May 4, 2008: We are invited to celebrate Kata’s First Holy Communion!

St. James Church has a “fisherman” motif at the altar.


There are probably 60 kids plus their families who processed into the church with them. While they were lined up outside the front of the church, their Nun Instructor (Sr. Slava) went to each child and gave each a small pearl. At the front of the altar the special decorations included a huge sea shell (the theme of St. James to represent St. James, Saint of the Pilgrim); each child placed their pearl in the shell at the altar to represent that life is a pilgrimage towards Heaven.

Grand Tata and Kata at Kata’s home with the new railing up the side stairs to the living area. Ivan and family are grateful to those American pilgrims and friends who contributed funds for the railing. They thank Mary Anne, Silloo, Roshan and Patty for their wonderful present!

Gee, this looks as though Bob is taller than Mary (and we are both taller than Kata)! It has to be the new stairway?

I (Bob) got placed out at the picnic table with “the guys” after the dinner to enjoy the wine and the antics of the male relatives as they did their bonding. I think I laughed at mostly the right moments and everyone enjoyed that. Mary took almost 200 pictures that day and we put them onto a DVD (made 4 or 5 copies) and I did a special cover for the DVD and sent it to Kata the next day so that she could hand some out to the other relatives.

We find Norma Milosek. A friend from Canada, Mary Young Lai, ended up with one of Mary’s ear rings and was so intent on getting it back to Mary. The ear ring is sent via Norma.

Oh, oh, the ear ring unintentionally had been placed in the petitions basket for the Blessed Virgin two days ago. Mary seemed to be delighted that she and the Blessed Virgin would each have a matching ear ring. But Norma was kind of upset. We hear later that Norma has gone to the Info office and that Norma and the girl clerk had sat on the floor going through the bags of petitions!!!

Eureka! Found it!

Norma and we get together over coffee and apple pie at our place and we “talk her ear off”! Norma was so kind and listened to us non stop.
We had fun with that. It makes for a wonderful story.

We ask Norma to cover up one ear!!

May 7: we decide we want to retreat to Makarska for a brief get a way. On the Adriatic, a small village nestled below the highest mountains along that part of the shore. High season does not start for another week so. We get a “dream” apartment for 40 euros ($65) a night and take three nights of it! We are the only guests in the little hotel.

Mary wants a picture of every flowering bush we come across. I say OK as long as she is in the picture!

If only the village had low cost ice cream cones (oh there it is) and “take out coffee in cups with lids” (oh there it is) and a farmers market with all kinds of cheese and fruits and vegetables (oh there it is) and a historic old church (OK we already knew that one).

We dine on a patio restaurant overlooking the street.

and take a few snapshots.

and then, next day, we do it again at a different place

and we have found a fairly good bakery

Oh yeah, we are only a 5 minute walk to the church so we are able to attend the 7:00 AM and the 7:00 PM Holy Masses.

We could not resist this place on a back street for a heartier than required breakfast!

Back Home: Our driver, Ivan, delivered some food to us from his garden and a few other things that I needed from the store. We told him that a pilgrim sent us a check for our mission and that we are sharing that with him and another family. He thanks us and tells us that yesterday he carried a lady with an injured shoulder down Podbrdo. It was difficult and his right shoulder and arm are giving him pain and tingling making it difficult to drive (he is a taxi driver). So when we gave him the money and told him that we did not know that he was in pain, but that we felt that today he should have the money. He said that the injured lady said “thank you” and we added that maybe the Blessed Mother is paying him for the work done yesterday.

May 17: There is an event; a “Peace Marathon”. “Let’s run to Gospa!”

Some run from Grude to Medjugorje (42 KM); others from Ljubuski (15 KM)!

Lots of sponsors but I could not locate who was benefiting.

Even an official flyer and application form!

Father Milenko chats with Ivan (one of the visionaries).

Back home and Mary puts on a brunch, we have invited Zenofy and Sandra, Jerome (the music leader), Joseph, and Michael (a young seminarian). We had a good time and a delicious meal. (we did home delivery for Alexandra).

5/19: Mary is off to the hill country this morning; making visits to the needy.


Tuesday (May 20): we meet with a water rescue and educator team (Steve Darby & Ana) who are coming from England to Mostar. They will be doing some training and so we will see where that takes us.

5/20: Michael, a seminarian from Seattle, WA. is here on a pilgrimage. Michael is a family friend of Joseph from back in the States and so stays part of the time at Joseph’s unit.

Michael agrees to come out with us for a day and we take advantage of his strength!!

We have some items for a family in Vitina and Michael carries it in.


(we would love to help with the whole house)!


This family’s source of water was from rainfall into a couple of old cisterns. Then, last year, the Village laid water pipe in the neighborhood. That cost a little bit for each family’s share.
Then pipe had to be purchased and laid from the roadside to the house. That cost a little bit. The daughter has a job and was able to secure a bank loan (and we helped a little bit as did some of our friends). Pilgrims also helped us with this ongoing project.
Now the bath is completed!!! Yeh!!

Now we need to help with the kitchen.

We get Michael out to the family’s field where they grow cabbage, potatoes, onions, tomatoes etc.

We (Michael) pile crates of cabbage into the car

It is Tuesday which means we go to the Medjugorje “4 corners” (Tromadjem) area to prepare a lunch for the day workers (mostly Muslim).

A few of the fellows agree to have their picture taken with Mary. We do not know whose car that is, certainly it does not belong to any of us.


Michael shifts roles and now his job is to slice the cheese for the sandwiches. The sales girl is slicing the chicken salami.

Today there were a little over 40 fellows waiting for the food; we also gave each a small bag with t-shirts and stuff.

(On Thursday (Corpus Christi) we had around 80 fellows who came for lunch).

Then we need to visit the Beljo family.

Ana and her brother Bozo want to go with the rest of the school kids on a school trip to Croatia. It costs each of them about 340 KM (about $280) which they do not have. We feel that if they do not go with the rest of the school on this outing they may never get out of the country and see anything. Bob and I have decided to spend the money and told them to go ahead and get the paperwork into the teacher and at the end of the month we will take the money over to them. We have now been Blessed with donations for one of the 2 kids for this once in a life time to be just like all the other kids. We got some clothing for them, we loan them a suitcase and give them some “mad” money for ice cream and stuff.

Then we wrap up the day by a trip to Nancy and Patrick’s Castle. They have agreed to, periodically, buy some vegetables from the family in Vitina.

Patrick pays up and we get our picture taken with him!!

5/22: It is Corpus Christi. After evening Holy Mass, thousands of people (locals and pilgrims) process through the streets of Medjugorje. The Holy Eucharist is carried by the Franciscan Priests; the people trail behind. Many people carry candles, all shops are closed, hymns are sung and the Holy Rosary is recited.

We took this from our balcony around 9:00.

We “run into” and meet 4 ladies from Scotland. We find that they have bought an apartment here in the same building as our friend, Joseph.

5/24: We get our picture taken with Father Mark from Nova Scotia

We meet Isabel who is searching for a home for a wonderful pair of shoes. We got ’em and passed them on the next day. Thank you so much, Isabel from the USA!

Sunday 5/25: Our building’s Home Owner Committee throws a pizza and coke picnic for the neighborhood. It is in appreciation for their help for watching out for us and we for them. We try to build a “Social Network” or neighborhood watch! We had 12 adults and 16 children join us!

Pizza here is not like pizza in our home country; some of the kids like to put mayonnaise or ketchup on their pizza slices!!!

It was wonderful to interact and speak with our neighbors on all sides of us!

We are still planning a “movie night”; AND the kids are asking us whether we shall have the “Summer Klub” again this year.

St. James church has expanded the Sacristy for the Priests and solidified the walls on the rotunda area.

The area in front of the rotunda is being prepared for partially surface covering of the gravelly aisles ; not every spoke but certainly the main ones where the priests give the Holy Eucharist.

Construction is still going on where Coco’s and Columbo’s were situated.

Columbo’s has opened a nice restaurant (as you exit the church, turn right at the road and cross the street).

Coco’s has split into two; there are two brothers; one brother’s place is towards the left just past the Hotel Regina and next to the bank (and its ATM).

the other Coco’s is to the right on the same side of the street.

This statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is around 42 inches tall. The statue’s home is at Kathy’s Kitchen. Kathy had asked our mutual friend, Aedan, to take the “Sacred Heart” to Apparition Hill on Friday (May 30th) for the “Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus” to have it blessed on that very special day during the 9:00 PM apparition of the Blessed Mother!

Aedan picked up the Sacred Heart Statue in the afternoon while Kathy was elsewhere and placed it in his backpack and then came to visit us! We treated the Sacred Heart so very gently and we discussed whether the Sacred Heart should be looking forward or backward. It was sticking two third’s out of his pack and we were all concerned that he take all corners widely.
We hear that he went up (and down) the mountain like a “mountain goat”; did the task and returned the Blessed statue safely!
Yeh for Aedan!!

Sat. May 31: Immaculate Heart of Mary. We noticed singles and groups of boys and girls; some walking tenderly, some limping!
The 30 or more kids from the area of Posuลกje had walked for 14 hours from that area (48 KM or 30 MILES) arriving in Medjugorje in time to attend the 7:30 AM Croatian Holy Mass

We have a friend, Ann Enright, who we met during the bus accident days and who has acquainted us with Cynthia Benson. Cynthia is acquainted with Virginia Cordoba in the States; Virginia is in the process of sending a shipping container to Medjugorje!!! We heard that Virginia will be spending some time here in Medjugorje.

We mention Virginia’s name to our friend, Joseph, who connects that name to the name placed on the apartment next door to his apartment unit here!!! Small world!