2008 January

The Adoration Chapel at Medjugorje, Christmas December 2007.



Chanda, a parishioner from Father Kevin’s old New York City parish has come to visit Father Kevin & Medjugorje. How delightful!!!

Nancy feels the same way that we do as Patrick looks on!

Father Andrew (South Africa) was here with a group of 31 (3 priests), each of the priest celebrated a number of Holy Masses.

Peg and Sue are with us as we visit one of our favorite families.

What a sense of humor this entire family has. They are always so glad to see us and our guests. Janja tells us that when we come and bring anything with us that she is so grateful. If we even bring a walnut she would be grateful for that because she could plant it and it could grow into a big beautiful tree!

Our family in Ljubinja had this picture of the early St. James Church with confessions happening in the surrounding field.

We drop by another favorite families and find that the lap top which we recently passed on to Ivana (3rd year University) does not function with the utilities they must work with at school. We need to find a “NOT VISTA” replacement computer. Any suggestions?

JAN. 6: We have gathered at Coco’s to say good bye to Ellie and Hara who will be leaving Medjugorje for Ellie’s home country of New Zealand.

I will bet that everyone is admiring their pictures on the digital cameras!

Some more of Hara and Ellie’s friends join the group.

Tanya also comes to Coco’s to wish Hara and Ellie a great life in New Zealand.

Matthew (of the Miracles Charity out of England) has been doing great work here for many years.

JAN. 7: A new family to visit! The social center in Caplina asked us to see if we can help. Fabio (in the front, age 10) has been diagnosed with severe epilepsy at the age of 2 1/2 months. He is currently on medication which costs the family 50 KM ($40) a month and this is helping. He also needs extensive dental care and currently has a temporary brace because of the cost of the brace really needed. They have not yet paid the 500 KM ($400) for that simplified brace. It is removable and is not correct for this condition.

Fabio with his two cousins and his mother. Fabio is hyper active and very demanding of attention.

We just had to re-visit this family now. This is DORA and she is modeling her “DORA” jacket with the “DORA” label on the front. 4 1/2 years of age we will bet that Mum had a hard time that evening getting Dora to change into bed clothes. Thanks to the pilgrim who donated this.

Mum and some of the children; the newest was asleep in the nearby crib. Your donations will always fit someone in this family.

JAN. 9: “COUNTY COURT CITLUK”, the site of the Citluk Social Center.

Needy but hard to catch; up in years but still as agile as the sheep she tends and sleeps with! A true independent individual who does not want to leave her home to live with any one else.

Ivanka, one of the social workers out of the Citluk office makes a field assessment, but not too often because only one of the 4 workers has a car.

JAN. 10: Daniel, the bus driver in the June 2007 bus accident involving the Wisconsin pilgrims> Daniel tells us that he and his wife pray every evening for those Wisconsin pilgrims and he hopes that they include him in their prayers.

JAN. 11: Shoe and slipper inspection time. Thank you, Peg and Sue, for buying these and the wood supply for one of the needy families.

No thanks, we were just looking.

BEFORE (unusable for many years)

TODAY ( a teenager’s room)

Another family: The smoked pork is usually hung in this room but now it is being remodeled and on its way to being a second bedroom.

JAN. 12: One final picture this season of the crèche at St. James Church.

And as we exit the church we see another remodeling job going on. We think this building (restaurant et. al.) will be doing away with the steep steps and have a more comfortable entrance. Across the street is Columbo’s and Coco’s. still open but slowly being stripped away.



Jan 18: we finish a project! A note card with the Medjugorje Hymn on the back (with the notes) and an explanation of the plenary indulgence to be gained at any Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament We passed some out before Holy Mass this morning.

It has been raining all week so that means no work for the day workers located just outside of Medjugorje. We were there Tuesday as usual but will go out on Saturday also. Edgar is helping peel the potatoes and the onions and the carrots. The beef is in the cooker. Hope we have a good crowd.

The Saturday meal went really well and the hot meal was so appreciated by the fellows. They have such prayerful ways of expressing God’s blessings upon us.

Monday and we, along with Edgar, are off to the Stolac area to revisit a few of the families. Our first stop is to Fabio’s (10 year old epileptic) to check on whether new medication has been prescribed and to bring food, clothes, shoes and toys to the family. A small lesion was noted and he needs Cat Scans and MRI every three months; there is a long waiting list for those services as well as cost. We meet Biljana, 19 years, who married this past Nov. to a 22 year old Medjugorje fellow, moved in with the family, assigned to a room with no heat, a bath with no water and harassed to find a job from day one if she expects to eat. The new husband (non working) finally “threw her out of the house in the middle of the night”. Now she is back with Mom who is very tearful.

A visit to a family in Stolac; they started a fire in the wood stove this morning to see the house fill with smoke and a neighbor rushing in to tell them that flames can be seen on the outside of the house!
Going outside they find that part of the dividing wall has collapsed!

A new crack has appeared perhaps 8 feet in height near the front street entrance!

There is a matching crack on the opposite end of the house. Teresa has hired a local fellow to patch up the chimney and to patch the cracks. The fellow is on the roof when we arrive patching the chimney; lowering a pail by rope down to Niki who is able to grab it and then a local Muslim girl shovels the cement into the pail and the fellow pulls it up. Teresa is glad that Niki is able to help with this. What caused it? The worker thinks grenades were thrown at the house during the war, Teresa thinks too much rain over the past two weeks, we hear earthquake which would explain the tumbling wall also.

They are sure that the Blessed Mother has answered their prayers as they are having to borrow from the neighbors to get the repair done. We leave shoes (thank you Peg and Sue) for Janja and Teresa, some food things, spare trousers for Janja etc. Thank you dear pilgrims. Niki’s birthday yesterday so we wish him well and give him a little extra.

We knew they would be out of wood and we bring contributions from a Peg and Sue and from Victorio to buy a couple more meters of wood.

We had hoped to touch base with Father Rajko but he is on his way to Zagreb. He tells us on the phone that he has taken pictures of the Christmas food bags for us and has documentation as to cost and assortment. Thank you to all the pilgrims who helped with this.

We stop at the Caplina Farmers Market and pick up a crate of large oranges and a crate of tomatoes to take to the 4 corners tomorrow for the “fellows”.

A new family has asked us for a walker. We have located one and hope we can take it to them on Tuesday.

We check on the progress at the rear of the church. We have heard that the Sacristy is to be enlarged and made more accommodating.


We see that the construction is all across the area so we really have no idea what the plans really are!

Tuesday: A sad, rainy day for the fellows at the four corners; not too many fellows but even fewer jobs available. Mary gets into a conversation with a few including a father and son. One asks whether there would be a chance of a “little extra” in the food bags today so that we can divide it over the days ahead. Mary asks “what would you like”? The fellow responds “I am not in a position that I can place an order, whatever you decide, we are grateful for whatever we get”.

We go into the mini market, the girl clerk tells us that, just a few minutes ago a fellow came in asking for food. We look for him but he has moved on. We think it is the local Croatian day worker who is really having a bad time and has probably lost track of the day of the week.

Friday and John Murphy joins us for toast and coffee. Aedan had joined us earlier in the week. John is a chef in his secular life so Mary and he had a lot of stuff to talk about. Bob, he just sat there, gleefully, waiting for the menu to be presented and approved!

Saturday we are walking home after the 7:30 am Holy Mass and the earlier time spent as part of the all night adoration. Boy, are we glad we have already crossed the street so that we do not have to navigate through the “golden nuggets” as the sheep wend their way through Medjugorje!

I guess this needs no further comment.

No Columbo’s, no Coco’s, no Dani’s.

Surprise, surprise. We get a notice in our mailbox that we have a package at the post office!
We walk over and redeem the package and find it is from Canada but for our friend Edgar. Edgar comes over and it is from his daughter but tells us it is really for US!! Yeah!
It is toys, toys, toys for good little girls and good little boys? We have a long list (84+) and we shall place them in our pre Easter food boxes. Thank you Edgar and thank you Dominique (Edgar’s daughter).


Thursday and we (along with Edgar) go to the village of Stolac to visit with Father Rajko, to see his pet animals and to drop off some vitamins, prescription drugs and food to Janja, Teresa and Niki. We also want to check on the chimney repair and the house cracks.
Father Rajko wants to give us a report on the success of the Christmas food boxes. The 130+ families who needed food this Holy Season got the first boxes (thanks to all of the pilgrims who helped with this) and then, days later, were able to get a 2nd delivery of food and wine donated from the Medugorje Parish!

The two deer are becoming so tame. Father tells the three of us about the needy in the area of Stolac; how 5 or 6 people a day come to his house to tell him of problems in their lives. Women whose electricity is to be turned off unless they can raise 10 or 20 KM; the bill is much larger but the electric company will leave them connected if they can just come up with a portion of the bill. And they can’t.


And a strutting peacock has been added!

Father tells us about the men who come to him with tears falling down their cheeks; begging him not to tell their wives or their children that their father is begging. That, before the war, they were doing OK but now the factories are gone, the jobs are gone, there is no work, no prospects. If they can, somehow, raise 40 or 50 KM, his family would be so proud of him.

Father does what he is able be they Croat, Muslim or Serb. He always tries to do something.

Edgar hangs around the grotto.

We spend over an hour with Father; he is so thrilled to hear that we are listing him as our favorite charity for 2008 (this guarantees that we give and / or raise at least 2000 KM). We did much better this past year.
We leave an envelope and we know that Edgar has slipped him something.
Father is so positive, so firm in his Catholic faith, so giving.
Sister Monica is called to come prepare espresso, home made cheese and home made rye bread. Love it.

We have seen this old old cemetery from the car just before we get into Stolac but this is the first time we have stopped and explored. These grave sites are scattered through out Herzegovina, are cataloged but not protected.

No dates or names on the stones, only engravings on some. If one looks closely one can see the carved figures.

All sizes, all shapes, heavy solid stones with the burial underneath the stones.

We shall add more information on this topic.