The first Sunday in September in Ludbreg was traditionally reserved for the annual celebration in honor of the Precious Blood of Christ, as a reminder of the miracle that took place in Ludbreg 610 years ago.
The central Eucharistic celebration this year, on Sunday, September 5, was presided over by Msgr. Dr. László Német, Bishop of Zrenjanin and President of the International Bishops’ Conference of St. Cyril and Methodius. The concelebration was also attended by the Apostolic Nuncios in the Republic of Croatia, Msgr. Giorgio Lingua and the bishops of the Zagreb metropolis: Msgr. Vlado Košić, Bishop of Sisak, Msgr. Vjekoslav Huzjak, Bishop of Bjelovar-Križevci and hosts Msgr. Bože Radoš, Bishop of Varaždin and Msgr. Josip Mrzljak, retired bishop, along with numerous priests of the Zagreb metropolis.
Thousands of pilgrims arrived in Ludbreg from the early morning hours and participated in the spiritual program, on the eve of the solemn open-air Holy Mass in the Votive Chapel of the Croatian Parliament.
Representatives of the civil authorities also took part in the central Mass: the envoy of the President of the Croatian Parliament, the Vice-President of the Parliament, Academician Željko Reiner; Envoy of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Varaždin County Prefect Anđelko Stričak; the mayor of Ludbreg Dubravko Bilić, members of parliament, prefects, mayors and heads of surrounding counties, cities and municipalities, president and councilors of the Ludbreg city council.
Before the Mass, the gathered were greeted by the local pastor and guardian of the sanctuary, Msgr. Josip Đurkan, and then academician Reiner, who expressed special honor and satisfaction to be in Ludbreg again, saying that the sanctuary of the Precious Blood of Christ in Ludbreg is a place, not only of prayer and faith, but also the strongest link between the two institutions: the Church and the Croatian Parliament. .
-I send my wishes and prayers from this holy place for the joint commitment of the Croatian Parliament and the Church, but also the entire Croatian society to rebuild not only everything destroyed in the earthquake and pandemic, but also to rebuild the much-needed unity of Croatian citizens. In the deep and sincere faith that we have the strength to overcome all the challenges and objective difficulties we face, our fears, weaknesses and differences, dear God protect us all and protect our only and eternal Croatia – said, among other things, Deputy Speaker Zeljko Reiner.
Words of greeting and welcome on the eve of the Holy Mass were also sent by the Bishop of Varaždin, Božo Radoš, especially Msgr. Német, who came to the shrine of the Precious Blood of Christ in Ludbreg for the first time and gladly accepted to preside over this celebration of Mass. He also greeted other bishops, priests, representatives of civil authorities and numerous pilgrims from many parts of our country and beyond.
– You are here with a pilgrim’s prayer in your heart that God’s love, which is shed by the Blood of Christ, may warmly touch your way of life, heal the wounded and painful in you and your families. May God receive your thanks and blessings of prayer – said Bishop Radoš.
At the beginning of his homily, the pre-celebrant of the Mass, Msgr. Német reminded of the Eucharistic miracle in Ludbreg that happened 610 years ago, and then the vow of the Croatian Parliament on the construction of a votive chapel in Ludbreg from the 18th century, which was fulfilled only 25 years ago. He then pointed out that the fact that the members of Parliament expressed their deep conviction in the name of the Croatian people that the Blood of Christ can stop even the greatest evils, and that was a plague at the time, is an act of faith, an act of trust in God and his Son in power. The Precious Blood of Christ.
He also addressed those responsible for our society, for the state, for the good of the entire Croatian people.
– You, dear Members of Parliament, have a huge responsibility for the present of this beautiful country and even more for the future of the young generations that are coming after us. Today there is no plague in these parts, but hara Covid, unemployment, poverty, the departure of young people abroad. A bunch of problems and challenges! – Bishop Német emphasized.
He added that it would be irresponsible to talk only about challenges and problems, and instructed him to look at the pilgrims, those who follow this celebration through the media, and to find an incentive to create the future.
-If those who are responsible for our homeland know how to use this positive capital, this human strength, strengthened by faith in God’s action, it will be much easier and safer to create a better, happier and more perfect Croatia.-, said the preacher.
At the end of the homily, he also mentioned the last owner of the Batthyany castle, in whose chapel the Ludbreg miracle took place. It was Ladislav Batthyány-Strattmann, who died 90 years ago in Vienna, and Pope John Paul II in 2003, he declared him blessed. Namely, Ladislav Batthyány-Strattmann was a doctor, and even during his lifetime he was called a doctor of the poor. He was a good father of the family, with his wife he had eleven children. He used his family fortune to build several hospitals in what was then Hungary, where he performed medical services many times free of charge. What’s more: he knew how to feed the poor, to host them on his estates.
-I think his character, his way of life suits this place very well. Just as he wanted to eradicate the evil that destroys our lives, so Ludbreg and the worship of the Precious Blood of Christ should work to eradicate evil from our lives. – said Bishop Nemet and concluded his homily: -Let Ludbreg be a place of healing. May all who come here, be they dumb, blind, lame, sick of any disease, people full of unrest, anger, envy, revenge, experience here the healing power of the Precious Blood of Christ. Let it be in Ludbreg as in today’s Gospel: Jesus healed the sick! May Jesus heal us here in Ludbreg today.-
At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, which was magnified by the parish choir of the Parish of the Holy Trinity in Ludbreg, Msgr. Božo Radoš sent words of thanks to everyone and wished that this place would touch them, open everyone’s ears and mouths, and bring the grace of pilgrimage further into life.
The mayor of Ludbreg, Dubravko Bilić, once again sent words of welcome to the pilgrims the day before:
– And while last year we could think that it was a year of testing for our humanity and humanity, a year of testing our personal responsibility towards the community in which we live and of which we are a part, a year of testing for the community we talk about so much and mostly in vain, today we can to say that we as a global community have failed. And while rich countries are talking about a third vaccination, poor countries in Africa, South America or Asia have not even received the first dose of the vaccine. While we desperately need as many vaccines as possible, we bid with the prices of that drug at $ 10 or $ 20 or $ 30, and people in some countries work all month to feed their families for about $ ten. While some are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in hypocritical anti-vaccination media campaigns, creating mistrust in science and spreading a culture of lies, millions of people in poor countries are dying from the effects of the Covid 19 infection and could be cured with that money. We have failed as inhabitants of this planet in our hearts, we have allowed selfishness to guide us in our decisions instead of using this challenge to fix everything we all know is not good. In fact, as soon as we saw that money could buy health, it showed how selfish we can be, how much our own satisfaction and self-centeredness can blur our concern for others and our common good. We have become a global community of inaction, excuses and powerlessness in the fight for justice and fairness, in the fight for every human life. We have become more selfish than ever and we are always ready to justify this selfishness only with our own good. We have become cowards in a non-heroic century in which everything can be obtained immediately on credit without waiting and suffering. We are on our way to annul two centuries of solidarity and respect for those closest to us, but also the farthest from us, to annul the agreements we have long and painstakingly built as a community in which we all feel safe, in which we do not leave each other because they are too slow. we do not give up on each other because we do not have time for them – said Mayor Bilic.
For a Croatian version of this article, click here.
To learn more about Ludbreg and the Eucharistic Miracle of Ludbreg, check out the Total Croatia Ludbreg in a Page guide, as well as the miracle video below.