2010 October

*Oct. 1st: We get a group of Americans and Canadians into our building’s prayer room to watch, after a bit of Bob’s fiddling with the computer & projector, ‘My Sweet Angels’.

The building committee has OK’d the purchase of 24 stackable chairs. It will be much more comfortable!

Oct. 4th St. Frances of Assisi Feast Day. The statue has been brought to a more prominent spot in the church. Special happenings today by the Franciscans. Some pilgrims have slipped a couple of coins in between the toes of St. Frances. I Slide them into the coin slot; I hope this is OK.

Tuesday Oct 5th, a rainy day. 77 for lunch. Later we visited Ana (left). Simona and Alberto helped pack and distribute food and extras e.g. toothpaste, toothbrushes, socks or under shorts, some shoes. Thank you to everyone who enable us to give these extras.

Oh, oh. The grocery stores in the village of Medjugorje have been given directions by the government to post these signs! As of Oct 1, 2010 only the Bosnia KM (mark) is acceptable as currency; no Euros and, of course, no Croatian Kuna’s.

Some stores & restaurants are still accepting the Euros however.

Thursday the 7th: The Feast Day of Mary, Queen of the Rosary. Mary holds this Rosary in such high esteem; given to her at a Papal Audience by Pope Paul VI in the year 1965.

Friday the 8th: Joseph, Janet, Mary & I travel to Metkovic in Croatia. We get there and find the parking lots deserted. Oh, oh.

We have arrived at 12:30; the stores close at 1:00. It is celebration of independence day in Croatia!

We hurry on to Lidl, our favorite store in Metkovic and find that they don’t close until 2:00!

We are all happy.

The newly built Museum of Archaeology “Narona” in Vid near Metkovic, Croatia located at the large archaeological site of antique statues of the Sanctuary Augusteum has been opened in 2007

The site of the museum was home of Augusteum, the temple of Emperor Augustus from 1st century AD, where archaeologists found 16 statutes of Emperor Augustus, members of his family, and other Roman high officials and deities.

Saturday: we noted so many more pilgrims around the church and at the confessionals last evening; this morning the 7:30 Croatian Holy Mass is standing room only!The Croatian people have a long weekend to celebrate their Independence Day and many have come to Medjugorje!
Father Rookey is here again in MedjugorjeThe ´healing priest´, Father Peter Mary Rookey, O.S.M, received Christ’s Gift of Healing in 1948. Since then, thousands of healings have been reported worldwide. Witness letters, some with medical consensus, have been submitted to the International Compassion Ministry. When asked about the healings, Father Rookey simply says, “I just do what He told us to do and the people are delivered and healed. We are answering the last command of Jesus,´ . . . They shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover´ (Mk 16:18).

from the Xlibris Book Information

Oct. 12 is Father Rookey’s birthday (94 years with 74 years as a priest)!!

Saturdays are the popular day for weddings here. Usually we are alerted by the familiar blasting of car horns. Today it was different! A procession down the middle of the street accompanied by an ‘um-pah’ band and trailed by impatient (we think) busses and cars (and maybe a couple of goats). Led by 2 young’uns (flower bearers), followed by the bride & groom and then the wedding guests. Wonderful!

We enjoyed the scene and the music from the balcony!

Sunday: Father Joseph G. Roesch (EWTN & also Divine Mercy in Stowbridge) celebrated Holy Mass today and gave a stirring homily!We really felt we knew Father Joe because of our watching the EWTN Saturday at 3:00 (Europe) where he is the principal in the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Thank you Father Joe.

The crowds are back at the Statue of the Risen Christ and collecting the drops of water to get blessed and to take home.

Monday the 11th: Joseph and Bob went to visit the area for the new Italian Soup Kitchen. The building is again being worked on and a main floor is being added. We have been waiting in the hope of ‘joining forces’ with feeding the hungry and stuff.

No interest seen in our offer to join forces.


Tuesday the 12th: 32 for lunch today, less than we expected and had planned for. The surplus went to a local family. We took requests for children’s clothes today and will start passing those out next week.

Everyone asks for shoes and kids clothes. One of our ‘regulars’ was asking for pain meds as he lost a part of his finger in the grape processing. He was bandaged up properly but left his prescription script way back in his room as he had no money for the meds. Mary had a couple of Excedrin’s and anti biotic cream.

Friday: a busy day. Joseph, Mary and I are off to Mostar to pick up a resident visa sticker for Joseph’s passport. Then to Antonio Commerce ( a Staples type store) to pick up transparencies for Alexandra to use in the music ministry here. Then we make a stop at Mercator grocery. We find some good enough buys on chicken pate and canned beef for the lunch program.

We have found iceberg lettuce (Janet’s favorite) so we stop to drop that off once we are back in Medjugorje. Janet has had a full week; she has arranged for a truck to bring potatoes, onions, mushrooms & stuff to a group of 28 families camping on the river front in Mostar. Pilgrims with Mike & Sandy’s group went on the trip (but in a bus) and helped distribute the food.

Lots of emotion!


Beatrice has arrived from Nova Scotia and we found each other in the confessional area!

Mirjana and Janet

Janet has had a scheduled meeting with Mirjana at the OSCE in Mostar; an international humanitarian organization. We have waited patiently for this day; original plans made with Mostar was to build 18 apartment units for that number of Roma Gypsy families. We had contributed funds to enable the basic proposal to move forward. Then the project was held up waiting for one of the EU countries to make a sizeable contribution for the next step. That now seems to have happened; 9 units are to be build and the concrete pads are to be poured for the other 9. Hvala Bogu!

Saturday: Father Svet made an announcement before English Holy Mass today asking for help (donations). A Croatian Franciscan seminarian has drowned. His mother suffered a heart attack and is now in the hospital in Mostar. A defibrillator needs to be implanted and the Mostar Hospital is now capable of performing this. But the cost is 30,000 KM ($24,000).

AED Automated External Defibrillator has a Heart Graphic Symbol Sign

Tuesday the 19th: rainy day, 77 for lunch.
A plea for teeth but the fellow has gone to a dentist in Sarajevo for his appraisal. So we have to direct him to a closer village.

Deacon Tom and Delia are here and Tom is such a big daily help on the altar.

We were thrilled to have a ‘deacon in training’ here at the same time from Ireland. Ireland is just starting this Deacon program & graduates should be coming out of this within the next year or so. The Deaconate student was so happy (we hear) to actually see an accomplished Deacon on an altar!

Father Bill Elder is here again. It is so very good to see him and we do look forward to his celebrating the Holy Mass and to his homily.

Father is chatting with two nuns from the States. The Sisters are part of the Sisters of Life; their website is http://sistersoflife.org

And it’s Mary (the sister), Paul and John (the two brothers); the McGroddys’ from County Donegal in Ireland!

And another set of three new friends; Harold, Jackie and Andrew from Canada.

Conflict resolution; Medjugorje style!

“You have had your container on my property for months”. A crane appears & the container is placed in the middle of the drive way.

Another crane appears later & places the container back almost in the same place.

A truck appears later and dumps a load of dirt in the drive.

Say a prayer.

As kids we played with the Tonka toys.

Tuesday the 26th: rainy days again; 83 for lunch. Well maybe not quite 83 because we are told that some of the fellows line up more than once; we will chalk it up to hunger and poverty.

A Holy Day will be celebrated on Nov. 1, 2010 and that means that we will be passing out ‘extra stuff if we have it’ along with an extra day of lunches.

Well, we got it. We have been blessed with a lot of used clothes for all. Bob has been placing the goodies in individual bags and marking the ages or info on the bags.

Thanks to all who made All Saints Day, 2010 so very special.

The Clothes Department still has room to walk through! This will be mostly cleared in the next few weeks.

Oct. 28th: Wow, our favorite priest, Father Bernie, from our old parish in Florida has arrived with a group from Florida. 206 Tours had booked the group with a pansion very close to the church and we were happy with their selection.

However, a few days prior to the arrival we find that the pansion owner had accepted more pilgrims than they could accommodate and that “our” group would be roomed elsewhere and would have to travel to the original pansion for meals!

Fortunately the local tour guide was able to find other full accommodations. We are disappointed with this local practice of accepting groups and then the group arriving to be told “we have no room for you”!

This happens so very often here now.

“Our” group were very lucky; they ended up in a really nice place (Beba’s), convenient to the church, wonderful hosts, excellent food. We are happy.

Friday the 29th: We are bussing to Surmanci with the group of pilgrims this afternoon for an afternoon of Divine Mercy Services. The Chapel there is part of the Medjugorje Parish.

Father Bernie is the celebrant!

The Divine Mercy Chapel, although comparatively new, is loaded with historical references.

Holy Mass is celebrated and we recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

At the conclusion, everyone is offered the opportunity to spiritually embrace the Saint Faustina relic.

Saturday, Oct 30 and Father Bernie is the principal celebrant at St. James church! Yeah!

The group is in the choir box and all is ready.

OK, everyone is ready to pay attention to Alexandra.

the first reading is taken care of…

and the responsorial.

Smiles now that our debut is all over!

Father Gary, Father Bill, Father David and Bev & Gary are set and raring to go!

Bev and Gary Appleberry are here leading yet another group of pilgrims from the States!

Father Toochukwu from Nova Scotia (originally from Nigeria) counseling a pilgrim.

Miki Musa and Father Bernie reunite!

Father Bernie was in our first trip to Medjugorje and Miki was our local tour guide. Good memories.

Oct. 30: This is the final day for the Maltese Medical Support Group for this year. They are going to be missed. The NGO (non government org.) is based in Cologne. In Medjugorje this order provides ambulance service, doctor & nurses on staff, they have wheel chairs which pilgrims can rent by the day or by the week.

Jelka and Mario bring us eggs & produce so we will have them to pass out on Monday. They also bring us pictures of Jelka’s grandson. We ooh and ahh!

The baby has been “presented to the temple”.

Father Dominic La Fleur from Canada has been such a blessing to Mary (and to all of us) the last few days. He had been scheduled for weeks to be the principal Sunday celebrant. Local moves were made to put on a different main celebrant, but certainly with the Blessed Mother’s help, Father Dominic kept his spot (he was not aware of the problems).

A wonderful impressive homily. No wonder he was chosen.

This group is staying at the castle. Can you spot Patrick? Nancy? Mik? friends?

Monday, Nov. 1st; All Saints Day. A Holy Mass is held in the cemetery. This continues for the next few days to have Holy Masses at each of this parish’s 4 cemeteries. During the 400 years of Turkish occupation the Catholics were permitted to have one public Holy Mass a year and that was held in the grave yard. Catholics would come from miles around in order to take part.

Joseph snapped the cemetery pictures; we spot Ivan (our taxi driver) and family!

We head for the 4 corners area and treat the fellows to a Holy Day lunch. 42 today.

Father Bernie and Sally are our helpers today!

Joseph joins us with a sleigh (actually his Ford Fusion) full of bagged clothes, mainly jackets and sweaters. Mary calls out sizes and we pass them out. A big hit!

Janet joins us with a crate of bananas.

Mary has a discussion with one of the fellows. He is not ‘work-ready’ having caught a couple fingers in the grape press (guess Bob will lay off the local red wine for a bit).

He asks for cash assistance to “pay the doctor bill”.

Tuesday, Nov. 2nd: Father Bernie, Joan & Larry (along with Mary) smile for the camera after visiting 3 families in Vitina and having a Holy Mass in Tijalina.

We are asked to give a talk at the pansion!

and the pilgrims are moved by our story.

lots of questions!

lots of support…

and happy smiles.