2011 July

Christina and Anthony are here in Medjugorje for too short a visit.
We spot Darren and his younger brother next to the church and say hellos. Darren has the Irish Center etc. etc. etc. etc here in Medjugorje.
July 4: A group of the local Americans will be celebrating the 4th of July at our apartment; Mary has outdid herself with the Salad Bar. This is, of course, followed by hamburgers, Mac & Cheese et. al.Followed by apple pie and cherry pie and ice cream!


Joseph is in charge of the decorating and the yummy cold slaw!
As if lunch at Mary’s is not enough excitement; this is also the day that the ‘Annual Priests Retreat’ begins here in Medjugorje!
July 6: Old friends have arrived with a group from New Jersey. They include two teenagers so we have to convince then that we have a Mall around here someplace!
OK, we have 3 cars; we are going out into the hills with the NJ group and introduce then to some of our favorite families. Marija, Dragica, Mary and Silvija.
We stop, push open the rusty gate and yell our entrancing.
Our second stop is at the two sisters; they live and prefer the home on the right. It was good enough for the ancestors and it could be good for the two sisters if only the roof didn’t leak and threaten to fall all the way in.The third sister died in the house on the left so it has left them with really bad vibes.
the next day: July 7: Yes, we were here with the group yesterday but it struck Joseph, Mary and myself that the sisters must be having a problem with the water in the stream. Yesterday they had asked Mary for a drink of water (we had a couple of small bottles in the car).
So today we have brought 4 of the larger bottles of water, a hot roasted chicken, bread, canned foods and other edibles (they were looking so emaciated).You can see two of the bottles we brought sitting next to their regular water supply.
We are told that one of the neighbors has been hired to ‘fix up the old place’. A compound has been applied to the roof to seal some of the cracks in the tiles!
Anica shows Mary her foot cracks; a compound is needed for that area also; do we have anything?She must have been in much pain to just go ahead and take her socks off, especially in the presence of two men.
Yesterday when we were with the group Anica was upset that her sister was “fooling around” so much and did not show proper manners!
One of the sources of the problem may well be the footwear she is using, Anica has cut down a pair of rubber boots, not the best environment for health feet.We always seem to be bothering pilgrim friends to bring us the Gold Bond Medicated Talcum Powder for problems such as this.

The sisters ask us for lightweight shoes; we will look.


The sisters insist that we look at their ‘dream house’ again; we think it is beyond repair but we dare not ruin their hopes. They are both so very emotionally attached to this structure.We see 4 chickens in one room of the two room house.
They are so very happy today; probably the happiest we have ever seen them.One of the ladies in yesterday’s group had given then a $10 American bill; they bring it out to show us and ask us what they can do with it.

We give them 2 of the 10 KM local currency for it; now they will have the neighbor return and fix the other edge of the roof.

The sisters say “look, this house has an opening for a window!” We also see the sky through the roof, the rotting wood beams, the dirt floor; it is so hard to be so practical.The walls are 18 inches thick and Mary reports it is nice and cool inside. All are kept busy brushing off the welcoming insects dropping down to extend their gratitude.
We go down the road to look at the stream (their source of water); it is flowing good.We pass by an old shrine, the statue is gone so we ask the sisters. They do not know who took the Saint Anthony statue.
Later we stop at a coffee shop nearby; it has been remodeled nicely since we stopped here last; we wash up and place our order.We order three espressos, Mary adds a dish of banana ice cream!

Total bill is 4 KM ($3.00); a lot less expensive than Medjugorje!

Beautiful flowers.
We stop in Ljubuski. We had picked up a chicken earlier for the two sisters and it smelled so good in the car.“Choices of the day” (“gotovo jelo”) are chicken or goulash. We each order goulash.

It was scrumptious!

Late afternoon adoration in the chapel, then two Rosaries with the church services.We meet up again with Patty from the New Jersey group (we had met Patty early in our stay here).
And the rest of the group are also here; they will be attending Adoration.This group is staying at Ivan’s (visionary) and we hear that Ivan is going to meet with the group on an individual basis just for a little talk talk; how very nice.

One of the most valued Medjugorje tour guides has succumbed to cancer. An Irish lady married to a local Croatian and living with their family here in the area has died.

New ‘No Parking’ signs are really getting popular in the Medjugorje area.

Some of the pansions are having roads constructed for access to the back of their houses both for car and for bus parking.

A fenced in parking lot for busses has been built but only two busses have taken advantage of it thus far (10 euro a day).

The previous sign applied to the entrance to the ‘Mary TV’ building; sometimes cars blocked the entrance for ‘only a couple of hours’!

A big day in and for Medjugorje. The 25th and also the day on which the patron saint of the St. James Church is honored.

It is the custom here for locals to walk to the church on this day, many from the neighboring villages!

The statue of St. James has been moved forward from its regular site.

Mass is held on the outside to try to accommodate the thousands of pilgrims and locals.

While maybe not as far as the eye can see, the place is certainly jammed. Hard to believe that next week there will be an even grater influx of people to celebrate the Youth Festival!

We ‘run’ into David Parks and chat with him for a while. There is a new building going up near the church parking lot. We have heard that it is to be the new “Information Center”; then we heard it is to be a “Parking Garage”.

Now we learn that it will be for “Radio Mir”; that it will have state of the art (the best in Croatia and in BiH) audio studios!

This is the “Radio Mir’ building; don’t know why it is shrouded but it seems to be near completion.

New signs have appeared on ‘Main St.’ announcing Pay for Parking!

Solar powered! Slide in your credit card or your Bosnian Marks ( 2 KM buys you an hour of parking) and you get a receipt to place on your dashboard.

The 26th: We congratulate Father Jakov (Father James) on his feast day and we get his special blessing.

July 30th: Time to start our ‘pre-school’ food deliveries; we will visit Jelka’s family today and Dragica’s family. At Jelka’s only Nikolaj is at home; the others are in the fields (Mario has a part time job). We unload the food and leave some funds. Jelka’s mother has passed on a few weeks ago and we take a picture of Mama Dragica’ death notice.


Then on to Dragica; we take a picture of her and three daughters. Both families are having a real rough time. When they can get to the market to try to sell their produce; they may be there all day long and then accept whatever they can get. A crate of tomatoes brings in 1 KM (70 cents); tears happen. There is some good news; they have been called in to plant cabbage and that can pay 5 KM an hour!

Antonia is on the far right.

We had hoped to interest Antonia into furthering her education but they decide it is not for her. This is what we have been dealt and this is what we accept. We unload the food, leave some funds and are given some goodies to take and share.
Oh, oh. We are blocked on our way back out. A group is cutting firewood and does not want to give way. Mary straightens them out and we are on our way.
Three of our favorite Irishmen; Jim Brown, Father Terry and Tommy. Jim comes regularly to Medjugorje and it is always a wonderful treat to have him here; Father Terry is returning to Ireland on Aug. 3rd (new Bishop and he will want to assign Father Terry to a new parish we hear); Tommy is also a regular and he drives the van for Sister Muriel’s Saint Joseph the Worker Food Delivery Project.
Jane is from Ireland & is a medical nurse applying her skills to help the poor in the areas around Medjugorje.
The back area of the church is also having construction done; this will be the principle stage for the Youth Festival. That starts Aug. 1, 2011 (tomorrow).

Mary’s back continues to present us with problems. It is tough for Mary to descend the stairs on certain days (weather related?).

We might have to sell our home with the option of moving down to the ground floor!