When I was this September on a pilgrimage in Medjugorje, I visited some of the places, where pilgrims usually go and where I was already during my previous visits. I visited e.g. the St. James Church, Statue of the Risen Saviour, Apparition Hill, Oasis of Peace, Cenacolo community and other places. On this pilgrimage, I noticed another interesting place, which I will also gladly visit again on my next pilgrimages to Medjugorje.
In Medjugorje, there is a nice information point / bookstore / tea-room / cafe of Mary's Meals named La'Visitation. It is located at the east side of St. James church, on the small traffic centre (within this circle is a small fenced park). Mary's Meals is a project led by the humanitarian organization Scottish International Relief (SIR), founded in 1992. In the beginning, they delivered humanitarian aid to Medjugorje and Balkan, now in 2005 their activity covers many places around the world. The spiritual background of this charity is inspired by the messages and the grace that Our Lady gave in Medjugorje.
In few words, Mary's Meals provides daily meals for schoolchildren in poor countries, where children often would have problems either to go to school (e.g. simply too weak to walk there) or would have difficulties to concentrate, just because of hunger. By using local volunteers for the project and buying the food locally, the program has little overheads and is effective in utilizing donations. This project today feeds ten's of thousands needy children every day.
Inside the La'Visitation, you can buy sandwiches, soups, tea, coffee or hot chocolate. You can read articles about the charity and it's projects in selected newspapers and magazines. You can also see a nice presentation projected to a wall inside bookstore. The presentation contents highlights from some of the projects made by the SIR, namely Mary's Meals and is illustrated by photos of needy people around the world from countries where the SIR helped. The presentation is accompanied by touching music and contains quotes from various sources, including Mother Theresa, Bible and John Paul II. Eating our sandwiches in front of these pictures can be in itself a deep spiritual experience resulting in opening minds, and hearts for compassion for dozens of poor people all around the world. Many of them, including children, have often nothing to eat whole day, contrary to us, who can have table full of good snacks made by the staff of La'Visitation. This helpful staff will also gladly answer your eventual questions.
After seeing this presentation, I thought it even could be useful for many of us to see similar presentations e.g. every month, so our hearts and minds would still remind all these needy people. Namely, if we would, according to messages from Our Lady of Medjugorje and life of Mother Theresa, truly effort to recognize Jesus Christ in each of our neighbours. Up to now, we have the possibility to see such a presentation on our pilgrimages to Medjugorje...
In the shop, there is also quite wide selection of products, namely books, but also some CD's, VHS's, DVD's about Medjugorje and spiritual life and some religious items. The proceeds from selling these items go to support Mary's Meals project.
Today there are large amount of various shops and coffees in Medjugorje, but I know only three, which are non-profit. And none of them use their proceeds for activities, that would be in my eyes so creditable and so concordant to messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje, such are the activities of Mary's Meals project - namely to convert not with just our words and thoughts, but through example, to be food where there is hunger, and to be "extended hands" of God...
Therefore, when I will be back in Medjugorje, I plan to visit the Mary's Meals La'Visitation again to have there my snacks, or coffee with my friends. If I would like to buy something for me or for my friends in Medjugorje, this will be the first place for me to look for. In addition, when I would select between good charity projects for the one to support, I will definitely put Mary's meals between the projects I would take into consideration.
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