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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 195 (September-October 2007)

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Our Lady’s message, 25 July 2007:
“Dear children! Today, on the day
of the Patron of your Parish, I call
you to imitate the lives of the Saints.
May they be for you an example and
encouragement to a life of holiness.
May prayer for you be as the air
you breathe, and not a burden. My
Children, God will reveal His love to you
and you will experience the joy of being
my beloved. God will bless you and give
you grace in abundance. Thank you for
responding to my call.”
Imitate Lives of Saints
Holiness does not consist in sitting at the
right or left of Jesus in His Kingdom, but in
drinking from His same cup (cf. Mt 20:20-
23). Mary invites us once again to imitate
the lives of the Saints
. She already called us
to this on the 25th September 2006. Holiness
isn’t a set of rules to respect, but a way of
life to be lived, and when someone accepts
Jesus for the sole sake of Love, thus without
reserve and without calculation, then His life
will fl ow in that person. Jesus says: “I am the
way, the truth and the life. No one comes to
the Father if not through me. To know me is
to know the Father”
(Jn 14:6-7).
It is only through Jesus that we can
reach the Father; that is, to be holy. And
it is only in Jesus that we can know Him
and love Him. To know Jesus isn’t the
same as knowing everything that the holy
scriptures have revealed about Him, because
a historical knowledge of Him is insuffi cient
if it doesn’t open the heart and mind to an
experience of Him and the desire to be in
greater communion with Him. Instead, one
needs to have Jesus as a companion, friend,
and brother along life’s journey. One really
needs to let Him cut through, soul and body,
to become His living image.
This is what happened, and still happens
today by seemingly common people, but
whom the Church acknowledges as being
holy. Mary has invited us to imitate their
; not to imitate something of their
character, but to draw from that fi re of divine
Love which worked in them and which can
and wants to work also in us The saints are
for us an example and a stimulus to a life
of holiness,
Mary says. And we will learn
that prayer – to which Mary continues to
call us – will no longer be a burden, but will
become as natural as breathing.
To stop breathing for several minutes
would put our physical life at great risk.
Likewise, if we stop praying our spiritual
life is put at great risk. Rather than set
aside a time for the Lord of time, our every
moment should be His: whether waking or
sleeping, our soul should be drawn by Him.
This relationship of love between creature
and the Creator ought to be like breathing:
so spontaneous and natural that we don’t
even realize we are doing it.
“My Children, God will reveal His
Love to you,” Mary goes on to say. We
shall come to know His Love which has
been revealed to us in Jesus Christ, and in
Jesus we shall fi nd our personal and fi lial
response and experience the joy of being
Mary’s beloved
. And this is eternal life,
that they know thee the only true God, and
Jesus Christ whom thou has sent
(Jn 17:3).
This life doesn’t begin after death, but now
and here on the earth, because it is on this
earth that Christ consecrated Himself, and it
is here in our earthly existence that we can
be consecrated in the Truth, that is, in Jesus
Christ (cf. Jn 17:19).
To the youth who seek new experiences
we suggest to not exclude the experience of
life in Christ. Instead, try out how it can be
possible to give oneself totally to Him, and
fi nd oneself in Him and be truly free and
master of one’s own life. The Son of Man
has the power to give his life and to take
it back again. Praise the Lord! Praise the
Lord, my soul! I will praise the Lord for as
long as I live. I will sing praises to my God
for as long as I live!
(Ps 146).
Nuccio Quattrocchi
“Pray the Rosary always. Pray it often,
at every possible occasion. Satan tries
to destroy this prayer, but he will never
succeed. It is a prayer that reigns over
everyone and everything. Mary taught us
to pray the Rosary, in the way that Jesus
taught us to pray the Our Father.”
St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina
Our Lady’s message: 25 August 2007
“Dear Children, also today I call
you to conversion. May your lives,
my Children, be a refl ection of God’s
goodness, and not of hatred and infi delity.
Pray, my Children, until prayer becomes
life. That way you will discover the peace
and joy that God gives to those who are
open to His Love.
And you that are far from God’s
mercy: convert, that God may not
become deaf to your prayers, and that
it might not be late for you. In this time
of grace, then, convert and give God
fi rst place in your lives. Thank you for
responding to my call.”
Conversion and Life
Our gestures and actions, thoughts,
desires and projects - even when apparently
insignifi cant - are not without meaning for
our own life and that of the world. And
we can also say that the decisions of the
powerful in the world are not as determining
for the fate of mankind as one might fi rst
think. What really counts in a life is its
degree of conformity to God’s original
project; the conversion of individuals and of
families. In the economy of salvation there
is greater worth in the holiness of someone
completely unknown by the world than in
the arrogance of whoever is in power at the
We are taught by Holy Scripture that
history is written by God. Yet, to think that
we can do without God is the temptation
that accompanies every generation.. But
the antidote to this old poison hasn’t
changed either, and Mary never tires of
telling us: “Dear Children, also today I
call you to conversion.”
This hasn’t to do
with good intentions, but with our very life
that ought to refl ect the goodness of God,
and not hatred and infi delity
. Since this
isn’t something we can do on our own, we
need to implore from God the grace to be a
refl ection of His goodness: Father, not my
will, but Thine be done
(Mk 14:36), in the
knowledge that in His Will alone can we,
as men and women, and as God’s Children,
fi nd full realization; in doing His will that
our hearts can experience His Love.
“Pray, my Children, until prayer
becomes life for you,” pleads Our Lady.
Prayer introduces us into life in God, and
should be more than just a part of our life. It
ought to be as oxygen for our lungs (see last
month’s message). This way we’ll discover
the peace and joy that God gives
to those
who are open to His Love, and to His mercy.
And you that are far from God’s mercy
(those who refuse Him or think they can
September - October 2007 - Echo of Mary, P.O. Box 47, I-31037 Loria (TV), Italy. Yr 23 # 5
Ph. +39 (0)423-470331 - www.ecodimaria.net - A translation of the original Italian: Eco di Maria
of the
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live without Him) Mary says: convert, that
God may not become deaf to your prayers,
and that it might not be late for you.

These words express the immense love of a
Mother and her concern for her children in
danger. They are not a threat, but an appeal,
because the danger is before us all, since we
all run the risk of removing ourselves from
divine mercy, of turning God into an idol;
and we know that idols cannot hear. Even
consecrated souls, or “chosen” souls run the
same risk; rather they are even more exposed
to this danger.
The latter part of Mary’s appeal, I would
say, is for all: “In this time of grace, then,
convert and give God fi rst place in your
They are words that give hope and
courage, and should make us even more
determined to decide for God, truly and with
haste, because time has grown short ( cf. 1
Co 7:29). If you have not so far put God
fi rst, hurry to do so now. If you have done it
without acting accordingly, and if you have
not realized how you have gradually pushed
Him aside, remember that we are still in time
because this is a time of grace. But for how
much longer?
Join in Simultaneous
Worldwide Rosary
World Day of the Rosary: 7 Oct.
It is hoped that millions of people
worldwide will participate in the event. Last
year, more than 100 countries participated,
with rosaries prayed simultaneously in 8,000
locations. Promoters suggest organizing a
Rosary Prayer Session in your community,
whether it be a massive event in a Church or
a Stadium, or just with family and friends”
all for the same intentions (see below). “In
2007 we are already celebrating eleven years
of organizing this event, in which, with the
blessing of Our Most Holy Mother Mary,
every year more people and more countries
join in to pray the Rosary,” explained
Guillermo Estévez Alverde, one of the
Mexican laymen who launched the initiative
a decade ago.
“During the Worldwide Rosary Day
which took place in October 2000 more
than 140 countries joined in, with scores of
Rosaries organized in Churches, stadiums,
Cathedrals, bullfi ght rings, town squares,
jails, hospitals, schools, etc. Many of these
events were broadcast over live radio or TV.
Millions of people participated all over the
world,” said Estévez.
The main event will be held in Basilica
de Guadalupe in Mexico City.
The World Rosary will be prayed for
six intentions. The intentions are: for the
Grace of God to nourish the fl ourishing of
love among mankind; for peace on earth; for
the preservation of life and family values;
for the Pope and his intentions; to promote
priestly and religious vocations; and for
local intentions. Further information and
suggestions at:
(from Zenit News)
Benedict XVI:
a Pontiff to know
and love better
When he was elected everyone thought
they already knew the new Pope, Benedict
XVI, formerly Card. Joseph Ratzinger,
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith. But things weren’t that simple, it
seems. Those who have remained with their
prejudices continue to be irritated by the
interventions of the Holy Father concerning
in particular morals and doctrine. Instead,
those who love the Pope understand that
behind his gentle and reserved ways there
is a man who deserves to be known and
loved more.
Card. Ber tone describes him as
being caring and attentive, profound and
unassuming, likeable and not at all arrogant.
He says his Christian happiness shines
clearly; his character is German, his heart
is Roman, he is poetic and creative, and
especially, he is kind with everyone - he
People like this can’t be classifi ed so
easily. They are like violets in spring: most
delicate fl owers hidden under the hedges.
Right Pope for right moment
I am certain that the saying that says
the Lord sends the right Pope for the right
moment in history contains a profound truth,
both for the many pontiffs who distinguished
themselves for their holiness and wisdom,
and for those whose faults became more
evident because of their attachment to
earthly things. To consider the more than
two hundred Popes since the beginning of
the Church one cannot but be convinced of
the work of the Holy Spirit in His choice of
persons. Here, however, we will consider
only the last two.
John Paul II
: like other figures of
our time, his witness was extraordinarily
exemplary and educational. Only Pope
Woytjla could have brought together the two
million young people for the Great Jubilee,
and the many more that lined up for hours
on end to pay homage to his mortal remains.
Also Mother Teresa, after her death, was
able to bring together Heads of State, most
of whom weren’t Christian.
The world, fearful for the cold war and
nuclear threats, needed a ray of sunlight to
melt hearts and chains. Just as the trumpets
of Israel’s priests brought down the walls
of Jericho, so did John Paul’s life as priest,
bishop and Pope bring down the walls of
the totalitarian system of East Europe. This
Pope knew how to fi nd unexpected words
and gestures, such as kissing the ground,
embracing a child, touching a sick person,
forgiving his would-be-assassin, asking for-
giveness for the errors of men of the Church,
asking for a glass of water, placing a prayer
in the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem, offering
without shame his sufferings to the end.
His life was a continual and exceptionally
powerful lesson.
Benedict XVI
: The
educational power
of this Pope lies in
the “certainty of the
Magisterium”. His
continued opposition
to the current thought
pervaded by relativism
and mistrust in the
truth is a courageous
witness for all. He helps the people to see the
reasons of truth and of good, helping these
to take root in their hearts. It is for this that
Benedict XVI is loved and esteemed also by
many who aren’t Christian or even believers,
but who are in accord with the broad lines
of the Holy Father’s defence.
But what does Pope Benedict say?
What theme distinguishes him?
Our faith has to do with reason - said
Benedict XVI, who helps us to turn our gaze
to the centre of Christianity, and to have a
positive view of mankind. He tells us that
man’s existence is not fruit of chaos, but of
Logos, of order.
Many witness to his passion for the tru-
th. So is he all head and no heart? Absolutely
not. In fact, his fi rst encyclical is entitled
“God is Love,” and he explains how love and
reason can walk together. “God is Spiritus
, he is Logos, he is reason,” he ex-
plained in an Audience. “And this is why our
faith is something that has to do with reason,
can be passed on through reason and has no
cause to hide from reason, not even from the
reason of our age. But precisely this eternal,
immeasurable reason is not merely a mathe-
matics of the universe and far less, some fi rst
cause that withdrew after producing the Big
Bang. This reason, on the contrary, has a
heart such as to be able to renounce its own
immensity and take fl esh. And in that alone,
to my mind, lies the ultimate, true greatness
of our conception of God.”
Shepherd and Fisherman
“The Pope has fashioned his ministry -
which he called at his election “unheard-of
task” - around the images of shepherd and
fi sherman,” said Card. Grocholewski, “and
on their value at the service of God’s love
for mankind, and on God’s love and on love
for neighbour. To feed - he said - means to
love; love means to give the sheep the true
good, to nourish them with God’s truth…
The task of a fi sher of men may seem tiring,
but it is beautiful and great because in the
end it means to serve the joy of God who
wants to come into the world.”
From these words by someone who
knows the Pope well there emerges an
interesting fi gure, but the person of Benedict
XVI is becoming gradually clearer also
by the way he “dots his i’s and crosses
his t’s” at his various interventions and in
his writings. And to him goes our thanks,
especially for the lucidity of his judgement
and calls. When it comes to telling the truth
we at times lose friends and make some
enemies, because the truth is harmful to
some; especially to those who to light prefer
falseness and darkness which they use to
hide their own interests.
Fr. Nicolino Mori
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to comprehend the meaning and
to taste a little of the beauty that
has surrounded Our Lady for
Holiness is an exclusively
divine attribute, and stands
for uniqueness, absoluteness,
constancy and also “Being”
par excellence. The Trinity,
in view of the mission Mary would have
been entrusted with, created her to a very
high degree, and granted her some divine
qualities; the same qualities which will
be given to all those who will adhere
to God’s Kingdom. To acquire holiness
means to make one available for a proposal
of love that makes one an instrument for
the realization of a “plan”, and Mary is
an excellent instrument in the hands of
This title explains the fundamental
reason for Mary’s beauty. Christ, Only Son
of the Father, who is therefore God as is the
Father, could not have had any contact with
sin; therefore, His mother had to be all holy.
This “motherhood” was extended - by Christ
- to all those who do the Father’s will. Mary
certainly does not come in the way, or fear
to have to share with us this motherhood;
instead, she works to make us all the more
able to carry out this will of the Father.
Virginity is characteristic of one who
“awaits”, that is, one who isn’t occupied
with or distracted by things that pass or
have no eternal worth. It is the quality by
which a person becomes the exclusive gift
for him who chose her fi rst and for always.
Virginity is to see oneself as the object of
divine Love, a vessel that God fi lls with
Himself to manifest His power, faithfulness
and fecundity.
This refl ection of mine is little more
than a child’s babbling on the greatness of
God who raised up Mary Most Holy; but it
is the babbling of a child who feels loved by
and who loves very much the Woman who
cannot be compared to any other for her
beauty and goodness.
(1. to be continued)
Fr. Ludovico Maria Centra, O.S.A.
It is an extraordinary and
beautiful sight, that of a fi eld
in spring with its many fl owers
of varying hues, shapes, and
scents. The harmony of it refl ects
the beauty and harmony of the
Creator. We could define the
praises of the Mother of God,
the all holy one, the Virgin
Mary, in the same way: that is,
a blossoming - spontaneous and
sweet, simple and profound - of
the many titles that sing the praises of the
wonderful things
God did in the humble
Virgin of Nazareth.
I am talking of the Litanies: a fl ourishing
of praises, of invocations that gush from
the fervent heart of he who feels Mary’s
protection and recognizes in Her the
greatness of the Most Holy Trinity. The fi rst
“seed” that began to produce this wonderful
wreath of invocations can be seen in the
Archangel Gabriel’s greeting when he came
to announce the birth of the Redeemer: Hail,
Full of Grace…
and just moments later:
you will be the Mother of the Son of God.
These were the fi rst of many titles attributed
to Our Lady that sing her greatness because
she is most humble, and her beauty because
she is most holy.
To indicate a date for birth of the
Litanies, especially the Loreto Litanies
(from the Shrine of the Holy House at
Loreto, Italy) one thinks of the XV century;
and since then there has been a stream of
praises to the Divine Mother for the benefi t
of yearning and suffering hearts.
This way of praying is schematic,
without undermining the spontaneity
and poetic inspiration of the faithful. The
prayer of the Litanies always begins with an
invocation to Christ and the Trinity and is
concluded with the triple invocation to the
Lamb of God. Also the praises of Mary are
fruit of refl ection on the redeeming work
that the Father wrought through Christ
and in view of His birth, the main source
being Holy Scripture, the teachings of the
Church, Tradition but also the good sense
of Christians.
The fi rst titles of the Virgin sing of
God’s gift to mankind by creating Holy
Mary and making her the Mother of Christ
and Virgin of Virgins. For the moment
we can consider these three titles, and we
shall continue in the next issues of our
with the other, more specifi c titles,
“After being taken up into Heaven, Mary did not distance herself from us but
continues to be even closer to us and her light shines on our lives and on the history
of all humanity. Attracted by the heavenly brightness of the Mother of the Redeemer,
let us turn with trust to the One who looks upon us and protects us from on high.
We all need her help and comfort to face the trials and challenges of daily life; we need
to feel that she is our mother and sister in the concrete situations of our lives.”
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, Solemnity of the Assumption)
Love is Joy
Simple thoughts by Pietro Squassabia
I am fi lled with comfort. With all our
affl iction, I am overjoyed (2 Cor 7:4).
Some time ago I met an elderly person
who though she was sick, she was very se-
rene. I could clearly see the joy in her eyes.
I wondered why she was so joyful and from
where that joy came. Perhaps all we can say
is that joy doesn’t depend on age or health,
that it isn’t something at the grasp of the
young and not of the elderly, or of the res-
pected rather than those who are not.
Joy, it seems, has its own strength and
courage; it doesn’t fear what men fear, and it
doesn’t fail to appear even when everything
seems negative. I am certain that Jesus
would not have lost His joy, not even during
His Passion. On the other hand, without joy,
how could He have said: Father, forgive
them for they do not know what they do
23:34), or to the good thief: Today you will
be with me in Paradise
(Lk 23:43).
Joy, it seems, is closely connected to
love. It takes joy to love. This is the reason
why Jesus never lost His joy: because He
is love. Satan cannot have joy because he
doesn’t know how to love. More than this,
he fears joy, and he thus fl ees from a happy
heart. Of course, without joy, one cannot
love neither God nor men. I think that Mary
would not have lost her joy either, not even
on the way up Calvary. I think that otherwise
she would have had to fl ee from her Son’s
I wonder: what is joy, or rather: who is
joy? Perhaps, joy is more a person than a
thing. Joy is closely connected to God; and
it seems can only be in God. So, if we do
not have joy maybe it means that we are far
from God. Joy, I think, is like fuel that gives
us more mileage. It gives man the strength
to do good things at whatever age. I would
say, rather, that joy makes all men “young.”
That is why we see elderly people who are
“young”: it is because they have joy. By the
same token we see young people who are
“old” because they do not have joy.
By this reasoning, we can say that God
who has joy is “young”, and Satan who
hasn’t got it is “old.” Also Mary, and the
angels and the blessed are “young” because
they have joy to the full. St. Paul said on the
matter: “You have put on the new nature
which is being renewed in knowledge after
the image of its Creator”
(Col 3:10). The
best cure for the “old man” is to have this joy
and the youthfulness that comes with it.
Joy is humble, it always forgives, and
never wishes someone ill; it never takes
revenge, but always procures good for self
and others. Joy always trusts the Lord; it
is like love. What strikes me most when
I go to Medjugorje is the intense joy that
invades the hearts of people without any
apparent reason. It is certainly the work of
God who is Joy, through the intercession of
the Mother. So let us not waste the grace
received at this holy place, but put to good
use the favourable moment. We can ask the
Mother for her help, for us and for others,
and trust that it will be granted. Then, per-
haps, we too will be able to lend her a hand,
according to her request.
A Flowering Field for the Blessed Virgin
Echo 195
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There was so much variety, noticeable
in peoples’ faces, hairstyles, way of
dressing, the colour of their skin, eyes,
in their ages… The nicest thing was to
encounter so many smiles: people smiling
at each other in the crowd gathered round
the church of St. James (an estimated
30,000 participants at the festival) and
feeling one of the family.
The dust was raised when the young
people danced, and the same dust covered
their feet when they knelt before Jesus
in the Eucharist during Holy Mass and
Eucharistic Adoration. I am certain all
can confi rm that the biggest crowds were
precisely during these two moments of
prayer with the Eucharist!
Behold Him Who is the centre of our
Behold Him Who has the power to speak
to our hearts.
Behold Him Who renews His offering for
us at every holy Mass, Who remains with
us every day hidden in a piece of bread to
become our “daily bread”!
Many were the testimonies given:
by the visionaries (Marja, Mirjana, Ivan,
Jakov), by the clergy and religious (Mons.
Domenico Sigallini, Fr. Jozo Zovko, Sr.
Elvira, and others), by former drug addicts
(New Horizons Community, Sr. Elvira’s
Cenacle Community), by people from the
world of music, cinema, politics, and the
mass media. Their words certainly offered
a “fl ash” of light to each of us, but the
greatest light came from Him who can heal
our hearts: the true light of our only true
God. Our Lady often says to us: “give God
fi rst place in your lives.”
The days of the Festival came to a
conclusion at dawn on the 6th August, feast
of the Transfi guration of the Lord, with the
celebration of Mass atop Krizevac. It was an
appropriate festivity and place to mark how
God desires moulding and transforming us
and giving His grace to those whose hearts
are open and generous and wish to work for
the renewal of the face of the Earth.

The following words were addressed to
us: “the real festival begins when you go
back home.”
It is true that our day-to-day
life, our cross and the world that awaits us
will be the test that will show which and
how much fruit will come from the seed that
was sown in the terrain of our souls.
“Love one another, even as I have loved
(Jn 13:34)
Mirjana: apparition of the
2nd of the month
Mirjana Soldo receives a monthly
apparition, at times in public in the pavilion
of the Cenacle Community. At the end of
the apparition she transmits any eventual
message Our Lady may have given.
Message of 2 August: “Dear children,
Today I look in your hearts and looking
at them my heart is seized with pain. My
children, I ask of you unconditional, pure
love for God. You will know that you are
on the right path when with your body you
will be on the earth, and with your soul
you will always be with God. Through this
unconditional and pure love you will see my
Son in every person. You will experience
union with God. As a Mother I will be
happy because I will have your holy and
unifi ed hearts. My children, I will have your
salvation. Thank you.”
Mirjana said of the apparition: “At
the beginning of the apparition our Lady
showed (me) what we can expect if in our
hearts there is not holiness and brotherly
union in Christ. It wasn’t at all nice. She
exhorted us to pray for our pastors because
she said that without them there is no
Message of 2 Sept.: “Dear Children, in
this time of signs of God do not fear, because
I am with you. God’s great love sends me to
lead you to salvation. Give me your simple
hearts, purifi ed
b y f a s t i n g
a n d p r aye r.
Only in the
simplicity of
your hearts is
your salvation.
I will be with
you and lead
yo u . T h a n k
(2-7 July)
The presence of over 600 priests around
the external altar, behind St. James Church,
made us understand that the retreat for
priests had begun, under the guidance of
Fr. Tomislav Ivancic, a well-known priest
and professor of theology at Zagreb. Fr.
Raniero Cantalamessa (Capuchin monk
and offi cial Vatican preacher) was meant
to be preacher at these spiritual exercises
for priests this year, but unexpectedly his
participation was impeded.
These priests, young and not so young,
create a perfect icon of the children so loved
by the Queen of Peace: gathered together
under her “motherly wings” and hailing
from 46 different countries. Gathered there
around the altar there seemed so many,
but in reality they are still too few for the
harvest of the world’s fi elds.
On the 2nd July, the day the retreat
began, Our Lady spoke through the
visionary Mirjana of the importance of
priests and the priestly blessing.
These last few weeks here at Medjugorje
have been very hot and dry, burning not
only the grass but also the shrubs typical
of this region in Herzegovina, and also the
skin of pilgrims. The hills that surround the
shrine have been blackened here and there
by fi res which have been lighting up several
of the past night skies. Nothing, however,
could impede the fl ow of pilgrims. The
land is showered, not with rain, but with the
prayer and silent beating of hearts turned
to God. I am often surprised by the serene
looks of people whose legs are tired and
swollen by the heat.
(1 - 6 August)
“Love one another, even as I have loved
you” (Jn 13:34)
“Dear Children, today I call you to love.
My Children, love each other with God’s
Love. The Risen Jesus will be with you and
you will be my witnesses.”
(Message, 25
March 2005)
Flags from many countries (at the
festival more than 50 different nations
were represented), lifted up high and
blowing in the wind, created an image of
communion amongst the young people as
they all listened, prayed, sang and danced
beneath the blazing sun of Herzegovina.
Praising God with their every movement
and gesture happiness radiated from their
faces. Three or four different fl ags on the
same pole was a simple way of expressing
that peace and unity becomes natural when
we know how to “love each other as Jesus
has loved us”…
News From Medjugorje ...
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A Selection of Testimonies:
The Priests
“I came to encounter Priests from around
the world that come here, to experience
communion with them, and union with
Christ, independent of where we come from
or live. We belong to Christ and to Mary.
We came to encourage each other and to
carry on.”
“This is truly a holy place where we
know Heaven comes down to touch the earth
through the Mother of God. I have been
profoundly touched.”
“This is my fi rst time at Medjugorje. I
came because I had seen the many fruits.
There was something that always concerned
me: I had the impression that here at
Medjugorje Our Lady spoke too much, but
upon seeing the fruits I told myself to come
and see. What one experiences here is simple
yet very profound.”
“I was surprised by the change in
preacher, but I see in this the action of the
Holy Spirit who loves to confound our plans.
In this retreat I have understood that I am
not to try to save fi rst my parishioners, but
fi rst myself! If I sanctify myself, they will
“Here a priest can understand the
extraordinary sensation of what Church
is. Here we truly experience the universal
Catholic Church in its diversity: we all
experience the same thing, and we come
from different cultures.”
And to conclude, the impressions of
Mons. Sebastian Thekethecheril, BISHOP
of the diocese of Vijayapuram (India):
“This is the most beautiful place in the
world because the most beautiful Woman
has appeared here. Why is she the most
beautiful Woman? Because she conceived
the most beautiful person: Jesus Christ. Why
is Mary so beautiful? Because she is full of
grace. Here we can see this grace, especially
during this retreat we have seen it. Many
priests, more than 600, are here, and I see
that they are all happy. Why? It is only when
people are fi lled with the Holy Spirit that
they can be happy, now and in eternity.”
(© Informativni centar “Mir” Medjugorje)
The Youth
Vincent, 17 years old
I came here nearly by chance. I met a
priest in a bus and he suggested I come. I
told him that I left the Church a long time
ago, but then I decided anyway to try this
experience. As soon as I arrived I saw kids
my own age praying the Rosary and I thought
they were all mad. But then I thought that
if they were doing it, why should I be the
only one not doing it. So here I was the fi rst
day at Medjugorje and praying the Rosary. I
have lived many other powerful experiences,
including the apparition to Mirjana, and the
climb up Podbrdo. It had been fi ve years
since I entered a church. I really didn’t
expect to fi nd so many other young people
my own age.
Matthew, 20 years old
This is my fourth time here at Medjugorje,
and it’s always a joy to come back because
it’s a bit like coming home. On my fi rst
pilgrimage I experienced a total change. It
was in 2005, and since then I’ve come back
again to get more strength to keep on living
the life of every day, with the light of the
faith well lit. These days here have been
like living in Paradise, because I am able to
dedicate myself totally to God. I hope I can
transmit my experience by testifying with
my life that Christ is my Saviour. I would
suggest everyone to come to Medjugorje:
from the youngest to the oldest. I hope
everyone decides for conversion.
To give God f irst place means to
surrender totally to Him, to let Him make us
what we’re meant to be. I have experienced
that you can be happy only if you really
surrender to God, which is what I hope will
be my response. It was God who saved me
from the situation I was in, and I hope He
will use me as His instrument.
Claudio, 13 years old
Medjugorje is a place where you leave
behind your daily life and dedicate yourself
to the spiritual life. When you leave behind
the stress you are better able to see your
own heart. Being here at the Festival with
so many people from so many nations, and
amid all these fl ags, has really touched me,
and made me think that God has created us
all as a single thing, and that we all have to
fi ght for peace, and all adore the Lord. It
is sad that we are too attached to our own
interests instead of working together. We are
all brothers and sisters!
Till I came here I had not encountered
the Lord as a person who is close to me;
someone to address directly. My prayer has
expanded whilst here. The young people
out in the world are often far from the faith
because they haven’t seen or experienced
the living God. We have two ways before
us: one is right and one is wrong, but sadly
many young people see only one.
Andrew, 16 years old
I was especially touched by the
celebration of the Mass, and even though is
was long, it wasn’t heavy. Another thing is
that you don’t feel shame here for praying,
because everyone does it. People even pray
on the streets, and it’s accepted as normal. I
hope I can take this prayer back home: in the
simplicity of our everyday life. My parents
insisted I come here. I was sceptical at fi rst,
but now I’m extremely happy to be here.
Speaking on Prayer
Fr. Jozo:
“Our Lady at Medjugorje calls us to
conversion. This means she calls us to begin
to pray every day to seek, in the silence
of our heart, salvation for our souls. Our
blessed Mother tells us that our souls need
nourishing with prayer. I feel that prayer
is indispensable for the nourishment of
our soul, just as mother’s milk is to a baby.
Certainly: the soul needs food, care and
concern and this is provided by prayer.
Every day I witness the fruits of all this
prayer. If we stopped praying, at Medjugorje
and in the world there would be trees
without fruit, there would be desert, the
lamps would be turned off and wouldn’t be
of any help.
Our generation needs the witness of the
Church, the prayer of the Church, through
which the Lord works and gives signs to
the world. The enemy will do
all he can to impede the Church
and each person on the journey
of conversion. It is up to us to
remain at peace, and persevere
in our prayer. Let us pray for all
the pilgrims and all those who
suffer because of Medjugorje.
And never let us forget that every
pilgrim is fruit of prayer and
fasting. Each is a gift.
Through prayer, the Holy Spirit guides
you when you pray to discover the will of
God, and through His grace and gifts He
makes him able to respond with his life:
“Behold! Here I am Lord!”. This means
saying every day, and in every situation,
with Mary: “Behold, I am the servant of
the Lord.” The fi at of the Blessed Virgin is
saying “I believe.” I believe that my God is
all powerful and that everything is possible
for my God.
Holiness requires the commitment of
daily sacrifi ce and prayer, and a sacramental
life. We discover God’s will
through the Revelation, and the
example and positive inspirations
of the saints, through the Church
and the proclamation of the
Word. We discover God’s will
also through our own consciences
through which the Lord speaks
to us.
Often our hidden weakness is
in opposition to God’s will. True
wisdom lies in denying oneself
and renouncing one’s own will, to accept
God’s will. This is the wisdom that allows
grace to be victorious in us. This is a gift
of the Holy Spirit. It has never been heard
that someone has become a saint without
prayer, or that someone has renounced his
own will to accept God’s will without the
help of the Holy Spirit. To pray with Our
Lady is a privileged call to pray with those
whom she has invited, those who have heard
the grace and have responded.
(From a refl ection by Fr. Jozo Zovko)
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The Rosary
is Young
by Davide Capanna
“Pray… till prayer becomes joy for you.”
I recall when as a teenager
I fi rst heard these words of
Our Lady: that modest yet
constant commitment to keep
on praying, and how I began
to try putting it into daily
practice. I recall that it wasn’t
easy, and it made me wonder
if it really could become joy.
But if Our Lady said so, then why doubt!
These words of hers remained in my heart
and I think marked out a programme of
inner growth, even without realizing it.
A hidden joy had been promised me by
that message; I knew it was something not
impossible to attain. On the other hand,
isn’t it joy that a boy, a young man, seeks?
Through friendship and various forms of
fun and interests, we all try to respond to
that natural yearning for happiness. In a
certain way, Our Lady had challenged me
with this message, and I “picked up the
“Do you want to say it with us?”
My daily prayer back then was made
up of traditional prayers and practices,
including the Rosary. Thanks to God, I had
been taught as a child to recite the most
common prayers (the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail
Mary, the Angel of God, etc.). The Rosary
was recited regularly in our home, having
been passed on down the generations as part
of our faith. Every evening after dinner my
grandmother would begin: “O God, come
to our aid,” and the rest of us would follow.
When I was a small child my mother would
ask me to join in: “We’re about to begin
the Rosary. Do you want to say some with
us? Even just a decade?” Sometimes I’d
leave my game, or television, and recite
sometimes all of it, sometimes some of it.
It became clear to me that when I did
pray I felt extremely happy and satisfi ed,
and when I chose not to I felt sad and
unsatisfi ed. One day, while still very little,
I remember how the way I was reciting the
hail mary’s in a singsong fashion wasn’t
good enough. Now I can see how God was
inviting me not to waste the words I was
saying. I began to be more attentive to what
I was saying; I didn’t want that greeting to
Mary to be emptied of its meaning. The
Rosary thus became a way of dialoguing
with Mary and Jesus, and I was aware of
their presence along the way.
I had a different experience some years
ago when as part of a group of young
parishioners, we were asked to conduct a
meeting for the 12-14 year olds. After an
afternoon of games and fun, I suggested
we pray the Rosary. Their mouths fell
open: “What? The prayer of the dead?” I
understood that if the Rosary for me meant
colloquy and entrustment to Our Lady, they
had probably never heard it being recited
except at funerals.
Today I am very much aware of how
much grace I have received through the
example of my family and the Lord’s
patience with me.
Faces of the Rosary
I see the Rosary as being
typically young and beautiful
as Mary is. As a mother she
continually gives her life for
her children. Her eyes are
always upon us, and her arms
always full of heavenly gifts
for us, if only we would ask
for them. Mary is a mother who takes us
by the hand, if we want her to, and a way
of allowing her to do this is by praying the
The Rosary is young, just as Mary
is young, and Joseph, that righteous and
devoted father; and John the Baptist who
proclaimed and died for the Lamb of God,
and the Apostles…
The Rosary is young the way we are
young. We are called, by the power of the
Holy Spirit, to write the history of the
Church with our witness, in the footprints
of our Lord Jesus.
The Rosary is the life of Jesus Christ,
and the Blessed Virgin accompanies us
as she points Him out to us. John Paul II
said in his Letter on the Rosary, Rosarium
Virginis Mariae
: “Reciting the Rosary is
nought else than to contemplate with Mary
the face of Christ.”
The face of the Lord is eternally young;
eternally surprising, eternally enthusiastic,
eternally beautiful.
Spiritual Oxygen
Holy Scripture says that “our God is
not a God of the dead, but of the living.”
Therefore, our expressions of the faith must
also be alive, and come from the heart. The
Rosary is an expression of our faith, and
whether we recite it alone or with others,
it should be as something vital; a plea to
Our Lady who truly is with us, at our side,
and truly present in the bosom of the Holy
Trinity to Whom she wants to lead us, so
we can personally encounter God.
When we pray the Rosary, let us pray
for ourselves, and for all those whose
existence is dead-like. May our Rosary be
a time of renewal; like a breath of fresh air,
except with the Rosary we shall breathe in
spiritual oxygen, and it will be strength as
we journey along the way of virtues and
holy proposals. Our Lady, who is faithful
to her messages, will help us find that
promised joy.
I hope we’ll be faithful to the practice
of the Rosary. I hope parents will pray it
with their children, that the youth adopt it as
their source of power to open God’s heart,
and to defeat the evil one. I hope the elderly
and the sick will not abandon it, but unite
it to their fatigue and suffering. I hope that
many of us will join together so the world
can hear our song of praise and know that
prayer is balm for our life, that the Rosary is
always young, and current. He who recites
it with the heart is always young, because
Mary introduces him into the eternal life
of her Son, the Risen One!
We must believe madly and powerfully
in the power
o f l ove t h a t
is within the
woman, and in
the special gifts
God gives her.
The woman is
a dynamism.
A woman must
n o t r e m a i n
d o r m a n t . I f
she wants to
live her real
identity, her true
her real being, her grandeur, she must
invoke the Holy Spirit to give her light. All
women should become that woman called
Mary. If She is not within us, we do not have
a model to follow. In our life there must be
Mary who knew how to suffer and sacrifi ce
herself for love’s sake.
Love overcomes everything; it is
essential to life; if we do not place love at
the centre of everything that happens to
us, we will never know who we are. We
have been loved since the beginning of
creation; we were created in love and for
love. Therefore, to live, we need love more
than the air we breathe. When love is not
pure, free, real, we are suffocated, as if we
were left without air.
To live love is central to our
womanhood; it is our existence; it’s the
true quality of life. There is no cross that
can stop you because the love you bear
within is stronger; it will lead you beyond,
make you able to overcome every barrier
and limit. Love, after all, is the beauty of
living out our true existence, our life as
children, because the source of love is God,
our Father.
Sr. Elvira (to her Missionaries)

with great hearts who can make room for
Him in their lives to be protagonists of the
New Covenant. To accept a proposal as
fascinating as the one Jesus offers us, to
make the covenant with him, it is necessary
to be youthful within, to be capable of
letting oneself be called into question by His
newness, to set out with Him on new roads.
Jesus has a fondness for young people;
He respects their freedom but never tires
of proposing loftier goals for life to them:
the newness of the Gospel and the beauty
of holy behaviour.
(Benedict XVI, Loreto Agorà 2007)
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Cenacle Community
a Miracle of Love
Men down on their knees
About forty young men, between twenty
and forty years old, many of whom are
foreigners, especially from the East, recite
the Hail Mary each in his own tongue.
Every day, here and in all the communities
of Sr. Elvira around the world, they begin
with the prayer of the Rosary. There are no
priests or religious to guide them. They do
it all on their own.
Having come from churches that are
half empty, and attended by mostly women
of a certain age, or children, the fi rst thing
that you notice is this: all these men, young
men, on their knees praying calmly and
attending to every word of the Hail Mary.
Yet, they are not angels. They have all
experienced a harsh life of drugs; many of
them were thieves, dealers, violent in the
family, they have experienced gaol (you can
see the tattoos on their arms). But now they
are here, kneeling, to ask forgiveness, to say
thank you for having met at a certain point
in their life a messenger of hope.
Each has a guardian angel
When the Rosary if fi nished, there is the
moment of “sharing”. This is when they tell
each other of their experiences, diffi culties
and little daily victories. It isn’t easy to live
with others, for months, even years on end,
with people who differ in extraction, culture,
and character. The occasions for clashes and
incomprehension do not lack. It is for this
reason that every new arrival is entrusted to a
“guardian angel” who introduces him to the
rules (strict) of the community, gives him the
good example, advises him and admonishes
him when he lapses.
What an extraordinary intuition. It is one
of the many that are particular to the style,
or rather, therapy of Sr. Elvira. Who better
than a former drug addict can understand
and help another? There are no salaried
counsellors here, only young people who
have been welcomed, loved and cared for,
and who now return what they received.
“When we enter, we’re tramps. In the eyes
of others we’re failures. But I see a miracle
if I look with the eyes of God. At times I
am thankful for having gone through what I
did because it allowed me to rediscover true
values,” says 42 year old Walter who’s been
in the community for the last 5. He escorted
me all morning with patience around the
Cenacle. He we learn – he said – to become
humble and simple, instead of reacting, and
to keep silent and to swallow our pride.
TV and papers forbidden
They leave the chapel and make their
way to the refectory for a meagre breakfast.
On the frugal table, laid with grease-proof
paper, the smile of their “mother” (Sr.
Elvira) keeps watch. They all line up for a
slice of “panettone” and a bowl of black tea,
herbal tea, or coffee. “It is the only “extra”
allowed in the house,” explains Lukas from
Poland: 26 years old and another “veteran”
of the Cenacle. Here there is no smoking
or drinking, no papers or television “which
only churns out junk”, and no mobile
phones. No one has his hands in his pockets,
no one goes to lie down on bed during the
break. “When we’re not working, we talk
and share experiences.”
More than detoxifi cation from drugs,
those who enter the community receive
detoxifi cation from the world. They fi nd here
a “school of life” that goes upstream.
Ora et labora (prayer & work)
After breakfast all go off to work. Each
has his workplace: some as carpenters,
others as mechanics. There’s a group of
young men working in the greenhouse where
vegetables are cultivated. Some are working
in the potato fi eld, and others are in the
kitchen preparing lunch for forty.
There are about 1,200 - 1,300 young
people received into Sr. Elvira’s communities
in various parts of the world. The real problem
isn’t so much resisting in the community, but
going back into the world. In fact, after the
initial compulsory period of three years,
many remain and work as volunteers. They
thus remain a certain distance from the
temptations and contradictions of the world,
and even choose to become missionaries in
far-away countries.
Susanna Agnese (Corriere di Saluzzo)
Fr. Ljubo:
May this oxygen
never lack!
“May prayer be for you like the air
you breathe!” said Our Lady in her July
message. Our body needs air to continue
living. We all know what it’s like to be left
without air. Without air we cannot live; our
bodies would die. If we have a corporal
organism (the body), we also have a
spiritual organism. It can be said that prayer
is the air for this spiritual organism. Without
prayer we are spiritually dead. Without
prayer, man’s existence is merely material,
the same level as dead matter.
Prayer is not something that has been
prescribed, or ordered by the Church, or by
God, or by Our Lady. Prayer is not only a
pious exercise. It is more than this. Prayer
is life. Without prayer God does not have
that space where He can come to us, to
save us, and heal our heart and soul. Only
in the prayer of the heart can God reveal to
us His love and we can experience the joy
of being beloved children of God and of
the Virgin Mary.
We know by experience that it is not
enough to know that food is good. We also
need to eat the food to keep on living. By
the same token, it is not enough to know
that God, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary
love us; for we also need to experience,
encounter, and touch this love of God.
(excerpt: Fr. Ljubo’s comment, July msg)
“I will not be leaving
Our Lady behind!”
Fr. Ljubo, with this interview I’d like to
sum up your experience at Medjugorje over
these past seven years. Let’s start from the
beginning. How did you feel when you were
told you’d be coming here?
I was a young priest - ordained four
years previously. The parish priest then
was Fr. Pervan, and when I was told I’d be
coming here as a spiritual assistant it fri-
ghtened me a little. Being newly ordained
it came as a challenge. I’d thus far come to
Medjugorje as a pilgrim, and it was here
that I decided to become a monk; after that
I came here a few times also to help with the
confessions. It is totally different to come
here every now and again, and to live here.
To live here is like an immersion; you live
Mary’s presence in your heart.
And were you enthusiastic about it?
I didn’t feel enthusiasm, because it’s
very difficult for me to get enthusiastic
about anything. It took me some time to get
used to. At fi rst there was Fr. Slavko, and it
was only after he had died that we came to
realize how much he did. We had to cover his
responsibilities. I got the part of translating
and interpreting the message of the 25th of
the month, and the various seminars which
he used to hold. Of course, I had to “throw
myself in” and manage. We have a proverb
that says that a donkey can’t swim, but if it
is thrown into the water it will learn. So I
had to learn how to swim.
During these 7 years have many things
at Medjugorje changed? For better or for
worse? Would you say the spiritual level of
pilgrims has risen?
Everyone says that the fi rst 2 or 3 years
here was like being in Paradise. Then there
was a lot of enthusiasm, but to remain
enthusiastic for 26 years isn’t realistic. Even
these phases of enthusiasm need fi ltering.
However, there are many who have remained
on the journey with Mary and try to live
according to her indications.
To speak of quality is a bit diffi cult.
I think it is necessary to leave aside the
enthusiasm and allow the roots to take hold
so that he who has truly decided to follow
the Lord may persevere and learn to suffer
and remain faithful to Mary’s messages.
We are all on a journey or quest, and it isn’t
possible to see what the future holds for us.
It is enough that we can see which is the
next step to take and to proceed with trust,
knowing that the Lord guides everything,
and will turn all into good.
What is Mary’s aim? Where is she leading
us with these apparitions?
Mary herself said: “The most important
message I have given you is the call
to conversion” which is, after all, an
evangelical call. So, her desire is to bring
to our attention the truth of the Gospel. She
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To all who have been instruments
of Providence for Echo, enabling us
to continue to help Mary reach her
children, goes our heartfelt thanks,
whom we remember especially in
prayer and at Holy Mass.
If you desire a written response for your
donation, kindly request it.
May God reward you onehundredfold!
Mail Donations/correspondence to:
Echo of Mary Assoc., P.O. Box 47,
I-31037 LORIA (TV), Italy.
Personal cheques accepted; also
International Postal Orders.
And where convenient (within Europe)
by bank transfer (specify for Echo of
Mary Assoc.):
1) Italy: Banca Agricola Mantovana,
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surely wouldn’t have appeared if everything
was proceeding well - in the Church and the
world. Mary, who is Mother, comes, speaks,
advises, and calls us, as mothers do.
Twenty-six years, and that which has been
announced has not been fulfi lled…
There is man’s time and God’s time. For
God a single day is like a thousand years,
and a thousand years like a single day. Twen-
ty six years are many, and yet they are few.
Three years after the fi rst apparition the vi-
sionaries asked why Our Lady had been with
them for so long, and she asked if we were
already tired. Weariness may come because
her love and messages are demanding, but
she does this for our own good; she came to
make us happy, not unhappy. God and Our
Lady have never promised us Paradise on
the earth; here we are on a journey.
After your experience here, do you think
you’ve changed within? What have you
received; what have you learnt?
Being amongst pilgrims and their needs
is for us priests (a way of) formation and
learning, because in one way or another we
also receive. Inevitably, we infl uence each
other. I’ve understood there are still many
steps for me to take. I have never expe-
rienced sudden conversions; neither have I
fallen from my horse in the manner of St.
Paul. In me everything has proceeded along
gradually. I need only journey along.
Apart from your experience with the
pilgrims, what has infl uenced you?
Living here has made me ever more
convinced of Our Lady’s presence. Humanly
speaking, it would be easier not to live here,
because this is a particular kind of parish.
Besides the graces, there are also many
crosses and much suffering; and these can
help strengthen a person’s faith, because it
is when we suffer that we learn to pray, and
if you decide to suffer with God, then your
faith is purifi ed.
What diffi culties do you monks encounter
here at Medjugorje?
Many people come here and with them
they bring different problems and suffering,
and also their “spirits” are different. It takes
a good deal of discernment, and wisdom,
love and patience, and strength, to be able to
respond – as priests - to all these needs.
You lead the Adoration before thousands
of people. Is it demanding?
It is diffi cult and demanding, but also
very beautiful, because the strength comes
from grace. During the prayer of adoration
I speak mostly to myself – as a way of
introducing the people into a relationship
with God. Having a relationship with Jesus
myself helps me lead others to Him. Before
I came here I had had some experience, only
there weren’t as many people. As soon as I
arrived I began to listen to how Fr. Slavko
prayed. We always learn from others. I have
learnt much from various people.
You are not particularly effusive; you often
seek silence and avoid people. Yet it seems
that pilgrims seek your company precisely
for this. Do you have a word for them?
There’s a fundamental difference to
understand. Do they seek me or Jesus? If it
is me, then I am happy to keep on escaping,
because I wouldn’t give anything if it were
just me. Here there is a battle being fought;
here is the true journey towards Christ. I can
say that many are those who seek Jesus.
Do you think the Youth Festival is an
important event for Medjugorje?
Yes, certainly. It was all started by Fr.
Slavko, a man of great courage and faith
who grew at Mary’s school. He had the
courage to begin everything with a small
group of maybe not even thirty people, and
from this seed grew a great tree. At present
more than thirty thousand people attend. Of
course, this is no merit of mine.
What would you like to say to all the young
people that will read this interview?
The same that Mary says: “Dear Chil-
dren, open your hearts; surrender to Jesus;
consecrate yourselves to my Heart, and do
not fear, for I am with you.” You too are with
her. Persevere along this journey, even when
it is diffi cult.
Do you think your transfer to another
convent far from Medjugorje will be a step
forward in your journey?
In my heart I will never leave Medju-
gorje. I can go bodily, but my roots are here,
even if the branches are elsewhere. Here at
Medjugorje I have tasted the beauty of my
priesthood and I’ve seen how much people
need priests, or rather, they need Jesus
through the priests.
So do you read the will of God in this
transfer? Do you think it will be benefi cial
for your soul?
I don’t know how it will be, but I think it
will be benefi cial. One needs to be at a cer-
tain distance from God to be able to see Him.
Being too close can impede the vision.
After these years here, which event has
impressed you the most?
Not a specifi c event; it’s more a case
of saying that each event has been very
precious. It is in seeing how God works in
souls that gives the most satisfaction: you
know, seeing how people leave here full of
happiness and hope. This gives you the en-
thusiasm and increased strength to persevere
in doing God’s will. This image of the people
who come here to seek God and leave here
happy and interiorly renewed will accom-
pany me. I think this is the most beautiful
thing; in reality this is Medjugorje.
You will have to leave this reality and go
forth, but Our Lady works everywhere!
I will not be leaving Our Lady behind; I
will take her with me! I always tell pilgrims
not to leave Our Lady behind. We can take
her in our heart by doing precisely what
she has been asking us to do for the past 26
years. This is the best way to be always with
her, and through her, with Jesus.
(Interview by Francesco Cavagna)
From the Mail Box
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being visited by Our Lady for so long.
QUOTATION: “It is important to
see that Eve’s fi rstborn son (Cain) didn’t
succumb to a little fi t of jealousy, but to the
deadly sin of envy! ... Jealousy seeks the
good that is perceived in another person;
envy resents it, and even seeks to destroy
it. Jealousy can be good or bad, but envy is
only and always evil.” (Scott Hahn in “A
Father Who Keeps His Promises”)
The Lord bless thee and keep thee!
May He show His face to thee, and have
mercy on thee! And give thee peace!
Italy, 14 September 2007
Echo online: www.ecodimaria.net