2009 October

*October 4, 2009

FEAST OF ST. FRANCIS

The church statue is moved to just in front of the altar for almost the entire month of October.

St. Francis is our favorite saint.

Father Carlos from Brazil is back for a week and looking very happy about it. We are so glad to meet up with him again.

 

Masses at St. James. we thought the next group was not respectful in that they came into the church (and pews) before the prior Mass was done. But then the English speakers come into the German Mass!

In the Sacristy kind of the same problem where some of the next group of priests are on the altar before the current Mass is finished!

So many little stories. A lady came into the Sacristy to present her own small personal chalice; she wants the priest to use her chalice for HER wine. Doesn’t understand why this should not be done; but all chalices have to be cleaned and purified by the priest at the altar.

Yeh!! Here comes Father Paul; such a great and gentle help at the altar.

For the past few days, a group who identified themselves as being from ACORN in the States have been collecting funds outside the church after the English Mass. When the congregation was alerted then some from the group did some collections during the church’s regular collection time. SAD.

The church collectors were then given yellow shoulder bands for a few days until the group left.

Excitement? Sure we have excitement in Medjugorje.

In the confessionals; one of the priests waiting for the next late comer was locked in. Rescued later.

Heard in the line up for confession .. “oh, I thought these were the bathrooms”

 

10/6 Tuesday 36 fellows Blood work up today for a small group of us. They draw our blood early in the AM; we get all the results by 2:30 the same day!

 

Wed. Oct 7th: Off to Mostar today for updating our immigration papers et. al. We have packed women’s and some kid’s shoes in the trunk along with socks. We have a trunk full. The day workers usually do not know the shoes sizes of family members & their families are not in to “dressy” types of shoes. So sometimes we have “extras” to find a home for.

Joseph is doing the driving and Mary knows the directions. Just this side of Mostar we stop at what appears to be a bombed out abandoned series of buildings. It takes only a few minutes for word to circulate that shoes are to be given out. We get a crowd of all ages. We announce the sizes and get hands held high. 15 minutes and we continue our day’s journey. We leave with lots of gratitude & an empty trunk.

10/07 Mary has just come from the Mostar Immigration Office on the 4th floor up to where we await on the 5th floor. A big smile tells us that she was successful so we preserve it with a snapshot.

I could not make it out but Zenofy pointed to it. I zoomed in with the camera;

Someone has piled white rocks to express:

BiH

LOVE (or RESPECT) TO YOU

I would love to hear the story behind that!

10/08 Enda, Sandra and Zenofy share a good time at the Sv. Toma building.

10/09 Dr. Francisco Garcia (HAVIER), trauma pediatrician, is making the rounds with Janet (residing medical social worker). Havier is here from Hawaii! There are many locals to see, both Croatian and English speaking. We get to have a professional analysis of our 4 sets of blood work.

Janet always has multiple projects going on. This time it is a Hercegovina boy of 13 years who is to go to the States with his mother to have a back operation. Janet’s job is to raise money for the medical care and for the air fares.

Denis has exhausted all medical sources in this country and in Croatia; no one is equipped to help in this field.

We helped a bit.

 

10/9, Sun., After the noon Holy Mass a bunch of us went to Columbo’s to share pizza with Vince who will be returning to Australia on Wednesday. Vince comes regularly and stays for almost a year. His next trip to Medjugorje is planned for 2011. He has been such a good friend to us and a regular buyer of the produce we get each Tuesday from Jelka in Vitina.

10/12, Mon., A special day at Holy Mass, a new experience for us.

There are 10 deaf priests in the States, the first documented deaf priest is from South Africa.

Father Mike is pictured here with Carol,his sign language assistant. Father Klaas from South Africa assisted Father Mike in the parts of the Holy Mass which needed to be said audibly.

We are so impressed and will long remember this Mass. Father tells us that he was inspired to be a priest by Medjugorje.

10/13 Tuesday, 62 for lunch today

10/14: A Medical Conference at Columbo’s? No but here is Zenofy and Dr. Havier in a talk talk. Dr. Joseph and his wife Sandra are busy talking about patients with Janet and Mary at the back.

Doctors Havier and Joseph are patiently waiting for Mary or someone, anyone?) to ask the next important medical question.

Sandra and her husband, Dr. Joseph, have been coming to Medjugorje for many years.

A wonderful asset to Medjugorje!

A trip with Dr. Joseph to Vitina to check on Mario’s back. Sandra does a little food shopping before the visit so that Jelka and family receive a food package.

Thank you for your generosity.

Then a trip to the Home for Unwed Mothers (some abandoned and some abused) with Janet to do a wellness check as well as to see the children who are ill;

Sandra (on the left) & we have a bag of clothes for the moms & kids and will take this opportunity to bring them along.

Sister Lidja, Janet and Dr. Joseph take one group . Dr. Havier takes another.

Time for the check ups. “wiggle your toes”.

Father Svet drops in to check on the results of the once over.

9/28: Christmas time in Stolac in October at the home of Janja, Teresa and Niki.

Dr. John brought needed medications from England; Jane has a few gifts of her own to pass out.

 

9/28 Janja and Agnes watch and wait in anticipation.

 

9/28 The group stops at the home of one of John and Agnes’s favorite families. The cistern is dry so the family is glad to see their friends from England and are grateful for get help.

 

10/02 Apparition Day. Mirjana is escorted to the apparition site by fellows from Cenacola.

Mirjana still has a message form the Blessed Mother on the second of each month as well as on Mirjana’s birthday, March 18.

All too soon, Sandra and Zenofy will be leaving us and returning to England.

 

 

10/14 Did we tell you about the “Medical Conference” at Columbo’s?

(R-L) Dr. Havier, Sandra, Dr. Joseph, Janet, Mary, Bob, Zenofy and Joseph. Picture taken by Zenofy’s wife, Sandra.

10/14 Dr. Joseph and Mary are off to “house calls”.

The priest’s chair is backed up to the hedge; the confessing chair is facing the gate.

So unusual; I have never had confession in this spot.

Oct. 14th. Wed. still, after 5:00 pm: I (Bob) decides to go to Confession; Mary is out with the two doctors and Janet. I look and there is a priest with an “Italian” sign and an “English” sign over near the gate to the rotunda altar. I get in line, only 5 in front of me. I am not too happy about the location because I will be looking directly into the sun (brilliant white) on my approach. I wonder why the priest sat there.

At 5:40 we have the “silencio” and I drop to my knees; shortly it is my turn and I approach the confessor priest and sit. He motions for me to wait and I say OK. He is taking out his mobile and I assume he is getting a call … but he is using his camera. I look and I see the “miracle of the sun”; the priest asks “do you see it?”. I say yes and we both watch for a couple of minutes. Wow!

The sun is pulsating, constantly changing colors, subdued enough in brilliance to watch, others are pointing to it. I am thinking “what a display of love and of power”.

Many others have told me about their experience with this and we hear more stories almost every week; from all ages of people. I had never comprehended the beauty of it.

We hear, also, about the rosaries changing from silver to a gold color; lots of happenings of that. Our local Bishop explains that phenomena was caused by certain minerals contained in the rocks of the mountains.

But sometimes we hear that the change happens even before the pilgrim arrives in Medjugorje.

Usually the Medjugorje sun is like this picture. Too brilliant, too white to even think about looking at it.

Back home in the evening; Mary returns from her day. Then Mary gets a phone call. Janet, Mary and Dr. Havier are off again to help another local late at night.

Today we go to to Mostar and Joseph is driving us in his imported car (from America). First stop is the Immigration office again. We take a picture of the entrance; a new building and very well put together.

We are all so thrilled about the car (it’s an automatic) and Mary gets to ride in the front seat!

Sunday the 18th: With Father Kevin away for a few weeks, Mary gets to do scheduling of the priests & to make the announcements. Here the scheduled priest has been ‘bumped’ as a Bishop has arrived and gets priority.

Not a good job if one wants to make a lot of friends.

Our friend, Mary Anne, from New Jersey, emails us to say that her daughter, Sister Teresa, will be in Medjugorje along with priests, brothers and nuns from her order. Mary Anne asks that we try to make contact. Mary had seen a nun run over and put a band-aid on the Bishop’s hand the day before. That nun turns out to be Sister Teresa! How exciting.

Monday and the Order gets to be in the Choir box; they do the reading and the prayers and the singing. So very beautiful.

Pierce (or is it Pearce?) visits us in the afternoon. He is a regular Medjugorje pilgrim who has come for many years. We are so glad to see him again!

Next morning we meet all of the visiting members of The Order or the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

They are staying at Nancy and Patrick’s and we realize they will have a full schedule.

But we are determined to spend as much time with the group as possible.

The Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary is in Hopedale, Ohio, not far from Steubenville.

www.heartsofJesusandMary.com (all lower characters when you type it).

Part of their normal day are works of mercy. This is Sister Teresa and Sister Maria (and Mary). They whiz through the cutting and wrapping of cheese chunks and then assemble food bags for today’s lunches for the Muslim fellows.

Well, they did finish quickly so they ‘volunteer’ to size and pack t-shirts for the fellows who show up for lunch today!

Fr. Francis is the principle celebrant today. The sisters and brothers do the readings and the singing.

Wednesday and staff from the American Embassy in Sarajevo come to Medjugorje to meet and help and educate the Americans in Medjugorje. We meet the new Vice Consul (Brianna Powers in the middle). We interchange ideas and pick up literature.

Anne, a pilgrim with the Sandy and Mike’s group, has arrived and happened to mention that she has brought some running shoes with one pair being size 15 W !!!!

We are suddenly ‘her best friends’; we want those shoes. One of the day workers has been asking us for months for a pair large and wide!

His current pair has his baby toes sticking out the sides; he’s a big guy. We get them! We have been looking and looking for such a pair.

We are so blessed.

Sunday the 25th and Medjugorje gets to have an Arch Bishop (retired) on the altar as the main Celebrant.

 

The Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Edmond Farhat imparted the Apostolic Blessing with it’s attached plenary indulgence towards the end of the Holy Mass. An indulgence is defined as “the remission of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven,”

Certain conditions have to be met. One of our favorite & main ministries here is to share indulgence information and literature.

Lots of interest and enthusiasm from the priests con celebrants about the Plenary Indulgence so we pass out our Chapel Cards about Indulgences.

Twin priests are each to be the main celebrant of Holy Masses this week; Mario and Martin from Canada.

Twins should have at least two dedicated pictures!

Still the 26th: the Medjugorje school is having their yearly BAKE SALE! The school grounds are crowded, the kids in the higher grades are circulating through the village and around the church offering treats from their baskets. Donations accepted. These are ‘class projects’ and each class takes pride in the amounts they raise. Sometimes the funds are used for school equipment; sometimes to help class mates who are ill.

The 27th at the 7:30 AM Croatian Holy Mass and we are glad to see the Apostolic Nuncio is still here, his Excellency Edmund Farhat, is one of the con celebrants.

We are also tickled to see Mirjana (one of the visionaries) and family sitting in the pew ahead of us.

What a joy to live in Medjugorje!

Charles is heading back to England early this morning. We have wished him a safe trip and to please hurry back.

Helen is on her first trip to Medjugorje, is with a pilgrim group and is having a whirlwind of a time!

We pass out “goodie” clothes bags to the fellows along with the lunches. The goodies are becoming so popular for the fellows to take home for the wife and the kids.

They ask for more children’s clothing.

Next week we have All Saints Holy Day and then All Souls Day so we will have lunch times on Monday and on Tuesday! We are planning for 70 roasted chicken halves on Monday!