June 1994 - Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary - Orig.Ital.edit: Eco di Medj., C.P.149, 46100
Mantova, Italy. Yr9#4- All mail to: Echo of Medj., Casella Postale 27, 31030 Bessica (TV), Italy
Our Lady’s message of 25 May 1994:
Dear children, I invite you all to trust
me more and to live my messages more
profoundly. I am with you and I intercede
for you before God, but I am also waiting
for your hearts to open to my messages.
Rejoice because God loves you and He
gives you the possibility every day to
convert and to believe more in Him, as
God your Creator.
Thank you for having responded to my
Trust me more
and live my messages
Our Lady is calling us so patiently and
delicately to strengthen our faith, in
preparation for the 13th anniversary.
Why would She invite us to trust Her
more if not because we have too little trust
in Her? Perhaps we had lost hope, or had
been expecting something that hasn't come
yet, or that was not what She wanted to give
us. If only we had opened our hearts to Her
intentions (Pray for my intentions.). We are
like the Apostles, when Jesus said: You will
be baptized in the Holy Spirit, and they
asked: Has the time come for you to restore
the Kingdom? (Acts 1). But Jesus told them:
It is not for you to know dates that the Father
has decided by his own authority, but you
will receive power when the Holy Spirit
comes on you and you will be my witnesses...
This is what Our Lady expects: that by
work of the Holy Spirit we become Jesus’
witnesses like the first disciples, and then
become instruments of salvation (25.3.94). If
we are not expecting this, then we have not
understood Her messages, starting from the
ones on Holiness - for this is real testimony,
it is the fragrance of Jesus in the world.
Mary is begging us to listen to Her; She
is waiting for our hearts to open to Her.
We must live Her messages profoundly,
which means no superficiality or weakness.
It is not just reading them over and telling
others about them, but putting them into
practise in our daily lives of faith, prayer,
fasts and sacraments. This is possible only if
we open to Her and let our hearts become
receptive to Her calls, and decide for them.
Any doubts about the "power" of grace
that comes from Her through living the
messages are dispersed when we listen to Her
say: I am with you and I intercede for you
before God. Indeed, what type of intercession
could be more powerful than Hers? This
must be accompanied, though, by our full
trust in Her as Mother. Unfailing faith can
move mountains, Jesus teaches us.
We have no reason to fear, Our Blessed
Mother assures us: God loves you . He will
not abandon us. God loves us the way we are
and every day He gives us the possibility for
us to convert.
If we are humble, as Mary told us in Her
last message, we would recognize our errors
and ask God’s forgiveness. A proud »
From the hospital:
by Pope on unity
Dear Bishops, we are called to serve
the world in humility, like Mary
On the 19th May while the Italian Bishops
were gathered together in the church of St
Maria Maggiore, the Pope was in the
Gemelli Hospital of Rome. The following is
the summary of the Pope’s discourse sent to
the bishops from the hospital:
"I enter with you in spirit into the Basilica
of St Maria Maggiore where you are gathered
for the recitation of the Holy Rosary. This
basilica has always been a significant place
for the pilgrimage Church, where she gathers
to greet the Mother of the Lord. Today, like
the Apostles, we are gathered in the Upper
Room. After Christ returned to the Father
they remained to pray together with Mary,
the Mother of Jesus, to prepare themselves
for Pentecost: the day Christ, through the
Holy Spirit, would have made them witnesses.
It was appropriate that the Church began
on the day of Pentecost, when the power of
the Holy Spirit was made manifest by the
Apostles who bore witness to the Crucified
and Risen Christ. It was then that they began
announcing - with the strength of the Spirit-
the remission of sins in the Name of Christ.
Thus, the Church began to develop. We do
the same today; we too were given the power
to bind and to loose ... we who are profoundly
aware of our own weakness but also of the
power given us by Christ through His Spirit.
The Mother of Christ, who is also the
Mother of the Church, is here with us in a
special way. Who is Mary for us? Mary is
our companion, She accompanies us on our
pilgrimage of faith to help us remain faithfully
united to Her Son all the way up Calvary to
Christ’s Crucifixion. Mary suffered greatly
together with Her Only Son, She was
associated to the Cross of Her Son in Her
motherly spirit, and was lovingly consenting
to the sacrifice of the victim She generated.
Then, Mary was given to John by Christ
who said: Woman, here is your son. St
Ambrose and other fathers teach us that
thanks to the gift of divine motherhood, the
Blessed Virgin became a figure of the
Church, for Her faith, love and perfect union
That is why the Church is called Mother
and Virgin. The Church is a Mother when
she contemplates Mary’s holiness, imitates
Her love and carries out the Father’s Will.
When the Church preaches the Gospel and
administers Baptism, she is a Mother who
generates children to new life.
The Church as a virgin guards her fidelity
promised to the Groom; and in the imitation
of Mary, with the strength of the Holy Spirit,
she preserves whole the faith, solid the hope
and fervent the love.
» person doesn’t want to accept the fact that
he sinned and this blocks the grace of
conversion: even if your conscience accuses
you, God is greater than your conscience
(1Jn 3:20). We have known (many times) and
put our faith in God’s love for us (1Jn 4:16).
That is why Our Lady invites us to
rejoice. It is a great joy for us to know that
we can always trust God, He gives us all we
need. We are in His hands, for He created us
from nothing and He can always create us
again, as long as we want it.
I thank You my God and Creater, my
Father so great. You gave us a Mother, She
was Your most humble and faithful servant,
and now She offers Herself to us so that we
will let ourselves be formed by Her and be
brothers of Her Jesus.
Thus, despite the grey clouds that hang
heavily over the world, this message is one
of great joy to us.
that loved men so much!
During His life, Jesus knew and loved all
of us and each one of us. That is why "the
Sacred Heart is considered the most important
symbol ... of the infinite love with which the
divine Redeemer unceasingly loves the eternal
Father and all men." (Catechism - no. 478)
Only the Heart of Christ, who knows the
depth of His Father’s love, could reveal to us
the abyss of His mercy in such a simple and
beautiful way. (no. 1439).
The great forerunners and apostles of the
Sacred Heart teach us to use the singular
expression: The Heart of Jesus and Mary,
two Hearts in one Heart. "Hail, Heart of Jesus
and Mary." (St John Eudes)
For the month of June we suggest the daily
recitation of the Chaplet of the Sacred Heart
- an excellent means of meditation, and
through the intercession of Mary Immaculate
we will desire and ask for His same virtues:
mercy, humility, patience, meekness and
generosity. Conclude the Chaplet with the
litanies of the Sacred Heart.
A motherly hand saved me
from that bullet
Allow me, dear brothers, to think back at
what happened 13 years ago in St Peter’s
Square. We all remember that afternoon
when the Pope was shot at with the intent of
killing him. The bullet which went through
his abdomen is now in the Sanctuary of
Fatima, and the band with a bullet hole in it
is in the Sanctuary of Jasna Gora.
It was the hand of a mother that
guided that bullet, and the agonizing
Pope, on the way to the Gemelli Hospital,
stopped at death’s threshold.
Last September during my pilgrimage to
the Sanctuary of the Dawn Gate in Vilnius
where I was able to contemplate the Face of
the Mother of God, I repeated to Her the
words of the great Polish prophet Adam
Mickiewicz: "Oh Most Holy Virgin, your
glory in Ostra Brama shines out, in
Czestochowa you are present with your
power to defend the glittering Sanctuary, and
you saved me from death!" And my voice
broke up. I knew that this Sanctuary was
waiting for the Pope’s testimony. And with
the Dawn Gate other Sanctuaries were waiting,
first the Colosseum in Rome, then the Hill
of Crosses in Lithuania, and other 'present-
At the end of the Way of the Cross last
Good Friday I said: 'Dear brothers, we must
meet in those places consecrated by marty-
dom, starting from the first centuries up to
our days. We cannot not be united! We
cannot not say the same truth about the
Cross! The history of mankind is waiting on
our complete unity.’ That is what I said and
I know I was heard and understood.
... which is why I am alive to serve
It was like the echo of that shot in St
Peter’s Square which should have taken the
life of the Pope 13 years ago. But the killer
bullet stopped and the Pope is alive ... alive
to serve! This is the confession he renews
today before you dear brothers in the
episcopate - for we serve together.
I shall never forget the words of the
primate Wyszynski. It was during the
millenium celebrations of the baptism of
Poland, a period of great uneasiness with the
Communist leaders. He said: 'I am here to
serve! I do not command, I serve!’ We, dear
Italian bishops, are called to serve! It is our
desire to serve our brothers in the priesthood,
and the religious. It is our desire to serve
If the Lord gives me the chance to meet
the world’s youth in the Philippines then
it will be precisely with this spirit that I shall
go. The world waits for our service! In
particular the youth wait for it. The youth
are ready to follow us - or better, follow
Jesus Christ - if what we do, preach and
suffer is authentic service.
Dear brothers, you are reflecting on how
to serve the Church in Italy the best way
possible in this particular moment. How can
we 'bind and loose’ the complex questions
concerning contemporary man? How can we
convince this man of the power and splendour
of the Truth, which alone can free him? How
can we initiate him into that love that is
stronger than death, that is the foundation of
the human family? How can we evaluate the
grace of this year, in which the family has
paradoxically become an object not only of
a particular interest, but also of fearful threat?
With the 3rd millenium in mind, how can we
strengthen the foundation that the Church
and the people of God are built on?
These are some of the questions that you
have put to yourselves dear brothers. The
questions are many. But together with these
we also bring the fervour of the faith of God’s
people, the hope and the expectations of the
people who have placed their trust in us. The
Church, in Italy and the world over, is the
Church of the great journey.
Let us journey together then with Mary,
as pilgrims to the many Marian Sanctuaries
that can be found on Italian soil, and let us
make this journey in particular with the
youth. The pilgrim Church who journeys
with Mary has become above all the Church
of the youth, especially in our times. Our
hope is placed in them.
It is our desire to be witnesses and
spokespersons of this hope for Italy and the
world. It is our desire to serve the expectations
of mankind in the best way possible, as the
Mother of God has always done."
The Holy Father expressed his commotion
and gratitude for the many tokens of affection
he received while in hospital, and concluded:
"All that remains to do is ask the Blessed
Mother to include this trial of mine in the
Church’s great prayer for Italy, as my modest
contribution for the cause we are serving
together. With all my heart I bless you."
"I pray.. that, free from any satanic
influence,you may decide only for God."
Being healed from false
liberty so we may choose God
Mary's and Pope's Teachings coincide
Each year, on the anniversary, we search
our consciences: to what point have we
accepted this great gift that comes from the
real and physical presence of the Mother of
God on earth? It can be seen that the Holy
Spirit speaks to the Church through two
great channels: the Pope and the Blessed
Virgin. For us this means light and joy of
faith through the messages and the Medj.
experience, and the teachings of thePope.
Mary and the Pope: there is deep
communion between the two of them which
can be seen magnificently in the Pope’s
recent encyclical Veritatis Splendor. It
comments on the episode of the rich young
man (Mt 19). He was a good man who
observed the commandments, but when he
came face to face with Jesus he realized
something was missing, that he hadn’t done
all there was to do. It is the same thing for
anyone who goes to Medj. When we find
ourselves in front of Mary, though we may
be good Christians and worthy of the Father,
we realize that something is missing, and it
is precisely the best part that is missing.
To regain this part Our Lady asked us
the same thing Jesus asked of the rich young
man: If you wish to be perfect ... From this
we see how God respects our freedom in
making a decision; and this is fundamental:
it is here that we decide either for joy and
holiness or for sadness and damnation: ... he
went away sad for he was a man of great
wealth! The Pope has said that this inner
"blockage" is the great evil that torments
the present-day man. Man’s conscience is
no longer free to choose God.
We must admit it: we are no longer able
to make our own choices - whether big or
small - from following the Gospel. Our
choices are based on other things:
convenience, fashion, what others do... That
is why Our Lady had to start healing our
freedom, to make us capable of making our
own decisions through listening to what
Christ thinks and what the Holy Spirit
suggests to us. I desire that your decision
be free before God, because He has given
you freedom. Thus, pray so that, free from
any satanic influence, you may decide only
for God. I pray for you before God and I
seek your surrender to God. (25 Nov.'89)
Disappointing model of life
produced by man
Mary hasn’t left us in the dark about the
drama regarding freedom that either opens
or closes our way to God: it is indeed a battle.
The first step to engage this battle with
Satan and thus win our spiritual freedom, is
found in the will to content our good desires
and suppress the bad ones. This distinction
- called discernment - is easy to make: we
have to refer to the Gospel and to how it
is applicated in the Catechism. This gift by
God is a treasure of truth which the Pope
calls "objective truth": it is a model of life
not produced by us, but received by Christ
Pope's sufferings .. Our Lady's tears
The Pope said: "I speak to you from the
hospital room, and I must say that this
painful interval was necessary. It was
necessary in anticipation of my visit to
Syracuse where Mary wept. Already last
century She wept at La Salette in France. She
had to weep also in our century. (...) Our
Lady’s tears were necessary during the
period that we chose for our great prayer for
Italy, and for Europe, for our preparation for
the Third Christian Millenium.
These tears bring us providential fruits.
From this hospital room it is easier for me,
in a certain way, to entrust all to the Lord,
every problem, every pastoral initiative,
every joy, anxiety and hope of the great
African continent, into His hands. It is easier
for me to do this with the tears of Our Lady.
They were necessary, providential and they
bring us hope."
* The Pope to the doctor who operated
on him: "You and I have only one choice.
You must make me better and I must get
better, because there is no room in the
Vatican for a Pope emeritus."
* 8 cloistered nuns to keep watch with
their prayer in Vatican - The Holy Father’s
desire of having a cloistered convent
established within the walls of the Vatican
City came true on 13 May with the opening
of the Maria Mater Ecclesiae Convent. The
date was chosen on purpose since it has
much significance for the Holy Father. The
community consists of eight Poor Clares
from Assisi, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada,
Croatia, Nicaragua, the Philippines and
Rwanda. The abbess is Mother Chiara
Cristiana who held the same post at St
Clare’s in Assisi. Every five years a new
order will be chosen to take turn.
for the Church. We are wrong to think that
the new life in the Spirit simply flows from
our hearts without needing to be strengthened
through purification and obedience.
Our conscience, in fact, is not an unfailing
judge. It can make mistakes, even serious
ones. That is why we need to be shown how
to live, by Jesus who is Holy and by Mary
Immaculate. "The maturity and responsibility
of our judgements.. are not measured by
the liberation of the conscience from
objective truth, in favour of an alleged
autonomy in personal decisions, but, on the
contrary, by an insistent search for truth
and by allowing oneself to be guided by that
truth in one’s actions." (VS 61).
This helps us understand better St Paul’s
warning: man’s conscience must be confirmed
by the Holy Spirit (Rm 9), it must be clear
(1Tm 1), it must not practise cunning and
tamper with God’s Word but state the truth
openly (2Co 4). The Apostle warns: Do not
model yourselves on the behaviour of the
world, but let your behaviour change, model-
led by your new mind.. to discern God’s will;
that which is good and pleasing to Him (Rm
12). Paul’s admonition urges us to be watchful,
for in the judgements of our conscience the
possibility of error is always present (VS 62).
Journey of conversion
leads to true freedom
In the journey that leads us to spiritual
freedom there are many crossroads. The
man who does not wish to work for his
salvation will refuse to humble himself and
in the end he justifies himself. But the man
who accepts to stay before Christ the Lord
and admit his own unworthiness will certainly
feel shame for the bad he has done, but his
shame will be a happy one, it will be a fruitful
poverty, for this is the beginning of faith.
Our decision for either good or bad
depends on how committed we are in fighting
against Satan - he suggests we go towards
bad but which he presents as good. Our
weapons in this battle are prayer and fasts,
for they are expressions of our will to decide
for God and against Satan instead of placing
ourselves in Satan’s hands without reflecting.
Unfortunately this happens frequently:
"Man comes to realize that his freedom is
in some mysterious way inclined to betray
this openness to the True and the Good, and
that all too often he actually prefers to choose
finite, limited and ephemeral goods. With his
errors and negative decisions, man glimpses
the source of a deep rebellion, which leads
him to reject the Truth and the Good in order
to set himself up as an absolute principle unto
himself: You will be like God (Gn 3:5).
Consequently, freedom itself needs to be set
free. It is Christ who sets it free: He has set
us free for freedom (Gal 5:1)" (VS 86).
It is precisely to win this freedom that
in Medj. Our Lady offers us a method which
shows us the constant road to conversion:
Today I invite you to begin working on your
hearts... Work more, and with love clean out
every corner of your hearts (17.10.85).
If we began doing this we would
discover something very grand and funda-
mental for our life which would remove all
those silly fears we have about the "truth."
In fact, we would discover how the substance
of the law is already written in our own
hearts (Rm 2:15). The level of spiritual life
brought to us by Mary reveals this truth.
On his part the Pope tells us the same
thing: -"the moral law of the Church is a
law planted deep within them (Jr 31), written
not with ink, not on stone tablets, but on the
tablets of your living hearts (2Co); a law of
perfection and freedom (2Co), it is the law
of the Spirit who has given you life in Christ
Jesus" (Rm 8).
Let us thank the Lord for the light He
gives us through these two beacons of the
Church, and who permits us to discover this
fascinating programme of life.
For us, this happened in Medj.,our spiritual
homeland. It was from there that we received
this great and precious gift from Our Lady.
It is a gift, but it is also a task to take
seriously. It is a task that we must carry out
without ever forgetting how important and
valuable our freedom of choice is. Give God
first place in your families. If God is with
you, you have everything, but when you do
not want Him you are miserable and lost and
unable to know whose side you belong to.
Therefore, dear children, decide for God and
you will receive everything (25.12.91).
what Christ yearned for unceasingly from the
moment of His incarnation. Mary too desired
nothing but to carry out God’s will. "Jesus
said: Here I am; the Mother said: Here I am,
the handmaid of the Lord. In Jesus and Mary
we see the same humility, love, obedience,
joy and desire of self-donation. Pious XII
said in his Encyclical on the Sacred Heart,
Maurietis aquas, that the profundity of
Christ’s love cannot be understood without
looking at the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for
it was there that Jesus was formed and where
He received his human traits.
The man who lives by the truth comes out
into the light (Jn 3:21). God wants to be
known as the God of our heart and not of
our spirit - my heart’s Rock (Ps 73) - perhaps
to make us see that the most beautiful spirit-
ual qualities are nothing if one’s heart is not
humble and docile. Devotion is rooted into
hearts that are animated by the acknowledge-
ment of one’s own poverty and His divine
love. There is no other virtue outside this
humility and love, and it is not so much in
being men of prayer that these virtues can be
ours, but in being continuous prayer.
Learn from me, for I am gentle and
humble of heart (Mt 11:29).
Authentic love is sweet and strong at the
same time; it knows how to unite love of
people to hate of sin. It is full of compre-
hension but does not know any type of vile
complicity. It takes discernment to discover
virtue. Without discernment, virtue is made
unnatural and the most precious graces
become instruments of disorder and scandal.
Jesus’ response to the adulteress and the
Samaritan woman is exemplary. He attacked
and destroyed the vice in their hearts, but all
the time He treated them with such goodness
Spirit of humility and recourse to God.
God will not allow us to be victims of
illusion. Humility not only prevents illusions
and falls, but it can make us faultless... If one
is humble like Mary the Blessed Virgin, one
will be without sin, like Her. Therefore, we
must work at being humble, at self-denial,
learning to love being hidden from the world.
Our Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself, for
though He was God, He was also a man. He
renounced His humanity, considering it
nothing in front of His divinity. He offered
Himself in sacrifice and said: Here I am,
obedient to the point of death and death on
a cross (Ph 2:8).
Humble oneself in one’s nothingness.
The more one loses oneself the more one will
find oneself in God in a much better condition:
sanctified, transformed and made divine. If
a person does not deny himself, but prefers
to search for one’s indivualism, he will find
many little idols in himself and he will be
forced to sacrifice everything.
Obedience. We must believe that when
a superior or a director speaks, it is God
speaking to us through that person’s voice.
The Saviour said: Anyone who listens to you
listens to me (Lk 10:16). Unfortunately there
is nothing more common than seeing the
word and will of God being treated as though
they were the word and will of humans. This
way, the divine word which is so powerful
it has the force to convert souls because the
decree of the Lord is wisdom for the simple
(Ps 19:8), produces nothing or next to
nothing, and the will of God is considered
a soiled cloth in need of washing. This is
profanation and sacrilege!
"I desire bringing you closer to Jesus and
His wounded Heart so that you will be able
to understand His boundless Love." 25.11.91
"Fountains of living water
will flow from his breast"
(devotion to the Heart of Jesus)
The last century and the first half of this
century were definitely placed under the sign
of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, almost in an
appeal by that God who loves us so deeply
that to make us understand how much, He
showed us His Heart, bleeding, pierced and
crowned with thorns.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart dates back
centuries. It was first revealed to St Gertrude
in 1281, but it became popular in France with
the spreading of Jansenism (late 1500’s).
Jansenism portrayed a severe, inaccessible
God and people’s faith was weakened. St
John Eudes (1601-1680), untiring
missionary priest, was the first to inaugurate
the liturgy of the Sacred Heart.
In 1672 the Heart of Jesus revealed Itself
to the humble and misunderstood Visitation
nun from France, Margaret Mary Alacoque.
She and Fr. de la Colombiere, her confessor,
were the chief instruments in the institution
of the Feast of the Sacred Heart. Jesus told
her: This is the Heart that so loved men but
found nothing but indifference and
ingratitude. And then: My Heart will dilate
to shed with abundance the fruits of Its love
upon those who honour me. The precious
treasures being disclosed to you contain
those graces that are needed to draw men
out of the abyss of perdition.
The famous promises were then revealed
to her, including the ones regarding confession
and communion on the "first 9 Fridays."
The devotion spread also thanks to another
Frenchman and priest, Michael of Garicoits
(1797-1863). He worked at the Our Lady of
Betharram Shrine near Lourdes. He imposed
upon himself to carry out God’s will, without
reserve, without delay and without conditions.
He had established a real "programme" of the
Sacred Heart (extract of which follows), and
he founded the priests of the Sacred Heart.
"I am here to carry out your will: is
What is an act of faith? It is firmly
accepting the most profound mysteries of the
Christian religion. When the Church
proclaims a dogma we say: I believe. This
is true obedience; but reasoning before
obeying is the obedience of a protestant. The
story of Eden went the way it did because
Eve started asking herself why God should
do this or do that. Eve became one who
reasons, then she became independent, then
sensual... An army that reasons about orders
received would quickly break up; and we are
similar to an army.
Donation of self. A man must toil for
God’s work, with joy and strength, day after
day, without desiring success or worrying
about tomorrow. Each day has enough
trouble of its own (Mt 6:34).
If I have been given a job to do I will ask
myself: will I manage to do it? I must not,
though, become agitated, but I must carry it
out with the same trust and faith that
Abraham possessed. I must do what God
asks of me through His representatives, and
do it the way he says. All the rest is nothing
but useless worry, bother and temptation
which I must not listen to.
Often, well-meaning and well-educated
people make big mistakes and damage the
Church. They mean well and they care about
good, but since they care more about the
good they want than what God wants, they
lose their way, fall back on worldly things
and think they can build with human effort.
By following along after their own spirit,
they change the bread of life into fruit of
death and become a burden for God and men.
It is not the man who commends himself
that can be accepted, but the man who is
commended by the Lord (2 Co 10)." * *
knew nothing about them. We do not yet
know with certainty if he has also been
physically healed. Only a blood test will tell.
Truly, though, Heaven bent down over these
two young hearts to fill them with grace.
* A woman with multiple sclerosis was
taken up Podbrdo in a stretcher ... and came
back down on her own two feet! There have
also been cases of young smokers and
alcoholics giving up their vices. Two couples
with children, married with a civil rite
because of previous divorces, have decided
to live in complete chastity - like brothers
and sisters. These are just a few examples of
the graces springing forth from Medj.
* Vicka’s 10-day visit to Canada was
a true blessing. Our friend and distributor,
Giuseppe Bozzo, writes: "The churches were
too small to contain the crowds that turned
up to listen to this unpretentious girl .
In Canada where scepticism is widespread,
the people truly hunger for tangible truth. A
significant fact is that Our Lady appeared to
Vicka in the church of San Rocco in Quebec
before 2,000 people. The Archbishop of
Montreal did not allow her to talk about the
apparitions, but it was here that the evening
liturgy of Medj. was repeated. At 6 p.m. the
Rosary was recited. This was followed by a
conference by Fr. Svet, and then Vicka spoke
to the people. About 20 priests then
concelebrated Holy Mass which finished late
into the evening."
Vicka remained in the US for Pentecost
and participated in the Marian Conference at
Notre Dame in Indiana together with Msgr.
* On the 21st April, Mirjana gave birth
to her second daughter: Veronika. Mirjana
hopes to have many more children for it is
thanks to the gift of maternity that she is so
interested in what Our Lady reveals to her
about her relationship with Child Jesus.
Convictions of a Psychotherapist
Fr. Slavko told of a very interesting
testimony by a psychotherapist who was
Protestant but became Catholic. When in
Medj., our psychotherapist affirmed: "I am
sure the Blessed Virgin appears here!"
Fr. Slavko asked why, and he replied:
"For three reasons. She is punctual, Her
language is simple, and because She appears
every day." Fr. Slavko: "But these are the
same three points that worry the theologians.
Why do they convince you?"
"As a psychotherapist I come across
people all the time whose anxieties and
disturbances are provoked by the absence
of the mother in the family. Our present-
day society is sick because of this absence.
We have divorces and mothers who prefer
to work or maintain outside interests rather
than stay home and look after their children.
Now, punctuality, simple language and daily
presence of a mother are what is most
necessary for a child’s healthy development
and stability. In Medj. it really is the Mother
who is appearing; She is with us and is giving
us those same three things that we lack. It is
Her type of presence that strikes me. She is
healing us of this maternal absence."
from the diary of Sr. Emmanuel
* Fr. Jozo went to Spain for the first time.
He was there from 29 April to 8 May and
met many groups in Barcelona, Madrid,
Palma de Majorca and other cities. He roused
I was saddened to see fewer pilgrims,
except for the French. Where are those great
crowds of time ago? The answer is simple.
The devil knows that Medj. is a source of
grace, and through provoking fear of the war,
he wishes to impede this flow of grace. On
the other hand, if we look at the disasters
caused by division in the families, at the
moral disorder, the lack of ideals in the youth
and the emptiness in people’s hearts, we
wonder whether it is more dangerous to
remain home or go to Medj. where we know
the graces of conversion and peace are
abundant..." (Fra Agostino)
Way to Medjugorje Safe - A volunteer
from Verona confirms that the way from
Italy to Medj. is safe. "In Italy people think
that just placing foot into former Yugoslavia
means entering war zones. That’s why there
are so few pilgrims going there to pray, and
why Medj. seems like a desert, though the
church comes to life during the evening
Mass. We ask ourselves: where is the faith
that enlivened the thousands of persons just
a few years ago?" (Alessandro)
Another friend from Belluno, just back
from a pilgrimage with a busload of people,
also confirms the safe drive along the coast
and pleads people to start returning. He
stressed the "importance of these pilgrimages
as a unique chance to review one’s life as a
Christian, not to mention the other
extraordinary graces that Our Lady grants."
The desert will bloom (Is 35) - Fr. A.R.,
back from Medj. after assisting in an aid-
delivery operation, tells of his feelings about
Medj.: "Looking down from the tops of
Krizevac and Podbrdo I couldn’t help thinking
about the many hotels that were put up so
quickly, but are now empty. It brought to
mind the rich man who wanted to build new
silos to contain all his riches (Lk 12). What
a waste of effort and money - and to think
it is preferred to the real wealth that Mary
came to bring us, that neither war, nor
thieves, nor rust can take from us. This too
is a sign of God's mercy who calls us to
If Mary is in Medj., it is expected for
Satan to be there too (cf. message of 28 Jan.
1987). Satan came to seduce with temptations
of worldly riches, and he managed to deviate
many. He has and is sowing scandal, and he
uses people to do this.
But God cannot be defeated by man’s
resistence and limits. The Medj. spirit has
moved to cover the entire world. The sparks
of the Medj. blaze started up fires of prayer,
renewal and vocations all over. Through
this instrument, we have tried to keep these
fires alive. We are certain that when the time
is right, this flame will once again light up
the hills where it first began. The communities
and groups that Mary formed in silence over
this long Good Friday will bring peoples
from all the world to this privileged place
known as Medjugorje.
News from the Blessed Land
* More healings - Medj. continues to be
a special place where the body and heart are
healed. Towards the end of April two young
men with AIDS (homosexuals) came to
Medj. It was a total upheaval for them. One
says he saw Our Lady, that She spoke to him
to explain the first messages to him since he
Come to Medjugorje
Do not allow gift of
Mary’s presence become void
Our Lady says: I rejoice at your presence
here (25.6.93); I am happy to see so many
of you this evening (25.3.94).
Invitation to return to Medjugorje
This appeal is from a young man who has
recently returned from a retreat in Medj.
"Medj. remains an oasis of peace. Our
Lady is inviting us to allow God to change
us: I will place in you a new heart... It was
in Medj. that I felt the irresistible desire to
invite all those people who have been there
- and non - to return, to go to Her.
It is from the Father that Our Ladt has the
power to grant such wonderful graces of
healing and reconciliation, the fruits of which
are peace and joy that the world cannot give.
I lived for more than one year in Medj. in
'92 and ’93 and though only a few km away
people were living through hell, here in
Medj. it never ceased being an oasis of peace.
I met bus drivers, truck drivers and aid
deliverers - many were atheists, but all of
them said they could feel the profound peace.
Some even witnessed visible signs, such as
the pulsating sun, the cross surrounded by
light, etc., and many of them changed life.
Just as Mary was present in the Upper Room
for Pentecost, today She is physically present
in Medjugorje (truly exceptional!).
much enthusiasm for prayer and charity
towards the war orphans and refugees.
* Ivan will marry an American girl on
the 23rd October next in America.
We refer our readers to a past article in
Echo 103 regarding the visionaries and their
choice of vocation. Note that Ivan had tried
to follow Our Lady's call to a religious
vocation twice and entered a convent in
Dubrovnik. To his disappointment, he was
It is indeed a great responsibility that of
guiding young vocations; discernment and
much care is needed. The risk in treating
people's vocations too lightly is that of
interfering with the Will of God. It also shows
us the importance of a guide, particularly for
people that receive such great gifts, for they
are tempted much more.
Let us all pray to God, that Ivan, with the
help of his future wife, may be faithful to the
mission he has been entrusted with.
LATEST NEWS (25 May) - The number
of pilgrims is growing, particularly the French-
speaking and English-speaking pilgrims.
There is also an increased presence of pilgrims
from Italy, Poland and Austria, etc.
Also this year the peace march from
Humac to Medjugorje has been organized for
the Anniversary date - 24 June.
As usual, the Youth Festival will be held
from 31 July to 6 August.
As in former Yugoslavia, though, where
Our Lady began pleading for peace 10 years
before the onset of the war, She also started
inviting people to pray, fast and convert in
Kibeho during the apparitions of 1981
through to 1983. Abbé Laurentin reports that
on the 9th August 1982, Our Lady cried and
the visionaries cried with Her when they were
shown tragic visions of the future with
terrible fighting, rivers of blood and
abandoned corpses. So shouldn’t we decide
to take Mary’s invitations seriously?
SOLIDARITY - Let us not forget these
suffering peoples. It is a chance for us, who
lack nothing, to build up treasures in heaven.
Check with your local Caritas or Medj.
centre for ways of helping. If you prefer to
send donations to us for these causes, enclose
a note with your cheque so we know who
to send the money to.
but peace not near
The fighting is now confined to the north
of Bosnia, but peace is still a long way off
for former Yugoslavia. The Croats and
Muslims had attempted forming a union
between them but this has been undermined
by the Serbs. The Serbs have been isolated
by the international community, but they do
not want to accept peace at the cost of losing
a part of the land they occupied. They were
offered 50% of Bosnia instead of the present
70% and more in their hands.
In the meantime they are trying to open
a corridor to the north of Bosnia to connect
Serbia to the zones they occupied, including
Krajne which is Croatian. The obstacles in
their way at the moment are the strongholds
Brcko and Tuzla where Muslims and Croats,
and not just these peoples, are holding them
back. In Sarajevo, people still have to look
out for their lives, where sharpshooters
recently killed 70 people in just 1 month.
This isn’t all. The Serbs seem to be getting
a hold of Kosovo, Macedonia and Krajne.
We hope that now that there is less
tension, there aren’t also less prayers. We
must keep on praying for peace to be
established as soon as possible, particularly
in this land where only an intervention by
God can bring that about.
Tragedy in Rwanda
was foreseen by Mary
The press didn’t spare us those tragic
sights of abandoned and mutilated corpses,
many of which are floating down the river
into lake Victoria. They report that about
2,000 reach the lake each day, and that
500,000 is the death toll to date. The
Rogationist missionaries, though, say 1.5
million is a more credible number. This is
the worst massacre in history.
Jelena talks about her experience:
I believe in the power of prayer
Jelena Vasilj has been studying theology
at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in
the USA. Last year she also attended the
University of Gaming in Austria for one
semester. She has now returned to the US.
In this recent interview by Medjugorje un
invito alla preghiera from Pescara, Jelena says
of her years at Uni: "I am very satisfied and
now everything that regards Medj. seems much
clearer to me. I am happy that what I have
experienced does not belong just to me, but is
shared by the whole Church. When I read about
the lives of the saints I am able to see myself
in them. I mean, the grace I have received is
not something unique, but many others in the
past and present have also received it. This
helps my faith to grow."
On inner locutions, Jelena said that she
does not have these on a daily basis anymore.
They occur when she prays, particularly at
Mass and when she meditates in silence. Jelena
adds: "The Mother of God urges us to adore
God and have faith in Him. I am aware of Her
presence with the eyes of the heart and I receive
the message in a type of flash - that seems to
last about 15 seconds. When I write it down
though, it appears to me that it should have
What do you feel after the locutions?
Often I react like Peter when he said to
Jesus: Why don’t we remain here and put up
a tent? When I feel the presence of God I feel
like putting up a tent and staying there. Our
world, however, expects something from us,
and so God makes me see how we can’t always
enjoy His presence.
In what way would you like to be a
testimony to the apparitions?
Certainly not with force. God will let me
know how I can serve Him. At times we don’t
realize how even little things makes us
witnesses, like gestures for instance that spur
on others. This has happened to me. I believe
that if we open up to God we will become
instruments in His hands.
Asked about the events in the former
Yugoslavia, Jelena replied that she did not feel
prepared enough in political events to be able
to reply. She added though that they could be
part of God’s plan since nothing happens by
chance. "In the history of man the Mother of
God has often intervened in decisive moments,
and I think that this moment is one of a great
Do you think we could stop evil, the wars,
if we took Mary’s messages more seriously?
I believe in the absolute power of prayer.
For a person who has experienced the power
of prayer, it is not possible not to believe in
Faith and Hope
stronger than hate
Croats and Muslims are on their way to
a reconciliation, and in many zones - such
as Bare and Pozetva - where the Muslims
are a majority, the Muslims are keeping
guard, particularly at night, over the homes
of the Croats.
The Bishop of Djakovo in Slavonia,
Marin Srakic, visited all the parishes of his
Diocese that are now in Serbian hands and
he has noticed that the faith of those who
have gone through so much tribulation has
been greatly strengthened. (From Glas
Koncilia no. 16/94).
The Poor Clares of Brestovsko - These
cloistered nuns refused to leave during the
war despite the many attempts to move them
out (see Echo 104 and 110 for news about
them). They kept up 24 hour adoration
during the most heated moments. Alberto
Bonifacio recently paid them a visit. They
are now repairing the roof of their convent
which had been badly damaged by fire last
year during bombing. Water and electricity
are being supplied once again and their
community life is returning to normal.
Not revenge, but pardon - Fra Jerko
Penava from Ogulin in Croatia writes: "About
15 days ago I attended the funeral of 17
year-old Matthew from Zagreb. He had been
killed by a young boy of the same age. It
is thought by accident, but the circumstances
surrounding the accident leave room for
After the funeral, back at the boy’s home,
some of the family were plotting revenge.
The mother protested heatedly: ‘Who gave
birth to Matthew?’ she asked. Everyone was
silent, and she continued: ‘I am his mother,
and if anyone is to take revenge it will be
me, but not with violence. The boy needs
help. His mother died when he was one and
his father died a few years after that. So I’ve
decided to bring him home and rear him as
if he were my own son.’
One by one, they have all managed to
An Information Office in Medjugorje
has been opened by Mir Editions, on the
church side of the bridge, to the left. Copies
of Echo in the principal languages will be
available here each month.
DEAD INSTRUMENTS (2)
An instrument of God must be joyful
An unhappy church-going person is a
person who is not open to God. It is not
possible to live with God and be unhappy.
A person who prays all the time but continues
cursing and criticising others is not open to
God. That person is without life. In him there
is sickness and death. God wants to remove
this; He wants to heal.
Why, though, would this person not have
joy? Why aren’t Christians joyful? It is so
contrary to real Christian living!
Why have so many people joined
sects? The reason is that they did not find
joy among the Christians. They did not find
in them the way that leads to happiness.
Behind every form of sadness there is an
inner closure that Satan uses. St Francis used
to say that the greatest danger for a person
was sadness. "If you have sinned, go to
confess, and be happy." In fact, there is no
other reason for being sad.
The causes of sadness
The problem is that we hang on to so
many reasons for being sad and we don’t
want to let go of them. For as long as we
keep these reasons and fears, we cannot be
joyful and our closure impedes us from
receiving God’s joy.
When a person who suffers from satanic
disturbances (but is not possessed) is
exorcised, they pretend an immediate solution,
but in reality, nothing can be done to help
them. The reason is that with their minds
these people wish to be freed, but their hearts
belong to Satan. They want justice, revenge
and rights, all according to their own ideas.
They keep reasons in their hearts that they
do not want to let go of. What they are doing
is keeping Satan’s kingdom in them. Their
hearts are filled with ill-humour. What can
a priest do if people, to be freed and thus
joyful, do not open their hearts, do not
renounce everything and do not really decide
We are very very superficial in our work
at keeping Satan at bay. He must be thrown
out of our hearts, our minds, our wishes and
our bad feelings - thrown out altogether. It’s
a waste of time saying we want joy if our
hearts continue calling upon evil!
The Lord wants to use you as His
instrument, and if your heart is open only to
love and peace and God’s justice and pardon,
you will see how your faces soon change and
how you will be able to change others! So
the problem is that we have reserved our
hearts for another kingdom instead of His.
There is another cause for this sadness
in Christians: they believe, yet they don’t
believe. They believe, but they are not
convinced - truly convinced - that God
gives everything. God, though, does give us
everything to make us happy. Perhaps He
doesn’t give us money, because at least those
of us here already have more than enough.
The problem is that our journey to God
is always on a material level. This impedes
us from reaching real inner wealth. It wasn’t
by chance that St Francis and St Clare
renounced all earthly goods so as to discover
the treasure that lied within them. They sang
and this made the rich marvel at why they
were happy. If we are unable to free our
hearts of all these things, we will never find
inner joy. We must free our hearts; then we
will feel the presence of God when we call
Him. If our hearts, though, continue being
divided, we call God with our lips and Satan
with our hearts.
Concerning this inner joy it is very
important that we understand the passage of
Luke’s Gospel that speaks to us about the
healing of the ten lepers. Only one, a
stranger, returned to glorify God. The other
nine had also been healed and this made them
happy, but they had not understood the
relationship between their healing and God.
They did not return to adore God as"the Gift"
- a much greater gift than our health.
To have stable joy our souls must
recognize God as our highest Good, the
good that is greater than all good on the earth.
This way, our souls are open, and we are able
to say: if I have God, I have everything! One
of the Medj. visionaries once told me how
Our Lady lamented: "They all come to see
the visionaries, but only a few of them come
to see Me; they all come in search of gifts,
only a few want the 'greatest of gifts.’" So
you see, as long as we look for little gifts
without "the Gift" who also gives joy to
human gifts, we cannot be happy.
Needing each other
There is something important that
Christians should remember which has to do
with what we said in the beginning about
being instruments of God. An instrument of
God that prays needs to be united to God;
he needs communion with God. Rather than
ask for things, we should desire being
dependent on God, elevating our souls to
God and being united to God.
At the same time a Christian must be
humble towards others and know how to ask
for help from others. If we observe Our
Lady’s messages we see that She always
prays. She has never used expression like:
I have powers. She just prays. At the same
time She says things like: I need your prayers
... your help ... your fasts. This is a sign of
Her humility and Her dependence. I cannot
help you either unless you respond with your
prayers. I need your prayers, I need your
openness. You see, that is how communion
with God is formed and how communion
among us is formed in God. Then God can
be manifested in us. When we say: "I believe
in God, I believe in the apparitions," it is a
responsibility we take upon ourselves.
Our body: instrument of God - a true
fast - It’s the same for fasting: also our fasts
must be in communion with God. There is
a wrong type of fasting; like fasting out of
habit - this is not a good enough reason for
God. Some fast to lose weight: this has no
spiritual value, though it can be done for
health reasons. I would suggest to you all to
eat less, to regulate your body’s needs and
take care of it for the sole purpose that it
is God’s instrument not man’s.
Furthermore, a severe fast done for the
purpose of obtaining extraordinary
phenomena or some other personal desire
has no value for God. Our fasts are worth
something in God’s eyes when done out of
love for God and for our brothers. The wise
men over the centuries teach us to be prudent
and wise in regulating one’s fast, but in any
case it must be done for love of God. I think
that Our Lady pointed this out to us in Her
messages of 1984 (eg. 20 Sept. 1984).
prayer. I am not a credulous person, but I can
see, through prayer, how God acts, how He
changes me and how He even changes situations
around me. I strongly believe that prayer is
very powerful and that with prayer, in union
with the Mother of God, we can greatly
Our Lady said in the message of 25 Oct.
1993: "If we had realized Her messages, the
war would not have lasted so long."
Like all evil, war is an evil that we can fight
only with God by our side. We are so weak
that we could never resist without God’s grace.
That is why I believe things aren’t going the
way they should, because we have not
understood that it is only with God’s grace
that we can defeat evil.
You are now far from Medj. Can you tell
us how important guides are in your life?
In the beginning there was Fr. Tomislav.
He was a great help. We were made to
comprehend the grace being revealed to us by
God; and of course, Our Lady guided us as a
prayer community. Also in America I have a
spiritual guide. He is a Benedictine father and
he is also my confessor. A spiritual guide helps
me understand what God wants from me and
this is important.
What does confession mean to you?
When I confess my sins and ask for pardon
I feel that the bond with God is restored.
Confession is a fount. Drawing from this fount
helps one grow spiritually. I confess every two
What do you think the Mother of God wants
I believe Our Lady is asking us of Medj.
to be particularly devoted to God. The more
I study the more I realize She would like a
special devotion from me. I do not know yet
what this will be, but I feel God is calling me
in a special way. At times it frightens me. I
do not know if the time has come to talk of
a vocation, or if I am mature enough yet for
such a big step... I think the important thing
is to decide for holiness. I am trying hard now
not to let my desires or instincts guide me, even
if they are positive.
What do you think of the messages?
Spiritual growth plays an important part.
At times I ask God why He doesn't give me
something new, but if I look more carefully
I see how much more work there is to do on
myself. The messages seem simple at a first
glance, but they are very profound. They are
important for my own spiritual growth. All the
days of our life will be spent in fighting our
weaknesses and that is why I believe so much
in prayer. Mary never stops asking us to pray,
and we can never pray enough.
The Rosary is very important to me, and
the Our Father is the greatest prayer of all.
It is in this prayer that we find Christ’s vocation
and ours: doing the will of God. The Scriptures,
the Gospel are important. It is here that we can
find all the answers to our problems. I go to
Mass every day. Without the grace of Jesus’
sacrifice it is very difficult to grow in faith."
You were 10 when you began having inner
locutions in Medj. Do you think of these as a
grace, or would you have preferred it never
Well on an egoistic level, I think of how
my class mates lived and what I missed out on.
If I compare these small privations to God’s
grace it makes me smile.
We were created for God. No type of
sufferance can be compared to God’s grace,
even if we react in a typically human way, like
I often do.
Anything that is not grace is fleeting."
Today too, God grants to Church
THOSE SAME CHARISMS
as in early centuries
in particular to lay people
"in the amount that pleases Him"
"(...) The Holy Spirit, the giver of every
gift and the main principle of the Church’s
vitality, does not only work through the
sacraments. According to St Paul, He who
distributes to each his own gifts as he wills
(cf. 1Co 12:11), pours out into the People of
God a great wealth of graces both for prayer
and contemplation and for action.
They are charisms: lay people receive
them too, especially in relation to their
mission in the Church and society. The
Second Vatican Council stated this in
connection with St Paul: "The Holy Spirit
also distributes special graces among the
faithful of every rank. By these gifts he makes
them fit and ready to undertake various tasks
and offices for the renewal and building up
of the Church, as it is written (in St Paul):
'the manifestation of the Spirit is given to
everyone for profit’ (1Co 12:7)."
St Paul highlighted the multiplicity and
variety of charisms in the early Church: some
are extraordinary, such as healings, the gift
of prophecy or that of tongues; others are
simpler, given for the ordinary fulfilment of
the tasks assigned in the community.
As a result of Paul’s text, charisms are
often thought of as extraordinary gifts,
which primarily marked the beginning of the
life of the Church. The II Vatican Council
called attention to charisms in their quality
as gifts belonging to the ordinary life of the
Church and not necessarily having an extra-
ordinary or miraculous nature. In addition,
it should be kept in mind that the primary or
principle aim of many charisms is not the
personal sanctification of those who receive
them, but the service of others and the
welfare of the Church... in that it concerns
the growth of Christ’s Mystical Body.
As St Paul told us and the Council
repeated, these charisms result from the free
choice and gift of the Holy Spirit. In a special
way the Triune God shows his sovereign
power in the gifts. This power is not subject
to any antecedent rule, to any particular
discipline or to a plan of interventions estab-
lished once and for all. According to St Paul,
he distributes his gifts to each "as he wills"
(1Co 12:11). It is an eternal will of love,
whose freedom and gratuitousness is revealed
in the action carried out by the Holy Spirit-
Gift in the economy of salvation. Through
this sovereign freedom and gratiutousness,
charisms are also given to the laity, as the
Church’s history shows (cf. CL no.24).
We cannot but admire the great wealth of
gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit on lay
people as members of the Church in our age
as well. Each of them has the necessary ability
to carry out the tasks to which he is called
for the welfare of the Christian people, and
the world’s salvation, if he is open, docile and
faithful to the Holy Spirit’s action."
Diversity and unity of charisms -
Need to recognize and discern them
"However, we must also turn our attention
to another aspect of St Paul’s teaching and
that of the Church, an aspect that applies to
every type of ministry and to charisms: their
diversity and variety cannot harm unity.
"There are different gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different ministries but the same
Lord" (1Co 12:4-5).
Paul asked that these differences be
respected because not everyone can expect
to carry out the same role contrary to God’s
plan and the Spirit’s gift, and contrary to the
most elementary laws of any social structure.
However, the Apostle equally stressed the
need for unity, which itself answers a
sociological demand, but which in the
Christian community should even more be
a reflection of the divine unity. One Spirit,
one Lord. Thus, one Church!
At the beginning of the Christian era
extraordinary things were accomplished
under the influence of charisms, both the
extraordinary ones and those which could be
called little, humble, everyday charisms. This
has always been the case in the Church and
is so in our era as well, generally in a hidden
way, but sometimes in a striking way, when
God desires it for the good of his Church.
In our day, as in the past, a great number
of lay people have contributed to the Church’s
spiritual and pastoral growth. We can say that
today too there are many lay people who,
because of their charisms, work as good,
genuine witnesses of faith and love... out of
fidelity to a holy vocation, who are involved
in serving the common good, in establishing
justice, in improving the living conditions of
the poor and needy, in taking care of the
disabled, in welcoming refugees and in
achieving peace throughout the world.
In the community life and pastoral practice
of the Church, charisms must be recognized
but also discerned, as the Synod Fathers
recalled in 1987 (CL 24).
Certainly, the Spirit blows where he
wills; one can never expect to impose rules
and conditions on him. The Christian
community, though, has the right to be
informed by its Pastors about the authen-
ticity of charisms and the reliability of
those who claim to have received them. The
Council recalled the need for prudence in this
area, especially when it regards extraordinary
charisms (cf. LG 12).
The Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles
Laici also stressed that "no charism dispenses
a person from reference and submission to
the Pastors of the Church" (CL24). These
norms of prudence are easily understandable
and apply to all, both clerics and lay people.
That having been said, we would like to
repeat with the Council and the Exhortation
cited above that "charisms should be received
in gratitude both on the part of the one who
receives them, and also on the part of the
entire Church" (CL24). From these charisms
there arises "for each of the faithful the right
and duty of exercising them for the good of
men and for building up the Church" (AA3).
The history of the Church shows that
whenever charisms are real, sooner or later
they are recognized and can carry out their
constructive, unifying role; a role, let us recall
once again, that the majority of the Church’s
members - clerical and lay - effectively fulfil
each day for the good of us all.
The Pope, General Audience 9 March '94
The value of our communion with God
See then how everything that we use must
be in communion with God, for that is the
only way we can be His instruments. When
our hearts are open to God, when we actively
participate in prayer and fasts, in our way of
acting, speaking, thinking and listening, then
we will be united to God and God will use
us. The more we are open interiorly, the more
things become easier for us, as they were for
Do you remember the time when a civil
war was about to break out in Arezzo? St
Francis started praying. At a certain point he
ordered one of the brothers to go to the city
wall and order the devils to leave the city.
The monk obeyed and told the devils: "Little
Francis orders you to leave the city," and so
the war was ended. It’s all so simple. It was
simple for Francis because he was in profound
communion with God.
What I desire is that we all begin entering
this profound communion with God to
permit Him to act in us and through us. It
is not important if some among you have
extraordinary powers. I guarantee that any
of you who are sick will have the
extraordinary power of sufferance which,
when put at God’s service, nourishes the
power of miracles. I guarantee that any of
you who suffer from satanic attacks and offer
it with joy and love, will free many other
people. It doesn’t matter whether you are
little or big, fat or thin, all that matters is that
you are united to God and you let God be
central in your life and you let Him do
everything in your life. Just be instruments!
If you put this into practice you will see
how God will act in you. God will be the
one acting and you won’t be worried or
nervous or be exposed to arguments. You
need not worry about anything for God will
do everything in you.
Fr. Tomislav Vlasic - 5 Jan. 1994
Move Feast of Immaculate
Heart to May 13
We unite ourselves to the many requests
that have been forwarded to the Holy See to
have the feast of the Immaculate Heart of
Mary moved to the 13th May.
This date is a very significant one. It
was on this same date in 1917 in Fatima that
Our Lady showed Her Immaculate Heart. It
was on this same date in 1981 in St Peter’s
Square that the Pope was saved from a sure
death. Moved to this date, the Immaculate
Heart would be celebrated in the middle of
May and would acquire greater significance.
At the moment, this feast is celebrated the
Saturday following the Sacred Heart
celebrations and is easily unnoticed because
it does not have a fixed date and could lose
significance if celebrated during a pre-festive
In prayer, we present this desire to Jesus’
Sacred Heart and to His Church. We think that
the following invocation, thought to be by St
Ambrose, is a very suitable one for this cause:
Heart of Jesus, glorify Thy Mother, that Thy
Mother may glorify Thee.
We think the first person to be happy about
this change would be John Paul II.
"I ask you to show me your love by coming
to Mass and the Lord will reward you
abundantly." 21 Nov. 1985
Donations received - March to May:
Medj. in the East: Lit.6,756,000; Bosnia-
Herzegovina: Lit.4,462,810, plus Lit.16,500,000
from Fr. Tiberius Munari in Mexico; Radio Maria
Poland: Lit.417,000; Latin America, Sahel,
Armenia, etc.: Lit. 2,205,000
Sped.Abb.Post.3/70, Aut.Trib.Mant.#13-8.11.86; Legal Dir: A.Lanzani; Printed by DIPRO, Italy, Fax: 0422-840804
13 June: St Anthony
the power of the Word of God
Jesus said: Whoever believes in me will
perform the same works as I do myself, he will
perform even greater works (Jn 14:12). This
was realized in the man who is known simply
as the "Saint."
St Anthony, or Ferdinando, was born in
Lisbon in 1195. His parents instilled in him
a profound love of God and a noble spirit.
When he was 15 he entered the Agostinian
convent in his town because he was determined
to die to the world and live only for God.
Disturbed by companions with political
projects, he moved to Coimbra 2 years later.
His life took a turn 7 years later when he
met some Franciscan monks on their way to
Morocco. He was attracted by their humble
and simple manners. In 1220 the bodies of the
5 martyrs - killed in Morocco - were brought
back to the convent and he kept watch over
them that night. He later asked permission to
enter the order of the poor monks, for he
desired going to Morocco, and if necessary,
die for the faith. God, however, had other
plans. Anthony got sick in Morocco and had
to be sent back home, but a storm carried the
ship to the port of Sicily. It was here that he
disembarked, and together with the monks of
Messina he made his way to Assisi for the
Chapter of Porziuncola and was greatly
impressed by Francis.
Without a mandate, and amid 5,000 monks,
he was anonymous. The Superior of the
convent of Montepaolo took him back to Forlì
and Anthony hid his cultured ways in the most
humble of tasks. At the ordination of a priest
he was forced to speak. He started out very
modestly, but ending up enchanting them all
with words of grace that showed up his rare
knowledge of the Scriptures. Sent to preach
to the heretics in Northern Italy, he moved
about from town to town. The biblical writings
had entered his soul so profoundly during the
hours of prayer in Coimbra that when Pope
Gregory IX heard him he called him Arc of
the Holy Scriptures.
Whenever Anthony spoke, his listeners did
not hear human words, but the words of eternal
life which explains why he had so much
success with the heretics. When he was in
Rimini, where the people had been led away
by heretics, they refused to listen to him, so
Anthony went to the beach and started preaching
to the fish. Fish by the hundreds could be seen
gathering on the surface of the water. The
people of Rimini converted.
Anthony is famous for the many miracles
that accompanied him during his life.
After many travels he retired for some time
into a contemplative life until his love for his
fellow men led him back into the world. He
founded the first house of study for the
Franciscans in Bologna and Francis sent his
fellow brothers to him for instruction. Francis
would tell him: "I want you to teach Holy
Theology to the brothers, but the spirit of
prayer must not be quenched neither in you
nor in them."
After some time he went to France to fight
the heretics of that nation. His weapons were
the Word of God and love for those who had
abandoned the true Doctrine. With these
weapons alone he entered the city of Toulouse
which was a real stronghold of heresy.
In 1227 he returned to Italy. His final abode
was the convent of Arcella in Padua. His
preachings for Lent in 1231 were extraordinarly
successful. People had started arriving the
night before and there were so many that
Anthony had to preach outside in the squares.
Afterwards, the people started lining up for
confession. The city of Padua and the
surrounding villages were completely
This great effort had damaged his already
failing health. He was affected by dropsy
which caused him great sufferance. One day
in Camposampiero (in the province of Padua)
he fell terribly ill and he was taken back to
his cell in Arcella on a wagon. His eyes were
fixed on something up high and his brothers
asked at what. "I can see my Lord," he replied.
He died on the 13th June at the age of 36.
It seemed impossible that in so few years he
was able to study so much, pray so much,
preach and do so much good.
There were so many incredible conversions,
people being healed and miracles happening
over his tomb that Pope Gregory IX sanctified
him only 10 months after his death. In 1946
Pope Pious XII proclaimed him Doctor of the
St Anthony is generally represented as
looking tenderly upon Child Jesus as He sits
on an open Bible in the hands of the saint -
this was how the Count of Camposampiero
had seen him one day in ecstasy. d.a.
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
* M.D. from Frankfurt has sent us the
latest message of Our Lady in Litmanova,
given on the 8th May. It talks about holiness.
"I wish to tell you that you do not know
the Lord, your God, well yet. You have still
not allowed your actions, hearts and words
to mature in love. This world is sick because
it is full of squalor and impureness. Do not
think the way this world thinks. Do not desire
what this world desires. I love you and I care
very much about the pureness of your hearts.
The other girl, Katka, said: 'God does not
want anything that is complicated. He wants
our love. For people who love, this is not
difficult to give God love.’ There were 25,000
present amid the bitter cold, but the sun came
out after the rain."
* From France: "It was by chance (if
there is such a thing), that my eye fell onto
a copy of the Echo of Medjugorje. I read it
and I was very moved, like never before."
* From Brescia: "Echo is a paper that
one can never finish reading. It is so nourishing
that I read it over and over again."
* Pat from Surrey writes to suggest that
since this is the Year of the Family, parishes
could donate Rosary beads to a couple when
they marry so that they could become a family
that prays together, and start lowering the
We thank Thee oh Blessed Virgin. The
letters we receive and their expressions of
gratitude are a blessing from you and
encouragement to continue with the work.
To all our readers we say thank you: for
helping us and for supporting us. I bless you
all and entrust you to the Heart of Jesus and
Reduced editions: Greek: Soeur Despina de la St
Croix, 69 Rue Epirou, Agia Paraskave, 15341 Athens,
Greece. Czech: Medzugorské ozveny, Ilbenstädter,
Str.6, D-60385 Frankfurt, Germany.
Distributors: USA: Peter Miller, POB 2720-230,
Huntington Beach CA 92647 - ph. 714-9637240,
fax 9631432. Giovanna Ellis, 9809 Stoneybrook
Dr., Kensington MD 20895 - ph. 301-5883198.
Canada: Giuseppe Bozzo, 8324 Nicolas Leblanc,
Montreal Que H1E 3W5 - ph. 648-3420. Spain:
Josè L. Lopez de S. Roman, Ap.246, Palencia, Spain.
Australia (all editions): Medjugorje Sentinel, P.O.B.
746, Pennant Hills NSW 2120 - fax 02-9807806.
Mary’s gift for Albania
Echo in Albanese! Fr. Valdemar from
Rapallo announced the good news and sent us
a copy of the first number. It contains the
translation of nearly all the articles in Echo
109 and 110. In the presentation our Albanese
friends wrote: "With the help of Mr. Angelo
Vecchione, in the city of Lac, we have started
printing the bulletin Echo of Medjugorje.
We are certain that the Albanese believers
will joyfully accept this sign of the presence
of Our Lady in Albania." The translation of
Echo 111 is now underway.
Some groundwork had already been done
by the distribution of 7,000 copies of a free
colour booklet published by Echo and translated
by Roberto Prendushi. It is entitled: Our Lady
visits the earth and appears in Medjugorje;
Her message reaches Albania.
Apart from covering the messages and
story of Medjugorje, the booklet also covers
the Pope’s visit to Albania, devotion to Our
Lady of Good Counsel in Shkodër, the
reconstruction of this Sanctuary which had
been destroyed during the last regime, and a
basic catechism with daily prayers.
We hope this may indicate a call by Mary
for the Albanese population, including the
people of Kosovo and the other ethnic groups
which have all suffered so greatly, that at Her
throne of grace they may find real peace.
ECHO IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Italian: Eco di Medj., C.P. 149, 46100 Mantova,
Italy. English: Echo of Medj., Cas.Post. 27, I-31030
Bessica (TV), Italy. French: Echo de Medjugorje,
18 Allée Thévenot, F-39100 Dole, France. German:
Echo aus Medj., Via C. Balbo 3, I-36015 Schio (VI),
Italy - fax 0445-575856. Spanish: Roger Watson,
Fermo Posta centrale, I-22100 Como, Italy. Catalan:
Amics de Medj., c.Carme 11 baixos, E-08700
Igualada-Catalugna, Spain. Portughese: a) Gilberto
Correia, rua de Brito 24, 4915 Vila Praia de Ancona,
(ph.911181), Portugal; b) Servos da Rainha, Caixa p.
02576, 70279-970 Brasilia DF, Brazil. Dutch: Int.
Medj. Comité afd. Nederland-Belgie, Misericorde-
plein 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. Magyar:
Fraternitas, 1399 Budapest, p.f. 701/85 Hungary -
fax 36-2176183. Romanian: Ecou din Medj., P.O.B.
41-132, Bucharest, Romania.
ECHO IS FREE - IT LIVES ON YOUR
Turning back to old-hat spirituality?
Cardinal Ratzinger was asked: "Are you
suggesting we turn back to the old spirituality
of 'opposing the world’?"
He replied: "It is not the Christians who
oppose the world; it is the world that opposes
Christians when the truth about God, Christ
and man is proclaimed. The world rebels
when sin and grace are called by their names.
After the phase of the indiscriminated
'aperture,’ it is time Christians became aware
that they belong to a minority group and are
often in contrast with what is logic, obvious
and natural for the 'worldly spirit.’ It is time
Christians found the courage to be anti-
conformists and the capacity to oppose and
denounce many of the tendencies in the culture
that surrounds us."