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www.medjugorje.ws » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace » Echo of Mary Queen of Peace 191 (January-February 2007)

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Our Lady's message, 25 November 2006:
"Dear Children, Also today I call you
to pray, pray, pray. My Children, when
you pray you are close to God and He
grants you the desire for eternity. This is
the time when you can speak more about
God and do more for God.
So my Children, do not resist, but
permit Him to lead you, to change you
and to enter into your life. Do not forget
that you are pilgrims on the way to
eternity. Therefore, my Children, permit
God to lead you as a shepherd leads his
fl ock. Thank you for responding to my
Pilgrims on Way to
The main problem in systems of remote
communication is to protect the message
from being damaged by interference or
disturbance that arises during transmission.
Today, science and technology are able
to assure satisfactory protection and even
ensure reconstruction of the original
message if the disturbance has not been too
On the other hand, there is no technical
or scientific support for communication
between man and God. This is immediate,
and passes through the privileged channel
of prayer, a channel that is nonetheless not
without disturbance. Protection in this case
cannot be assured by mathematical codes
or refi ned instruments, but is to be sought
out within the depths of the soul where no
disturbance can penetrate because it is the
place reserved for God. If our prayer gushes
forth from the depth of our soul then God
is with us. "My Children, when you pray
you are close to God and He grants you
the desire for eternity."
When our prayer
is rather a self-praise, for example, like the
prayer of the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14, it
cannot lift us up to God. On the other hand,
the prayer of the sinner (tax collector) was
well received by God.
Mary teaches us surrender, abstinence
from worldly noises, and fasting on whatever
fi lls the stomach and empties the soul, so that
our prayer might fl ow without disturbance
and is able to reach God and draw from
Him Peace and Love. And since also our
own heartbeats can disturb us, let us rest our
heads on the Heart of Jesus so that we can
hear not ours but His heartbeats, and so our
thoughts, desires and reasoning can be lost
in His, and make us able to repeat after St.
Paul, "It is no longer I who live but Christ
who lives in me"
(Gal 2:20). Is not this
continually growing desire, the desire for
eternity that Mary speaks of? Is it not the
gift of God and the fruit of prayer which is
pleasing to Him? After all, eternity is life in
God, and this means to be assimilated into
Jesus, and this must begin in this life of ours
on this earth.
"This is the time in which you can
speak more of God and do more for God,"
says Our Lady. This is the time in which the
Church calls us to await Christmas, which
is the birth of Jesus, the coming of God
amongst man. This is the time in which the
liturgy calls us to meditate on the frailty of
everything that surrounds us to help us place
all our expectations and hopes in the Event
which alone can open the way to eternity for
us. It is the time for us to abandon all idols,
and speak about God, witness that He alone
is the Lord, and then we'll be able to do
more for Him
. We'll know how to receive
Him in the marginalized, recognize Him
in the man abandoned by the lords in their
palaces, serve Him in the woman ignored by
writers of history. However, we will not be
able to do this alone, but we must let God
work in us, and to do this we must surrender
to His grace. "Thus, my Children, do not
resist, but permit Him to lead you, change
you and enter into your lives"
and it will
be Christmas!
Nuccio Quattrocchi
Shepherds, you who go
up through the sheepfolds to the hill,
if by chance you see him I love most,
tell him I am sick, I suffer, and I die.
John of the Cross
Our Lady's message, 25 December 2006
"Dear Children, Also today I bring to
you the newborn Jesus; He is the King
of Heaven and earth, and your peace.
My Children, no one can give you peace
as He who is the King of Peace can. So
adore Him in your hearts, choose Him,
and in Him you will have joy. He will
bless you with His blessing of peace.
Thank you for responding to my call."
Jesus Our Peace
Now, as then, Mary offers us Jesus. It
is from her that God took His human body;
in her virginal womb He became man.
The grace that comes of this is not only
reconciliation, but infi nitely more. It is the
miracle of the new creation. Man can now
call God Father; he is no longer a simple
creature of God, but is made in His image
(Gen 1:27) and is raised to the dignity of
child (Jn 1:12). "Dear Children, also today
I bring to you the newborn Jesus,"
Mary, and this "also today" is not limited
to each Christmas when Mary shows herself
to the visionaries with the Holy Child in her
arms, but is a today that is more than 2000
years old. It is since the birth of Jesus that
Mary puts us in touch with her Son.
She offered Him to us then, and she
offers Him to us now. And now, as then, we
can accept Him or refuse Him, adore Him or
curse Him; and since nothing exists without
(cf. Jn 1:3), all our actions, activities,
and thoughts are either the acceptance or
the refusal of Jesus Christ, for there is no
possibility of abstaining from choosing. He
who is not with Him is against Him
(Mt 12,
30). "He is the King of Heaven and earth,
He is your peace,"
continues Mary. And so
it is: Jesus is our peace, but not a supplier of
peace. If we are in Him we can have total
peace, but we cannot if we are not in Him.
Life in Christ, or Christian living, is not
a market place for the exchange of goods.
It is communion with God and with one's
brethren; it is gratuitous donation of self,
and unreserved surrender to Love. Jesus is
our peace
(Eph. 2:14); this doesn't mean a
tranquil life without suffering, or pain, or
problems, or humiliation. We cannot expect
a comfortable life as the Life of Jesus wasn't
Peace I leave with you, my own peace
I give to you; not as the world gives do I
give to you
(Jn 14:27). His peace is fruit of
the communion between the Father and the
Son, and is true peace, the only peace that
doesn't depend on life's ups and downs.
Man cannot fi nd peace if he departs from
his divine origins. Only in God can man fi nd
rest and peace. "My Children, no one can
give you peace as He, the King of Peace,
So let us stop expecting peace from
January-February 2007 - Echo of Mary Assoc., P.O. Box 47, I-31037 Loria (TV), Italy. Yr 23 # 1
Ph. +39 (0)423-470331 - E-mail: info@ecodimaria.net - A translation of original Italian: Eco di Maria
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those who cannot give it, or to seek it where
it cannot be found. Return, my soul, to your
rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with
you. He has delivered my soul from death
(true death of one who casts God out of his
life), has delivered my eyes from tears, my
feet from stumbling
(Ps 116).
"So adore Him in your hearts, choose
Him, and in Him you will have joy":
adore Him, not with our lips but with the
movement of our hearts, and heartbeat after
heartbeat His Heart will replace our own
heart in the silence of our inner sanctuary,
so we can become more like Mary. Let us
imitate the simplicity of the Mother, and
tread in her footsteps. Let us shake the dust
off the old man in us, so our spirits can be
free and experience the joy of being. God
will bless us with His blessing of peace,

and we shall be able to make of the bitterness
of our life a calvary of glory and resurrection
for ourselves and those around us. It is not
through defending our ideas that we can
build the Kingdom, but by allowing them
to be placed on the Cross of Christ. If they
come from God they will not remain prey
to death, but will enjoy the glory of His
"Is Man Still in Need of a
The liturgy of the Church makes us
journey by Jesus' side as He walks the
roads of Palestine during His public life
which culminates at the top of Calvary
when the Lamb truly takes upon Himself
the sins of the world to destroy them on the
Cross. However, this path to salvation has a
precise beginning: it is when we celebrate
the Nativity of Our Lord. Christmas can
certainly not be confi ned to a few days at
the end of December when the lights and
nativity scenes remind us of it, but it must be
a point of daily departure in our refl ection on
the mystery of Christ. Thus, let us consider
these masterful refl ections by Benedict XVI
given during the Christmas period on the
true meaning of the coming of Jesus, little
Emmanuel, into the world.
God teaches to love little ones!
"God became little so we could under-
stand Him, receive Him, and love Him. The
eternal Word became so little as to fi t into
a feeding trough. He became a baby so that
the Word could be grasped by us. In this
way God teaches us to love the little ones,
the weak ones; he teaches us respect for
children. The babe of Bethlehem directs
our gaze to all children who suffer and are
abused in the world, the born and the unborn;
those children who are placed as soldiers in
a violent world; children who have to beg;
children who suffer deprivation and hunger;
children who are unloved. In all of these it is
the Babe of Bethlehem who is crying out to
us; it is God Himself who has become small
who appeals to us."
The Greatest Gift
"For us, God has become a gift. He has
given himself. He has entered time for us.
He who is the Eternal One, above time, has
assumed our time and raised it to himself
on high. Christmas has become the Feast
of gifts in imitation of God who has given
himself to us. Let us allow our heart, our
soul and our mind to be touched by this
fact! Among the many gifts that we buy
and receive, let us not forget the true gift:
to give each other something of ourselves,
something of our time, and to open our time
to God. In this way anxiety disappears, joy
is born, and the feast is created.
Man, in order to live, needs bread, the
fruit of the earth and of his labour. But he
does not live on bread alone. He needs
nourishment for his soul: he needs meaning
that can fi ll his life. Thus, for the Fathers, the
manger of the animals became the symbol
of the altar, on which lies the Bread which is
Christ himself: the true food for our hearts.
Once again we see how he became small: in
the humble appearance of the host, in a small
piece of bread, he gives us Himself."
Is Man Still in Need of a Saviour?
"But does a "Saviour" still have any
value and meaning for the men and women
of the third millennium ? Is a "Saviour" still
needed by a humanity which has reached the
moon and Mars and is prepared to conquer
the universe; for a humanity which knows
no limits in its pursuit of nature's secrets and
which has succeeded even in deciphering the
marvellous codes of the human genome? Is
a Saviour needed by a humanity which has
invented interactive communication, which
navigates in the virtual ocean of the internet
and has now made the Earth a global village?
This humanity of the 21st century appears as
a sure and self-suffi cient master of its own
destiny, the avid proponent of uncontested
So it would seem...
"People continue to die of hunger and
thirst, disease and poverty in this age of
plenty and of unbridled consumerism.
Some people remain enslaved, exploited and
stripped of their dignity; others are victims
of racial and religious hatred. Others see
their own bodies and those of their dear
ones maimed by weaponry, by terrorism
and by all sorts of violence, at a time when
everyone invokes and acclaims progress,
solidarity and peace for all. And what of
those who, bereft of hope, are forced to leave
their homes and countries in order to fi nd
humane living conditions elsewhere? How
can we help those who are misled by facile
prophets of happiness, those who struggle
with relationships and are incapable of
accepting responsibility for their present and
future, those who are trapped in the tunnel
of loneliness and who often end up enslaved
to alcohol or drugs? What are we to think
of those who choose death in the belief that
they are celebrating life?"
Heart-rending Cry for Help
"How can we not hear, from the very
depths of this humanity, at once joyful and
anguished, a heart-rending cry for help?
Today "our Saviour is born to the world",
for he knows that even today we need him. ...
In this post-modern age perhaps man needs
a Saviour all the more, since the society in
which he lives has become more complex
and the threats to his personal and moral
integrity have become more insidious. Who
can defend him, if not the One who loves
him to the point of sacrifi cing on the Cross
his only-begotten Son as the Saviour of
the world? ... Christ does not save us from
our humanity, but through it; he does not
save us from the world, but came into the
world, so that through him the world might
be saved."
We Must be Re-born!
If Jesus was not born on earth, humankind
could not be born unto Heaven. Specifi cally,
because Christ is born, we can be "reborn"!
Mary, who held the Redeemer in her arms
at Bethlehem, also suffers an interior
martyrdom herself. She shared his passion
and had to take him yet again in her arms
when he was taken down from the Cross.
To this Mother, who knew the joy of his
birth and the torment of his death, we entrust
all those who are persecuted and suffering
in various ways for their witness and service
to the Gospel. "
Man, Heart of Peace
The Queen of Peace tirelessly speaks
to us of peace. She knows that this good is
both valuable and fundamental for man's
existence. Yet, it is scarce and fragile and
diffi cult for us to maintain. Peace is a gift
that comes from On High. Peace is Jesus
Himself, but ours is the responsibility of
keeping peace: as a fruit of our own efforts
and a fi rm will to live and transmit it. That
night in Bethlehem the angels proclaimed
peace to "all men of good will." Thus, the
peace that we all seek and that we continue
to lose is intimately connected to the birth
of the Saviour. It is the Saviour who grants
peace. Why do we continually lose it?
"I am convinced that respect for the
person promotes peace," declared the Holy
in his Message for the World Day of
Peace 2007
in which he launched an "urgent
appeal" to every Christian to be "committed
to tireless peace-making and strenuous
defence of the dignity of the human person
and his inalienable rights."
Hence, the person is not only the receiver
of peace, but the very centre of peace, and
to defend man means to defend peace,
says the Pope. "As one created in the image
of God, each individual has the dignity of a
person; he or she is not just something, but
someone, capable of self-knowledge, self-
possession, free self-giving and entering into
communion with others. The duty to respect
the dignity of each human being, in whose
nature the image of the Creator is refl ected,
means that the person cannot be disposed
of at will... Those with greater political,
technical, or economic power may not use
that power to violate the rights of others who
are less fortunate. Peace is based on respect
for the rights of all."
What are these rights that contain within
them the seed of peace? Above all, life itself,
which today is continually threatened in
all its stages. The Church promotes and
defends respect for the right to life at
every stage
. "As far as the right to life is
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concerned," writes Benedict XVI, "we
must denounce its widespread violation in
our society: alongside the victims of armed
confl icts, terrorism and the different forms
of violence, there are the silent deaths
caused by hunger, abortion, experimentation
on human embryos and euthanasia. How
can we fail to see in all this an attack on
"As far as the free expression of personal
faith is concerned, another disturbing
symptom of lack of peace in the world is
represented by the difficulties that both
Christians and the followers of other religions
frequently encounter in publicly and freely
professing their religious convictions." Thus,
the Church promotes and defends religious
for everyone: "There are regimes
that impose a single religion upon everyone,
while secular regimes often lead not so
much to violent persecution as to systematic
cultural denigration of religious beliefs.
In both instances, a fundamental human
right is not being respected, with serious
repercussions for peaceful coexistence."
In these pages of the Echo we have
reported two important elements which man
must protect for peace to be gained. In his
message, the Pope mentions many others,
including "the many unjust inequalities still
tragically present in our world... such as
inequality in access to essential goods like
food, water, shelter, health; (and) persistent
inequalities between men and women in the
exercise of basic human rights."
The list is long, but we are obliged to
stop here. However, the Pope's Message is
beautiful, and easy to read, and should be
read in its entirety. Mary, Queen of Peace,
continually intercedes for us, but in our
hands, peace is constantly broken. Our
Pontiff underlines an important factor about
peace. He points out the two-fold aspect to
peace: "an aspect of gift and task." It is a
gift to invoke with prayer, and a task to be
fulfi lled with unfailing courage. S.C.
They Paid With Their Lives
In 2006, twenty-four priests, religious
and lay persons lost their lives in a violent way
while at work in the missions, reports Fides
news agency, which said that the continued
deaths of Catholic Church personnel are
often the victims of violent crimes in social
contexts marked by particular violence,
human degradation and poverty, which they
try to alleviate through their presence and
their work.
Africa is the continent that last year
recorded the most victims, followed by
America, then Asia and Oceania. The news
agency says the list is incomplete in that it
lacks the names of many who die for their
faith without their names ever being known.
The Holy Father said the "entire Church
admires the example" of these "men and
women in every corner of the planet that
suffer and pay with their own lives for their
faith in Christ; Catholics who maintain their
loyalty to the See of Peter without making
compromises, sometimes at the cost of great
suffering," and "is praying that they may
have the strength to persevere, knowing that
their tribulations are a source of victory even
though they may now appear as failures."
Aglow with Love
for Mary
He managed to infl ame whomever came
close to him with the same love for God
and Mary. His name: ST. BERNARD of
(1091-1153), one of the fi rst
Cistercian monks, third mediaeval father and
last father of the Church in chronological
order. He was a beacon of spiritual light that
illuminated all of western Europe during the
XII century.
Marian Doctor
Amongst the Doctors of the Church he
is known as the Marian Doctor; not that he
wrote lengthy pages dedicated to Our Lady,
or revealed new theological dogmas on the
Virgin of Nazareth, as Bernard's writings on
Mary aren't even that many. However, all his
writings and his own life were impregnated
with her. Even when Bernard doesn't speak
of her, Mary is always present. We can see
this in his writings in which he exhorts his
brothers to silence, humility, purity of heart,
and fi lial obedience: these are all virtues
which, according to the saint, not only shine
in Mary but are dispensed by her.
He thus merited the title of Marian
Doctor because of his great love and fi lial
devotion for the Mother of the Saviour.
His writings were so appreciated that the
Church inserted them in the Sacred Liturgy.
Ending the day with a Salve Regina or some
other Marian antiphony was his idea. St.
Bernard had so much trust in her powerful
intercession that he said: "God has wanted
that we obtain nothing if not through the
hands of Mary."
For St. Bernard "Mary is
our mediatrix"
; and we receive the Holy
Spirit that "overfl ows from her."
Indicating the Source
His Praises of the Virgin Mother are
amongst his better known works, not
because they say something new about
Mary, but because they infl ame the heart
(of he who reads) for love of her, bringing
her to life, making her present for those who
read his homilies. He admires the faith of the
Virgin; he enthuses over her humility; he is
fascinated by her radiant purity with the
sole scope of bringing hearts to drink from
this "fountain which waters gardens."
His style, which is lively, rich, and easy
fl owing, attracts, delights and recalls the
mind of the reader to heavenly things and
raises it up into the heart of the Mother. It is
so gentle that it nourishes and directs one's
devotion towards her, inducing the soul to
follow her. This is because the Mother is
the star that leads to Jesus, the aqueduct
that communicates the graces that gush
forth from the Source. Mary is the one who
distributes God's benefi ts which restore the
Universe. In one of his homilies Bernard
said of her: "In te et per te ed de te benigna
manus omnipotentis quidquid creaverat
(In you and for you and from you
the kindly hand of the Almighty recreates
everything that He has created).
Mystery of the "Fiat"
Precisely for this reason Bernard
contemplates Mary to learn how to let
himself be restored and recreated by God.
Through contemplating what God did in
her with the "re-creation" of the Incarnation
he is able to say: "Every soul, even though
weighed down with sins, ensnared in vice,
caught in the allurements of the passions,
held captive in exile, and imprisoned in the
body ... even, I say, though it be thus damned
and in despair, can fi nd within itself not only
reasons for yearning for the hope of pardon
and the hope of mercy, but also for making
bold to aspire to the nuptials of the Word, not
hesitating to establish a covenant of union
with God, and not being ashamed to carry
the sweet yoke of love along with the King
of the Angels,"
like Mary.
In his Praises of the Virgin it is through
Mary that Bernard describes the mystery of
God and of man, and the mystery of the Fiat
which gave beginning to the relationship
between man and God, and is able to invade
the Christian soul and impregnate it with
God. In particular, there are two fi gures
which help us say our own "Fiat" to God;
the Virgin as star and as divine lover.
Star of the Sea
Mary is the star of the sea, the guide for
every man, and the guide for our history
because in her is found the perfect humanity.
Since she is the vertex of mankind, in her
is summarized human history. Man is no
longer alone in his quest for God; he is no
longer abandoned to the uncertainty of the
sea waters in the dark night, for a fi rm point
has appeared in heaven: it is the Mother.
"Whoever you are that perceive yourself
during this mortal existence to be rather
drifting in treacherous waters, at the mercy
of the winds and the waves, than walking on
fi rm ground, turn not away your eyes from
the splendour of this guiding star, unless
thou wish to be submerged by the storm.
... Look at the star, call upon Mary. ... With
her for guide, you shall not go astray, while
invoking her, you shall never lose heart ...
if she walks before you, you shall not grow
weary; if she shows you favour, you shall
reach the goal.
Dangers of Excessive Activity
St. Bernard tells us that to live and love
as Mary did we must pray as Mary did, and
hold our gaze continuously on God. And for
this, says the Saint, we must beware of the
danger of excessive activity, regardless of
one's condition and occupation, including
those inherent to the governance of the
Church, because "numerous occupations
often lead to hardness of heart; they are
suffering for the spirit, loss of intelligence
and dispersion of grace."
It is a message also for our day, said
Pope Benedict on the 20th August 2006 in
his Angelus address: "How useful for us also
is this call to the primacy of prayer! May
St. Bernard, who was able to harmonize
the monk's aspiration for solitude and the
tranquillity of the cloister with the urgency
of important and complex missions in the
service of the Church, help us to concretize
it in our lives, in our circumstances and
possibilities. We entrust this diffi cult desire
to fi nd a balance between interiority and
necessary work to the intercession of the
Virgin, whom he loved from his childhood
with tender and fi lial devotion."
Cristina Palici
Echo 191
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Time as a Gift
by Fr. Gabriele Pedicino
"Let us not grumble or complain about
our times, brethren."
With these words Bishop Augustine of
Hippo exhorted his listeners not to look at
the past as though it were always better than
the present. He went on to say: "What new
and unusual thing does mankind of today
suffer that our fathers did not suffer? Rather,
it is the case to say that perhaps we have not
suffered the same things or in the degree
that they did. Yet you will fi nd people who
complain of their times in the conviction that
only past times were good. But you can be
sure that if they were to be transported back
to the times of our ancestors they would not
fail to complain. In fact, if you think the old
times were good it is because those times
are no longer yours..."
I think that perhaps we all think like
this, and I ask myself whether there ever
was a time in which man did not complain
of "his day." When we begin to consider
the new year the fi rst thing to do is to look
back at the one just fi nished and thank the
Lord for the gifts He granted us. Unless we
do this we will not know how to live well
the days which the Lord, in His goodness,
grants us.
We need to learn how to read our
times; how to see the days granted to us
as a gift by God otherwise we end up
being nostalgic about a time that is no more
and that perhaps never was, except in our
imagination, and I dare say that in this case
we are very poor Christians. For Israel it
was important to remember; and it is just
as important for all of us.
Where do you see God? Where do
you encounter Him if not in the day-to-
day events of your life? He is there, in the
ordinary things, and it is there that you
need to discover the extraordinariness of
His work. For this we need the eyes of the
faith, and be able to see, as Mary did, that
our days are days granted by God, days in
which He works.
Courage, then. Let us continue on our
journey towards the home port; we can fi nd
our daily rest in Him and in His invitation:
come to me all you who labour and are
overburdened, and I will give you rest
11:28). Dear friends, the Lord does this for
us, and He is ready to do it every day if we
trust in Him, if we return to Him.
Which path have you taken? Into which
unknown waters have you trodden? Return
to Him! In this year which He has granted
you, do not lose the occasion or waste time;
but return to Him! Offer Him your life! He
is our destination, our home port. He is
our everything, and without Him we have
nothing. All the best, then, for this journey
News from the Blessed Land
New Year's Eve at Medju
Festivity, recollection, inner joy, and an
atmosphere of grace and prayer - just as one
would expect at Medjugorje, the land chosen
and moulded by Mary to fulfi l her plan of
renewal for the Church and mankind was
what made new year's eve extra special;
even if each time of the year at Medjugorje
is marked by particular graces.
Why New Year's eve at Medjugorje?
I'd like to let the people I met here on this
occasion to respond to this question. Their
faces alone express so well the uniqueness
of the heavenly gift received during these
holy days; faces which express gratitude and
enthusiasm, hope and expectation.
Feeling at home, a part of the family!
This is the desire that is born in hearts
at this holy time of the year. And here at
Medjugorje, our Blessed Mother welcomes
all into her embrace, and souls experience
a special warmth, fruit of Her presence.
This is why souls remain attached to this
blessed land of Medjugorje by memories and
sentiments able to touch the deepest spheres
of one's being. For the same reason one
leaves this place with the desire to return,
especially in moments like these, so that the
creativity of God and the generosity of the
Blessed Virgin can renew us.
Beneath Mary's mantle there are many
young people - present here for the new year
- but there are also many families, elderly
people and children. Numerous nations
are represented. Everyone during the vigil
prayer is so recollected that grace alone can
explain it. At 10 pm adoration begins, to
sanctify the last hours of the year coming
to an end. The Community prayers prompt
each person to entrust to God all the bad
and the good of the past to recapitulate
everything in Christ, and then, freed of the
burden, to enter the new year spiritually
united to the entire heavenly Church, sure
of one's personal decision to follow Jesus
up the narrow way, in communion with each
other, united in God and to God.
Here, at midnight, the "new day" is not
announced by an explosion of fi recrackers,
but by the festive tolling of bells in the two
towers, famous almost the world round.
Holy Mass begins immediately, with the
parish priest, Fr. Ivan, as the main celebrant,
and concelebrated by dozens of other priests.
Mass is followed by joyous singing in and
around the church of the Queen of Peace. In
the cold of the winter and the darkness of the
night everyone is happy to communicate to
as many as possible the peace and warmth
that our Lord has placed in their hearts with
embraces, handshakes, and words too, but
often it is just the brief locking of gazes that
communicates God to each other. And the
more joy is transmitted, the more it grows...
In the darkness of the night an inner light
shines ever so brightly, and the cold of winter
is pushed aside for a while by the warmth
that emanates from all: a foretaste, perhaps,
of the joy of heaven.
Francesco Cavagna
Why Have You Come?
Fabio, 24 years old
Here you reacquire the value and
dignity of being man - thanks to the
communion with God and with others.
What you experience here is true union. At
the disco everyone is together, but each is
alone. Here you experience true joy.
Claudia, 33
I honestly think this is the best place
to fi nish up the year where you have the
chance of refl ecting on how your year went;
where you can fi nd the silence and peace to
consider your life so far. Beginning the year
with Our Lady is a good guarantee.
Anja, 19
I also came to fi nd peace. This was
something new for me, spending new year's
eve in church, and sharing one's faith with
Isabelle, 54
I came to have the extra help of
beginning the year with Our Lady, and to
stay with her and Jesus!
I'm here because I see it as a very
positive thing to be waiting for the new
year with Mary; a positive thing for me
and my children. As a parent, I think that
no matter how much I tell my children, in
the end it is the Lord who speaks to their
heart. I am grateful that here it is possible
to experience this opening of the heart!
Mario, 28
I wanted to be here to experience
peace, just by being with God. I wanted
to do this in company of others, but not in
the way the world celebrates this... Here
I found others with whom to be myself,
because they also seek God.
Loris, 36
I had more reason not to come than
to come, but I am happy to be here. Mary
called me; I am certain of this.
Cristina, 22
I decided to come as I wanted to spend
new year differently; not amid the usual din
of a confused and superfi cial company. I
wasn't expecting this experience to change
my life. I feel that my way of thinking has
now changed, and my way of being.
Luca, 29
I came here to know God and Our
Lady, and to know how to pray more
* 12th Int'l SEMINAR forPRIESTS:
2-7 July 2007. Led by Fr.
Raniero Cantalamessa (Papal preacher)
background image
A Burning Desire
to Return
"Why Medjugorje?" you asked me in
amazement. "Haven't you already been
I replied perhaps vaguely, but now I'd
like to try explaining why, in my opinion,
hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all
over the world fi rst go, then return to Medju,
as if beckoned by a mysterious call.
God grants His children grace to lead
them to perfection, and privileged places
are a fount of grace; such as places where
miracles occurred or where Saints lived
and worked. Some of the most famous
of these are where Mary appeared, for
example Lourdes and Fatima. Others include
hermitages or abbeys such as Camaldoli
(thousand-year-old Italian hermitage) and
La Verna (where St. Francis of Assisi loved
to retire to pray).
At Medjugorje a special grace is felt by
pilgrims. It is not just in the Church or in
the places where Our Lady appeared, but one
seems to breathe it as if it were in the air.
You are aware of it when you contemplate
the sky, the landscape, and every aspect of
its nature blessed by the presence of the
Queen of Peace.
And in your heart you are left by a
burning desire to return, to once again
experience the joy of praying more intensely,
of being reconciled with God and your
brethren, and perhaps to give a turning
point to your life. I know, many go to ask
for healing, or health, or to overcome a
difficulty, but even if the request is not
granted, there are in any case unexpected
graces, such as learning the true value of
things and people, or having our priorities
straightened out. At Medjugorje you also
learn to surrender yourself into God's hands
and to accept His will, even when it hurts;
and in your heart you experience the peace
and joy of knowing you are loved by the
Father, which is the most beautiful gift that
He could give us.
Many have witnessed that once you
are back home from a pilgrimage to that
blessed land you experience an irresistible
need to tell others, to witness, despite the
awareness that words are too poor to render
the "Medjugorje experience" which is the
impression of being constantly under the
loving gaze of the Mother as you participate
in intense religious celebrations together
with thousands of other pilgrims praising
and praying in different languages, making
you think Heaven has descended to the
Everything at Medjugorje is an invitation
to peace, inner silence, and closer attention
to the Word, and one doesn't feel disturbed
by the vendors of rosary beads and holy
objects who respond to the needs of pilgrims
who desire that their dear ones share in this
grace by taking home a blessed object to
those who couldn't (or wouldn't) come.
I hope that one day you too might share
in the experience of many and surprise
yourself by responding to a proposal of a
pilgrimage to Medjugorje with the words:
Yes, I shall come!
Nilde Totti
A Naturalist
at Medugorje:
A Garden Blooming on Rocks
Recently, together with my wife Laura, I
went on pilgrimage to Medugorje. With my
interest in geography and nature, I am very
observant of the world that surrounds us.
This is what caught my attention.
In the three main apparitions of the last
150 years our Blessed Mother chose karstic
A karst is characterized by soluble rock
(for instance, limestone) with underground
drainage and numerous fi ssures and caverns.
So that in karstic regions, besides the outer
world illuminated by the sun, there is also
an underground world rich in caves and
If man, as if in a karst, opens up to the
word of God and lets himself be penetrated
by it, the "crust" of his sin will dissolve
allowing him to become a new creature.
At Lourdes, in 1858, Mary appeared in
a small cave that contained a fount of water,
as if to say that the true Fount of grace is
her Son and our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ, and to bring us to Him. Mary, who
is Immaculate, can lead us directly into the
depths of the heart of God Incarnate.
At Fatima, in 1917, Mary appeared in a
large dolina, like a basin that gathers water
and makes it converge to the centre, as if to
say that she wants us gathered around her,
like a "hen with her chicks", and she calls
us to allow ourselves to be caught in the
water that comes from on High, and is able
to drag us towards the Centre: her Son, our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
At Medugorje, in 1981, Mary appeared
in a Karrenfeld, a type of stony desert.
Karrenfelds are made up of rocks eroded
by water, which are often covered up by a
layer of soil, or are exposed if the surface
is eroded.
I see it as though Mary is saying: with
your sin you are turning the world into a
desert, which can no longer give you the
sustenance for your survival. Nonetheless,
if you come close to me, and through me
to my Son, you will have nothing to fear.
The desert will become for you a garden,
a garden of peace. You will enjoy peace on
earth and peace with the Most High. In this
garden my Son and I will take you by the
hand and lead you to salvation.
At Medugorje, if in your heart you come
near to Mary, you become aware how this
impervious and arid desert truly does become
a garden where you experience joy and
peace. For example, at Medugorje, despite
my instinct to avoid crowds, I experienced
how being amid the crowd of pilgrims, such
as in the extremely overcrowded church, did
not create discomfort, but rather communion
and joy.
Blessed be our Lord, Jesus Christ, and
Mary Immaculate, Mother of God, Queen
of the Universe, who by the will of the
Most High, is also our loving Mother. She
continues to draw us near to her Son, our
Brother, and second Person of the Triune
Ugo Sauro
Prayer Group of the
2nd of the Month
This is a story of how a prayer group
began quite simply in the style of the
prayer of the 2nd of each month when Our
Lady appears to the Medjugorje visionary,
Mirjana. In these occasions Our Lady herself
had requested prayer for "those who have not
known God's love," or what we might call
non-believers. Mary has asked us numerous
times to help her to pray for this intention.
Pina (from Salerno, Italy) helps us see how
Our Lady's desires are easily realized.
"I was in Medjugorje on the 2nd of
August, and I was graced to be present at
the apparition to Mirijana. We got there at
6 a.m., and the pavilion was already full, so
we settled ourselves outside, on the stones,
and began to pray. In the meantime, the
crowd grew larger. A pleasant breeze gently
ruffl ed the leaves of the trees. Everyone
was praying, and about one and a half
hours had passed when suddenly a gust of
wind surprised us... and just as suddenly
the wind stopped ... and then SILENCE!
We immediately intuited that our blessed
Mother was in our midst! I felt intense
joy at the thought of Our Lady being there
close to me, while my heart responded to
Mary's call to pray. It was as if the "Spirit
of prayer" had been impressed into my heart
and made me understand the importance of
prayer, and above all, the need and urgency
to pray for those who still don't know God's
Love. I experienced within myself deep love
for Our Lady, and the desire to collaborate
with Her.
To my surprise, when I got back home,
my spiritual adviser told me he intended
beginning a prayer group of the `2nd of
the month'. This surprised me because he
had not been to Medjugorje, but had only
heard about it. The group is now underway,
and we'd like to invite everyone to be
spiritually united to the prayer of Our Lady
and Mirjana on the 2nd of each month for
this particular intention of God's love being
known by all."
Message to Mirjana
2 December 2006: "Dear Children, in
this time of joyous expectation of my Son,
my wish for you is that all the days of your
earthly life be lived in joyful expectation of
my Son. I call you all to holiness. I call you
to be my apostles of holiness, so that through
you the good news might enlighten all those
who encounter you. Fast and pray and I shall
be with you. Thank you."
Annual Message to Jakov
25 December 2006: "Dear Children,
Today is a great day of joy and peace;
rejoice with me. I particularly call you,
my Children, to holiness in the family. My
Children, I desire that your family be holy,
and that the divine joy and the peace that
God sends you today may reign and abide
in your families. My Children, open your
hearts today, on this day of grace; decide
for God, and give Him fi rst place in your
families. I am your Mother; I love you and
I give you my motherly blessing."
background image
What Shall I Be?
by Stefania Consoli
Let's pretend that the creatures of the
vegetable kingdom were able to think. After
all, in children's fables animation is given to
plants, animals and even minerals, making
them behave like people, with speech,
reason, and sentiments. So let us imagine a
seed, a little seed, so little that it is practically
insignifi cant.
It was born somewhere in Palestine over
2000 years ago, who knows from what plant,
or tree. It was one of many that when ripe,
they fall and are blown by the wind which
takes them "where it wants." This little seed
fell and was received by a fertile ground.
And this was the beginning of a singular
story that sees the seed become something
unique. It's diffi cult to say which species it
belonged to, as the only fruit that would be
born of that tree was particularly unique,
and destined to remain in eternity.
The seed grew, and just like all of us,
it tried to imagine what it would become.
Would it become a big shady tree in a pretty
garden for the joy of a family, or perhaps
provide shade in the fi elds for the solace of
farmers who work under the sun from dawn
to dusk? Then again, perhaps its purpose
would simply be to offer refuge to migrating
birds during their long fl ights, or to offer its
branches as a home for a nest. Then again, it
could become timber and made into a chair..
or a wine barrel.. or a boat ...
The little seed fantasized about what
it might become, and in the meantime it's
appearance changed as it sprouted and
became a sapling, then a fi ne young plant.
Several seasons passed and the time was
approaching when the tree, by now quite
solid and mature, would discover the
purpose of its existence. And never could
it have imagined what it was to become!
But the time had come for it to fi nd out.
An axeman came and delivered a powerful
blow; the blade cut through the bark and
sank into the wood, at the base of the tree.
Blow after blow the trunk was severed,
making copious drops of resin seep out...
these were like tears, red tears. Once it was
felled, it was taken elsewhere and stripped
of all its glory: it's beautiful and luxurious
branches. After so many years of patiently
and lovingly pruning and caring for them,
all it took was a few moments, a few cruel
blows, and all was gone... and our tree found
itself naked and defenceless.
For an undetermined amount of time
it was deposited in a dark corner of an old
shed. Here and there lay other trunks: and
silence reigned. They did not communicate
to each other, mute as they were out of fear
for the uncertainty of their destination.
And it was spring again. The Jewish folk
call it the month of Nissan, but in the damp
obscurity of the shed our tree had lost all
sense of time. One day two strong, calloused
hands quickly and a little nervously -
picked it out from amongst the rest, dusted it
down and cut off a piece. This piece was tied
to the trunk, close to the top, crosswise.
Now that its destiny was to be revealed,
it was fearful, bewildered, and a little
concerned, in the realization that "its time
had come." Nonetheless, it let itself be led
out into a noisy and agitated crowd. On
some faces he saw anger, on some anguish,
on others astonishment. Only one appeared
serene and at peace even though he had
thorny twines twisted round his crown. And
it was precisely to him that he was given. For
a moment their gazes crossed. How meek he
was! like a lamb; and his gaze was full of
love for what would become his throne.
In an instant the trunk found itself on
his scourged back. It wished it was light
so it wouldn't hurt his back, so full of open
wounds, but it was forced to surrender itself
with all its weight onto the back of that man
and let itself be carried.
It wasn't met with reluctance. To the
contrary, the hands which held onto it most
fi rmly were almost caressing it, tenderly
and with gratitude. The trunk shook and felt
strange. No one had ever touched it that way.
"This man's body is torn to pieces," the trunk
thought, "yet a mysterious force emanates
from him. He has fallen three times beneath
my weight, but there is something invisible
in him that lifts me up..."
As they left the town and made their way
to a hill known as "skull" the more a sense
of death and violence could be perceived in
the air. This was what it was destined for!
A dark and gloomy spectacle! And much
to its regret, it had been called to be one
of the protagonists. It is thrown down onto
the ground with a thud. The confusion gets
thicker, and the din greater around what is
left of this man. Now it is his turn: in an
instant he is stripped of his raggedy garment
and pushed down onto the trunk. A hammer
bangs nails through his fl esh into that of the
trunk. And the two are united: the fl esh of
the seed that became a tree, with the fl esh
of a God who became man. The same sharp
nails pierced them both and what is left of
the trunk's resin is united to what is left
of the man's blood, fl owing down onto the
ground beneath them.
The man suddenly straightens up and
arches heavenwards, attracting the gaze
of all. Some look at him with a challenge,
others out of curiosity, others with immense
sorrow. Was it for this that that little seed was
born? For this hour on Golgotha, of agony
and injustice? Yes. But it was not alone. Also
the dying man nailed to its wood had come
into the world to die a criminal.
But this wasn't the end; there was,
and is, more to this story. However, it was
indispensable that a seed, one of many born
in Palestine, should grow and offer its life to
become the Cross a nuptial bed, the mantle
of a king that lowered himself so much as to
become our servant.
Resembling Him
Simple thoughts
by Pietro Squassabia
Message to Mirjana, 2 January 2007
"Dear Children, in this holy time full of
the grace of God and of His Love, during
which He sends me to you, I beseech you not
to have a heart of stone. May fasting and
prayer be your weapons with which to know
and come close to Jesus, my Son. Follow me,
(and) my luminous example. I shall help
you; I am close to you. Thank you."

Our Lady also underlined the importance
of the priestly blessing, and asked for prayer
and fasting for all priests.
We have seen the
Child who was born:
what a wonderful
sight! He is different
to others, for He
has the regality of
a true King and the
m e e k n e s s o f t h e
Lamb. The Mother
resembles Him in
everything. Even afterwards Mary resembles
Jesus: in her way of doing, of thinking, of
living, of being.
We too must resemble Jesus. When we
rejoice and things go well we are called to
resemble Him. When we are being tested and
are suffering we are still called to resemble
Him. Always He must be our model and
example. When we do not resemble Him, or
better, since we are incapable of resembling
Him, let us ask Mary to make us capable of
this. Then, endowed with the same regality
of the true King we will know how to possess
everything without being enslaved to anyone
or anything. Then, endowed with the same
meekness of the Lamb, we will be able to
offer up to God and to others everything
we have, everything we are. In this way,
we will experience heaven already on this
earth, when life is joyful and when life is
sorrowful. If we live in this manner we will
never accuse anyone, as the devil does, but
our lives will be of help to our brethren
because we'll be able to do the deeds of
Jesus, our friend and saviour.
When Jesus rose to Heaven, Mary
remained with the Apostles. When I think
of this I think of the grace of her presence.
I think the Apostles must have experienced
the same feelings in Mary's presence as
they did in Jesus' presence. Mary must have
spoken about Jesus to the apostles more with
her example than with her word. Certainly,
Mary must have helped them understand
many things about Jesus that they hadn't
understood during the time they spent with
Him. Mary's presence was a further gift
Jesus made to the apostles (and to us) when
He died and rose into Heaven.
It makes me think what a great grace
the apostles had with Mary in their midst.
How "lucky" for them!, I think. However, as
I think this, I seem to hear a voice that says:
the same "luck" the apostles had you have
also had. And I realize how this is true, for
I have experienced Mary's presence, even
at Medjugorje. There, she is particularly
present; you can almost reach out and touch
her. This is a special time of grace that we
are living; and I acknowledge that the "luck"
of the apostles is also ours.
Thank you, Mary, for being as wonderful
as your Child. Thank you because you
transmit to us your "wonder" and your
"wonderfulness" so that we too can become
a little bit wonderful for Him. Thank you
because you are so close to us, so much
so that we can see you amongst our own
background image
In the previous issue of Echo we began
a column to help us understand the value
offering one's life to God. The offering
of self comes from a request made by Mary
at Medjugorje, and fi nds its way in the soul
of a person who desires being ever more in
communion with Jesus, and desires uniting
itself to His offering for the salvation of the
world. With the help of refl ections by Fr.
we continue to trace
out this way.
"I once heard a priest say: `It seems that
in these times there is nothing left to do but
offer up one's life to be able to fulfi l all the
plans of Mary Queen of Peace...!' ".
In Reality, What is a Life
Offered Up?
When we speak of "offered" souls, or
victim souls, a sensation of uneasiness rises
in the hearts of men; some are frightened,
others are overcome by dread and close
themselves up in a kind of suffering of
emotions. God doesn't want any of this. The
Lord desires to conquer once and for all the
death and hell that are within us; He wants
to make us able to face Satan and destroy all
his works. God desires rising in us!
This must be seen as being part of the
dynamics of the battle between the Light
and the darkness; and when Our Lady calls
us to offer ourselves, she means to call us
to enter into this Light. So it is not a call
to become sick, but rather to adore and
glorify God even in our suffering and our
sickness, and even when we feel "closed up
in a sepulchre."
So the Call is Entirely Positive...
One who offers himself, who gives
himself up completely, lives within himself
the dynamics of the resurrection, and feels
called to live life to the full. We have noticed
that after a certain amount of time a soul
who has undertaken this journey ceases to
fear and worry; and these negative feelings
are replaced by serenity and joy, and the
simplicity of relating with others.
The Important Thing
"God so loved the world that He sent
His only Son..." The love of the Father was
so great that He sent His only Son into our
human misery to save the world. He desires
impressing this same love into each of us so
that we too can touch the bottom of human
misery to bring it salvation. No diffi culty or
opposition can put out the love that is alive
in us, for it blazes continuously through
little trials till it becomes a great love, and
spotless, just like the Eucharist. Therefore,
"offered" souls are people who open up to
the totality of God's Love; they ask for it;
they desire it.
What is Asked of One Who Offers?
Such a person is asked to make this
love grow continually in him, and to purify
it through the events of his daily life, and to
adore and pray to God in every situation: to
nurture His Love, and to allow it to become
the centre of all his actions.
There are some important instruments
which help us safe-keep this capacity to
"be love" and enable it to grow. These are:
devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: a
fi lter that purifi es whatever in us is negative;
adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament:
pure divine love present on the earth that
nourishes our souls; adoration of the Cross,
from which gush forth all God's graces.
Nonetheless, one must always remember
that this love matures and is continually
purifi ed through trials and crosses. These
are for us occasions to evaluate the centrality
of God's love in us. If we work at putting
love into practice, we will surely come out
as victors in all our trials. Furthermore, by
offering to God our victory, it will surely
affect the entire earth.
What are the Means?
This is not an easy call! With this we
don't mean to discourage or intimidate
anyone. Rather, we intend drawing attention
to the fact that the call is a serious one, and
cuts deep into the soul, and provokes all
the levels of falseness that are within us; it
provokes Satan, and engages us in a battle
against him. The battle, however, is not
fought with weapons and clubs, but with
the only means able to defeat him: love!
Sacrifi ces do not enable us to enter into the
truest dynamics of salvation, but with love it
is possible. Why, then, does the Lord allow
sacrifi ces? The reason is that through them
we can touch the depths of love. Sacrifi ces
are precious occasions, and crosses are the
only combustible material for the dynamics
of love.
Concrete Steps to Fulfi l the Call
Of utmost importance is the consecration
to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lady
desires leading, protecting, and purifying
souls who undertake this journey of self
offering, so as to prepare the place for
Jesus in them. Secondly, these souls must
allow God to realize everything that He
has predisposed for them, without them
interfering with their human logic, ideals,
or self-interests. They must allow Him to
lead their lives by way of those steps that
He knows, but which they often ignore. In
each trial these souls must pray that "His
will be done", and with a joyful attitude
they must pray that in those moments true
love, patience, humility and all the virtues
present in the soul of the Virgin Mary might
be born in them.
Where Does the Way Lead?
The way leads one through trials;
these purify and strengthen the virtues
present in souls. Through accepting trials
with love, and through turning the calls-
to-order that are addressed to us into
steps that lead to humility, patience, and
responsibility, one constantly matures and
progresses spiritually. Without these steps it
is not possible to offer one's life to be "love
sacrifi ced," because Satan can easily destroy
us through little things that create confusion,
ire, dissatisfaction and bitterness.
(End Part 2. To Be Continued)
Offer Your Lives!
ECHO Present also in
Latvia and Russia!
This year, on the 13th of December,
dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, and
to St. Lucia, we celebrated the second
of the Latvian edition of the
Echo of Mary. For this we have only to
thank God and His Most Holy Mother; and
together with the Blessed Virgin we sing
the Magnifi cat.
This adventure with "Mary's little
instrument" began in November 2004. A
pilgrim group from Latvia wanted to go to
Medjugorje on the anniversary of Fr. Slavko
Barbaric's death, but due to visa problems
the pilgrimage was short lived. However,
the pilgrims didn't want to go home, so
they spent the days which would have been
spent in Medjugorje, in Riga. They prayed
in a local church in the way and spirit of
Medjugorje. Thus, Medjugorje came to
Latvia. Afterwards, people witnessed to
having received great graces, as if they
had been to Medjugorje. It was precisely
during this "pilgrimage" that the idea was
born of producing a local newspaper
Medjugorje pilgrims. People were thirsty
to know more about this place of graces,
to read the latest message with a comment,
and to know when the next pilgrimage to
Medjugorje would be.
One of these pilgrims was Br. Janis from
the monastery in Viljani. Some of the brothers
from this monastery were already receiving
the Polish edition of the Echo of Mary, sent
by its publisher Ewa. Thus came the idea of
producing a translation of this paper, rather
than producing something different, whilst
articles specifi cally for Latvian pilgrims
would be included. It seemed an excellent
idea, but to better understand God's will we
went to our Cardinal to ask for his blessing
for the newspaper. With his blessing we
were sure that the idea was from God. We
still had to resolve practical problems, but
God also took care of these. We found a
printing house just half a kilometre away
from the monastery where Br. Janis lived;
and Br. Janis was the fi rst translator for Echo
in Latvian. Emilija and Silvija, who worked
in the printing house, are now responsible
for our Latvian edition... but this is already
another story. This was how it all began.
At the moment our Latvian Echo is the
only permanent edition about Medjugorje in
Latvia. For now the situation is stable, and
1500 copies are printed per edition, which
is monthly because of readers' demand (not
everyone has access to internet to read Our
Lady's latest message).
We send the Latvian edition to churches
where priests are open to the messages
of Our Lady of Medjugorje. Like in
other countries there is a division among
the priests in Latvia about Medjugorje.
Volunteers take it to the needy, and we also
send some via post. Financial support comes
from donations.
For now the biggest part of the work
relies on Emilia, the editor. She takes care
of editing and the fi nancial and coordinating
problems. Daina and Zinaida translate from
English, Russian and Polish, and Silvia does
the lay out. Very often these stay up into the
night to do this work.
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From the Heart of Australia
Last October I attended the 20th
Anniversary in Alice Springs of Pope
John Paul II's visit
. Over
600 people assembled from all parts of
Australia richly representing our Indigenous
Catholic Leaders for the week of celebration.
The beauty of prayer, singing and dancing
from the various communities gave creative
expression to the faith and hope that fi lled
our week together.
It was during the Assembly's concluding
Mass with the Papal Legate, Cardinal
Edward Cassidy, that God touched me.
One man, `painted up' from the Port Keats
Community came forward in procession
bearing gifts to be taken back to the new
Pope. This moment in all appearance most
solemn - was not accompanied by music, or
song or dance. There was just a lone fi gure
walking silently towards us.
Behold the man! These words from
John's Gospel, speaking of Jesus in his
passion, ran through my mind as I watched.
And I began to quietly weep with the
realization that Jesus was in our midst...
The fi gure walking towards us was no longer
one man; as he now knelt respectfully before
the Papal Legate he represented Indigenous
Australia bearing its gift to the official
Church. In this moment I saw something
of the humility of God who, we might say,
continually kneels before humanity bearing
the gift of his only Son.
I pray that we may know more confi dently
this love of God who beckons us with great
Fr. David Tremble, MGL
Guadalupe: 6 Million Pilgrims
An enor mous crowd of pilg rims,
calculated at about six million people, came
from every corner of Mexico and abroad, to
the Shrine of Guadalupe to commemorate the
457 years since Our Lady appeared to Juan
Diego. An endless stream of people prostrated
themselves at the feet of the morenita del
, as John Paul II affectionately called
her. On the evening of 11 December the
traditional serenata in honour of Our Lady
was held, and on the morning of the 12th, at
dawn (the anniversary) Mexican songs called
"Las maanitas" were sung. These are songs
traditionally sung on birthdays or saint-days.
Alone or in groups, many on foot and some
on their knees, pilgrims arrived at what is the
most-visited Marian Shrine in the world.
In September 2006 the Latvian Echo
acquired a new sister: Echo in Russian.
We had the idea about translating Echo
into Russian for a long time, but we didn't
want to do propaganda. So we waited for
the Holy Spirit to give us some impulses to
start. There were more and more Russian-
speaking people who wanted to read the
Echo in Russian; and our translator Zinaida
was ready to translate from Latvian into
Russian. It was the moment to start. The
fi rst 500 copies were printed and sent to
readers. At present, Zenta, a teacher of the
Russian language, is also helping us to
translate. The Russian Echo of Mary is read
in Latvia, in Moscow, in Saint Petersburg,
and in Siberia. We are thankful to our young
apostle Radion who helps to contact people
interested about Medjugorje in Russia.
Thanks to Piero Gottardi, from the Italian
Echo, both editions are placed on the net
To conclude, we wish to thank the
people of good will who helped us to realize
the Gospa's plan. First of all our readers,
who motivate us to work even more. We
especially thank them for their letters in
which they share with us joys and problems.
Of course we couldn't go into print without
fi nancial support, so thanks to everyone who
helps us spiritually or materially! Our best
wishes and love to people who are spreading
our Echo! We give thanks to priests, who
allow to spread this newspaper in churches.
Thank you, Emilija, Silvija and all the
translators for your sacrifi ces in these two
years! Thanks to the workers at the printing
house, who work tirelessly and thus help Our
Lady. God bless you! We are thankful to our
parish priest father Joseph who supports us
with good advice and if there is too much
work he also helps us to translate. We can't
forget to mention Maija, who is the group
leader for pilgrimages to Medjugorje (from
Latvia). She helped us in many ways and
encouraged us a great deal. Our best wishes
to Sr. Stefania, to Beverley and to all those
people who work to produce the original
Echo in Italy! Thank you! At last, thanks
also to Ewa Jurasz who helped us to begin
our work! God bless you all!
Br. Janis is at present spending a year
of discernment with the Kraljice Mira
Community in Medjugorje. May the Lord
help him during this important stage of
his life. We all feel a strong bond with this
Community founded by Fr. Tomislav Vlasic,
and we desire offering his meditations to our
readers to help them better understand the
meaning of Mary's messages so they can
live them more fully. In fact, we think that
the Echo should be more than just a spiritual
reading on the Catholic faith. We desire it to
offer spiritual guidance for the journey that
leads one to life in the Most Holy Trinity.
The Echo Team in Latvia
The Lord bless thee and keep thee! May He
show His face to thee and have mercy on
thee! May He turn His countenance to thee
and give thee peace!
Italy, 16 January 2007
* Echo of Mary recorded on
for the blind or the aged.
(Also available in French.) For INFO
write to: Echo of Mary, P.O. Box 47,
I-31037 Loria (TV), Italy.
Echo is distributed freely. It fully
relies on donations. Thank you for
helping us help Mary to call her
children round the world.
Mail Donations, correspondence to:
The Secretary, Echo of Mary,
P.O. Box 47,
I-31037 LORIA (TV), Italy.
Personal cheques accepted; also In-
ternational Postal Orders.
And w
convenient (within Europe)
by bank transfer. Specify payment for
Echo of Mary Assoc. Bank co-ordinates
Banca Agricola Mantovana, Agenzia Bel-
fi ore Mantova, Italy.
IBAN: IT 02 Z 05024 11506 000004754018
Swift : BAMNIT21-185
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Ph/fax: +39 (0)423-470331
Echo Counts on You Too
Readers testify that Echo is nourishment
for the soul, help for the faith and light for
the environment in which we live.
We believe the Echo to have been
suggested by Mary. It brings the Good to
many all over the world. We consider it to
be sustained by God, for only from Him can
good things come into being. To fulfi l His
plans, however, God makes use of people.
To become man, God used the womb of a
Virgin; to give origin to the chosen people
He used Abraham, a wise man who lived far
from the promised land; and to spread the
good news He used apostles. God could do
without man, but He chooses to work with
man and act as if He needed him.
The Echo of Mary also needs man; it
needs his time, his faith, and his resources.
So that the Echo might continue to live it
needs you; it needs your prayers and your
willingness to help. Without you it cannot
continue, and this obviously conforms to
God's plans.
For Echo to keep on living it has
become necessary to cut back costs,
including postal costs.
For this reason,
despatch of Echo is now being revised and
economized. We also remind readers that
ECHO can now be downloaded from our
web pages www.ecodimaria.net
We count on your generosity as costs
have risen a great deal, and these risk
compromising the normal production of our
little paper. We trust in your prayers, and
count on your help, including economical
help, as much as you can. God bless you!
and Our Lady keep you!