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The First Bicycle Festival to Honor the Blessed John Paul II

The First Bicycle Festival to Honor the Blessed John Paul II

"It was the first bicycle festival in the world dedicated to the Blessed John Paul II," said Drina Ćavar, the organizer of the first Blessed John Paul II Bicycle Festival on Saturday, May 7, during the concluding program in the courtyard of the Church of St. Barbara in Velika Mlaka.

This wooden church was the destination of approximately two hundred bicyclists who, coming from two directions, Zagreb and Velika Gorica, with prayer, song and the motto "Families on Bicycles - Together with the Pope, Together with Christ," set off on their bicycles and in this way participated in the preparations for the visit by Pope Benedict XVI to Croatia and National Family Day.

The yellow and white shirts that the bicyclists received at the beginning of the festival were the colors of the Vatican flag. A photograph of the young priest Karol Wojtyla with a bicycle clearly proclaimed how much the new beatus loved sports and "a healthy soul in a healthy body." The shirts were also marked with numbers, in commemoration of the 104 apostolic journeys taken by Pope John Paul II. The number on the shirt that each participant received connected him or her in prayer with a country the Pope had visited during his pontificate.

The assembled Zagreb bicyclists at the Hippodrome were greeted and blessed by Fra Darko Tepert, who continued riding with them and was the spiritual assistant for the whole event. As noted, the idea was to connect the Hippodrome, where the first encounter occurred between Pope John Paul II and the Croats in 1994, with the Pleso Airport, where the Pope landed during his first two visits to Croatia.

Stopping at churches and chapels, the participants read from the Pope's homilies and the mottos of encounters, recalling all five of the magnificent encounters between the Blessed John Paul II and the Croats in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina: 1994, 1998, 2003 in Croatia and 1997 and 2003 in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After the bicyclists set off, escorted by police motorcycles, the first stop was the Chapel of the Holy Angels and St. Joseph the Worker at Bundek. Passing through the New Zagreb parishes of Utrine, Travno and Dugave, they stopped at the wooden Church of St. Mark in Jakuševac, where they were greeted by Pastor Josip Kidjemet.

After prayer and brief meditation about the family, led by the director of Glas Koncila, Fr. Nedjeljko Pintarić, the bicyclists continued toward the Church of St. Benedict in Mičevac, where after prayer they all sang a favorite song of the Blessed John Paul II, Zdravo Djevo (Hail, Mary), which the Pope sang in 1998 with young people in Solin. The weather was very pleasant and sunny, so the ride from Mićevac to Velika Mlaka was delightful for both adults and children. The group that bicycled from Velika Gorica, starting from the picturesque Chapel of the Wounded Jesus at Pleso, arrived at their destination with Mayor Dražen Barišić.

After words of welcome from the pastor of the Church of St. Barbara in Velika Mlaka, Fr. Anđelko Kufrin, the celebration of the Mass in the church courtyard was led by Dr. Božidar Nagy, Postulator for the Cause of the Canonization of the Blessed Ivan Merz, who spoke in his sermon of the five main traits of the Blessed Merz, whose beatification was proclaimed by Pope John Paul II in the beatus' native Banja Luka. Since the bicycle festival was conceived as the first step in the manifestation of Merz's rosary during the month of May, Dr. Nagy urged those present to become better and more profoundly acquainted with the holy life of this young Croatian intellectual.

Following the Mass, there was music and entertainment, with the Tobija band from Siget. Tanja Popec spoke about the many beautiful moments that link the Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI with Croatia. Testimonies were presented from the beatification of the Blessed John Paul II in Rome. Those who did best in a quiz received prizes.

The media sponsors were the Postulature of the Blessed Ivan Merz, Glas Koncila and Mali koncil-Mak. The organizer was Christ's Table - European Missionary Initiative, which obtained all the necessary permits from the local authorities in Zagreb and Velika Gorica, assisted by volunteers and donors. (ika / gk)

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Post je objavljen 11.05.2011. u 01:10 sati.