V. Family day in Bosnia and Herzegovina and II. World day of grandparents and the elderly

On Sunday, July 31st, the 5th Family Day in BiH was solemnly celebrated in the parish of the Holy Family in Kupres. This also marked II. World day of grandparents and the elderly.

The Holy Mass celebration, which gathered many believers, was led by the archbishop of Vrhbosna in peace, cardinal Vinko Puljić with the concelebration of 13 priests, among whom were: the president of the Bishops' Conference of BiH, the Archbishop of Vrhbosna, Metropolitan Tomo Vukšić, the bishop of Mostar-Duvno and the apostolic administrator of Trebinje-Mrkan, Petar Palić, the president of the Council for the Family of the BK BiH and the auxiliary bishop of Banja Luka Marko Semren as well as the parish priest of Kupres rev. Tomislav Mlakić.

At the beginning, cardinal Puljić blessed the new doors of the parish church and the stained glass windows above them, the work of academic painter, dean of the Academy of Fine Arts in Široki Brijeg, Svetislav Cvetković.

Introducing into the Holy Mass celebration, the Cardinal said that this Eucharist is for all families, especially nowadays when many things are turned against family values. Also, “we will remember all grandparents in a special way”, said the archbishop in peace.

What is the most important thing in a family?

In the special sermon delivered by Msgr. Vukšić, he highlighted the privilege and honor of spouses, which are reflected in the creation of new images and opportunities of God. They continue God's work of creation and, therefore, “it is in human nature and in accordance with God's will that every child should be wanted and loved. And against that, it is an educational thought that 'there is little that is as tragic in human life as a child that is not wanted. Because what should have been a blessing becomes a curse for the child and the parent' (M. L. King Jr.). The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. And the most important thing a mother can do for her children is to love their father. And the most important thing that the two of them can do together for their children is that their children see and know that they love each other and that they grow up in such a family environment. Because, although material goods are very important for human life, Jesus divinely tells us: 'No matter how much someone abounds, his life is not in what he owns' (Lk 12:15)”, said Archbishop Tomo. He continued with his speech about family happiness, pointing out that it requires not only a house, but also a home built by the heart.

Respect for your own happiness

He then encouraged the children to listen to their parents by referring to the fourth commandment of God. “The word 'respect' in biblical speech means 'glory, value, literally 'weight', the value of some reality. It is not about external forms, but about the truth. Respecting God in the Holy Scriptures means acknowledging his reality, counting on his presence; this is also expressed through rituals, but above all it implies giving God the place that belongs to him in one's own life. Respecting father and mother therefore means recognizing their importance also through concrete actions that express loyalty, affection and care”, quoted Msgr. Vukšić Pope Francis from Catechesis at the general audience on September 19th 2018. He continued by clarifying the words of St. Paul to whom he says: “Children, listen to your parents in the Lord because that is just. Honor your father and mother - that's the first commandment with a promise: that you may be well and that you may live long on earth. And you, fathers, do not be angry with your children, but bring them up in the discipline and understanding of the Lord!” (Eph 6:1-4). "Therefore, it is a biblical teaching to respect father and mother, not only because of the debt to those who gave birth to us, but also for the sake of our own happiness”, said Archbishop Tomo

Grandparents are a blessing

Given that this occasion also marked II. World Grandparents' Day, the archbishop of Vrhbosna also referred to the importance of older members in the family. He spoke about how Jesus was also born in a family in which he also had grandparents Joakim and Ana, and with whose holiday the Church has decided to celebrate the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly from 2021. “This year, it is under the motto Bringing forth a family even in old age (Ps 92:15). Yes, that's right: They bear fruit even in old age. Because someone is a grandfather only because he is the father of someone's father or someone's mother, and someone is a grandmother only because she gave birth to someone's mother or someone's father. And thanks only to them, there are sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters. They are like a tree planted in the past on which our present blooms. If they weren't there, we wouldn't exist or bear fruit. And that is precisely why everyone owes their grandparents a great deal of gratitude”, Archbishop Tomo concluded.

The Holy Mass celebration was animated by the parish choir from Tomislavgrad under the direction of Petar Tokić.

At the end of the Holy Mass, parish priest Mlakić also addressed the gathered and gave words of thanks. He also remembered those who could not come due to illness, but were in communion with the faithful through the airwaves of Radiotelevision of Herceg-Bosna and Laudato TV, which broadcast the Holy Mass live. At the end, he thanked the families who donated the stained glass windows, and cardinal Puljić handed them their printed replica.

Let's also mention that the day before, on Saturday, July 30th, the Holy Mass was celebrated by Msgr. Semren, who after the Eucharistic celebration also led the adoration of the Holy Altar Sacrament with appropriate considerations.