On this second Sunday of Advent, the liturgy places us in the school of John the Baptist, who preached a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” And perhaps we ask ourselves, “Why do we have to convert? Conversion is for an atheist who becomes a believer, or a sinner who becomes just. But we don’t need it. We are already Christian.”
We can ask ourselves this and in this regard say, “We’re ok.” But that’s not true. Thinking like this, we don’t realize that it is precisely because of this presumption – that we are Christians, good in every way, that we’re doing the right thing – precisely because of this presumption we must convert: from the supposition that, overall, things are going well like they are and we don’t need any conversion.
But let us ask: Is it true that in the various situations and circumstances of life, we have in us the same sentiments that Jesus had? Is it true that we feel as Christ felt? For example, when we suffer some evil or some affront, can we react without animosity?
The voice of the Baptist still cries in humanity’s deserts of today, which are – what are the deserts of today? – they are the closed minds and the hardened hearts. And [his voice] calls us so that we ask ourselves if we actually are following the right path, living a life according to the Gospel. Today, as then, he admonishes us with the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Prepare the way of the Lord!”
None of us can say, “I’m a saint; I’m perfect; I’m already saved.”
But we should be courageous: make low the mountains of pride and rivalry.
May we be aided in this by Our Lady – who is Mother and who knows how to do it – to bring down the walls and the obstacles that impede our conversion, that is, our journey toward the encounter with the Lord. He alone.
Cardinal Vinko Puljic, head of the Church in Bosnia/Herzegovina, has hinted at possible changes to Medjugorje’s status as a sanctuary and place of pilgrimage.
In a Christmas interview with press agency Anadolu the Cardinal said Medjugorje is one of the largest confessionals, not only in the Balkans but also in Europe, and should be recognised in some way.
He also spoke about the long-awaited outcome on the status of Medjugorje and said that any decision on the sanctuary would be only a matter of administrative management and for probably the parish, and would not mean an early decision on the claimed apparitions and messages associated with the phenomenon. “In terms of the visions and messages, the Church will continue its study and not go that fast. The Church is not in a hurry,” the Cardinal explained.
He added that he was not worried about the attitude of the Holy Father nor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, but that it was important for the people who come in faith to Medjugorje to pray and strengthen their faith, and return home comforted.
The Sarajevo Archbishop concluded his comments on Medjugorje saying that “until otherwise decided, people have the right to come to Medjugorje, to pray and do penance.”
Cardinal Puljic was a member of the Commission set up by Pope Benedict XVI to give further study to the Medjugorje phenomenon.
The Cardinal’s mention of administrative changes could be the precursor to an official announcement on this from the Holy See.
Video news by Romereports:
(Romereports) On his flight back from Bosnia-Herzegovina in June 2015, Pope Francis held a quick press conference with the roughly 60 journalists on flight. In one of his answers, he shed light the latest developments on the reported Medjugorje apparitions of Our Lady.
“On the issue of Medjugorje, Benedict XVI, during his pontificate, created a commission led by Cardinal Camillo Ruini. Other Cardinals were also assigned, along with theologians and experts. They carried out their studies and then Cardinal Ruini came to me and delivered the final analysis. It was after many years, three or four more or less. They did a great job, they really did. Cardinal Muller, told me they would carry out a so called ‘feria quarta’ or special meeting around this time. I think they held the meeting last Wednesday, but I’m not really sure. We’re really close to making a decision. They will let us know. For now, only a few guidelines are being offered to Bishops. Thank you!
Dr. Fr. Miljenko Šteko, the Provincial of Herzegovina Franciscan Province from Mostar, was elected as the new President of the European Franciscan OFM Provincials. The election was held in Rome during the 11th General Assembly of the Conference of Franciscans from Europe. This Conference (from October 21-25, 2013) gathered 49 Provincials of the Franciscan Order from Europe as well as 5 General Definitors.
Fr. Miljenko Šteko was the director of Medjugorje’s information centre and radio station before he became the Provincial of the Franciscans in Hercegovina.
Reported by Croatia media sources is the news that the Vatican has already arrived at a solution that recognises the importance of Medjugorje to the Church and that the tree bearing good fruit in abundance is to be protected.
Currently the bishop of the Mostar-Duvno diocese is in Rome and on the table for discussion is the partition of his diocese which could see the parish of Medjugorje come under a new bishopric. Apparently a decision has been reached and an announcement is anticipated later this year.
However, such a move would not be an endorsement of the claimed apparitions but could be seen as a possible step forward to Medjugorje being granted international shrine status by the Holy See.
• The diocese of Mostar-Duvno was formed on July 5, 1881 – 100 years before Our Lady first appeared in Medjugorje on June 24, 1981 • The seat of the bishopric is in the Cathedral of Mary the Mother of the Church! • The first two bishops of the Mostar-Duvno diocese were Franciscans and they were in charge of the diocese for 61 years!
[Source: www.medjugorje.ie. This site is officially approved by the Information centre “Mir” Medjugorje.]
The Vatican had to react to millions of people gathering in Medjugorje, and the current Commission works seriously because the members believe Medjugorje is already deeply integrated within the Church, says Medjugorje’s pastor who calls it “irresponsible” to claim the seers lie.
Fr. Petar Vlasic with Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar in May this year in Medjugorje. Photo: Mile Pavlovic, Brotnjo Online.
Rome had no choice but to take up a thorough investigation of the events in Medjugorje, and the result was the March 17th 2010 announcement of the current Commission led by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, says Medjugorje’s parish priest.
“Neither the Pope, nor responsible Roman offices could overlook the phenomenon gathering millions of pilgrims in Medjugorje. Therefore, an advisable approach was carefully considered, and the Commission was established to thoroughly investigate” Fr. Petar Vlasic tells the Croatian daily Vecernji List.
Pope Beenedict XVI appointed Cardinal Camillo Ruini (front) to head the Vatican Commission on Medjugorje.
“They do their job seriously and are committed, because they believe that Medjugorje is deeply merged within the contemporary life of the Catholic Church” he further says of the Commission.
“We cannot talk about satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their work. These are all serious religious people who care about truth and the good of the Church” says Fr. Petar Vlasic.
“Irresponsible” to claim the seers lie
In defending the six Medjugorje visionaries, Fr. Petar Vlasic says it is “impossible to declare them liars”. Therefore, it is “irresponsible” to claim the seers are lying, or that their apparitions should be due to a diabolical influence, Fr. Petar Vlasic says, upon revisiting the visionaries’ life history:
“I think they played a vital role in everything from the very beginning. Since the beginning of their intrepid witnesses, they were not in any way embarrassed or intimidated by threats, or militia, or imprisonment, or harassment in school. They stood firm and upheld their original claims” Fr. Petar Vlasic says.
Fr. Petar Vlasic was appointed parish priest of Medjugorje in 2007.
“Claims of apparitions can not be verified, and science comes to its limits, but we can see the effects of their claim. Today they are adults in their forties, and it is impossible to declare them liars.”
“We recognize the fruits of their claims on a daily basis, and they are serious people with their families and children. And it is irresponsible to call them liars, or to attribute to them all the diabolical influence as some still do, even among the clergy” Medjugorje’s parish priest tells Vecernji List.
By Jakob Marschner
Contrary to a previous statement, the Vatican Commission on Medjugorje will not finish its work this year, but rather in 2013, a Bosnian news portal quotes an allegedly well-informed source. More conversations are required. Commission members stayed in Medjugorje last Spring.
Cardinal Camillo Ruini heads the Medjugorje Commission.
Medjugorje will remain under investigation by the Vatican into 2013. The Commission formed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 and since then headed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini will not finish its work this year as previously stated, the Bosnian news portal Oslobodjenje learns.
“The International Commission for the study of the phenomenon of Medjugorje will certainly not finish their work this year, claims a well-informed souce close to the work of the Commission” the online media reports.
Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo.
The canceling of expectations that the Vatican Commission should finish before the end of 2012 comes in response to a statement from Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo. On February 14 the Cardinal, a member of the Commission himself, told a press conference in Rome that the Commission had to finish this year. However:
“There is still a lot of conversations with people who could contribute quality contents to the Commission’s work” Oslobodjenje quotes the source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
All Commission meetings have taken place in Rome.
“Based on what has already been learned about the work of the Commission, our source believes that work could be completed in 2013″ the news portal adds.
Oslobodjenje further writes that, over the past two years, the Vatican Commission has met “a dozen times, each time in Rome.”
“However, the Commission also works in the field, and therefore some members of the Commission stayed in Medjugorje last Spring” the Bosnian news portal learns.
The Commission will submit its work to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. From here, it will be turned over to the Pope who has the final saying.
Source: The Medjugorje Message
The dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was declared by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950 and states that “the Immaculate Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven.”
In this declaration no position is taken by the Church as to the question of whether Mary actually died. However, in one of her very early messages given at Medjugorje, Our Lady gave this answer to one of the seers when asked if she went to Heaven before or after death: “I am the Mother of God and the Queen of Peace. I went to Heaven before death.” October 12, 1981
Four years ago a previously unpublished document came to light which revealed Pope Pius XII had witnessed the “miracle of the sun” on four occasions and he considered this experience as confirmation of his plan to declare the dogma of the Assumption. The information contained in this handwritten note by Pius XII went on public display for two months in the Vatican in November 2008.
Reporting at the time for zenit.org Antonio Gaspari wrote:
According to his own testimony, the Pope who declared the dogma of the Assumption saw the “miracle of the sun” four times.
This information is confirmed by a handwritten, unpublished note from Pope Pius XII, which is part of the Pius XII: The Man and the Pontificate display.
A commissioner of the display and a Vatican reporter for the Italian daily Il Giornale, Andrea Tornielli, explained to ZENIT that the note was found in the Pacelli family archives. It describes the “miracle of the sun,” an episode that until today had only been affirmed by the indirect testimony of Cardinal Federico Tedeschini (1873-1959), who recounted in a homily that the Holy Father had seen the miracle.
Pius XII wrote, “I have seen the ‘miracle of the sun,’ this is the pure truth.”
The miracle of the sun is most known as the episode that occurred in Fatima, Portugal, on October 13, 1917. According to the Fatima visionaries, Mary had said there would be a miracle that day so that people would come to believe. Thousands had gathered at the site of the visions, and the sun “danced,” reportedly drying instantaneously the rain-soaked land and spectators.
Pius XII’s note says that he saw the miracle in the year he was to proclaim the dogma of the Assumption, 1950, while he walked in the Vatican Gardens. He said he saw the phenomenon various times, considering it a confirmation of his plan to declare the dogma.
The papal note says that at 4.00pm on October 30, 1950, during his “habitual walk in the Vatican Gardens, reading and studying,” having arrived to the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, “toward the top of the hill […] I was awestruck by a phenomenon that before now I had never seen.”
“The sun, which was still quite high, looked like a pale, opaque sphere, entirely surrounded by a luminous circle,” he recounted. And one could look at the sun, “without the slightest bother. There was a very light little cloud in front of it.”
The Holy Father’s note goes on to describe “the opaque sphere” that “moved outward slightly, either spinning, or moving from left to right and vice versa. But within the sphere, you could see marked movements with total clarity and without interruption.”
Pius XII said he saw the same phenomenon “the 31st of October and November 1, the day of the definition of the dogma of the Assumption, and then again November 8, and after that, no more.”
The Pope acknowledged that on other days at about the same hour, he tried to see if the phenomenon would be repeated, “but in vain – I couldn’t fix my gaze [on the sun] for even an instant; my eyes would be dazzled.”
Pius XII spoke about the incident with a few cardinals and close collaborators, such that Sister Pascalina Lehnert, the nun in charge of the papal apartments, declared that “Pius XII was very convinced of the reality of the extraordinary phenomenon, which he had seen on four occasions.”
As Pope, in 1940, Pius XII approved the Fatima apparitions, and in 1942, consecrated the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
• Solar phenomena is repeatedly witnessed by pilgrims at Medjugorje.
RIP FR PETAR VLAŠIĆ OFM
Fra Marinko Šakota is the new parish priest of Medjugorje following the death of Fra Petar Vlašić on November 8th 2012.
The 44 year-old Franciscan was born in nearby Čitluk and ordained in July 1996. He has served as a chaplain in Medjugorje since 2010.
His appointment was proposed by Franciscan Provincial Fra Ivan Sesar and confirmed by Bishop Ratko Perić who also presided over the funeral of Fra Petar.
Fra Marinko speaks Croatian, German and English.