2009 February

*Joseph W. is sharing some of his favorite photos with us; thank you Joseph for the shots.

This is Father Mike when here in 2008.

A couple of “our” day worker fellows have found employment! Yeah! Featured billing!

Photo by Joseph.

Feb 1st and we are invited out to dinner!!! Father Kevin is also with us and we enjoy an afternoon of talk talk and eats (and drinks).

A good time.

Father Kevin and Ante do cross examinations on a book of Croatia. Ante went to many of the pictured places on a recent class trip.

Early morning we get to walk by one of the shops which leaves bread out for pick up. The local birds look forward to this and do try to get in a few pecks. Some are bashful and fly away; this guy in the picture is too engrossed in the banquet before him (or her).

Sister Muriel (Saint Joseph the Worker) and Mary R. leave early on Saturday to try to find the place to the right. It would be so nice if this area had GPS but no luck with that.

The lady lives in the little white “metal container” pictured behind the tree; no plumbing but the container does have electric (one bulb hanging from the ceiling), a wood burning stove for heat and cooking.

Her niece has applied for the lady’s entree into the St. Joseph the Worker retirement home in Ljubuski.
The general direction is known but help to find the lady is needed. We know it is outside of Siroki Brijeg.

In the hills and Mary asks at a store for guidance. “Go 2 kilometers and turn right; after another 18 KM ask again”.
They drive as directed and ask again; “shall we ask at the Feed store or at the Pizza store next to it”? The Feed store is selected and it is a busy place. The fellow at the counter tells Mary “go the back of the store and ask at the office”. Mary shows the lady the application letter names and gets a reply “that lady (the niece) is my best friend, let me call her”!
The niece wants to come and we are to follow her to the “target”. We wait and sure enough here she is. We follow into the hills and find our lady to interview.
Two hours later and the niece is waiting. She is sure that it is a miracle that we happened to come on a Saturday (her day off) and that we stopped at that store where her best friend works.

OK, everyone thinks it is a miracle so who will be left to argue?

Off to the Citluk Electric Co. with a friend who is worried about a questionable amount due on the electric bill; the amount is from a time period before move in. Not to worry, the electric co will explain the old bill to the “judge” and will see that it gets eliminated.

We take a good picture of the wooden stein (but do not put liquid into it) passed to us by Gordon and family for passing on to a Wisconsin family as a “Thank you” gift.

Wednesday and we are off to Mostar with a friend for a visit to the dermatologist; he is a specialist so the charge is 20 KM ($16.00)!

Wow, we get a gift from the States and Mary says they are delicious.

Thank you Jeanie E.

Ralph, Father Norbert and Wolf have returned again! We immediately hit up Ralph to take the wooden stein back with him and to mail it to Gordon’s and our friend.

It is so good and so interesting to talk to them about the phenomena they have had happen to them because of Medjugorje. Tears come to every one’s eyes.



Friday the 13th and we decide that it is a good day to have an appointment with the visiting doctor from Mostar (he is only here on Friday’s so that works out well).
We tell him our problem finding the correct asthma medicine here for Bob and he makes a few calls and guides us.

We were there for maybe half an hour so the charge is 20 KM ($16.00). How can you beat that?

Here we see Joseph, Ivan and Bob. Ivan has the popular Charley’s Gift Shop in Medjugorje. It is one of the few shops here that closes on Sundays, closes for Evening Services, really caters to the visiting religious.

The open door says welcome to Charley’s. It is just off the main street, right across the side street next to the church and next to the old Columbo’s.

The building of the new hotel / restaurant / shops has slowed down

Our air conditioner / heater is acting up in our main room. We have a series of four trades people come to give us their opinion as to whether it can be repaired. Estimates and attempts are all over the place. We finally are guided to a repair man out of Mostar who replaces a “condenser”. Yeah, we are grateful.

Feb. 14, Sat: OK it is Valentine Day and Bob has to come up with some special treat. I ask Mary to go out to dinner and I get accepted! We go to the new Herzegovina Products Restaurant at the new Convention Center. We go inside to get a seat but then are told they have a private wedding party (or parties) and they cannot serve us. Boy, we are glad that our ride is still waiting outside!

So it is off to Citluk to the Hotel Brotnjo for a nice leisurely dinner. Mission accomplished!

Rev. Bao Thai stationed in Rome is here for 2 days and is a co-celebrant. He gave a very moving homily.

Veronica (California) and Fem (Holland) get a few words in after Holy Mass in the chapel.

Fem is working on her Masters and is doing a school paper on the practices here & will be spending time with us and with some of the other permanent and semi-permanent residents..

Rev. Cuong Pham, also studying in Rome, was the principle celebrant last Sunday.

Fr. Cuong Pham, Fr. Kevin and Fr. Bao Thai after Holy Mass in the chapel.

Oh, oh. our group insurance policy expires on the 23rd so we go searching the various insurance agencies for individual policies because not all of the unit owners here are interested in the group coverage. This may turn out to be OK as the first “insurance sales rep” arrives with a bottle of wine for us. We put it away until after the conversation.

And one of “our” families are so pleased at our return that they pass on to us a kilo or so of game fish which someone has caught in the Adriatic. It really looks good.

St. James Church has a new 8 foot (or so) wooden St. Francis of Assisi Crucifix on loan. The Crucifix now stands at the altar and it is to commemorate this year’s 800th anniversary of the Franciscan Order. Beautiful. Highly symbolic..

“During prayers, St. Francis heard the voice of God speaking to him through the crucifix. Looking up to see, the image of Christ spoke to him and asked him to rebuild his church”


Feb. 22: we hear that a benefactor is donating a St. Francis of Assisi Crucifix to St. James Church. It will be created and painted by one of the top artists in the town of Assisi. The icon will stay permanently in Medjugorje.

Janet reports on a project from over two years ago; the apartments for the Roma gypsies in Mostar; that there was a Mostar government meeting with donor governments and that of 13 or 14 proposed projects only the Roma project has all the necessary documentation to proceed.

AND….Janet has been given funds to enable driver ed and testing for the family with the 6 daughters in Vitina. How very wonderful.

There is to be a ground breaking ceremony for a new Hospice in Mostar. We are so proud of St. Joseph the Worker for pushing forward with this project!

Feb. 17: Tuesday: Father Kevin and Father Bill Elder are on the altar this morning. Holy Mass this morning is for the Holy Soul of Gene Hayes.

Penny has arrived from NYC and has brought a group of pilgrims (and has brought us stuffing and sweet potatoes from the States) yeah!

Thank you Penny!

Mary is boiling eggs for the fellows who we are feeding today.

Only 14 fellows today for lunch so each gets bonus eggs!

Wed: Morning comes and we look out from our balcony at the falling snow; first in the three years that we have been here!

It is to be even colder in the next few days and more snow is promised.

Bob and Mary have had the heater fixed just in time!

Does anybody have a snow shovel?

On the back street; the Rosary Shop is on the left and the school is on the right.

Thank you, Joseph for the photo.

Thank you, Joseph.

Thank you, Joseph.

Our Blessed Mother is still looking good!

Thank you, Joseph.

Outside seating is readily available at Columbos.

Thank you, Joseph.

“Fat Tuesday” coming up on the 24th. Two of “our” families have agreed to make the special doughnuts which are the “food of choice” for that day. We have put in our order and specified that there be lots of jam inside each and that they will be be covered with powdered sugar.

Bob will always take care of any extras which we may have after passing them out to the “day workers”.

Feb. 22:

Father Richard Vigoa was an investment banker who ultimately felt called to work for a “bigger boss”. We were delighted to see him on the altar here in Medjugorje.

Ante (first time altar server), Father Kevin and Father Rich.

Aedan (Ireland) and Curtis (USA) chat outside the chapel.

Francoise, Peter and Ellen Ashbourne along with Tobias Meier have “stabilized” our choir at English Sunday Holy Mass. We are grateful for their enriching the church music.

Sister Mary Frances is standing next to Father Rich.

Mary goes out into the mountain area and is greeted by a number of sheep. The difference between sheep and goat (Bob just found out); sheep have the long haired wooly coats.

Our crew (including Fem pictured to the right) go to the basement garage and sort out the food for the fellows today. The ladies in Vitini have made 100 or so jelly doughnuts for us to pass out. Fem is busy bagging those. We have 34 fellows today. A lot of requests for shoes today but we have only 2 pairs to pass out.

Fem will spend time here; has taught English in Thailand, has journeyed to Vietnam, spent time in a Buddhist community, studied in Central America just to mention a few places.

It is the day before Lent starts and we get strange visitors!!

Are we relieved when we find it is Ana, Anita and Đani! Whew! Thanks to Ellie and Hara for the masks!

Ash Wednesday at the early Croatian Holy Mass. Father preached that Lent is not so much about giving up food or drink but praying, forgiveness and doing good deeds.

Feb. 26 and the mystery is solved!! This is a GOAT!

The GOAT has short gnarly hair, can be a guy or a gal and they have baby goats! (I think).

I guess I also have to try and remember that when there is a division made then the sheep will be on the right and the goats on the left, symbolically speaking. I think I am thinking about today’s (March 2) gospel.

Feb. 27: Mary is off to the hills and look who she joins on today’s adventures. It is Kathleen and Agnes, sisters from Ireland.

Sometimes we ride, sometimes we have to walk.

Mary is happy to be getting out into the mountain area and to face the challenges of today (yeah, that is kind of corny)..

OK, so sometimes the housekeeping is not all that it could be.