precepts given
by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the
Faith, are more efficacious. However,
individuals can also recite prayers of liberation.
4. We often hear of certain lay people
having the charisma of liberation who
exorcise without authorization. How should
we behave in their regard? A. If a person
receives the charisma of liberation from the
Holy Spirit he will have more force than an
exorcist. It must be clear, though, that he does
not do exorcisms, but prayers of liberation.
The Apostolic letter, Lumen Gentium (no.
12), points out that it is up to the ecclesial
authority to verify the charismas and control
their use. Of course, it is up to our own good
sense to discern first on our own, then listen
to what the priests have to say, as suggested
by the Holy Father in his Exhortation Pastores
dabo vobis. We’re full of would-be
charismatics, so common sense and prudence
are necessary to help us understand how we
5. Many groups are forced to meet in
private homes. Can the inhabitants receive
any sort of harm from the prayers of
liberation or the exorcisms that are performed
in them? A. No, these are not contagious.
Neither the people, nor the houses can be hurt.
On the contrary, it is very charitable to offer
one’s own home for prayers, including those
of healing and exorcism, when for these
particular prayers no other place is available.
Normally these are administered in churches
or sacristies, or other adjacent rooms.
Fr. Gabriel Amorth
Should we believe
"Should we take them literally these
predictions of imminent catastrophes which
many messages contain?"
Like John XXIII I do not like prophets
of "disaster" because: they are not infallible,
their prophecies veil the truth, and lastly
they can end up creating mass psychological
phenomena, inhibition or excessive, useless
and costly precautions. For example: some
time ago, some charismatic groups started
giving too much credibility to a "prophet"
who had announced the destruction of a
large city in Quebec (Sherbrooke). The
prophecy was largely influential and caused
a slump in the real estate prices, thereby
allowing real "predators" to buy houses and
flats at very low prices. Others, out of fear,
prepared for an escape. All of this for
Let it be clear that prophecies are never
fatal! The book of Jonah teaches us this. The
prophet said: Niniveh will be destroyed. The
inhabitants, however, did penance and Nineveh
was saved! The prophet even got angry about
it - we read in the Bible - because what he
announced did not come true.
Three days of darkness
- Many talk
about these three days of darkness which
will obscure the earth. This is not a new
prediction, but it became widely known in
Canada in 1990 when a paper from Quebec,
the Michael Journal, spoke about the
prophecy that a religious (David Lopez)
from Temora in Texas was supposed to have
received in Medj. on the 15th August 1987:
"During the three days of darkness there
will be no devils in hell for they will all be
on the earth. Some peoples will be martyred.
It will be so dark that we will be unable to
see our own hands. Close the windows and
do not pay heed to the voices you hear
outside during those days... Those who are
in the hands of God need not fear. After the
three days things will be serene, the water
pure and the life new...” The visionaries of
Medj., in particular Ivan, whom the Journal
mentioned, categorically deny that this
message was given through them.
The visionary Annamaria Taigi (died in
1837) spoke about this same prophecy, also
many others over these last two centuries,
but no one has given a precise time. Many
have added that only blessed candles will
give light in those days to believers devoted
to Mary! So will Mary protect only those
who have the candles?! This is ridiculous
If darkness comes, according to the
biblical image of the ninth plague of Egypt,
this darkness will be above all obscuration
of faith, sins and human disorder from
which our only defence is the light of our
faith locked away in our heart.
We know the real evil is sin and loss
. All the rest, including the threatened
material chastisements, can be either a
consequence of this evil, a representative
figure or a warning to make us escape from
it: I set before you life and prosperity, death
and disaster. Choose life, then, so that you
and your descendants may live, obeying his
voice... (Dt 30:15-20). It all serves to
provoke in us a more intense will to convert,
pray and offer personal and collective
sacrifices for the salvation of all, besides
being an invitation to us to be more vigilant.
We also know which position the Cross
and human suffering holds in the work of
redemption and our purification. Jesus
invites us to be trustful, joyful, full of hope!
Fixing our thoughts on prophecies of
disaster wastes our time because it distracts
us from the only thing we are asked to do:
concentrate on living a holy life according
to the Lord’s precepts, and pray with trust
to the Father who will not allow one hair
fall from our heads. The future belongs to
"Another thing to remember," says
Laurentin in Stella Maris, Feb. ’95 edition,
"is that a prophecy is never certain and in
the best of hypotheses is but an open
window to the problems of the future. The
future belongs to God only and our behaviour
can change His decisions. A true prophecy
is generally incomprehensible prior to its
realization. It often confounds the prophet
because its realization can refer to a
different context to that imagined."
And the secrets of Fatima?
opened these in 1960, but thought best not
to reveal them - it was not the job of a Pope
to publish a private revelation, but if at all
of the Bishop of Leiria. This unrevealed
secret for many became a legend, for others
a type of bogeyman. It probably warned
about calamities that would happen to the
Church after the Council but were
misinterpreted: a marked decrease in the
faith and Christian practice and education,
crisis in the clergy (40,000 abandoned
priesthood) and the loss of moral values.
Knowing beforehand such danger could
have opened people’s eyes and roused in
them a commitment to prayer and vigilance
which could have impeded the prince of
darkness from causing such desolation.
There was also the danger, however, that
people would limit their vision to the
material aspect of the catastrophic
predictions and rouse only alarm so that the
spiritual message of conversion would be
Laurentin concludes: "The times we live
in are difficult ones. God needs our prayers,
generosity and vigilance, not our divination,
to realize the explosion of grace so needed by
the world, and for that to happen we need to
listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit." Fr.A.
dire need of help.
On Easter Saturday 1992 the trip was
more difficult than usual. We had to travel
with our lights off as we took aid to Makarska
where children and women had taken refuge;
the men were on the front. I travelled with Fr.
Jozo and Chiarina. We opened the container
and distributed sweets to the children and
their mothers. They gave us decorated hard-
boiled eggs. For me it was a lesson of dignity
and love, and now, for me, these eggs are
more precious than gold.
But doubts filled my head and my heart
and my pride was still very strong. I was
pleased with myself when Chiarina would ask
me to go again and I’d say no, but eventually,
in December 1992 I went again.
In Medj. I found Our Lady again who was
dearer to me than what I’d admit, and I found
the people. I put the pieces of my heart back
together, but one piece of it remained there.
I started understanding the meaning of "give
to receive" and I felt loved - despite all my
limits and falls, I felt loved! More than
anything, my heart was now at peace. I found
peace where there was war, in a world where
people build their peace day after day, with
"calloused hands and feet," Sr. Elvira’s "boys"
My faith was still green and needed
assurance. Well, it never lacked. January
1993: Mostar, curfew, lights off. We unloaded
near the Franciscan convent. Their supplies
had finished. People were outside waiting as
we unloaded. They were hungry, and so were
the friars, but they joyfully gave up their meal
of eggs and cheese for us drivers. It was their
way of thanking us. Perhaps, if anything was
left, they would eat the following day after they
had finished distributing to whoever asked:
Croatian, Muslim, Serb, whoever. The sun
rises and sets for everyone, they say.
I was reborn here in Bosnia and I
understood that: Love does not come to an
end... When I was a child, I used to talk...
think... argue like a child, but now that I am
a man all childish ways are behind me... The
knowledge that I have now is imperfect; but
then I shall know as fully as I am known. In
short, there are three things that last: faith,
hope and love; and the greatest of these is
love (1 Co 13:8-13)
With this testimony we wish to pay
homage to all the generous aid deliverers
who make their way to the former Yugoslavia
amidst danger, discomfort and great difficulty.
They know only too well how Mary has
always pulled them out of impossible
situations so that they could carry out their
work of charity towards Her poor children.
Is it dangerous to go to Medj.?
of! Never has a pilgrimage to Medj. been
disturbed, not during the war and nor will it
be now when Mary is there waiting for us
"with open arms."
By road to Medj. -
The road along the
Adriatic coast is safe. The bus from Trieste
(bus station adjacent to train station) leaves
regularly every evening at 6pm and arrives in
Medj. at 8am. Return fare Lit.128,500 (ticket
valid 10 days). For reservations ring Italy
040-425001. By sea to Medj. - From Ancona
Italy to Split. Departures from Ancona:
Mondays and Wednesdays 9pm, Fridays 8pm.
Arrival in Split 7am. Departure from Split:
Sundays 9.30pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays
9pm. For reservations ring Italy 071-202033.
In Bosnia I discovered
I have fought the good fight to the end;
I have run the race to the finish; I have kept
the faith, says St Paul (2Tm 4:7). I, however,
did not put up my fight, I had stopped racing,
like one who has no more to give or receive;
my faith was a distant light in my life of
egoitism, money, arrogance and quarrels. I
had everything, but I had nothing and my
anger was so deep I could control it no more.
I became involved with aid delivery
because I have a lorry. At first I’d find excuses
not to go past Pese but I gradually went right
into Bosnia, and though I would have preferred
not to repeat the trips, an external force drove
me to go again and again. I knew nothing
about Medj., nothing about the war. I witnessed
true suffering and saw people who were in
The Saint of Joy:
St Philip Neri
We cannot forget to mention this saint this
year on his 400th anniversary. He is known
as the "prophet of joy and reformer of the
eternal city, who still today," said the Pope,
"maintains that irresistible charm that he used
with whoever approached him." Born in
Florence in 1515, his mother died when he
was young. He was cheerful and playful, just
like his other young friends who affectionately
called him Philip the Good.
At 18 he went to live in Cassino with his
merchant uncle and while there was attracted
by the monks' life of prayer. At 20 he went
to Rome to study at University but only a short
while after he decided to consecrate his life
to prayer. With his friendly and joking ways
he attracted to himself throngs of youth to
whom he gave an education. "Keep still if you
can," he would tell them. "Rather than see
you sin, I would prefer you to hit me over
the head. Lucky you, with so much time
ahead of you to do good." Such was the
goodness and wisdom that flowed from his
heart filled with the Holy Spirit.
Out of obedience he became a priest at 35
and with a group of young men founded the
Priests of the Oratory, which quickly became
the spiritual centre of Rome, where the Word
of God, singing, art and service to the poor
was cultivated. This centre produced great
saints and great men.
He begged for the poor, kocking at the
doors of the rich people. He once received a
slap in the face; Philip smiled and replied:
"That was for me, and I thank you. Now give
me something for the poor."
Philip's spirituality was joyous, alive and
spontaneous; typically Italian. God filled him
with such a great supernatural love that he was
unable to contain it. In one of his night visits
to the Catacombs his heart so filled with
God’s love and joy that his ribs broke.
"Withdraw yourself, my Lord," he exclaimed,
"keep back the wave of your grace!" And
aware of his own weakness, he prayed: Keep
your hand on my head; Lord, crush my pride!
He became the reformer of the clergy
through his example of lay Christians and the
way he united his priests in common life. He
held spiritual retreats and visits to the 7
Churches and other forms of popular piety,
which for those times was indeed daring.
During Holy Mass his body levitated and
to avoid making a spectacle of himself and to
come back down he would get the parish
priest to read "jokes" to him. He fell ill when
he was 80. Upon receiving Communion he
would exclaim with joy: "This is my medicine."
He died on Corpus Christi, 26 May 1595. **
Sped.Abb.Post.3/70, Aut.Trib.Mant.#13-8.11.86; Legal Dir: A.Lanzani; Printed by DIPRO, Italy, Fax: 0422-840804
China: the persecution continues
Over these last months there has been a new
offensive against the clandestine Catholic
Church: some churches were destroyed, three
priests were arrested, two convents were
closed down and the police disturbed
celebrations in three provinces. Behind the
raids are secret accusations by the governing
Catholics and the zeal of local governing
bodies. In Jianxi (southeast China) the
legitimate Bishop of Yujiang, Thomas Zeng,
a victim of oppression, has been opposed by
Bishop Wu Shizen from the official church.
From Asia News we also read that in February
twelve young Catholic women who had
decided to live and work together in a small
dress maker's shop were accused of organizing
a convent. They were fined and sent home.
or the Unity of the Church in Russia
- The Pope sent his blessing and well wishes
to Fr. Werenfried who has been sick "but is
a little reckless... I have been carefully and
anxiously watching the development of the
events in the former Soviet Union. I am
staggered to see the return of Stalinism... We
must acknowledge that 70 years of Communist
indoctrination have caused incurable
psychologic, spiritual and moral wounds: a
plague yet to be eliminated... People are
becoming aware that God’s Spirit who fills
the Church wishes to breathe with two lungs:
i.e., the sister Churches of the West and the
To work for this reconciliation would be
for me the greatest joy of my life. Western
Christianity must recognize its error and in a
spirit of reconciliation help the Eastern Church
with prayers and hands full of goodness:
Bibles, books, printed matter, radio, TV,
modern means and financial help..."
We can do our part. For information
contact "Aid to the Church in Need": Surrey,
England - ph. 081-6428668; Dublin, Ireland
- ph 013 77516; POB 576, Deer Park, NY
11729-059, USA; POB 250, Montreal Quebec
H3P 3C5, Canada; Eastwood NSW 2122,
Australia - ph. 02-6791929.
We have learnt from friends that in the
monasteries and houses of prayer in Russia
fasting is practised twice weekly, Wednesdays
and Fridays. They break their fast only after
receiving the Eucharist in the evening. Is this
not what the Queen of Peace has been asking
for? as if to unite the two Churches?
Once more a Church of Martyrs
Church has again become a Church of martyrs
who are often unknown: the unknown soldiers
of God’s great cause." A new Martyrology is
being prepared for the Jubilee. Nearly 500
missionaries - priests and nuns, but also lay
workers - have been killed over the last 30
years, without counting the 248 religious
killed in Rwanda. "As the Pope says, the
sowing of martyrs continues." The young
people from the Pontifical Missionary Work
organized a Missionary Martyr Day on 24
March with the theme They gave their life.
Apart from the Way of the Cross in the streets,
the day was one of fasts and works of mercy
(visits to a sick person), television sets off and
the planting of commemorative trees (last year
they planted 1,000). Many participated.
ECHO IN OTHER LANGUAGES
: Eco di Maria, C.P. 149, 46100 Mantova,
Italy. English: Echo of Mary, Cas.Post. 27, I-31030
Bessica (TV), Italy. French: Echo de Marie, 18 Allée
Thévenot, F-39100 Dole, France. German: Echo aus
Medj., C.P. 149, 46100 Mantova, Italy. 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 36-2176183.
: Ecou din Medj., P.O.B. 41-132, Bucharest,
Romania; Albanese: Jehona e Medjugorje, L.1 p.10,
ECHO from the ECHOES
: "Echo is the publication
which I wait for most impatiently and read
most joyfully. I give it to monks and nuns who
devour it..." (Françoise Bertin)
: "I received the good news
that the Archbishop of Shkodër has asked for
several copies of Echo." (R. Prendushi)
- the Portughese edition has
now reached the 150,000 mark.
We receive mail
from all corners of the
earth, and it brings us great consolation.
, north Italy: Ricki writes:
"With your wonderful help I am persevering
along my faith walk... I would like to help
young people onto the same path... What do
you think?" Dear Ricki, Keep your love for
Jesus. This love flows over by itself onto
others. It is the Lord who, through our
obedience, makes us His instruments of
salvation and may even call us to a particular
task. The greatest of tasks, though, is falling
prey to His love and continuing with His
prayer and offering, for the good of all. He
will use us when we cast the net in His Name.
, who till not long ago
distributed Echo in the US is now in Naples
working for the US Consulate. She writes to
say she is still involved in the White Army,
and in response to the Pope’s invitation, is
organizing in Naples a movement of women,
teachers of peace
called PAN (American-
With all the women who work for peace,
Mary is weaving a robe for Christ who
suffers in mankind so that tomorrow it may
rise according to the image of God its
Echo must remain the way it is
France, Sr. Dominique writes: "I write on
behalf of many who wish to say: Keep Echo
the way it is: modest and sober. There is no
need to make it more pleasing to the eye:
nothing extra for the reader, but extra burden
for you. Echo responds perfectly to our needs:
sober, plain and dense like the pages of the
Bible. The Word of God does not need
accessories. It is light, portable, easy to put
in one’s pocket, easy to pass around and ends
up 'wearing out' it is read so much. We like
you, we are grateful to you and we pray for
you." Thank you for this consoling
May the Pasqual Sacrament and the
Mother of the Risen One
awaken in us faith
and prayer so we may have love and peace
to donate to others. Let us open our hearts then
to the motherly blessing in the Name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
God’s answer to a prayer
I asked God for strength to carry out great
projects; He made me weak to keep me
I asked God for health so I could realize
great undertakings; He gave me pain and
sorrow so I could understand it better!
I asked Him for wealth so I could possess
everything; He made me poor so I would not
I asked Him for power so men would be
in need of me; He gave me humiliation so I
would be in need of them!
I asked God for everything so I could enjoy
life; He left me with my life so I could
Lord, I received nothing of what I asked,
but you gave me everything that I needed, and
nearly against my will.
The prayers I did NOT say were answered!
Praised be you, my Lord! Among all men
no one possesses what I possess!
Kirk Kilgour (Sports champion confined
to a wheelchair after an accident)