Saturday, July 07, 2012
In a recent interview with Radio Mir, Croatian soccer star Mate Bilic spoke about his attachment to Medjugorje and explained that he is a regular visitor to the village.
Mate was born in Split, Croatia; his wife Emilia comes from Ljubski, Herzegovina, a short drive from Medjugorje which they and their two children Mark and Carla consider their second home.
The 31-year-old striker said that Medjugorje is never very far away (see photo), even when in Spain where he plays professional soccer with the Spanish club Sporting Gijon,
“It’s always there, in my heart ” said Mate, “and I gladly testify to Medjugorje.”
As a child Mark would come on pilgrimage to Medjugorje, and now he makes sure to visit every year with his own family. He says Medjugorje is a place that strengthens families, where people can gather more strength to go forward in life.
“Our values are built in to this” said Mate, “and it important that the children learn from an early age what is meaningful to us as Christians. Although outwardly there is quite a change to Medjugorje I feel the spirituality has remained the same.”
Mate then spoke about the pressures and temptations connected with professional football, but said that the way to resolve any crisis is to believe in God and incorporate prayer in the family.
He said that young people come under pressure not to believe, that the Church and the Sacraments are not important and if they practice their faith they are often ridiculed, and so the family unity becomes threatened.
“I try to educate my children in religious life and provide them with moral values. I believe that young people can only morally grow with the help of God. The difficulties are great and it takes much time to be able to devote to the family but we call on Our Lady of Medjugorje for help with this.”
Mate also revealed that a priest prays the Lord’s Prayer with the Sporting Gijon team before every match and recently invited Mate to speak to a group of Spanish students and prepare them for a forthcoming visit to Medjugorje in July.
Mate has travelled widely during his long and successful career playing for eight different clubs, and he’s represented Croatia’s national team at al levels, but he always makes sure that the one place he comes back to every year is Medjugorje.
“I always come with baggage” he said, “but I leave peaceful and blessed. It is such a prayerful and peaceful place. It amazes me.”
Posted by bg at 11:40 pm