2009 December

Dec. 1st, Tuesday: *44 for lunch today. We have packed two shopping bags of kids clothes, shoes and school supplies for the “lady from Kosovo”. They happily pick up their food bags and head, we hear later, for the veggies. The two ladies from Kosovo have loaded up a store shopping cart and taken as much of the potatoes and cabbage as they could fit in the cart and wheeled it off to their car down the street. The pension owner who comes every week for his handout is complaining about ‘those two’. The day workers are surprised and dismayed by their actions. We will plan other strategy for the following Tuesdays.

Not a good December start!


We are in the chapel for the English Holy Masses. We are being joined most days by the French or the German nuns who are helping us with the music. We are so grateful to Sister Marie-liesse & Sister Olga & Sister Teresa Benedict & Sister Anna Marie. 



Wed. Dejana has ‘texted’ us from her hospital bed in Zagreb. She has made it OK and is now in bed waiting for the trip to surgery.



An earlier picture at the house. The children were so afraid that mama was going to leave them (in death).

Fri., Dejana has ‘texted’ us that she is doing fine so those prayers have been answered. Bogu hvala (thanks be to God). and thanks be to Janet.

Jim from Trinity Tours is photographing everything. My kind of guy. 


Dr. Weigand and granddaughter Anna have made the pilgrimage to Medjugorje

We gather in the “video room” next to the chapel for a talk by Father Svet. Quite inspiring talk on how to pray.


Christine & Jim are waiting for the talk to begin.

Our contact person with a lovely group from the States who came wearing mostly identical jackets with such a sweet inscription on the back.

Mr. & Mrs. Cardenas and son, Joseph.

Sun. After Holy Mass at noon, the family of 3 from Chicago came home with us for a bowl of soup and a light lunch. A nice afternoon of eating and conversation.

Father Wally Beale from Wales is such a down to earth joyful priest.

Sat. “Pig Delivery Day’ and then in the afternoon, a St. Nick’s luncheon for the kids.

For some families it will be an unexpected surprise!

Janet, Jim Brown and Jane must be holding a ‘medical conference’. Jim Brown has received some bad medical news and needs your prayers.

Here’s another reason why we love Medjugorje.
Mon. One of the local kids who we have always admired and respected is having adjustment problems in school. Mary and I have decided to ask the Blessed Mother and the Holy Spirit to look after him. We will do a special fast and prayers during the school days for that request. We hope that the school marks will improve fast! ►►►►►We received a report from the parents later that week. The family has seen a big improvement and are sure the crisis is over!. Whew!

The potatoes have all been sold for this season so we go full speed into the cabbage crop. The fellows will like this because they do not have to cook the cabbage (some do not have a place to cook anything). 

A friend from Baltimore, John, is here with the Steve Shaul group. John is the pilgrim who loaned his cell phone to the ‘bus accident pilgrims’ of two years ago. We teased John as to whether he ever got his phone back (it was returned at the end of the pilgrims time here and we always thank John for his generosity).

Tuesday, Dec 8th:

Another angel visits Medjugorje; it’s Mary! Thank you for your generosity.

We have recently been given an education about 4 books written around 1985 by Father Slavko and Father Tomislav. The books are simply known as the “Gray Book”, the “Blue Book” , “Red Book” & “Yellow Book”. Not widely known perhaps as they were “Not to be Sold” but they are currently available free on the internet. You can Google. The books deal with lectures (mostly to the Italians) & reference the local “locutionists”; Jelena Vassal & Marijana Vasilj who receive messages from Our Lady but do not see Her.

The Blessed Mother structuring of the church services were mostly given through the locutionists.

Father Slavko is deceased but continually honored; Father Tomislav is in Italy and not in high favor with the Vatican.



Tues. Dec. 8th: Joe and Joseph from Chicago helped to day with the lunches; 58 fellows (includes a few women). Extra special day today as it is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. After passing out the food bags we passed out jackets, sweaters and pants. I think everyone got something (and the fellows said they would swap around items that might not be the right size.)

Wow! 1st salad bar we have ever seen in Bosnia & Herzegovina and it is in a restaurant only 50 minutes or so away!

It is the ‘KIWI MOTEL’ and they even display lobster and fresh fish on ice!

Thur. Dec. 10: Louisa (a nurse from Clinton, Maryland) with her daughter (Chiamaka) and son (Kene) will do the reading (and collections) on Friday. They came alone on this, their first trip to Medjugorje.

The kids took time off from school to come with Mom to Medjugorje.

Suzanne has been helping to support one of the local poor families for the last 2 years. We loved the Christmas family photo form cold and snowy Wisconsin.



Norma and Carlos (Mexico City) are here with their daughter Clair Marie. Norma did the reading for the Dec. 12th Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Dec. 13th: Guess where we have been invited to this evening? (along with 20 or 30 others).

It is to Ivan’s, one of the visionaries! We have arrived early so we get to take pictures.

Petitions (we have printed out emails sent to us requesting prayers) are placed before Our Lady.

A beautiful place for reflection and preparation for tonight’s apparition.


Dec. 17th: we make a call back (along with Joseph) to the attorney in Citluk. He has been helping Joseph to get ‘ownership papers’ for his apartment. Light at the end of the tunnel after 3 years!

Buyer beware!

On to Mostar and a visit to Immigration. First snow of the year is seen on the mountain tops surrounding the city.

One of our day workers has passed us a note to plead, if we are able, to assist him in getting home to his family. His child has been taken to the hospital and he needs to see the little one. Thanks & may God protect us

Dec. 21st:

Sister Muriel and Mary Walsh (St. Joseph the Worker) are hurrying, hurrying to deliver food bags to the desolates in the mountains before they are snowed in. Mary is with them to lend a hand and to do translations.

Modern plumbing? I guess not.

A Medjugorje angel.

“I’ll open the door of my house a little so that we can have some light”

Another stop. “I always worry that, if I could go out, I might not make it back in”.

The animals are starting to gather and to come closer to the St. James Church. We wonder what is happening.

They will appear in the manger scene during the Cenacola presentation of the Nativity.

Dec. 22: Here is what is happening! The crèche has been built inside the church. We were without the inside crèche last year. Brother Joseph’s mother passed on in December and he is the main ‘decorator’ of the church.

After Holy Mass we go closer.

And even closer.

One of our food stops today is at the family with 14 children. The young ones are at the table and the older ones are in school.

Dec. 23rd:
Two of our favorite ladies; they are grateful for anything and find a use for everything! St. Joseph the Worker has been delivering food to them for years and we met the ladies through them.

They are always putting in ‘special requests’ once they understand you are friends. Today they are ‘short of wood’. Mary has brought new drawers “know here as gotchee’s” and a few other things.



We make a few other stops and then decide to show Joseph, who is driving, the neat restaurant that Mary had been at. It is not that far.

Mary tells us that they did have lobster available but Bob has been taught a new Croatian phrase. It is pronounced “gotovo yello” and means “special of the day” or “ready to eat”. The restaurant has 2!

We each order and the sizes are huge. We divide each plate into 2 portions and dig in. Joseph orders ‘garlic bread’ only because it’s Wednesday.

We have collected some greens, eggs and potatoes from one of the families we visited. We also have doggie bags from the restaurant. A stop is made again at the two ladies and we leave what we have. They are delighted at the cooked chicken and lamb and will save that to have it as their main meal on Christmas Day (Friday).

Today is a fast day for them and the bread is already soaking in the milk. It is their “gotovo yello”.

Dec. 24: The star is new and blazing brightly.

Bob is pretty sure this rock fits in here someplace.

Father John, studying in Rome, is here for a short while.

Kathleen has returned and remembers meeting us 4 years ago. Thanks for your kind gift.

We had a lot of fun with this picture; the family is delightful and we recognized them from their previous trip. We printed this picture on the inside of a couple of our Chapel Cards and they thought it was so neat!

We did too.

Baby Jesus has arrived at the outdoor crèche!

Welcome, Holy Infant,

Welcome in my heart.


Our first phone call of the day (from Bosnia) came from one of the Muslim day workers who we had funded a trip home for him to see about his sick child. He called to thank us and to wish us a Happy Feast Day!

Last minute construction. Bob show Mary where he wants that particular rock.

Then he ducks.

The bell has been hoisted; the stage is set.

An afternoon get together at Janet’s:

Marie will be in charge of the wiring.

Anthony and Ron are checking to see who is coming through the door.

Tony and Dominique (thanks for the Belgian endives)!

Each of us brought food to share. It was a really good time.

Ivan & Andreja (the youngest) bring us home made goodies. Andreja was asked & reported that each of the 7 kids (and Tata) got a candy bar and a cup. We presented Ivan & Marina’s kids with a music book from the Youth Festival here and then sent them home with a portable keyboard! (eyes bulged!). They loved it. We gave Ivan funds donated by Mary’s sister, Anne, and from Mary Lou. We sent a little gift for their cousin, Martina, who was one of the kids who had drawn pictures for Suzanne. (thank you everyone).

Our Christmas wish for you!

During this holiday season we wish you many hours of enjoyment away from your computer. We hope you spend as much quality time as you can with family, friends and loved ones. Make the most of this opportunity to recharge your batteries, renew your spirits, and refresh your heart & mind.

Eat well. Drink well. Sing. Dance. Share stories with your kids and grandkids. Phone an old friend. Sleep late. And then do it all again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

And may the New Year bring you health, prosperity and a snappy, responsive email when you email the Ryans!

(Borrowed with a little bit of editing from the InvestorVillage website!)

I (Bob) really ‘screwed up’ with Holiday greetings this year. I was going to embellish & send out the note on the left to most of the ‘list’ but sent a really, really long letter of ‘stuff we do’ instead. That was to go to only a few of the close relatives. Embarrassing. I apologize.



Hara, Ellie and Katarina wishing us and all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from New Zealand.







Cardinal Schonborn came and participated by speaking, giving interviews, celebrating Holy Mass, leading the Adoration and hearing confessions.

Lots of good news articles.

Sat.: Father Adam was the principal celebrant today. To his right is Father Kevin, to his left is Father John, Father Wally.

The chapel crèche is so beautiful this year. 


And the outside crèche is so immense and so neat. The 3 performances were given to overflow crowds.

And we are so blessed to have three of the priests join us at our table.

Father Adam, Father John & Father Kevin.




Bishop Peric & the Cardinal. We pray that they will be this close..


We run into one of the neighborhood kids, Djoni, some of you may remember him.

Now he seems to be a neat polite kid with a really good attitude; and learning to converse in English!

But then again, that is an axe in his hands!

Mon. Dec. 28:

Today the parish does blessings of the homes!
We set up the Holy water, the branch of rosemary, the candles.
Father Ignatius arrives along with 3 of the neighborhood kids to assist, Ivan, Mirko & Mile.

All goes smoothly. Another year under our belts and another sticker for our door!

Oh oh. Two more Americans have moved to Medjugorje.

A big welcome for Ron…

and to Marie. Your loss Georgia/South Carolina.
Election time in Croatia is Dec. 27th; 12 are running for President. The vote requires a more than 50% to win else the top two vote getters run again.Croatia wants to get into the European Union (EU) Fighting corruption is a main requirement that Zagreb has to meet, as well as overhauling its judiciary and public administration. The TV has the ads mainly directed “I will fight corruption better than my opponents will fight corruption”.

One of the two will be elected on Jan. 10, 2010

Important here in Medjugorje because most residents consider themselves Catholic Croats; some get war pensions from Croatia and can get medical benefits and help. Croatia sees this area as part of Croatia and generates & accepts votes from the locals.


Odd to see political billboards and hear P.A. systems out of cars and trucks for Croatian candidates

Wed. Dec. 30th, the day is celebrated with some good friends and good food “AT MARY’S”.