|It is Friday, April 26th and we return to the camp at the village dump of Caplina;Suvad and Esma are not at home.|
|Coming to Medjugorje?There is always a great need for Gold Bond Medicated Powder, travel size (1 oz?), any type.|
We do meet up with Svetlana (23), Samir (18 months) and brother Roberto (18); they live in the pictured house along with other family members.We chat, look at and take a picture of their IDs (we see later that Roberto’s has expired; he does not know); we gather shoe sizes and more details about the families and who is living where.
We have brought greens, bananas, canned veggies, oil, rice and pasta; they are surprised and grateful.
We see challenges ahead.
Matthew 25: How we treat them is how we treat Him.
|Backstage Miracles? (no, the reflection is picked up from a statue in the background): it does look beautiful. Mary is busy each morning at the St. James Church Sacristy. Father Kevin is taking a break and is back in the NYC area. While Father is gone, Mary is helping with coordinating the English Masses. Priests need to be scheduled and helped with the rules put forth by our local Bishop.|
|Friday: The scheduled priest for the Saturday Mass has phoned and has had to cancel his celebration. No problem; Mary has a ‘back-up’!
A couple of phone calls and a priest along with his group is to meet Mary at 10 minutes before the Mass the next day! Great!
The group is from Australia! There are four (4) priests in that group! Wonderful!
The meet is held. The group is from India living in Australia and a Mass in Indian is requested!Only one of the priests has celebrated an English Mass and he is hesitant; can we do it in our native language?
|May 11th, Saturday 10 minutes till Mass time:A group of 10 or so priests are sitting at the benches waiting for entry into the Sacristy. Mary aims for one of the priests; can you celebrate Mass?
Yes, when can you schedule me?
Now, come with me.
Father Williams from Colorado is announced as the principal celebrant to, we are all sure, the surprise of his group sitting in the pews.
|Father announces in his homily that he was here in 1987 as a pilgrim; he was called then and entered the seminary later.
During his seminary days the Holy Mass on Saturday mornings in that town was not easily available.
He made a promise to Our Blessed Mother that if she would help him to become a priest; he would always be available to say Saturday morning Masses.
|Mary is crying in the SacristyThank you Blessed Mother.
|Back to the Stolac camp.Melena lets us know that Behara (in the red) is 4 years old now.
She is holding Sales and we snap the picture; it is so rare to see a smile on this boy.
|Pasionka and their 2 children (and one on the way); Mary checks to see whether the vitamins are taken every day? Yes.Dean’s mom, Bisera, tells us that her son, Dean, is doing so good in school.|
|We start unloading;|
|May 13: we are off to check out a caravan trailer which has been advertised on this country’s version of Ebay for 1300 KM.We finally locate the village and the house.|
|We like it! It even has a shower! Is it possible to hook up the camp’s water supply? Yes, but it will be a cold shower.|
|Tuesday May 14: Fr. Matt Williams from Boston, MA is here with Mom, Dad & Sister. Fr. Matt is celebrating Holy Mass today; the Feast of St. Matthew!Thank you Blessed Mother.
|The family of Fr. Matt Williams.
Sister and Dad did the reading and the prayers of the faithful.
A family affair.
|Well we three (and some of you angels) bought it!We pay some extra for a highway permit and for delivery.
The group had been asked and had recommended that any trailer go to Sabahudin.
Others will be able to use the shower (Brrrr) and mothers already have their sights on the gas burners.
|Excitement fills the camp!We explain that the next caravans, if any, will go to the two families with school children; that will be one to Bisera and son, Dean and then one to Zorica (and husband) and their 6 children.
We give thanks for all those who have helped and are helping with this project.
|Mediha is back from her bout at the clinic with bronchitis and we find that she needs to go to Mostar for a lung treatment.Mary examines the doctor’s analysis and sees that 100 KM has to be paid before further treatment.
We go along.
The fellow pictured is the seller of the caravan trailer; he was so helpful in explaining the caravan to Sabahudin.
|Bob comes out of the home of Mediha and finds that Fadilla already is aware of the gift to Mediha!|
|My own pad! Sabahudin is crying; wants to kiss Mary on the hand!Sabahudin has a high pitched voice and has been subject to abuse and violence outside the camp. Perhaps that is why the relatives have put him to be first in line.
|Zorica’s daughter, Amelja, is to go to 1st grade this fall!Amel is so very proud of his older sister.|
|Bisera and son, Dean, are next in line for a trailer; we will pray.|
|A dream? We have seen this car on one of our last visits and we think it is a YUGO. Zorica’s family has tried it on a test drive and are sure all 8 of them can fit in to it. It would cost only 250 KM and they have already saved 50 KM. Their old car has collapsed.OK, the dream is to come true.|
| One of the mothers (Malena) approaches and asks whether her 4 year old child can go to pre-school. The town has it available but the cost is 30 KM ($23) a month. All the families are interested in their children learning the Croatian language well; the kids do need to be weaned away from the ethnic gypsy dialect in order to fit in better in school.Mom is asked to gather printed information from the school so that we can examine it.
If all looks good we will deal directly with the school.
|Gabriela asks Mary for a private chat and they go off trailed by some of the more curious kids. The Stolac school is going on a school trip and Gabriela asks whether she and her two brothers can join in; they have never gone on any school outing. Funds are needed; each person needs to pay 35 KM by Monday. We think it is a good investment.|
|We ask Dean whether his side of the school has a trip scheduled and does he wish to go? Yes, yes. He will find out more.Later Kemo calls us and lets us know that both Dean and his mom (the school needs parents to participate) wish to go; it is agreeable.
It will be good for Stolac village people to see this group as very human.
|Oh, oh. Mary’s brother, Gabriel, has a surprise operation; 4 bypasses.
He is in Toronto, Canada.
Mary decides that she should be there also. A flight is picked and Mary is off!Here is Mary, Gabriel and sister, Anne.
|Bob has promised to behave (that means taking the vitamins every day) but did not promise not to go to Vlados or Columbos for a cappuccino every day with our mutual friends. Suzanne has ‘volunteered’ to see that all Sacristy duties will be taken care of during the absence of Father Kevin and now, Mary.
Thank you Suzanne.
|Joseph persuades Cathy (of Cathys Kitchen) to come have an outing with us for some translations.A Serbian family has been receiving help from Janet and the charity of Help for the Hungry and Homeless. We have been making visits and Sergio, the husband, had surprised Mary with a desperate phone call. What should he do, what should he advise? Tanja has been taken to the Mostar Hospital because of problems with the pregnancy (BP of 230).
We will all pray.
|Prayers have been answered! Tanja is back home; the baby is safe.We leave some assistance.|
|Joseph and Bob figure that they can handle more of this visiting.We shop for known favorite foods for the two elderly ladies, Ilka and Anica.
We proudly deliver the bags.
Anica inspects and tells us they wanted Kava (Coffee) so we did not get an A.
|One more stop. We head for the nearby home of Dragica and her 6 daughters. Arrangements had been made with two of the daughters to deliver food and help to the two ladies twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays.They have kept track of the visits; there have been 10 of them since we last paid; we hand over the funds gladly.|
|Of course we have forgotten the cameras.|
|Fr. Svetozar Kraljević, Fr. Danko Perutina and Fr. Slaven are being re-assigned. These transfers happen periodically and usually take place in August.
Fr. Svet is going to teach at the seminary in Zagreb.
Fr. Danko will transfer to Citluk; that’s not too far.
Fr. Slaven will transfer to ??.
Six are leaving; 4 are coming in.
We will really miss each one of these Franciscan friends.
We will keep you posted.