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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 184 (November-December 2005)

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Our Lady’s message, 25 Sept. 2005:
“Dear Children, With love I call
you: convert, even though you may be
far from my heart. Do not forget: I am
your mother and I feel pain for each of
you who is far from my heart; but I will
not abandon you. I believe you can leave
the way of sin and decide for holiness.
Thank you for responding to my call.”
Leave the way of sin
Two ways are before us: the way of
good, and of death and evil (Dt 30:15). “I
have set before you life and death, blessing
and cursing. Choose, therefore, life, that
both you and your seed may live; that you
may love the Lord your God, and obey his
voice, and adhere to him, for he is your
(Dt 30:19-20).
We are free to choose, and in fact we
make choices every minute of our life,
often underestimating their importance, for
every choice is another step on the way of
blessing or on the way of cursing. God
cannot be confined to a space or a moment
cut out in our day. “You shall love the Lord
your God with all your heart, all your soul
and all your strength”
(Dt 6:5). We either
give everything to God or we risk not giving
Him anything. God is not an idol, or a lucky
charm. He’s not an insurance policy for a
moment of need. He’s not an idea or a
concept, or an ideology, and He’s not even
a religion. God is
; He is
the Lord of life; He is our life, and only in
Him are we truly alive!
We often think we live, that we manage
our own life and that of the others, but
perhaps we are just blind leading the blind
(Mt 15:14). “Dear Children, With love
I call you: convert, even though you
may be far from my heart,”
says Our
Lady. She appeals to us to convert, to
choose the way of blessing and life. Her
appeal is full of motherly love and sorrow.
“Do not forget,” she adds, “I am your
Mother and I experience pain for each
of you who is far from my heart.”
is no threat here, just love and suffering
for the children who remain far from her
Heart. There is no resentment for our
ingratitude. Mary, the humble handmaid,
does not seek human recognition nor the
hosannas of an audience, nor mundane
triumphs. Her only desire is to lead us to
the Father, and she wants it to be clear to
us that she won’t abandon us. We must
be certain of this!
Our Blessed Mother does not stop
before our sin, and if we invoke her, even
if only upon our death, she will intercede
and obtain divine forgiveness for us. Only
a conscious and obstinate refusal on our
part can stop her determination to obtain
for us forgiveness and salvation.
It doesn’t take great prayers; we only
need to earnestly desire her help; yet the
senseless man shall not know; nor will the
fool understand these things
(Ps 91:7).
Mary, however, will not abandon us, but
she continues to trust us and encourage
us: “I believe you can leave the way of
sin and decide for holiness.”
Why is it
that we who give credit even to those who
don’t merit it are so reluctant to believe
her? Though we may be far from her heart,
could we not try believing, and give her
suggestions a try? Should we do this
without malice, but with the sincerity,
honesty, and humility of little children, we
would find ourselves on the way of
holiness where we would know not only
forgiveness, but also the sweetness of
God’s blessing and the amazing beauty of
life in Jesus Christ.
I am certain of this, but my certainty
is not founded on human strength or
capacity, but on the power of divine mercy,
on Mary’s ardent and motherly love, and
on the word of Jesus who came to call not
the just, but sinners
(Mt 9:13).
Nuccio Quattrocchi
time of silence
time of expectation
Our Lady’s message, 25 Oct. 2005:
“My Children, believe, pray and
love, and God will be close to you. He
will grant you all the graces you seek
from Him. I am a gift for you given
that God allows me to be with you from
day to day and to love each of you with
infinite love. Therefore, my Children,
in prayer and humility open your
hearts and be witnesses of my presence.
Thank you for responding to my call.”
Believe, Pray, Love
The message makes me think of the
prayer taught by the Angel to the three
shepherd children of Fatima during the first
apparition: My God, I believe, I adore, I
hope and I love Thee; I beg pardon of Thee
for all those who do not believe, do not
adore, do not hope and do not love Thee
A lot of things have changed in the world
since that spring day of 1916, yet the
important thing, that which is decisive for
the lot of individuals and nations, remains
unchanged. Created in the image of God,
man cannot cancel this image, nor can he
cut himself away from it without losing
his identity.
We are created in God’s image to
become, in the fullness of time (i.e., when
his plan of love is fulfilled), His children in
Christ Jesus. Today we are living the last
day, the day in which everything, all of
creation, is being recapitulated in Christ
(Eph. 1:10). This is the day of the Lord,
and even though for the rod with which
we measure time this day is 2000 years
old, we know that one day with the Lord
is as a thousand years, and a thousand
years as one day
(2 Pt 3:8). This is the day
that we must choose, make a decision,
because the Lord will come for each of us
and He will not delay. Watch therefore, for
you know not what hour your Lord is
(Mt 24:42), and, you also must be
ready; for the Son of man is coming at an
hour you do not expect
(Mt 24:44).
My Children, believe, pray and love,
and God will be close to you, says our
Mother as she indicates the way to us to
keep watch. Then, for us His day will not
come like a thief (cf. 2 Pt 3:10), but will
crown the expectation of the sponsal
encounter between the soul and its Lord.
To believe is to accept the gift of faith;
it is our positive response to God’s call.
To believe is to let oneself be ravished by
the Holy Spirit to know and to accept that
which is hidden to the learned and the wise
(Lk 10:21). To believe is to live according
to the way the Church teaches us. To pray
is to remain in God’s presence with an open
heart; to breathe Christ; to allow the heart
beats of Jesus and Mary to beat in us, so
Nov.-Dec. 2005 - Echo of Mary, P.O. Box 27, I-31030 Bessica Treviso, Italy. Ph/fax +39 (0)423-470331
E-mail: info@ecodimaria.net - A translation of the original Italian: Eco di Maria. - Yr 21 # 6
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they can live in us, and we can disappear in
them. To love is to contemplate Love which
became man, was crucified and rose again
in Jesus, and in every creature where He
abides. To love is to live at Mary’s school.
If we sincerely believe, pray and love (not
just with words); if faith, prayer and love
impregnate our life, we will feel God’s
presence and nothing will separate us from
God will grant you all the graces that
you seek from Him, continues Mary.
What could these be if not the graces that
nourish our life of faith? If we truly believe,
pray and love in a way that draws God to
us, what else could we want except graces
that confirm our communion with Jesus
and Mary? This is a time of grace, Mary
has often reminded us, and ought to be
lived as such.
Today Mary specifies: I am a gift for
you, since God allows me to be with you
from day to day and to love each of you
with infinite love.
We announce to you
what we have seen and heard
that you too
may make treasure of it. In prayer and
humility open your hearts and be
witnesses of my presence.
humility and an open heart are
characteristic of Mary, our Mother. She
offers these qualities to us; let us accept
them and the conversion that it will bring
about in us will make us reliable witnesses,
a faithful echo of her presence in
Medjugorje. Peace and joy in Jesus and
Bread of Communion
Though the Year of the Eucharist has
come to an end, rather than a conclusion one
must speak of a departure, and of a
continuation of the millenary journey of the
Church. The Synod of bishops, with the
theme: “The Eucharist: Source and Summit
of the Life and Mission of the Church”
the final act of a long year of reflections and
interventions on what is the central mystery
of Christian life: the Eucharist. The Pope
sealed the year with the celebration of Mass
on Sunday 23 October (World Missionary
Day) whilst canonizing five new saints.
But what is a Synod?
The Synod of Bishops is a gathering of
representatives of the Episcopal conferences
around the world. It was instituted by Paul
VI in 1965 and is made up of circa 200 Bishops.
And that is precisely what we had during
the first three weeks of October: 256 Synod
Fathers, elected either by their own Episcopal
Conferences or by the Pope, together with
other external auditors, were united around
Benedict XVI to reflect on problems that
petition today’s Church.
Generally, the Holy Father consults with
the Bishops to decide on the theme, but
chose the theme personally this time. The
next step is to send to the Episcopal
Conferences the “Lineamenta” prepared by
the General Secretary of the Synod, together
with a lengthy questionnaire. Based on this
the “Instrumentum Laboris” is prepared
(instrument of work) and sent to each of the
participating Bishops so that they may
contribute to throw light on the problems
being discussed.
The Synod of Bishops is an advisory
body where the Bishops assist the Pope to
understand the needs of the Church
throughout the world. The final decision and
teaching remains with the Holy Father who
will issue a document at the end of the Synod.
The Pope of the Synod
That’s how JPII wanted to be recalled; he
had expressed this wish numerous times,
saying that his formation owed a great deal
to this experience. John Paul II, in fact, was a
member of all the synods between 1967 and
2001. His attentive participation was
proverbial. Vatican sources say that only the
General Audiences of Wednesday impeded
him from staying with the other bishops to
know them better, to share their concerns, to
strengthen them in the urgent commitment
of the new evangelization.
Necessary update
Benedict XVI never leaves unfulfilled the
work began by his “beloved predecessor” -
as he likes to call him, while at the same time
adding his personal touch, which though
more sober and reserved, is extremely incisive
and attentive. Pope Ratzinger thus faced the
Synod in the role of protagonist, making good
use of the fruits of his long experience in the
Synod. So it does not surprise to see Benedict
XVI willing new energy into the Synod of
Bishops through innovations, such as
reducing the time at the disposal of each
participant in order to cut out a space
destined for liberal exchange of opinions and
deeper examination to favour spontaneous
expression and sharing.
A long train
In his opening reflection the Pope
indicated the tracks for the long Synod train:
varied and composite because it is made up
of carriages from all over the world, each filled
with its own ethnic and cultural baggage.
He spoke of imperatives, the first of which
was “be glad”: an invitation, he said, to feel
the presence of the Lord close to us. Benedict
XVI thus invited all not to be deaf to Him
“because the ears of our heart are so full of
the din of the world that we cannot hear this
silent presence that is knocking at our door,”
directly petitioning the consciences of those
present by saying: “Let us consider whether
we really are prepared to open the doors of
our heart; or perhaps this heart is crammed
with so many other things that there is no
room in it for the Lord. Thus, insensitive, dead
to his presence, distracted by other things,
we fail to hear the essential!”
Be perfect as your Father is perfect
The words of the second imperative, “be
perfect,” invite us to be what we are: images
of God, ‘mirrors’ where the Lord’s light is
reflected, said the Pope. However,
aware of
man’s imperfections, the Holy Father recalled
that for man to reach the ideal of perfection
one must continually make “repairs” like to a
musical instrument “that unfortunately has
several broken strings, so that God’s music
which should echo in the depths of our soul
can no longer ring out. We must repair this
instrument, be familiar with its broken parts,
the destruction, the negligence, the
omissions, and seek to make it perfect and
complete so that it will serve the purpose for
which the Lord created it.
So it can be an invitation to the regular
examination of conscience, to see how this
instrument of mine is going, to what point it
has been neglected or is no longer in working
order... and an invitation to have recourse to
the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where God
himself repairs the instrument and restores
us to integrity, perfection and functionality.”
Correct and comfort one another
The third imperative is fraternal
correction and sharing others’ sufferings. In
a paternal and assuring tone, with clarity and
eloquence Benedict said: “None of us sees
himself or his shortcomings clearly. It is
therefore an act of love to complement one
another, to help one another see each other
better, and correct each other. I think that
one of the very functions of collegiality is to
help one another, also in the sense of the
previous imperative, to know the
shortcomings that we ourselves do not want
to see.” Then he added with firmness: “Only
if it comes from a humble heart that does not
rank itself above others, that does not
consider itself better than others … can we
help one another in this regard with a great
act of love.”
Beauty in diversity
Though the theme was one, the variety
of interventions evidenced the diversity
present in Christ’s Church: a wealth to be
exploited in this world of globalization which
tends to standardize everything and hide the
work which gushes forth from God’s
extraordinary creativity. “We have sensed a
profound joy in experiencing the unity of our
Eucharistic faith in the midst of the widespread
diversity of rites, cultures and pastoral
situations,” wrote the Synod Fathers in their
final message. “The presence of so many
Brother bishops has allowed us to experience,
in a more direct way, the richness of our
different liturgical traditions that makes the
depths of the unique Eucharistic mystery
shine forth.”
We must have courage
Wherever we may be - in the family, at
work, in religious communities – we need to
ask for the courage to think with Christ’s
thoughts. We can do so by reading Sacred
Scripture; and by practising Lectio divina,
to grasp Christ’s Way of thinking, to think
His thoughts and feel His sentiments, to be
able to convey Christ’s thinking to others.
We are united by our faith in the one God,
Father of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist unites
us; and in it we are recapitulated in Him. We
conclude with the words of the Pope who
said that there could be no justice where man
becomes sole master of the world and of
himself. Such a world, he said, would be
dominated by the
arbitrariness of power and
self-interests... “If we remain united to the
Lord, we will also bear fruit; then also from
us there will no longer be the vinegar of self-
sufficiency, of discontent of God and of His
creation, but the good wine of joy in God and
of love towards one’s neighbour.”
Stefania Consoli
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Bishops testify: people
hunger for the Eucharist!
Many were the Bishops from around the
world that testified how people hunger for
Christ, and that many must do without Him
in communities where there is no priest.
The shortage of priestly vocations is a
situation which damages those priests who
are forced to run from one community to
another, and it also damages God’s people
who – in some parts of the world – are
literally forced to practise Eucharistic fasting.
One Bishop from South Africa noted: “Due
to the lack of priests, many communities
celebrate Mass only once or twice a month!”
The causes vary. The
secularization of western
nations certainly doesn’t
favour the increase of
“workers in the Lord’s
vineyard.” Bishops from
some countries where the
seminaries are full
complained of decreasing
numbers of faithful. In
particular, the Bishop from Korea said: “the
participation of children in the Eucharist is
decreasing dramatically along with age.” He
said the children that don’t come to Mass
complain of Mass being uninteresting.
“There must be a fair distribution of
priests throughout the world,” commented
the bishop of Mozambique, while the bishop
from Lebanon pointed out: “Sending priests
to countries where they are lacking, taking
them from a country that has many, is not the
ideal solution if one bears in mind the question
of tradition, customs and mentality. The
problem remains.”
Some bishops asked themselves if it were
not possible to ordain married men – as they
do in the Eastern Church - to make up for the
shortage of priests and ensure the Eucharistic
bread for all, but it was decided that it was an
“untenable hypothesis.” With conviction the
Church has once again affirmed that celibacy
is “an inestimable gift” for the priest
the faithful. The Patriarch of the Church of
Antioch pointed out: “The Maronite Church
admits married priests. Yet, it must be
recognized that if admitting married men
resolves one problem, it creates others just
as, if not even more serious.”
And in his homily at the concluding Mass,
Pope Benedict clarified: “The celibacy that
priests have received as a precious gift and
the sign of undivided love towards God and
neighbour is founded upon the mystery of
the Eucharist, celebrated and adored.”
Amongst other problems put forward by
the Synod Fathers one was holy communion
for the divorced and re-married
. At the
conclusion of the Synod, the Bishops
reaffirmed that “according to the tradition of
the Catholic Church, they cannot be admitted
to holy communion, being in a position of
objective contrast with the Word of the Lord.
... Nevertheless, the Church welcomes them
and follows them with special attention that
they may cultivate a Christian lifestyle... If
the nullity of the matrimonial bond is not
recognized and objective conditions arise that
render cohabitation irreversible, the Church
encourages them to commit themselves to
live their relationship in accordance with the
law of God, transforming it into a firm and
faithful friendship, and thus be able to return
to the Eucharistic table... But such
relationships should not be blessed, so as not
to create confusion among the faithful
concerning the value of marriage.
At the same time, the Synod hopes that
all possible efforts be made both to ensure
the presence, pastoral character, and correct
and swift activity of ecclesiastical tribunals
for causes of the nullity of marriage, and to
dedicate further study to the essential
elements of the validity of marriage, also
bearing in mind the problems emerging from
the profound anthropological transform-
ations of our times, by which the faithful
themselves risk being conditioned, especially
given the lack of solid Christian formation.”
Thus the Lights and
shadows in a Church that
confronts herself with the
Eucharist 40 years after the
Council: “The Eucharist
can also be considered as
a ‘lens’ through which to
verify continually the face
and the road of the
Church.” The Synod, a realistic and objective
examination of the Church is necessary so
that the beautiful Bride of Christ may be a
credible response to the challenges of a world
which does everything it can to cancel God.
For this reason to the Synod Fathers Benedict
XVI recommended that during the Synod
they say “not only beautiful things about the
Eucharist, but above all, they live from its
China forbidden to participate
Four were the bishops that were not able
to participate in the Synod. One of them,
Mons. Wei, tells how after receiving the
Pope’s invitation to the Synod, he went every
day to ask for his passport but that he was
continually denied it.
The vice president of the Patriotic
Association declared that the Vatican had
offended the official channels which manage
the affairs of the Church because they invited
the bishops without contacting them. The
Patriotic Association is a non-ecclesial
organism, members of which include atheists
belonging to the Communist party. Its scope
is to control the Church (also economically),
and the formation of a national church not
dependent on the Holy See. China does not
permit the Vatican to nominate bishops; they
see it as an interference in its internal affairs,
and Chinese Catholics are not allowed to
acknowledge the authority of the Pope.
In his homily, the Pope sent a “fraternal
greeting” to the Church in China: “With deep
sorrow we felt the absence of their
representatives. Nevertheless, I want to
assure all of the Chinese Bishops that, in
prayer, we are close to them and to their
priests and faithful. The painful journey of
the communities entrusted to their pastoral
care is present in our heart: it does not remain
Holy Mass, meeting place
“Burundi, a Christian country, and more
than 60% Catholic, has just experienced a
period of trial with tragic conflicts among
the country’s various ethnic communities.
These conflicts degenerated into civil war,
and the situation reached the point that people
from different ethnic groups no longer dared
pass one other in the street. Eucharistic
celebrations remained privileged places
where people from different ethnic groups
could meet to pray for reconciliation.”
(Bishop of Burundi)
Where there is no Sunday
“The celebration of the ‘Sunday
Eucharist’ presumes that there is a ‘Sunday’
- the Day of the Lord - set apart, and that the
Eucharist can be celebrated freely on
Sundays. In some parts of the world, this is
not possible: for example, in Saudi Arabia or
in some other Muslim countries. Sunday is a
working day and the Eucharist is not
celebrated because there are no Churches and
no priests, or there is simply no religious
freedom. From Eritrea and Ethiopia, there are
many Christians who are working and living
in Muslim countries. ... Before they go to the
Muslim countries, they are forced to change
their Christian names into Muslim ones, and
especially the women have to dress in Muslim
attire. Once they reach their destinations,
their passports are taken from them and they
suffer all kinds of abuses and exploitation.
Many are forced by the situation to become
Muslims.” (Bishop of Ethiopia)
Muslims associate with Paschal
“We are very much a minority of local
churches, living in a world where Islam has
strongly marked culture. ... Because of the
needs of the mission, many live far away from
any priestly presence. Due to this they
cannot participate in the Eucharist, except on
rare occasions. Our thanksgiving to God joins
that of our Muslim friends who also praise
God for His works of creation and mercy. We
could spiritually incorporate their prayers in
our Eucharistic celebrations. We are
sometimes amazed to see our Muslim friends
‘linked with the Paschal Mystery.’ When we
come to inscribe our life in the offering of
Christ, we also, in some way, do so with the
lives of our friends. ... In an imperceptible
way, our Eucharistic celebrations bring
together a people who are yet absent, a people
searching for God in the righteousness of
their hearts. For a particular Church, the way
of living the Eucharist cannot be separated
from her concrete history with the people to
whom the Lord gave her.” (Bishop of Algeria)
Material bread alone
“In Romania the communists tried to give
man material bread alone, and sought to expel
‘the bread of God’ from society and from the
human heart. ... Priests were imprisoned
simply for being Catholic, so they could not
celebrate or speak about God. In the famous
period of ‘re-education’ and ‘brainwashing’
in the Romanian prisons, to ridicule priests
and the Eucharist and to destroy human
dignity, the persecutors made them celebrate
with excrement, but they never succeeded in
destroying their faith. ... No one will ever
know, ever, how many humiliations they were
made to undergo. These modern martyrs of
the 20th Century offered all their suffering to
the Lord for dignity and human freedom.”
(Bishop of Romania)
Echo 184
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The great unknown
Hans Urs von Balthasar
In truth he is unknown especially in
his own country which obstinately
continues to remain silent about the great
Swiss theologian Hans Urs von
. Yet, abroad, his works are
requested, appreciated and readily found.
They are translated into various languages;
and the numerous dissertations on his life
and works honour this Swiss son. The
Cardinals and Bishops which came from
three continents for his jubilee Mass, testify
to the greatness of this theologian of the
Church of today.
The following is an excerpt of a homily
given by the Bishop of Basel, Kurt Koch,
at a celebration of the centennial of von
Balthasar’s birth
(12 August 1905) in the
parish Church of Lucerne where the
theologian is buried. It is where his funeral
on 1st July 1988 was celebrated by Pope,
then Cardinal, Ratzinger.
To live one’s Baptism and through
one’s Baptism be called to follow Christ
was the motor behind von Balthasar’s
Christian life, his ecclesial existence and
his theological work, in the wake of Christ’s
radical call: “If you love your father or
mother more than you love me you are
not worthy of me.”
He took this call so seriously that he
also encouraged lay persons to embrace
the evangelical gifts of poverty, chastity
and obedience. Christian obedience comes
as a result of listening to the Word of God
with an open heart so as to discern His
will - taught von Balthasar. For a
theologian, the beauty of obedience lies in
the fact that obedience can be given to those
who are in turn obedient whether he be
lay, deacon, priest or bishop, for all owe
their obedience to God. Obedience within
the Church is never related to formal
This profound biblical sense applied to
obedience allowed von Balthasar to remain
immune to the anti-hierarchical attitude
being felt in today’s Church (an attitude
that Card. Ratzinger called a “sickness”).
In short, von Balthasar had great respect
for the Petrine structure of the Catholic
In Mary he contemplated the Church
which was born from her “yes.” In her he
saw the model of biblical obedience which
doesn’t come as one’s own initiative, but
rather as something to receive; an
obedience that knows that the true source
of fecundity of all apostolic activity is
This fundamentally Marian attitude was
the backbone of von Balthasar’s theology.
Only if a theologian allows an encounter –
in a spiritual sense – with the Word of God
can he be a voice of the Gospel; and this
is possible only if his theology knows how
to go down on its knees.
Von Balthasar upheld that his theological
and literary works intended to be a finger
of John who points at Christ. He desired
helping people to heal the eyes of the heart
so that they could see the living God and
recognize Him as the cause, centre and
scope for all human life. In his book, “Our
Mission” he outlines the St. John
Community which was so dear to him.
Von Balthasar was a “conservative” in
the good sense of the word, because he
worked to keep the most precious and
irreplaceable good of the Christian Gospel,
even amid the storms of the world and
within the Church. At the same time he
was also “progressive” because he fought
for spiritual renewal of the lay people. He
offered many new aspects to the Church,
but above all, he showed clearly that God
is not only true and good, but also
beautiful. It is only in the beauty of God
that the true face of every other divine
attribute can be read. Image, action and
word are joined to give praise to God who
is Love. In this love alone – according to
von Balthasar – is made visible the greatest
mystery of the Christian faith.
Von Balthasar fought for a “true,
Christian theology of liberation.” His is a
theology founded on the Eucharist where
Jesus, the Spouse, gives Himself with
everything that He has and is, and those
who radically graft themselves into the
Eucharistic mystery of the self-offering of
Jesus will lead Eucharistic lives on a daily
basis, offering themselves up in turn for
the mission. He who encounters Christ in
the unassuming species of Eucharistic
bread and wine (where Christ is hidden
and present for us) will be able to discover
Him also in the poor and suffering.
All of us have reason to be grateful to
Hans Urs von Balthasar because he showed
the Church the way of decisive reform:
return to the essence of the Christian faith
in its Catholic form.
In the early years of the apparitions
at Medjugorje, the then young priests
Slavko Barbaric and Tomislav Vlasic visited
von Balthasar at Basel, and brought back
with them as a gift these words of his:
“There could only be one error regarding
Medjugorje, and that would be not to
acknowledge the apparitions as real.” In
his book on Medjugorje, Fr. Rupcic wrote
of a document in which von Balthasar
seriously warned the bishop of Mostar
about the responsibility that he would have
to bear should he continue to fight against
(Reduction by Rita Gervais)
Mary, woman of silence
Amongst the many Marian names – and
one doesn’t quite know whether to admire
the fantasy of the poets or the tenderness
of popular piety – I found one which is
extraordinarily suggestive: Mary, Cathedral
of Silence.
Mary is that gothic cathedral which
houses silence; jealously. It is not broken
even when she speaks. But why?
Well, first because she is a woman of
few words. In the Gospel she speaks a
mere four times: at the annunciation of the
angel; when she sings the Magnificat;
when she finds Jesus in the temple; and at
the wedding in Cana of Galilee. After
having told the servants at the wedding to
listen to the only word that counts, she
remains forever silent.
Her silence, however, is not only the
absence of voice, or the lack of noise. It
is not even the result of an ascetical form
of sobriety. It is, instead, the theological
casing of a presence; the shell of a fullness;
the womb that protects the Word.
One of the last verses of the Letter to
the Romans speaks to us of Mary’s silence
when it speaks of Jesus Christ as the
“revelation of the mystery which was kept
secret for long ages.” Christ, silenced
mystery; hidden, secret mystery; literally:
encased in silence.
In other words, the Word of God was
wrapped in silence within the womb of
eternity. When He entered the womb of
history he could not be wrapped in
anything except Mary’s own person. So
she became the earthly prolongation of the
mysterious silence of heaven.
For us all, devastated by the din of the
world, she remained the silent casket of
the Word: “She kept all these things in her
Blessed Mary, woman of silence, lead
us to the founts of peace. Free us from
the siege of words - our own first, but
also those of the others. As children of
noise we think we can put a mask over
our tormenting insecurity with our idle talk.
Mother, help us to understand that only
when we are silent can God talk. As co-
inhabitants of the hubbub, we have
convinced ourselves that we can exorcise
our fear by turning up the volume of our
transistors. Mother, help us to understand
that God communicates to mankind only
in the sands of the desert, and that His
voice has nothing in common with the
decibels of our din.
Mother, explain to us the profound
meaning of that verse of Wisdom (18:14-
15) that once used to be read at Christmas,
making our eyes open wide with
amazement: “While all things were in quiet
silence and the night was in the midst of
her course, Thy almighty Word leapt down
from heaven from Thy royal throne, onto
the earth…”
Lead us back, I beseech you,
to the faraway wonder of the first crèche,
and awaken in our hearts nostalgia for that
“silent night.”
Fr. Tonino Bello, Bishop
(excerpt: Maria, Donna dei Nostri
“What happiness I am given each new
day when I find You in the Eucharist!
I am more fortunate than your disciples
as I can receive You within my soul,
remain alone with You, unite myself to
You, and identify myself with You. I
am nourished by You, I am embodied
in You!
How many tears I shed for the brethren
and my mission, so difficult and
laborious! But You come to me in the
morning and I am able to rest on Your
Heart; and the burden of the day’s work
becomes barely noticeable.”
Mother M.Pia Mastena
Founder, Sisters of the Holy Face
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Love becomes a Child
seek and not what we find? For indeed, love
isn’t a perceivable energy, but a living and
real person!
“God is love” wrote St. John (1Jn 4:8).
This is both our starting and finishing line.
It is where we will finally find what we
are seeking: God the person, a conscious
and free Being that enters into relationship
with us, who communicates with us. Love
is no longer fruit of a relationship, but Love
is the subject and the object of the
Once we have understood this,
everything changes since we know with
certainty the time and place of the
encounter: the Eternal One in our own
time; the Infinite One in our own space.
He comes to us in a thousand ways, known
and unknown. He is always new, yet
constantly faithful to Himself. He is the
living love of the Scriptures; love at work
in the Sacraments; the one and only love
throughout history who adapts Himself to
each person to be closer to each of us in
our personal needs. He makes Himself
known so that no one should remain
indifferent to His touch which warms,
vivifies, transforms.
He is a person; He is Love; He is free
to come and to go, to hide Himself or to
let Himself be found. Though He cannot
be commanded, by a beseeching heart He
is disarmed, irresistibly attracted, and
Love, sung, prayed, and proclaimed,
has always been the object of man’s
attention. To tell the truth, love is the only
thing we seek and really need. Lack of love
is the root of every conflict whether
personal, or a family or world affair. If
every person were to fully enjoy a portion
of the love for which he was created, no
one would ever bother to attack another,
but he would simply love!
We are all needy of love, and we
passionately seek it, though we rarely find
it in its most authentic and pure form. We
are speaking of gratuitous love, the love
that loves to love and be loved; the
liberating love, the kind that doesn’t ask
you to be different from what you are to
make you feel loved; the love that satisfies,
because it comes to you first without
making you beg for it; the love that, in
short, nourishes the unsuppressible need
that we all have; that dampens the attack
of other, unhealthy types of appetite.
More or less aware of this deep
yearning, we consume our existence
waiting and hoping, chasing after it and
even pretending it. Some even sell
themselves for a few pennies for the sake
of a caress despite the squalid egoism of it
all. But what do we really seek? A feeling,
a sensation, the pleasure of a moment?
Have we ever thought that perhaps we ought
to concern ourselves with WHO we should
becomes the defenceless prisoner of our
This is the meaning of Advent which
is about to begin: the expectation of an
encounter with Him for whom we yearn.
He is Love in the form of a little baby; little
so He can enter each of us and transform
us into His crib, His temple and tabernacle
where He can become truly the Emmanuel.
In this holy time certainty springs
from hope: at Christmas Love is born.
There is no doubt, however, we can accept
Him only if – like the shepherds – we heed
the announcement. We can love Him only
if – like Mary – we allow ourselves to
become involved, and our plans even
upset . We shall know how to keep Him if
– like Joseph – we set aside the rule to
listen to the Spirit. We shall know how to
adore Him if – like the Magi – we accept
to leave our kingdoms and bend down over
His poverty.
He, then, will enter into our lives to
establish His dwelling place. We shall find
peace in the certainty that we are loved by
Love Himself; that He will never abandon
or betray or blackmail us, but will continue
to repeat to us: “The Lord your God is in
your midst, a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness, he
will renew you in his love; he will exult
over you with loud singing as on a day of
(Zeph 3:17) Stefania Consoli
Fertility of
Consecrated Virginity
“The Lord chose Jacob,
Israel as His possession”
At the base of a radical choice for
consecrated virginity offered to the Lord,
there is always God’s initiative, His call.
Lord on His part makes a proposal of love, a
call that attracts. He chooses those whom
He wishes (cf. Lk 6:13) e then leaves one to
choose in all freedom.
The role of consecrated virginity is
always to be seen in connection with the
sponsal love between God the Spouse and
the virgin-bride person. According to the
logic of this world, there is no reason to be a
virgin. The motivations for virginity are
entirely celestial. It is the generous response
of he or she who has been enchanted by the
person of Jesus Christ and desires being part
of His work of salvation.
Those who respond to the call are
introduced into God’s thought. God himself
invests ever more heavily in this person,
revealing His plan of love, and though it is a
universal plan, its realization is begun in
individuals who have placed themselves at
His disposal. “Those whom He chose he also
predestined to become his adoptive
This is God’s will: to make us all His
children. But these children need to be
generated in God and for God. The mission
of the “chosen ones” is to be seen in this
perspective. It is they, the “chosen ones” who
transmit to all the amazing plan of the Father
to have every person return to His
fatherly bosom. Just as a couple
in reciprocal love conceive and
generate earthly life, so does the
virgin, in union with the heavenly
Spouse, conceive and generate
divine and eternal life. We see
how this happens in Mary who
after giving her consent is over-
shadowed by the Holy Spirit and
becomes the Mother of God.
To understand the profound
meaning and the fecundity of
consecrated virginity it is
necessary to make reference to
Mary and to the events of her life.
calls her and promises that she will become
mother in a special way. She responds: “How
is this possible?” Similarly, we also ask
ourselves the same thing, as do those around
us. The response, both for Mary and for all
those called to work in the Lord’s vineyard,
comes from the Angel sent by the Lord: “The
Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the
power of the Most High shall overshadow
(Lk 1:35).
When God sets His hand at work it is He
himself that assures it is fulfilled, and made
productive. The Angel continues, and says
to Mary that the Fruit born of this union will
not be hers, but will be the Son of God (ibid.).
Mary is entirely at the service of God and
His plans which are often inexplicable in our
eyes. She generates the Son of God, she
presents and offers Him to God in the
knowledge that He doesn’t belong to her. The
same thing is valid for the virgin-person
whose fertility is a mystery except to its
Just as with every renouncement and
sacrifice, neither can virginity
be an end to itself.
It is the
means by which one opens
himself to the greater, more
earnestly desired and loved
good. Through it we belong to
the Lord with our entire being
and with all the integrity of our
person, consecrating to Him all
our faculties and potentials,
knowing that in His hands they
will not remain unused and
sterile, but rather, they will
develop to fullness.
God alone knows how many
aborted, violated, exploited and undesired
children have found a mother in the
consecrated virgins. He alone knows how
many have been embraced by their prayer
and accompanied in their journey towards
eternity. This is the project of our merciful
and just God who uses infinite means to reach
all persons of all times and situations, to offer
them a nest prepared by Him, full of His
warmth and love. It is there that His saving
power is manifest, to bring all to fullness.
Fertile is he who makes God known as
the fount and lover of life. Fertile is he who
makes others fall in love with God, who “does
not impose anything on a soul, not even His
love. He seeks us continually but He doesn’t
constrict us. He loves us but He doesn’t
oppress us. He desires us, but He doesn’t
possess us. He leaves us free to choose and
to understand, deep in our heart where there
is life.” (anon). Only from God’s perspective
can everything be seen better, including the
fecundity of a virgin womb consecrated to
Sr. Ana Simic
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Life with Mary Immaculate
by Fr. Tomislav Vlasic
Marian spirituality, particularly during
the last century, has been greatly enriched
by consecration to Mary’s Immaculate
. What does it mean to consecrate
oneself to Mary? It means to enter into
her Immaculate Heart since our own
immaculacy depends on hers, which is a
little like being in our mother’s womb. In
fact, as Christians we received the
immaculate and incorruptible life through
the sacrament of Baptism, and still today
we possess this grace. It is both a reality
within us and a promise: the bud of an
immaculate state yet to be attained. Each
baptised person, together with the Church,
tends towards that which Mary attained
so we can arrive at the same mystical union
with God through total donation. Mary
received this grace at her conception
but in a mysterious way she actively
participated in its efficacy all her earthly
Through reading the Gospel
and the lives of Saints we learn
of Mary’s virtues which
perfectly coincide with the
fruits of the Holy Spirit. In
these virtues we can read the
expression of Mary’s response
which raised her up to union
with God and a life in the
presence of the Holy Spirit. This
presence fecundates her womb and
her soul continually (as it did at the
Annunciation) to generate all the members
of Christ’s Mystical Body.
Consecration to the Immaculate Heart
besides being a prayer (various formulas
exist) is the entrance that leads to Mary’s
virtues. Our soul is thus transformed in a
womb able to receive the Holy Spirit and
in turn becomes fertile as hers is.
Mary is immaculate in view of the
death and resurrection of Jesus. She
was able to receive this grace and fully
collaborate (in God’s plan); with the grace
bestowed upon her she was raised
continuously and united to the Son till she
reached the maximum union in His passion
and resurrection. This same fundamental
attitude ought to impregnate our approach
to all the Sacraments..
The departure point to follow the
immaculate life is our readiness to be united
to Jesus through Mary, because her
immaculacy is a gift of God for us all and
not just for herself. God granted it to her
so that Mary could be our Mother, a
mother who carries her children in the
womb and heart.
In his letter to the Ephesians St. Paul
writes: “He chose us in him before the
foundation of the world, that we should
be holy and unspotted in his sight in
(Eph 1:4). In short, the Apostle
speaks of the immaculacy and incorrupt-
ibility in view of holiness, so that our
holiness presupposes this state: it was
sown in us at Baptism, and is still
developing. But what nourishes it, and what
impedes it? It is nourished by that food
which Jesus Christ left to the Church,
particularly through participation in the
Eucharist and the Word of God. Further, we
must consider the meaning of partici-pating
in the Word of God
. The divine Word has, in
fact, all the power to change our life. The
Eucharist has all the power to satisfy the
most profound needs of man. It isn’t enough,
however, to accept it, as we must enter into
the dynamics of it.
Many are the impediments. It would
be better to say that they (impediments)
make up the elements of a true and proper
battle against the devil, and against all the
evil present in the universe. It would be
very easy to be raised up to God on one’s
own. In truth, we carry with us all past
generations; the consequence of original
sin. It is here that the battle begins, but
also the awareness that we will reach what
Mary has reached. No longer individually,
but together, as the Church. Otherwise,
the Trinitarian life would be a contradiction.
In fact, we know that the divine life in the
Persons of the Holy Trinity is expressed
with a continual offering of self to each
other. In the same manner we too can enter
into the life of God by offering
ourselves totally for
everyone. This is why the
battle is greatly broadened,
and it is not given to us
to close ourselves up in
To examine our day,
we only need to consider
what we do when we
wake; which is to wash
and get ready to face another
day’s work. In the spiritual life
things work the same way. One must wake
in God, in the Holy Spirit. How would
Mary wake today? Her day would be totally
offered up to God.
Morning prayer should help us to
wake up and contemplate the face of God:
look at Him, hear Him, feel Him - naturally,
with faith, hope and love. When our soul
wakens this way, we are able to better fulfil
our duties, our mission. In the evening we
shall be ready to immerse ourselves once
again in God to eliminate all that has
burdened us, and thus prepare for the night
where we encounter God in our sleep.
The Magnificat is an excellent
conclusion to our day. If we commit
ourselves to live the immaculate life in a
continued process, in us will grow joy and
praise. Those who are attentive to the grace
given us with each new day, and liven the
relationship with God with brief prayers,
will – in the evening – reap the fruits of
praise and his or her soul will
spontaneously be brought to proclaim:
“My soul magnifies the Lord!” – not
recited as though it were composed by
others, but as a song that is born from a
heart which becomes ever more pure and
Priests for the Community
On the 30th October 2005, Mons.
Bruno Forte, Archbishop of Chieti-Vasto,
ordained the first two priests of the Kraljice
Mira Community
founded by Fr. Tomislav
in 1997. We wish the two new
priests a holy ministry at the service of
the Church and the people.
Ten Commandments not a Burden
“The Ten Commandments are not a
burden, but a sign-post showing the path
leading to a successful life
. This is
particularly the case for the young people
whom I am meeting in these days and who
are so dear to me. My wish is that they
may be able to recognize in the Decalogue
a lamp for their steps, a light for their path
(cf. Ps 119:105)
Adults have the responsibility of
handing down to young people the torch
of hope that God has given to Jews and to
Christians, so that “never again” will the
forces of evil come to power, and that
future generations, with God’s help, may
be able to build a more just and peaceful
world, in which all people have equal rights
and are equally at home.”
Benedict XVI (WYD, Cologne Synagogue)
Do not Fear Death
Pope Benedict XVI said that Christians
can cultivate a fearless acceptance of
, recognizing that it is a necessary
juncture leading from one’s journey on
earth to one’s final destination in heaven.
”New life, received through baptism,
is not subject to the corruption and power
of death.” For Christians, “death is a
from the earthly pilgrimage to the
home of heaven, where the Father
welcomes all his children of every nation,
race, people and tongue,” he said as he
called on Christians to include some time
during the two feast days to “think about
the mystery of death without fear and
cultivate that constant awareness that
prepares us to face (death) with serenity.”
Pope Benedict told thousands of visitors
gathered in St. Peter’s Square on the feast
of All Saints that the day offers the
opportunity “to experience the joy of being
part of the large family of God’s friends.”
The “mysterious but real” bond which
we call the communion of saints
is “a
family united by deep bonds of spiritual
solidarity, which unite the deceased faithful
to the world’s pilgrims,” said the Pope.
This bond is fostered “by prayer and
participating in the sacrament of the
Eucharist.” The souls of all the faithful
“overcome the barrier of death” and are
united in the Eucharist.
Benedict XVI, 31 October 2005)
You are Precious to Christ!
“Do not fear! Open the doors to Christ!
God is at work in the concrete and personal
situations of each of us. Do not let the
time the Lord gives you go by as though
everything happened by chance.
Don’t ever think that you are unknown
to Him, as if you were just a number in an
anonymous crowd. Each one of you is
precious to Christ; He knows you
personally; He loves you tenderly,
when you are not aware of it!”
John Paul II at the 15th WYD Rome, 15
August 2000
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Children on pilgrimage in
This is the third year that this family
pilgrimage to Medjugorje has been
organized. It first started when “Grandma
Clotti” wanted to thank the Virgin Mary
for healing her grandchild, but the Holy
Spirit quickly involved other children and
their families in the experience.
About one hundred, of whom 50 were
children aged between 1 and 15, departed
from Milan in two buses. Accompanied
by two priests, it was especially a child-
size pilgrimage to enable them to encounter
the love of Jesus, through His and our
mother, Mary, and through cultivating
friendship. The long voyage was made
lighter by games, prayer and songs and a
break which has become a regular dip in
the Croatian sea… in a kind of baptism!
Upon our arrival at Medjugorje, the
youth of the Cenacolo Community greeted
us with a recital of the apparitions, and on
the 2nd of the month all the children were
close to Mirjana for her extraordinary
apparition, for which they prepared with
two hours of prayer and singing. Of course
we climbed the hills, and precisely on
Podbrdo, around the statue where Our
Lady first appeared, a profound silence
united all with the Mother and with Heaven,
with each other and all of creation.
With their disarming simplicity the
children accepted the great gift of
Medjugorje, especially through their desire
to return each year, and also to
Rosa, an autistic child, wrote on her
computer in broken Italian: “I say the Virgin
was (there). I was with Mary in her arms.
I was with her, loved by her. I was her
beloved child…. I am happy to have met
you; with faith you make friends more
quickly. Mary loves us if our hearts are
Pietro, 10 years: “We prayed the Way
of the Cross on Krizevac with bare feet as
a sacrifice for the souls in Purgatory.”
Filippo, 9 yrs: “When Our Lady
appeared I felt my heart open and
something fresh and light passing through
my lungs into my heart.”
Giovanni, 10 yrs: “When I heard the
prayers of the littlest children I thought
that the little ones were the biggest!”
Luca, 11 yrs: “Each person from the
“Cenacolo” Community gave me a bit of
joy, happiness and love, which filled my
heart. I think I have given this happiness
and joy to those who are sad and
discouraged, and I have given love to those
who are excluded and refused by others.
I have been coming for many years to
Medjugorje, and the best moment is the
apparition of Our Lady to Mirjana. I thank
all the people who have helped me on this
pilgrimage in my moments of sadness.”
Paolo, 7 yrs: “This is the second time
that I come to Medjugorje, and in my heart
I heard Jesus calling me, and I know that
Mary loves me too.”
Emanuel, 9 yrs: “Our Lady has a heart
of gold, and Jesus too. They want peace
and love to reign in the kingdom. Christ
sacrificed Himself for us, and for His sake
we have to put peace in the world.”
Pietro, 12 yrs: “My mother told me
that everyone comes back from
Medjugorje with something in the heart.
In my heart is the desire to return.”
Andrea, 9 yrs: “For me the most
beautiful moment was putting on the recital
for the little orphans, because we made
them happy.”
Francesco, 11 yrs: “For me it was
when we were all together in silence on
Podbrdo. I could feel immense love and
Giorgio, 12 yrs: “You begin the
pilgrimage with a sad heart, and you come
back home with a heart that has more
Samuele, 8 yrs: “Mary, I love you with
all my heart. Amen.”
Teresa, 7 yrs: “I have been going to
Medjugorje for some years now, and each
time my heart is filled with joy.”
Giovanni, 12 yrs: “I recommend this
experience to everyone and I hope I can
go next year too.”
Elena Ricci
The Power of a Blessing!
On 2 October the apparition to Mirjana
gathered a very big crowd. Here is the
message by Our Lady: “I come to you as
a Mother. I bring you my Son, peace and
love. Purify your hearts and take my Son
with you. Give true peace and happiness
to others.”
Mirjana added, “The Gospa
blessed each one of us as well as the
religious objects that we had brought. Then
she insisted again on the importance of the
priest’s blessing.”
I seize this opportunity to make clear
that there are several kinds of blessings,
which it is important not to confuse. When
a priest blesses (or Bishop, Cardinal or
Pope), it is Jesus Himself who blesses
through his ordained minister
. Jesus
Himself then pours out His divine sanctity
upon us. He takes some of His good and
gives it to us. This blessing is a huge grace
that does not depend on the inner state of
the priest. If the soul that receives the
blessing is open and recollected, then Jesus
opens the treasures of His Heart and
spreads them in plenty, according to the
openness of the soul and the measure of a
person’s faith. A humble soul receives
the most
. Since the blessing reaches the
soul directly, the intelligence may not be
conscious of the effusion that is beyond
its grasp; this is the reason why it is so
easy to be distracted and miss the giving
of the gift. This is a shame, because the
soul comes out enriched, fortified,
pacified, and protected; and the most
precious aspect is that it can unite the soul
with God in a more intimate way. The fruits
of a blessing are such that they
immediately are recorded for eternity and
give the soul a special beauty. As is true
for all gifts from God, the more zeal in the
giving or the receiving of a blessing, the
greater its efficacy.
At Medjugorje Mary said, “If priests
knew what they give when they bless, they
would bless day and night!” And, “A
priest’s blessing is greater than mine”
(a personal message to Marija, undated).
The reason is that the priest received the
sacrament of Holy Orders.
This is only a small preview of the
priest’s blessing! Lay people may also
, and the Church recommends that
parents, for example, bless their children
every day. Our Lady asks that children be
blessed every morning and night (undated
message from the 80s). Children may
bless their parents too!
The power of
this blessing depends a lot on the person
giving it; that is why Mary’s blessing is
particularly powerful! If a mother on earth
may bless her child, how much more can
our Mother from Heaven do it!
In Medjugorje, the Gospa gives her
blessing at each of her apparitions. After
greeting us with: “Praised be Jesus, my
dear Children!” she prays for us with her
hands outstretched. One day I asked Marija
why the Gospa sometimes gives us her
“blessing of joy”, sometimes her “maternal
blessing”, or her “solemn blessing”, etc.
What is the difference between these
blessings? Marija answered: “The Gospa
did not explain.” Well, let us just receive
the gift with confidence and gratitude, and
our Heavenly Mother will do the rest
according to our needs!
Sr. Emmanuel (Children of Medjugorje)
Priests in Medjugorje:
important and decisive role
Mgr Issam J. Darwish, eparch of the
Melchite Catholic Church in Australia and
New Zealand
, visited privately Medjugorje
in September, prior to which he visited the
Pope. “At the end of our conversation, I asked
the Holy Father to give his blessing to the
group of pilgrims going to Medjugorje. He
smiled with great kindness and said: ‘May
God watch over you and bless you’.
The number of pilgrims coming to
Medjugorje is a sign of God. The atmosphere
of prayer spread by the priests from here is
very deep. I believe that Medjugorje is a place
of expectation, a place that is questioning
our faith; how we should deepen our faith.
The prayer in front of the cross, adoration,
the Eucharist - all this gives to the pilgrims a
deep spirituality. It is a place of prayer.
I think the role of a priest accompanying
pilgrims is very important. His role is to help
them go beyond seeking signs. I told my
pilgrims that we already have the signs in the
Blessed Sacrament of the altar and other
sacraments. The Mother of God speaks to
each one of us. It is not necessary to see her.
We can see her with the eyes of the faith.
The messages of Medjugorje are Gospel
messages. I see nothing else. Eucharist,
penance, prayer... it is the Gospel. I will
encourage the faithful to come here, for a few
days of prayer and interior conversion. I also
will encourage the priests to come with them.
I have a desire: that Medjugorje open up to
the environment, to the Orthodox and to the
Muslems, that it become a centre of dialogue
with them.”
(Medjugorje Bulletin)
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Queen of Peace at
work in Australia
Our Lady has always
shown special love and
concern for her little
children. In the far north of
Australia there’s a remote
Aboriginal community called
Wadeye, or Port Keats.
Isolation contributes to the
various hardships this
community of
experiences which
include poverty, and wanting in housing
and health facilities. Members of St Martin
de Porres Catholic Aboriginal Community
in Darwin together with their Chaplain and
a Brother from the Missionaries of God’s
Love (an Australian-born religious
community), were due to hold a retreat in
Wadeye, but the mission was halted several
times for reasons beyond their control. Fr.
David Tremble, MGL
, recounts how the
gift of faith and prayer opened the way
and allowed peace and reconciliation to
triumph over rivalry and unrest.
“After three false starts (due to road
blocks for ceremonies, funerals and gang
fighting) a team from St Martin’s was
finally given the go ahead to outreach to
Port Keats (Wadeye) which is the largest
remote Aboriginal community in the
Northern Territory. The news that we could
go ahead came as a gift on Our Lady’s
Birthday, the 8
Each delay to this outreach was
incentive for the prayer groups in both
communities to fast and pray in preparation
- the prayers became all the more fervent
when the old Church bus seized up after
the first 100 of the 420 km drive, and all it
took was a snip to the air-conditioner fan
belt and we were on our way again.”
We know that at Medjugorje our
Blessed Mother has indicated on many
occasions the importance of prayer and
fasting, particularly prior to special days
and events.
“On our arrival at Wadeye,” continues
Fr. David, “we were met with the news
that over the weekend during the early
morning hours, a gang of young men from
the town were arming themselves with
metal chains and bars to stir up a rival
neighbouring gang. Many of the Catholic
women in the Wadeye Community, aware
of the unrest, were in prayer. Suddenly
three of the young men saw a lady with
arms extended in a pleading gesture, similar
to Mary on the Miraculous Medal. They
felt paralyzed by this wondrous vision in
the night sky and peacefully abandoned
their weapons
influencing the rest of the
gang to do the same.
During the following nights of our
mission these three young men, with all
the traditional shyness of their culture,
surprised everyone by witnessing to this
event. Even more amazing was that on our
final night (dedicated to the Holy Spirit) a
big mob from one of the rival gangs also
came to seek prayers for healing and
deliverance. I will never forget the privilege
of looking into the faces of so many men,
women and children and glimpsing an
inspiring openness to the
healing love that flows
from the heart of Jesus.”
Australia, also known
as the Great South Land
of the Holy Spirit, has been
chosen to hold the next
World Youth Day (Sydney,
2008), which is an
opportunity for the entire
Church to grow in grace.
We invite all readers to join
us in prayer that Australia,
with its peoples ancient
and new, may respond with the same
generosity of heart as Mary to a fresh
outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the love
and grace of God our Father, through His
Son Jesus, our Lord!
Film on apparitions of
Virgin in Rwanda
The international Catholic charity, “Aid
to the Church in Need” (ACN) will support
a project for the realization of a film on
Kibeho – a site of pilgrimage in Rwanda –
relating to the apparitions of the Virgin
Mary in that African nation.
“Although Kibeho is not a very well
known place in the world, it is Africa’s
only pilgrim-site where Church-approved
Marian apparitions have taken place. It may
be compared with Guadalupe, Lourdes and
Fatima,” said Christine du Coudray, head
of ACN’s Africa department, on Oct. 6 on
return from a visit to Rwanda.
“Our Lady appeared here from 1981
to 1983 and the visionaries, now in their
40’s, are still alive.” According to du
Coudray, ACN is supporting a film project
about Kibeho and the apparitions: “The film
will be a gift to the suffering Church in
Rwanda where, still today, violence is a
part of everyday life. Amid all the cruelties,
Kibeho is a place of prayer and
reconciliation. This is a message to Africa
and to the world,” she stated.
At the presence of Rwanda’s Bishops,
the Apostolic Nuncio, the civil authorities
and numerous priests, religious and
faithful, a little over 2 years ago the Prefect
of the Congregation for the Evangelization
of Peoples, Card. Crescenzio Sepe,
consecrated the Marian Church at Kibeho
which is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows.
Pilgrims from Rwanda and other African
nations go there to pray.
According to the visionaries, the Virgin
called herself Nyina wa Jambo (Mother of
the Word). Her call was to conversion,
prayer and fasting. On one occasion she
showed the visionaries very strong images
of rivers of blood, killings, and dead bodies
abandoned in the fields.The terrible vision
was later connected to the Rwandan
genocide of 1994-95; one of the bloodiest
scenarios ever seen.
According to ACN for Africa, what the
Church of Rwanda needs most is help for
the formation of priests, religious and lay
catechism teachers; new churches, and a
cathedral for the many pilgrims of Kibeho.”
May the Lord God Almighty, Father, Son
and Holy Spirit, bless us and keep us!
5 November 2005
Mail from Readers
Moses Ekene, Nigeria: Thank you for
sending me the Echo of Mary. I consider
myself like Matthew the tax collector in
the Bible who is not worthy, yet I still
receive the Echo of Mary. In fact, the
Echo is like oxygen to the soul; it comes
and reminds me of the need to be on the
straight path each time I want to fall away.
Marian Centre WA, Australia: A big
thank you from the people of Perth who
receive the Echo. Keep up the good work;
may Our Lady grant you many blessings
from her Son Jesus.
* Request for Rosary beads, medals:
1) Emile Tognizin, s/c Zonou Lambert,
Mission Catholique, BP 357 ou 11, Lokossa
- Mono, Benin, Africa. 2) Modesta Gbedo,
Paroisse St. Antoine de Padoua, Sinwe
Lago, BP 02 Agbangnizoun, Benin, Africa.
3) Felix Manu, St.Joseph Catholic Church,
PO Box RY 96, Railway, Kumasi, Ghana.