2008 August

Aug. 1, 2008 and we are ready for the 19th Annual Youth Festival!

Huge crowds, a new huge stage in the back; ready to rumble!

Some great music, great dance steps both from the audience and the nuns at the rotunda stage.

And we know that there is always a “conga line”!!! Do they still call it that?

Flags are flying from all nations; this has been the largest Youth Festival yet; we hear around 50,000!!

After a few days we get back to “almost normal”. We arrange for a meet at Columbo’s restaurant!!

We get treated to the “MISTER” at Columbo’s; water vapor is released from an overhead dispenser. Neat!

We meet up with Father Mike and Shannon at, where else but, at Columbo’s!
Father Mike has brought Mary some medical supplies courtesy of Cynthia.

and with Zaid of “IHS Pilgrimages,org” of Chicago. Wonderful people!

And the medication goes to!!!!

Mary makes a house visit with the ulcer dressing that Cynthia has sent via Fr. Mike. The fellow has three areas of concern on his leg which have been there for years without healing. A few weeks ago Cynthia sent Mary special medicated Bandage wraps and this fellow has seen such an improvement that he is sure that he will be back to normalcy shortly.

But we ran out of medicated wraps so now Mary teaches the fellow how to use the new ointment.

The fellow is a little short this week (Mary does not charge anyway) but sends Mary home with a bag full of eggs!!!

We add them to our stash in the basement.

Well, the Bocelli concert is over. Mary and I watched it last night as it was televised live on one of the local Bosnian channels.

Enjoyable and Bocelli sang so many songs in honor of the Virgin Mary.

All kinds of rumors but no one who we knew could tell us where to buy tickets or what the price would be. We noted that the benches were cordoned off and that one could stay outside the fencing for free of course. Bocelli announced that he was not charging for his appearance but giving the concert for the Blessed Mother.


Today we hear that the first 5 row seats were 400 Kuna’s (a Croatian currency equal to about $80). That corporations were distributing most of the tickets and that Globtour was selling the balance. No one could tell us who the beneficiaries were.

We do hope that St. James Church is the beneficiary.

Oh oh, we have 132 liters of milk in the basement with an expiration date on the end of the month. The milk here does not have to be refrigerated until after it is opened. This was to be part of the major food deliveries to families (we help 12 families with 78 kids) for the “just before return to school” help.

We have to move the milk out faster so we call Nancy and Patrick and they are eager for it (they had 112 youths staying at their place for the Festival; 900 meals served).

We make that delivery and “throw in” eggs and peppers.

Father Mike is celebrating Holy Mass and delivers an insightful homily. We need to develop our patience genes and he reminds us that we get presented with continual challenges. Thank you Father Mike.


Shannon is right in there pitching!

Note too that Karl is back with us for a couple of weeks; he and his two sisters do altar serving a number of times each year (besides the organ playing and the singing and the flute and the violin playing). What a family!

The family of five drive from Belgium!

Mary and her son, Michael, are so proud of each other and it shows so cheerfully.

Aug. 11th: Fr. Kevin will be away for two weeks so Mary is designated to be the logistics manager for the priest celebrants for the English Holy Masses and to make the announcements.
Bob gets to fend for himself way back there someplace in the pews.

Bishop Gabriel Malzaire (from the Island of Dominica) is here this week. A beautiful speaker and celebrant. Our Sunday Holy Mass was enriched by this special celebrant.

Fr. Chris, from Canada, looks on.

Aug. 13th we are to make 2 more food deliveries today; first delivery to the couple with 14 children!

2nd delivery to the lady with only 8 children (and a lovable puppy).

Aug. 14th: we are to go back to Hodovo, a small village on the other side (and up the mountain) of Mostar – Buna area.
Friends from Dublin were scheduled to go with us but took sick the night before so all decided it would be best to go another day.
They sent us off with gifts for the family and for the children!!!

Mama is not feeling well so Grand Mama presents us with more gifts for Gordon and family.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

We arrive at Gordon and family and almost all come out to greet us.

gotta watch those steps going up and gotta watch those steps going down!

they are still waving!!! Gordon has been building his house for 8 years and he still has a long way to go.

We are so proud of Gordon (and family). He, along with 5 other fellows in the same boat have stopped waiting for jobs that never come and have started their own bakery!!

They would love to have another van like this!

The bakery is now the only action on the bottom floor of this building. The public school is on the second floor. The 6 fellows have restored part of a burned out government building to hold their bakery. And so much room for expansion!

Everything is so spic and span including the fellows!

OK, this is one of the rooms available for expansion. This used to be the local post office.

Lots of arches, lots of promise. A humanitarian Irsish organization has helped to get the bread oven. New, it cost 40,000 euros. Used, it cost around 20,000 euros. The fellows got it for 6,000 euros! They are in debt.

We “kidnap” Father John (Delaware) for the afternoon and make him listen to our stories!

One can hardly notice the plastic transparent arm restraints!

And now we get introduced to the Gusle. A one string musical instrument kind of like a violin. The player sings and plays for us and for the kids (we are all fascinated). This Gusle instrument is so ornate, is hand carved and has been passed down for generations.

Maja is 11 years old today, Happy Birthday!

Andreja takes the bow to try it out (and does pretty good).

Charlotte and Walt of Pa. are coming to Medjugorje & have sent us their picture via email. We asked for it so that we could recognize them on the church grounds. We will bet, however, that they will be wearing different outfits. They are friends of Father Bernie, “our priest” in Florida.
We ordered some special leg ulcer dressings in the U.S. and the company has forwarded those (and many, many medical extras (3 big boxes)) to Charlotte and Walt and they are bringing much of that to us.
We are so blessed!

Anita, Eric and Oscar are here this week also along with a group of Americans (but based now in Germany). We met Anita and Eric last winter.

Cindy is in the same group also and we make arrangements to meet the group at their pension.

Everyone is so friendly (the kids especially so). A great group.

Bob sits in with the pilgrims at this table and we listen to some stories from Mary.

We meet with Mae and Alex and their three wonderfully outgoing children; Anna, Daniel and Rafael.

OK we go for a group shot.

One of the charming (and good looking) couples. They have brought us some priest vestments. We think that we can find a good home for those.

Everyone starts to drift outside and just hang out…waiting for the bus to start the long trek home.

This is only part of what we garnered from this generous group!!
We asked for and received boys and girls underwear and socks. The kids really need this and many will go back to school feeling a lot better about themselves.

Mary takes a trip to the Ljubuski Retirement Home and visits the chapel. The chapel has a new beautiful home for the Holy Eucharist.

Joseph’s (our American friend here) brother and sister in law have come for a visit. The three of them go along with Mary to visit (and to pick up some produce) Jelena in the Village of Vitina.