2011 May

May 4:

Featuring some of the ANGELS who ‘hang around’ Medjugorje!

Alexandra (the States), oversees the Music Ministry!

Mary is serving homemade strawberry shortcake!


Ted and Siobhan (Ireland) contributed funds for food for two families.

Hvala Bogu!


Mike & Bill visit us (the States). Mike loves Medjugorje and is a frequent pilgrim.
They have attended the Mass and Services at the Divine Mercy Chapel in nearby Surmanci.
And four of their group (including Mike and Bill) have staked out their positions at the Blue Cross on the night before Mirjana arrives for the May 2nd apparition!

They have spent all night in a really good spot near the Blue Cross. It is now morning and the crowds have been pouring in!

Pictures courtesy of Mike.

Mirjana has arrived!


Pictures courtesy of Mike.


Shhh. Our Blessed Mother is here.


Pictures courtesy of Mike.


Mike is going to tell granddaughter, Mira, all about spending the night on the mountain when he gets home!

Mira will get such a kick out of her grandfather’s adventures!

May 5: We have some items to pass to the Holy Family Center in Mostar.

We are passing on a stick mixer and a water boiler …

and a microwave oven (thank you Marian).
Alexandra casually interacts with our friends, Sue and David.

Then the three discover that their family paths have intertwined in the States! We are all friends! Wow!

We ‘break bread’ with David & Sue.

Oh, oh. Our digital camera has decided to add vertical streaking (lines) to the view and to the pictures on our outdoor shots.

That would be fine if we wanted to give the illusion of slenderness.

Agnes & John, Mary & I visit ‘Joseph’s family’ and then Father Rajko, then Janja, Teresa & Niki. We have stopped at the grocery store and Agnes & John fill up their shopping cart with food for the families we visit.

Father Rajko has given us details of one of his home bound parishioners, Tihana, who just loves to have company!

We interact a bit and delight in each others company.


May 15: Agnes & John, Bob & Mary taxi to Mostar to meet with Sister Krunoslava at the Holy Family Center. We meet Jivona, a student social worker.

Nazareth House is adjoining Holy Family Center and is under the same directorship.

Nurse Smilja has had her operation & is expected back to work in the next month.

Afterwards we meet up with Matthew (Miracles Humanitarian Org.) & enjoy lunch at the Kart restaurant!


Sunday in May; a perfect time to meet with Father Kevin for a sociable afternoon. We go to the Gardens Restaurant (one of Father’s favorites) and Father starts off with the Cream of Broccoli soup; it’s elegant!

A great time!


May 16: Sister Makrena and Sister Veronica ‘ring us on the phone’ at 11:00 pm. The early bus was missed; someone said “give Bob & Mary a ring”!

Once we awaken we are all for it; the sisters belong to the order which had the boarding school which Mary attended in Canada!

The sisters are warmly greeted; we are delighted for them to stay with us.

At breakfast the next morning everyone chatters (except maybe Bob); Mary has to use her Ukrainian with one sister; the other sister speaks English.

Sister Makrena mentions, “do you know of a Father Paul Miskiv”?
and then ..

“Do you know of an Anne Miskiv (now in Mississauga”, Canada). She was a little girl who stayed at our convent in Rome.


Mary replies; that was my uncle Fr. Paul; that is my sister Anne!

The Sisters stay for only two nights and then head back to Zagreb by bus. Sister Makrena is stationed there while Sister Veronica is to continue her journey back to Lourdes. She and another nun take care of the Ukrainian Chapel and house in Lourdes.

It will take us some time to get back to normal; we really miss those two!


This afternoon we head to Vinka and Sima’s home for coffee. That always means we had better come with a full appetite.

and we do!

The gardens are producing and the harvests are starting to come in!

We celebrate by over eating and then taking ‘doggie bags’ home with us!


Annette & Bob are here for a spell in Medjugorje. They have brought us medical supplies (and also treats) from Florida!

They are staying for a month or so!


AND Annette & Bob celebrate the 45th anniversary of their marriage while they are here!


Mrs. Beljo catches us after the early morning Croatian Mass.

Mrs. Beljo knows us like a book. She brings our favorites; spring onions, early lettuce, young broccoli, roses and rosemary.

Mrs. Beljo needs to go to Mostar to the hospital & needs some help; we can.


Zenofy & Sandra have arrived! They arrive with brother Ted, Darek & Mom and the new ‘IN-LAWS’, Luca & Mile!

Zenofy springs for lunch at the Gardens Restaurant.


Mary and Svetlana enjoy the sun and friendship. Svetlana and family escaped from this country when she was 7!

Svetlana’s twin sister has entered a convent in Zagreb and Svetlana is discerning where her path in life should take her.

Andrew has returned from Canada with a large group of Chinese Canadians. He is so joyful and positive; what a treasure!
OK, we did not do well taking a picture of the group with Andrew. Sorry.
Mary visits one of the newest pansions in Medjugorje. Sumptuous!


Gary and Janet, two Medjugorje treasures.

Gary has brought another group of pilgrims and Janet has some ‘stuff’ packed and ready to be taken to the States.

Janet has been helping this Serbian family for years. The family lives in an isolated area and is struggling to make a life. Grandmother is in a wheelchair (thank you Janet for the chair), the wife has gone to school to be trained in Nursing (thank you Janet for her education); the husband has persevered and is building up a farm with some livestock (thank you Janet) and a small tractor (thank you Joseph).

Now Janet has raised enough funds to have a new roof put on the house (the husband will do the work).

Good job, Janet.

Zenofy has brought us an early picture of the St. James Church; I had a hard time figuring which way the road runs.
Oh, oh. A helicopter is circling the area and we hear that a squad has been dispatched to the mountain to search for a lost Irish pilgrim lady.

The lady is found; she had been disoriented and lost her way. She has also lost her pocketbook and all its contents.

This teaches us that we should always have traveling companions, none of the ‘Lone Ranger’ stuff.

And here is a later picture. The building our unit is in is between the two towers, satellite dishes on the red roof.
Another of our favorite people; it’s Father John from Canada; Father is admiring my Kindle and Ipad!
June 3rd: Tammy, our friend, is here with a group of 60, mostly University students from the area of New Orleans.

For their ‘day of service’ Mary has suggested the two busses motor to Mostar to visit the Nazareth House and the Holy Family Center. Plans are made, musical instruments are brought; we are going to party!

The two houses are under Bishop Ratko of Mostar (he is director of this part of the European Caritas; something like the Red Cross in America).

We are greeted by Franjo, one of the two student social workers. He gives the group an ‘orientation’.
We listen intently; some of the ‘day care’ kids have noticed us and are wondering when are we going to meet.
We break up in smaller groups so as not to overwhelm those people in and outside of the home.

Sister Krunoslava welcomes the groups and our friend, Svetlana, helps with the translating.

Franjo, Father John and Svetlana help with the logistics.
Some of us go to the second floor areas, some in the rooms, some on the balconies.

We see the action down below.

Rhythm instruments have been brought to leave with some of the patients; we hear music, we hear laughter, we see big smiles.
All too soon it is time to leave; the group decides to go to see the famous Mostar bridge and to wander through the Muslim souvenir stores on both sides of the bridge.

Mary and I ‘position’ ourselves at one of the outdoor tables and get a cappuccino.

We recognize some in the group as they go by and we get to talk with some, including Audrea and Melanie.


We recognize another two of the group who brought such great pleasure to the patients with their music, singing and dancing.


Thank you.

Pope Benedict, the 16th is in Zagreb! We did not make it; some of our friends did.

St. James Church is displaying the Papal flag and the Croatian flag!


A family from Dubai is staying for a bit in the apartment across from Zenofy and Sandra.

Charming people, we get to meet them and they get to watch the video of ‘My Sweet Angels’ on our TV.

Here is Leonard, Tara, mother Elene(?), Sandra & Zenofy.

Oh, oh. Two hailstorms during the week; much lightning at the second; we lose the ADSL router on the computer. We call the phone co. they are nice but 300 families have been affected and they are going in sequence.

We are out of contact for almost a week! It seems like a year.

They replace the router; no charge.
But we need to have Marinko come and put in another modem card.

Yeah, the modem fellows are here! It turns out that we get the same fellow who installed our ADSL over 5 years ago. We recognize one another.

The card gets replaced; the computer is suddenly more efficient and speedier. Don’t know why but we will not complain.

Did you know Medjugorje has a new bus station? It is on the same site as the old one but is much more user friendly now.
Joseph has returned! He has been to the States for such a long time (it seems to us) and we are so glad he is back!
James Benzow (Trinity Pilgrimages) is here with his sister, Paula, and a group of 80 pilgrims!

Trinity Pilgrimages have brought an ABC NEWS VIDEO CREW. Father Svet, Mirjana and Vicka have been interviewed and clips have been taken of the Medjugorje area.

The show will air on June 29th on the primetime area of ABC news. For those accessing ABC on the computer; try http://abcnews.go.com/video

and then you can click on “PRIMETIME”


“ABC will be airing an hour long documentary focusing solely on the Blessed Virgin Mary and the role that Our Lady plays in faith. The air date is June 29th at 9pm in the central and mountain time zones, and 10pm in the eastern and pacific time zones. Check your local listings to confirm the time.
This program will be exploring the history, theology, and unparalleled importance of the Blessed Virgin to Christians and even non-Christians throughout history. ABC will be traveling to Israel, Rome, Our Lady of Good Help Shrine in Wisconsin, and to Medjugorje with Trinity Pilgrimages in order to tell Our Lady’s story and to show the universality in the modern era of the Virgin Mary. “

June 12: Katica (she looks after the Sv. Toma building) and her daughter, Ana are ready to join a group of us as we all go to dine at the Gardens Restaurant here in Medjugorje.
June 13: Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua; a big day in Franciscan land. Many locals will make a journey from their homes here to walk to the Saint Anthony Church in Humac; a distance of around 12 miles! There will be a lot of sore feet in the village tonight. Ana (and friends) will be getting up at 3:00 AM to make the walk!

Later we hear that Fr. Jozo has come from Austria to be in Medjugorje for the services and to visit with his relatives and friends in the area.


We have not resumed doing the lunch program at the four corners area. The doctor has told Mary that she is not do do any work requiring repetitive action.

So we have changed some activities; we still have a number of families to assist and we still help religious (and laity) with their various missions.

We are assisting a student who wishes (and should) go to University. Taking the qualifying exams in Split & Makarska required some financial help.
The government will subsidize the University education determined by the marks of the exams.
Our cut backs will be somewhat determined by the needs of the student.

The native black poplar tree is now rarer than the giant panda with only 2,500 specimens remaining in Britain. The Crown Estate’s conservation program aims to reinstate them.

How many countryside walkers would recognize a native black poplar if they were lucky enough to stroll past one? Not many, is probably the answer. Even fewer would know that these trees have been fading from the British landscape for nearly two hundred years.

Black poplars are large, deep, round trees with smoky grey bark, and generally grow to around thirty meters.

Female trees are currently more endangered due to their particularly fluffy seeds, which in the past have been considered annoying and resulted in prejudiced planting; there remain just 2500 black poplars in the UK, of which only 400 are female.


Here in Medjugorje we seem to have a good supply of the female black poplars who spread their fluffiness. One of the larger ones is in front of Hotel Regina on the main street area close to the church.

A powerful and beautiful prayer; we are doing a 40 day Novena on it.
On any Friday during Lent a plenary indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who, after Communion, devoutly recites this prayer before an image of Jesus Christ crucified. On other days of the year the indulgence is a partial one. The usual requirements for a plenary indulgence also apply.

Behold, O kind and most sweet Jesus, I cast myself on my knees in Your sight, and with the most fervent desire of my soul I pray and beseech You that You would impress upon my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope, and charity, with a true repentance for my sins, and a firm desire of amendment, while with deep affection and grief of soul I ponder within myself and mentally contemplate Your five most precious wounds; having before my eyes that which David spoke in prophecy of you, O good Jesus: ‘They pierced my hands and my feet; they have numbered all my bones.’

Version from the Croat-English Prayer book.

images/2011 2 QUARTER/CRUCIFIX_300.jpg

And then to the Electric Co, the Water Co, the County office, the property tax office, the Post Office, the deeds office and cappuccino at the Hotel Brotnjo.



June 15th: Citluk task day: Last week Ana at the Medjugorje Unicredit Bank has told us that her boss at the Citluk office wants to talk to us. We worry that it is about a fund transfer we made in March and that the bank may be thinking they did not make enough money on it.

We show up, no one knows about the reason we have been called; turns out they have been getting a monthly deposit from someone and they don’t know where it goes to. It is not ours. Sorry. We ask that they pay for our 30KM transport. Fat chance we have.


June 16: off to Mostar today for a number of tasks; we hope to be able to see Sister Krunoslava as Tammy (leader of the group who visited recently) has given us an envelope to pass on to the Holy Family Center; we also have a nice contribution from our friend, Suzanne from the States and from Zenofy & Sandra!

Thank you to all.

Picture is similar. We chat with Sister about the new Hospital beds to be delivered in July.


Sister is still thrilled over the visit from the musical group; it has given such a lift to the patients. We talk to some of the patients and then we make a trip up the stairs.

Our hearts go out to the 41 year old mother who is in a semi-coma laying in the bed with a picture of her 15 year old twin sons hanging above her. They have just had their Confirmation and the picture is showing that. We come home and bawl.


June 17th: Guests for lunch! Three of the Vasilj girls are here; Mary has fixed salmon filets and stuff!
Maja always has a great smile for us.
And Kata does likewise. We enjoy the meal; the girls are busily eating; Bob is being a chatterbox!

Look at the roses we got!

And Iva is to be, everyone is hoping, our University student going for the profession in Pharmacy!



Last year Mary injured her ankle; that continues to present us with problems. It is tough for Mary to descend the stairs on certain days (weather related?).

We are having to consider offering our home for sale with our moving down to the ground floor!


Za prodaju , NAMJEŠTEN

In vendita , ARREDARE