Thursday, 09 June 2011
[Source: Crownofstars Blogspot]
In May 2011, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn was interviewed on Radio “Mir” Medjugorje and spoke warmly about his private visit to Medjugorje during Christmas and New Year 2009/10.
The Cardinal stated that his decision to go to Medjugorje came about as a result of visiting the “mother house” of the Cenacolo Community in Saluzzo, Italy, for its annual “Festival of Life” in the summer of 2009. He said he was aware of the deep connection between Medjugorje and the Cenacolo Community and how the Community has spread to the entire world and gives active and visible witness to the power of the resurrection of the Lord. He said he also wanted to use his time in Medjugorje for silence and meditation.
When asked what he particularly remembered about his pilgrimage the cardinal said he remembered in a special way the celebration of the Eucharist at the midnight vigil Mass (New Year’s Eve) with many thousands of pilgrims present. He also remembered with gratitude his meeting with the Franciscan priests and, as a Dominican, he felt a strong association with the Franciscans.
Climbing the two hills in Medjugorje was another special memory of the cardinal. He revealed that he ascended Cross Mountain with Sr Elvira, founder of the Cenacolo Community, and it had been a special and strong experience.
Cardinal Schönborn said the memories of his meetings with four of the visionaries, Marija, Mirjana, Ivanka and Vicka are carved deep in his heart and he is full of gratitude for the outstanding hospitality in their homes.
The cardinal also revealed he spent time on pilgrimage as a priest hearing confessions and added that the “secret” of Medjugorje, like Lourdes, is the close proximity of Our Lady, and is reason why pilgrims come.
He said his first encounter with Medjugorje was in the early 80’s through a prayer group based in a Vienna church and he observed how people were living and praying in a special way for hours every week, praying the Rosary with their heart, coming before the Blessed Sacrament, and celebrating the Eucharist. He saw the group’s willingness and commitment as a sign that speaks of truth. Cardinal Schönborn then spoke of the many prayer groups formed in Austria through Medjugorje, how the people in the groups have deepened their faith and Christian life, infused with the Eucharist, and give witness and testimonies of healings. He added that 12 years ago the Church acknowledged and recommended “Oase des Friendens”, an association that monitors and supports Medjugorje prayer groups in Austria.
The cardinal was asked if he could say anything about the “fruits” in his country and responded that the “fruits” were baskets of Medjugorje fruits. He mentioned there were strong priestly vocations stemming from the Medjugorje fruits, many conversions, families strengthened in faith, recovery from addictions…
Cardinal Schönborn then discussed the Medjugorje messages and thanked God that they were not “original”. He said that if they were sensational all would have surely disappeared because it is impossible for each week, each month, every year, to give sensational messages. On a personal basis he regarded the messages as simple and almost like an alphabet for living as a Christian: a continuing call to prayer, to conversion, to reconciliation and to peace, acknowledged by Our Lady’s words “Thank you for responding to my call”.
The cardinal said millions of people around the world read the messages and recognise the call of the Mother of God in their lives because of the messages; they are reminded every month to pray, to reconcile and to love the Virgin Mary. He added that through this “school” Mary invites us to follow Jesus, to look at her Son, to listen to him, to imitate him, and that “Do whatever he tells you” were Mary’s first words to the people. He stressed that “Do whatever he tells you” is the core of the Medjugorje messages.
Cardinal Schönborn was then asked if he could give a special message to the parishioners of Medjugorje and the people of BiH and Croatia. He responded by saying how striking it was that at the beginning (of the apparitions) Our Lady’s messages were directed to the people of the parish and it seemed that if Heaven was preparing Medjugorje for something special then its residents must be involved. He said it would be difficult for the peace of Medjugorje to spread if the residents did not live this peace and that this “education” by Our Lady was truly wonderful for the parish, to become a “tool” for the Queen of Peace.
The cardinal then mentioned there would be a Prayer Meeting for Peace in the Vienna this coming Novemember, the fourth time such a gathering will take place in the Cathedral, and confirmed that some of the Medjugorje visionaries will participate and he has approved the meeting. He said the Cathedral can be regarded as the heart of Austria and this great movement of prayer within the country that has brought many blessings must have a place in the Cathedral, and gratitude should be expressed that this encounter can take place there.
Cardinal Schönborn concluded the interview by expressing his thanks to all engaged in this type of work. He thanked the Medjugorje parish, the Franciscans in Medjugorje, and said that all are in his heart and prayers with great joy and gratitude.