2014 December

12/05/2014:Jelka and Mario have brought us a number of bags of cabbages and greens and eggs etc.

Tomorrow, being St. Nicks, we have arranged to do a lunch at the 4 corners area for the Muslim day workers.

Of course not just Muslim fellows but a mix of any “willing to work” fellows.The line goes smoothly; we are using the Konzum carts and mostly it is a ‘self-serve with us just pointing out the quantities to be taken.
That guy is busting out again; he is treating this pair as slip on’s (almost). We know we have a size 48, extra wide, back in the garage.We have brought numbers; shoes will be distributed the next day at 9:00 in the morning.

Who needs shoes?

We get the info.

12/06:Morning comes; in between Masses we aim for the 4 corners.

One of our first clients has his shoes and cannot wait to try them on!

The numbers are called out; the fellows bring forth their card numbers and receive the bag.We have two pairs for the really big fellow.

The fellows hang around; knowing that we probably have food in the car. We do. We pass it out.

After the 10 am Mass we socialize a bit outside the chapel.
Joseph, Bob, John Brennan, Chris (from Belleville, Illinois) and Snjezana (a wonderful local guide) exchange comments.
We stop by the Humanitarian outreach office, John and Snjezana are already there; we snap a picture of John with Jakov (the visionary who is running this local humanitarian office).
Mary’s turn next!We chat a bit and leave a donation. The mission of this office is primarily for the needy in this parish (quite a bit of territory, even Surmanci).

We are offered suggestions as to how our charity should be directed through the parish – we say thanks but no thank you.

Jakov, we hear, was the implementer of the fund raising English oriented concert a while back; around 35,000 euros raised! This was for the flooded out victims in the northern part of this country and was distributed by one or more of the churches in that area!

Jim Brown, one of our favorite angels, is here again!
Ing, Bob and Father Leon have a chat. Father Leon recognizes Ing’s accent and they find that they both obtained that accent while living in Singapore!
Happiness is a luggage full of running shoes!Thank you John and family.
Eden and Sesen are volunteering with us this afternoon!
A stop is made at Dragica’s (6 daughters) to check on the family progress and Antonia’s up coming wedding.
John B. and Jelka kind of figure out what the next step could be with the new smokehouse.
John, Marijano (on crutches) and Mario look to see just what is needed to make life more comfortable for Marijano!A spot for the collected fire wood?
And then over to Ilka’s; we wait a bit while Ilka dons the boots.
Joseph and John talk over Ilka’s recent loss of her sister, Anica.
Welcomed by Dijana and family; “come and see what we have all accomplished”.
Ing has passed toys and stuffed animals to us and we have brought a sampling to this house!What could it be?

Anticipation!

“It is just the biggest and the best car that I have ever seen!”
12/11The kids at the camp in Stolac have been thinking about us and worrying that we might not have received any Christmas cards!
“Do you like it? I made it for you!”
And what did we bring? More of Ing’s goodies!
12/13Enough for more than the single trip! Little Joseph, son of Slavica & Vidam, grabs a bag and heads up the stairs!
Shoe time! Who will fit into the shoes which have been brought?
A Christmas visit must be made to Janja, Teresa and Niki. A big Christmas food package is brought to each of the families.
Can we have a family portrait?Of course we can.
12/14From our apartment on the 4th floor overlooking the roll away (school dumpster); we spot Rasim.

Rasim, one of the most dependable day workers, is called over; we have some clothes to pass on and share some funding and some food.

Remember the Youth Festival singers and dancers who recently traveled to Poland to help that country with their first annual Youth Festival?We grab a picture off the Internet; Maja is peeking out (2nd from left); Kata is in ‘civvies in the front row.

They had a great time!

Remember Jagoda?The widow living in the tiny stone hut crying to be released from the misery of this world?

Jagoda has moved in with a relative! Yeh!

But it did not work out; we hear that St. Luke’s has sponsored her in a nearby Nursing home; we will visit.

12/15
The Christmas food package is brought to the two families living here.Marijano and Marko help carry it in.
Marko asks ” may I have a few words with you”?Oh, oh.
3 or 4 or 5 minutes of hugging before proceeding.
The families have been busy making rosaries and bracelets!“Do you like them? Will they sell? Will any one buy these?”
Of course there is a story with each of the items.
And to the camp on the river in Caplina. Indira spots us and runs to the car with a very big smile!!!
Oh, oh. Indira has an epileptic problem and suddenly collapses. Her husband (Amel) and Dijana manage to keep her from falling. Amel says she may have 3 or 4 seizures a day when she is under stress. How and when could she not be under stress?
Dijana and all want to check on her baby boy (Samir) of 9 months. Samir has a very very distended stomach and we have been worrying about him.Dijana coaxes a visiting nurse and a social center lady to go look; They find “everything ok but come get some proper milk from the social center”; we are grateful but also get the prescribed med (Tegratol) for the mother and diapers and baby food for Samir.
12/16They came!

Maybe one less worry!

When Mary and others took one of the priests to the Emergency Clinic in Citluk; it was noted that they were still using the glass thermometers to get a temperature reading from under the patient’s armpit; that takes quite a long time.

We ordered from the States and via a pilgrim friend brought here a number of ‘infra red devices’; you just aim it at the forehead and click for an instant readout in Fahrenheit or in Celsius!
And we got Oximeters; put your finger tip in and, shortly, it gives you your pulse rate and your level of Oxygen absorption.
We have one of each to leave with the nurses station!
and one of each to leave with the doctor!
The instruction manuals are in English; Mary helps a little. Dr. Vlaho in Citluk is all for it!
Still time for lunch at the Brotnjo Hotel with Matthew!
12/18Wow!

Beautiful clothes have been parted with from Eden and Sesen.

Who will they fit?

Joseph and Bob are persuaded to pose in the decorated but nearly deserted main street of Medjugorje! The streets are now being named; main street is now the street; “John Paul ll”.
A return visit to the Domanovici families. A Christmas tree!A family’s discard is another family’s treasures.

Amazing what one can find!

Do any of these clothes fit?We realize that even if they do not fit; it will be hard to retrieve them to give to a different child.

“We will make them fit”.

Marko looks good in his new shirt jacket.
Danjela, Jelka’s married daughter, and Dijana meet one another; we are at the home slowly, slowly being built by Danjela and husband.
Jelka and Danjela.
Mario, Nikola, Ivan, Mary and Jelka have a remembrance photo shoot.
12/21:We take a picture of Josephine, Mona, a friend, and Aedan after Mass in front of the chapel.
12/22: We just have to check in with Ilka and make sure she has plenty of food for Christmas; we bring her her favorite things (we hope).
We sneak a peek into the ‘menu of the day; warming up on the wood stove.Does not do much for our appetites.
Someone has left an early Christmas present for Ilka; a kitty! Ilka tells us that the cat prefers the outside; seldom comes into the house!
And on to Jelka and Ivan’s; baby spinach and kale have been saved for our visit; all are happy!Jelka had asked for some funding for potato seedlings so we are here.
We have received this beautiful Christmas gift; a photo of Kiera with father and with the grandparents (Cathy and Bob) ).Thank you.
12/23: Local families have gotten in touch with Joseph and have filled up his truck and the back seat with gifts of clothes for the needy ones!
12/24:We head out for 6:00 am Croatian Mass. 40 days of this during Advent!

A beautiful photo from our parish website!

The altar is lit; the rest of the church is dark until the time of the Communion!
Beautiful. Dramatic.Small wonder we love going to the 6:00 am Mass during the 40 days of Advent!
Fra Marinko delivers a short homily.

A beautiful photo from our parish website!

 

The lights go on; the place is jam packed; even the choir area is overflowing !A beautiful photo from our parish website!

 

Holy Mass is over for this hour.Most of the locals return to their homes.

 

 

Mary takes the camera and heads for the Risen Christ behind the church.
More trees are being decorated each year!
The Stations of the Cross are beautiful.
as are the Luminous Rosary Stations.
We exit under the arch of the cave.
We see to our right that a place is being saved for the baby, Jesus.Yeh!

 

12/24:Back for the English Mass in the chapel.

Gabby, Joan and Suzanne exchange stories about recent adventures.

 

Chris and Joseph chat about extended stays in Medjugorje.
 

 

The Belgian Family drives down once again.

Such a blessing for Medjugorje.

 

 

Gabby, Geaneta (sp?) and Stephen look like they are having a serious chat!
Our Blessed Mother always looks so very beautiful.
Still the 24th; still have time for cookies to arrive; still have time for joyous company!Luka has arrived and bearing sharings!
Always too much for we two; always enough for us to share!(if the spirit (and full stomachs) moves us).
More smiles! More company! More sharing!
12/25:One can never have enough friends!
One can never have enough cookies!
Fra Vjekoslav and Sister Muriel enjoy a giggle together!
And why wouldn’t we all giggle? Frank is amazing us all with his new bow tie! It lights up and winks at us!!
Lots of action!and almost time to enter the chapel!
Mona gets to do the reading.
Stephen takes care of the Alleluias and the music and the organizing.
Dijana snuggles up to a Christmas tree at the grocery store and gives us all a“Very Merry Christmas (Sretan Bozic)!
12/26: Father Kevin is looking resplendent today as the main (and only) celebrant of the Mass/
Aedan is such a help here in doing the readings and the collections (and the praying)!
We look forward to the arrival of the Three Kings at the crèche in the Church of Saint James.
12/28:A snowy morning; snow usually skips Medjugorje.

Ivan calls; he will pick us up and deliver us to the front door of the chapel!

We are spoiled.

Happy New Year from Mary & Bob and Joseph!Our 10th Christmas Season here in Medjugorje was especially blessed this year!

Friends from all of the different ethnic groups (Catholic, Serbian Orthodox, Muslim, Romani Gypsy) have contacted us in one way or another to wish us and all of our ‘helpers the joys of the Season and a blessed New Year!

Our hearts are full.

Thank you for your prayers and your support in this part of our life journey.