2014 July

basketballJuly 3, 2014:Basketball is being promoted throughout Bosnia & Herzegovina; important players are in town and will instruct the local youth. The local court is pressure washed and repainted; the boards are freshened up and a week long instruction begins!
We make a visit to Sister Krunoslava and the Holy Family Home for the disadvantaged in Mostar.We pass on a number of items and gifts brought to us by pilgrims.

July 4th:
We were invited to the American Embassy in Sarajevo for the fireworks and hot dogs and the celebration of the 4th.

When we did the figuring and found that the transportation and the need to stay overnight would amount to $400.00 or so we decided that no hot dog was worth that!


A photo from last month but we could not resist it; will bet that they are examining the photos taken; we simply have to find a source for printing the pictures economically for passing out. Too expensive to have it done in Medjugorje.
Instead we are off to visit Dragica and her daughters; time to pass funds to them for their caring visits to the two elderly sisters, Anica and Ilka.We are thrilled to hear that the next ‘daughter in line’, Antonia has had a proposal of marriage and all are happy with her choice!

The big day will be December 20, 2014.

Jagoda always looks forward to company.
Mario is checking whether the pants we have brought are going to make him even more cool.
All is serene; Jelka will just sit back and count her and the family’s blessings.We are so happily surprised sometimes when we call for produce and find that potatoes and onions and peppers have just been donated to St. Joseph the Worker Retirement Home!
And we motor on to the two sisters; it is the day of Dijana’s caring visit.
Dijana’s son is here also and is busy cutting all of the weeds and overgrown grasses.
How comfy! We see that outdoor dining has been added.
Ilka demonstrates (and over sees the sprucing up of the landscape).
We have brought some of their favorite food so everybody rushes to the ‘kitchen’.
July 5:Lucian (son of Zenofy and Sandra) has brought his camera. The children are being taught its use; we view the results later and are kept busy trying to figure out just whose feet those are in that picture.
The kids are tickled with the challenges and can hardly wait to take their turn at the photography school.
Mary is available “two arms, no waiting”.
There is a line up for that also.
More challenges for Lucian and Joseph. It is a hand clapping routine.Enjoyable!
Around the corner in Medjugorje.There is a shop called “ADVICE OFFICE”;

The owner is fluent in Croatian, English, Italian and something else; trips to and from the airports are offered.

The owner’s name is Tin and he is interested in the sketches made by Marijano from Domanovici.

Bob (different hat, same old shirt) meets up and chats with a visiting pilgrim, Liz from New Orleans.
Where can he be; he is always here for lunch.
A trip is made to include a meal at Hotel Brotnjo in Citluk; Mary gets the waiter to turn on the air conditioning in the sun room.
John B. is here with us so a trip is made to Dijana’s home to see the improvements.
John has heard about the health benefits of these pomegranates.Here they can grow wild.
Joseph, where did you go?We check the old church grounds across from the current church.

It is now such a serene place since Joseph has been cleaning, trimming and planting.

Joseph has help; it is Dijana and her son who are helping Joseph today.
Oh, oh. Not just a flat tire; the plastic wheel has broken on Joseph’s lawn mower.
The son, Ivan, has the wide broom and is putting that through its paces.
This is such a good picture of Ivan; it just demands to be published!
July 19:Time to pay back!

An Evangelical church in the village of Capljina has been so helpful in their reaching out to Marko’s children in Domanovici and welcoming those children to attend the Saturday morning pre school classes.

That church has 33 Muslim families who it wants to help during this period of Ramadan.

July 23: We have seen a number of times where help has been given to some of the Catholic families we visit by their Muslim neighbors.

Now we see a chance to repay the church; to repay the Muslim poor.

Their Lenten like period is coming to a close and most Muslim families celebrate that with a feast (if they can).

We will distribute food on July 24th to those 33 families; each family will get a blue food bag and a yellow food bag!We also have a bag of flour and a bag of laundry soap for each family.

Andreja volunteers to assist.

The van is filled; the items delivered to the church.
A second van trip will be needed; this time to Jelka’s; that family has 33 sacks of potatoes along with tomatoes, onions, peppers etc. for us to purchase.The van is loaded again.


July 23rd afternoon. A nice day to take advantage of the new resort area very near to Medjugorje.

7 Marks ($5.00) for all day swimming; 4 Marks ($3.00) for late afternoons.

We find that pricing includes chairs and umbrellas (if you get there early enough).A delightful place.

We took this picture; not too many people in this section today.


The big day! The 24th.
The food is to be distributed!33 families have been phoned.

Zeljana and Dijana have volunteered to help; Zeljana’s first task is to measure feet! and then list the sizes on the clipboard!

Most of the recipients are present on our arrival just before 10 am.They are greeted warmly and give us smiles back; we recognize some of the families.
Organized beautifully by the church staff!
Dijana and Mary look over the produce; Jelka and family have done a wonderful job growing and harvesting and then preparing the food for the poor.Thanks be to God!
Organization. A line is formed. I include this picture because the lady reminded me so much of my mother (the lady at the right).
Volunteers help the recipients assemble their food items; take time to look over the shoe selections.The shoes available today were given to the church by ‘Mission without Borders’.
Each family needs to show that they have been registered with the church’s program & have been registered as one of the 33 families receiving food packages today. Emina, on the church staff, is keeping count & helping with the greetings.
Zeljana (Dijana’s daughter) is such a blessing. Sharp, quick, not afraid to talk English. Vaso, the young man at the left, astonished us by his being capable of ‘keeping up with Zeljana.
We will be celebrating EID this year!
Zeljana and Dijana are full of smiles and love.
Oh, oh. Emina (church staff) is doing a great job cross checking the recipients who have been called to come get food.There are three families who did not pre register and who are in need.

Our hearts go out to this mother and two daughters.

We have food for the three families.

That afternoon we (Mary & Bob, Joseph, Matthew) go for pizza at the Hotel Brotnjo.We listen intently as Matthew brings us up to date on his life’s happenings.

Wonderful to pair Matthew and Joseph in order for us to learn so much about our faith and about the history of this country.

Matthew manages the limb replacement charitable facility in Mostar
heavily involved in helping the poor in Mostar and in the Zenica areas.

The really big day; the 25th!St. James Feast Day (our parish)!

An apparition day!

Tonight; all night Adoration!

11 am: St. James main Croatian Mass in the park!

We attend the 7:00 am Croatian Mass and note that the statue of St. James (Jakov) has been brought forward.

We go for a close up.
But we mustn’t forget our main joy.
After Mass, Mary snaps a pic of Iva and Vinka and Bob and Joseph.
Walking home we note the park has been all spruced up and ready for the morning Mass!
We have pants and socks and some undershorts as well as a few toiletries to pass out as well as a food bag along with potatoes and onions and tomatoes.Mario, a would be day worker, is still struggling with life.

Polite to the extreme; he was fitted with two pairs of pants and a pair of short pants (everyone got a Bic razor; maybe he will surprise us one day).

Vaso, a new day worker fellow, is on the fringes of the day worker crowd, waiting to see how he may be able to obtain some food.Last to come forward; he goes with Mary into the store to get an extra special food package!
7/26: off to Vitina; 1st stop is at Dragica’s house.Bob gets to have his picture taken with Antonia; Antonia is sporting a ‘new look & busy making plans for the December wedding; we are all invited.
Tobacco has been picked; a good year for that. The tobacco will go through the first stage of drying here.
Next stop is at Jelka’s; husband, Ivan, has a big smile for us.
We spot a bowl of seeds; we ask “is that edible?” No, it is dried onion blossom; the seeds will be removed and be available for planting next year.


This is the onion plant blossom that has been deliberately left to go into seed.
Jelka is delighted to meet a new friend. Joseph has brought along a daughter from one of his favorite families.We meet Nika. An ace student from the Zagreb branch of the family; warm, English speaking, friends with the poor.

Our kind of girl!

Is this why we got such a big smile from Ivan, the husband of Jelka?We discuss a combo pig pen and smoke house (two level on the hill).

This would permit 4 pigs to be raised.

They will do the building if they could get the materials.

An estimate of the materials is already available.

Dragica satisfies our curiosity regarding this plant from her garden; it has a funny but familiar smell.It is an incense plant; a friendly nun has given the plant to Dragica and Dragica has planted same.
The leaves are dried, mixed with special oils and then is used in the church’s thurible (incense burner suspended on chains).
Well enough of the information overload; the added knowledge.
We head for the more simple life style; on to Ilka and Anica.
The gate has been repaired and strengthened; gravel has been dropped and spread so as to make the walking more safe for the two ladies who live here.
Ilka has met Nika before and welcomes and remembers her fondly.“Did you bring me anything?”

We did.

Our prayers are with you, Anica.
We have been given the name and village of a family that may have fallen onto hard times.Two brothers and families; paying jobs but have not been paid for some time.

Struggling now and so many many kids to feed.

We have some items to leave.

We pass by what must be a watermelon collection facility; a good year for watermelons; so sweet, so huge.
July 27, 2014: Father Goran Azinovic celebrated his first Mass; Father was ordained on June 29, 2014.The gift of a new priest:

“First Mass of a Newly Ordained Priest. PLENARY INDULGENCE granted to the priest and to the faithful who devoutly assist at the same Mass.”

As stated in the Enchiridion of Indulgences; paragraph #43.


7/28: another trip to Stolac; we meet with Sanel to ask for guidance on these Muslim Holy Days.Sanel is delighted and overwhelmed at the jacket gift (thank you Aggie and Allison).

Sanel’s mom has sent baklava (best we ever tasted) and other desserts for us.

Then we stop at Janja, Niki and Teresa.We have some food bags for them and some to pass on to our mutual friend, Seki and family.

We note that Niki is taking a longer time to get from his bedroom into the living area; he insists on doing it.

Mama (Janja) is having a bad spell and is not looking too good.

We say a prayer.

7/29: We are not sure whether we should feel fortunate to find an Evangelical church in Herzegovina.
We have to give thanks that there is a church which will welcome some of the poorer Muslims and Romani gypsies who we try to help.We are grateful.

Hvala Bogu.

The Muslim three day celebration (called Bajram or Eid) is held after the month of fasting (called Ramadan).

We like what one of their leaders (Mufdi) is saying “when your tables are full with the Bajram meals, do not forget the ones who are right next to you; your neighbors, friends, many are hungry and it makes no difference what religion you have.”

Who could forget?Who would not want to share?
There are 5 families who missed out on the July 24th distribution of food.Still time to share; still time to celebrate.

And today we are able to bring fresh meat!

We take a break from the task of reading Saint Augustine’s Confessions by downloading the Kindle version of the Homeless Bishop.While reading there were so many paragraphs which ‘hit home; some bringing tears.

There was the feeling that this was a Pope Francis story.
Authored by a retired priest; we had to remind ourselves, while reading, that this is a novel.

it was difficult to lay this book down.

Sept. 2011
No Comment.
July 31: A favorite family, a favorite place. We get together and reminisce about our love for and our missing of Kristijan.