From "The Medjugorje message" 2
- MOTHERS AND FAMILY
By Cardinal Basil Hume
In my chapel I have a statue of Our Lady with her hands extended downwards. When I have insoluble problems to deal with I go to Our Lady, place my hands in hers and ask her to help me in my helplessness. I can then go back to my desk, confident that she has taken responsibility. l It is a feminine trait to listen, to receive, to watch. Perhaps that is why more women pray then men. Perhaps that is why among contemplatives there are more women than men it is the feminine which listens and waits.
Mary was sometimes puzzled and in distress. She had to flee with her Son into Egypt; once she lost him on a pilgrimage. She saw him dying and in agony. It is sometimes like that for mothers. when it happens, it is hard to make sense of it. You have to trust and go on trusting.
Ever since I was a boy Christmas has meant for me Midnight Mass, all the trimmings of a family celebration and hospital. The reason for that final, perhaps unusual element, is that my father, who is a doctor, would bring the whole family to the Infirmary in Newcastle to help serve the Christmas dinner. Ive always been grateful to both my parents for letting me see from the start that Christmas is for sharing.
Adapted from the book: Cardinal Basil Hume, In My Own Words, compiled and edited by Teresa de Bertodano, published by Hodder & Stoughton.GOSPA NEWSPAPER
The demand for our Dear Children newspaper continues, and a second reprint of 50,000 copies will get underway early in the New Year, ready for distribution sometime during the second week of January.
If you feel you can help with this project in any way, then please call Bernard Gallagher, 0121 429 8349. We shall continue to reprint this publication so that copies are always available on request. Our next reprint will take the quantity to 125,000 copies produced since the start of September 2004.
In the meantime we are preparing a second newspaper for the start of February. This will be called GOSPA, so as not to be confused with the Dear Children publication which is primarily designed to explain the facts and events of Medjugorje.
The GOSPA publication will be published quarterly and contain news, testimonies and updated information on pilgrimages, prayer groups and Medjugorje events in the UK.
As with the Dear Children publication, GOSPA will be issued free of charge. Contributions in the form of testimonies, photos, news of Medjugorje events etc, are welcomed.WORDS OF St PIO
All the feasts of the Church are beautiful. Easter, yes, is glorification, but Christmas has a gentleness, a CHILD-like tenderness that captures my heart. Padre PioA SATISFIED MIND
by Frank Chambers
On a summers evening in 2002, well known bandleader Frank Chambers was busy working on a roof at home in Newport, Mayo. During a short break, the phone rang. On the end of the line was Jim Browne who was in the Castlecourt hotel in Westport at the time.
Though the forecast was for a change in the weather the next day and Frank was anxious to finish the roofing job, something struck a chord in his heart. Jim asked me if I would come over to the Castlecourt and play a few hymns. A few people had gathered in the hotel and Medjugorje was what had brought them together. As I knew Jim from the past, I said I wouldnt let him down.
When I arrived in the Castlecourt, I met a number of people I knew and they began telling their own stories about their visits to Medjugorje. I suppose they were looking at me and I looking at them as much as to say what are they doing here or what was I doing there.
Fate or destiny, Frank Chambers had arrived at a gathering that was to transform his life and set him on a fresh journey to pastures new. Over 30 years in the band business where he played alongside his late father, the legendary Tony Chambers of Ballroom of Romance fame, Frank had seen life from many sides.
The road is a great learner and along the way are stories that touch the hearts of those who care to stop and listen. And away from the glamour and the excitement of the stage, there is often the hidden loneliness, the restless mind that seldom knows the calm of a safe harbour. Frank Chambers, like so many others on the showbiz circuit, succumbed to the bottle and during the 1980s went through the dark night of the soul. It was the classic scenario, captured in the words of so many country songs down through the years. What made Milwaukee famous made a loser out of me, is one of the classics of the genre... Jerry Lee Lewis at his brilliant best. Milwaukee, of course, is the home of the Miller beer empire which did indeed make Milwaukee famous.
Frank is a recovering alcoholic who has been away from the stuff for some years now. And somewhere deep inside he was answering another call. I had been asking God to help me on a daily basis. Somebody told me along the way to kick my shoes under the bed at night-time and I would have to get on my knees the following morning to get them out. They said a few prayers that night in the Castlecourt. I was invited to go to Medjugorje and I said I was very busy. I really didnÕt want to get involved.
In recent years, I had found a lot of peace in my life, especially playing music that I loved, and a lot of time on the river fly fishing, but I knew there had to be something more in life to get fulfilment. After hearing Arthur McCluskey's testimony that evening, I could feel the sense of joy as he said the rosary and I put in my diary the same night that I would go to Medjugorje in 2003.
Temptation came in the form of a large volume of enquiries for bookings for the October weekend. But Frank held firm. I never got more enquiries for music work than that week and when I would look at my diaries, all I could see was Medjugorje in eight pages. I had taken a decision to go and therefore did not accept any bookings for that period.
I wanted to go to Medjugorje with an open mind. October arrived and I left Castlebar on a bus with other pilgrims at 4.00am and travelled to Dublin Airport. We arrived in Dubrovnik after a two-hour journey. Fr Benny McHale was our Spiritual Director. The rosary was said on the bus and I felt part of what was happening.
The countryside showed a lot of poverty. There were no modern JCBs or hymacs or modern tractors or cars. People were poor but they had the longing for the faith. I was deeply touched at the morning Masses and the evening adoration. I was hungry for what the locals had experienced, the joy people from all ages had in going to confession and the emotions they showed with love and the care every pilgrim had for one another.
As I was waiting in the cold to go to confession, tears of gratitude flowed from my eyes to the people I met in Westport who showed me the way to Medjugorje. The same happened again at one of the Masses, a flutter of the heart and a release of tears. In the mornings we had breakfast and shared our thoughts about life openly and without fear of being judged. Fr Benny said at his meetings one night that everybody was there for a reason and everybody had a past. Fr Benny prepared us for confession and to be a free person boarding the plane home.
Aware of Franks talents as a musician, a number of people asked him to consider playing music in the church in Medjugorje. But there was one major problem. Frank did not bring any instruments with him on the pilgrimage. Providence has a strange way of solving potential problems. Outside the Church one morning, I asked an ex-soldier from the war where I could get an instrument. He told me of a drug addict named Joey who came to Medjugorje and got cured from his addiction of heroin, cocaine and alcohol and he had long hair and drove a red Mercedes.
When I came out from Mass the following morning, there was a red Mercedes waiting outside the Church. He said his name was Joey and he would get me an instrument for Mass. He had bad English but loved rock and roll music and he had a tape of the Dubliners. Joey took me on a two-hour drive to his home. He brought me in to meet his wife and two children. He had come from Russia. He would not take any money from me and they were very poor. He said he would just love to hear me play in the church for Our Lady. It was an honour to do so. The directors of the choir in Medjugorje have invited me to play Ava Maria on the trumpet on my next visit, please God.
The friends I met on my trip, young and old, will be with me forever. I find that since I started saying the Rosary, going to Confession and Mass as often as I can, there is more joy in my heart. I remember a song called Satisfied Mind that had the lines:
How many times have you heard someone say,
If I had his money, I could do things my way.
But little they know that it's so hard to find,
One rich man in ten with a satisfied mind.
Those lines say a lot about the things that matter most. I feel that there are many people who are carrying crosses in life. They could reach out for help and we would be there for them. We can travel down that road together. In many ways I have a whole new outlook on life since my journey to Medjugorje last year. One has a far greater grasp of the things that are important and that we often take so much for granted. The silence of the place is haunting and there's something that keeps calling you back.
Adapted from the Western People Newspaper, Mayo, Ireland.I REJOICE WITH THE LITTLE JESUS
Mary is Jesus mother. She conceived Him with the Holy Spirit, carried Him in her womb for nine months and, like all other mothers, she was overjoyed because of Him. I believe the joy that Mary expresses here is a call for everyone, especially young families, that they accept life with joy and that they happily await every child. May our Ladys joy bring to everyone who may be plagued at this moment with thoughts of abortion, the courage to accept GodÕs will, this new child, with joy. At every Christmas apparition Mary comes with Baby Jesus. Her Christmas wish for all of us is that the joy of Jesus may enter into every heart.
Adapted from the book: Mother! Lead us to Peace! by Fr Slavko Barbaric.THE MESSAGE OF MEDJUGORJE
The visionary Maria Pavlovic-Lunetti has summarised the Message of Medjugorje as follows:
Pray for the peace which comes from God, first in your heart, then in your family, your workplace, your parish and finally, in the world.
Pray every day. Pray with the heart.
Pray with the Bible, which must have a place of honour in your home.
Our Ladys favourite prayer is the Rosary, which is a meditation on the mysteries of Jesus life, according to Scripture.
Our Lady asks us to fast on bread and water on Wednesday and Friday. There are other means of fasting: television, tobacco, alcohol, and service to the sick.
Go to confession monthly. Find a spiritual director, if at all possible.
The Mass must become the centre of our life.
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