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Prayer Fraternity “Visitation”

The prayer fraternity Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth is a prayer community founded by Father Jozo Zovko at Široki Brijeg on the very feast of Visitation on 31 May 1993. This happened at the time of heavy war destructions and air raids during Father Jozo’s meeting with a group of pilgrims from America. To their question, “What can we do for you?”, Father Jozo answered, “Pray for us!”

On the same day the idea and the structure of the new prayer community took a more definite shape. Namely, we decided for everyone to take or get a partner in prayer and in this way to connect as a family, to visit our prayer brother in the daily recitation of the Rosary. We have selected a leader and animator of the whole movement. At the beginning it was Mrs Zdravka Pavičić, then Milka Misir, and today it is Sanijela Matković.

After Široki Brijeg, the Fraternity community was established in the USA as well, where the community coordinators were spouses Dan and Peg Fennel; soon after the movement spread to all continents. Today there are tens of branches of the Prayer Fraternity “Visitation” in 26 countries gathering 12,000 members.

The very name of the community suggests its basic apostolate, which is that by following Mary’s example who brought (and announced) God under her heart to Elizabeth, we, with our life (testimony) and spiritual commitment (prayer, fasting, etc.), ought to bring God into the life of the neighbour.

Apostolate Guidelines

Our programme includes:
- Daily prayer of the Rosary;
- Weekly meeting of the community with the spiritual father, which starts with the meditation on the latest message of the Queen of Peace, and continues with a joint prayer of the Rosary, litanies, holy Mass and the adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The meditation on the latest message is regularly read at our meetings.

As men we are prone to hear a message, as believers to go on pilgrimage, make our vows and offer our prayers and sacrifices to the Lord. Upon returning home many of us do next to nothing because they think they did everything during the pilgrimage. Our Lady starts stressing strongly: we ought to live the messages and according to the messages, to bear fruit and to bear witness.

The Queen of Peace wants a new apostolate and a fresh enthusiastic community that wants more. The sense of Our Lady’s apparitions is not in familiarising the Church with new and unknown events but rather in inciting, calling, and enthusing the Church for renewal, for conversion. Our Lady calls us to decide for the way of holiness.

Our prayer community has undertaken:

1. To respond to the call of the Queen of Peace, to accept the message and to live the messages in humbleness.

2. We have summarised the basic messages into the notion of FIVE STONES. It was with this weapon that David faced Goliath and the Philistines, and in the name of the Lord stopped their destructive power and wicked plans.

Our stones are:
- Prayer of the Rosary in the family, everyday prayer with the heart;
- Eucharist on Sundays and feasts, honour and adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament;
- The Bible, daily readings;
- Fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays;
- Monthly confession.

3. To turn to the neighbour and organise a common recitation of the Rosary and prayer groups in the parish community, hospitals, homes and the like.

4. To organise biblical meetings and daily learn how to break the bread of the Word of God.

5. Apostolate of peace and reconciliation in families and among people. It is especially necessary to emphasise and foster the culture of peace.

6. To consciously foster and spread our MARGARITA apostolate through the prayers for priests and priestly vocations, the prayers for the Holy Father and bishops.

7. Apostolate for unborn children.

Our apostolate is going on in special circumstances of the world and the Church. It calls for a high level of organisation and involvement in the common movement of Our Lady. From its members it demands perseverance. Enthusiasm easily deflates. Trials and obstacles are many and various; the shameless propaganda of the media forms public opinion, most often against Our Lady and the Church, priests and the Gospel.

Our prayer community, firmly relying on the messages and the tradition of the Church, believes in the almightiness of prayer. Our apostolate does not put first the spreading of the message through media or any other kind of propaganda; it rather puts the accent on living the messages. By living the messages we show and live Međugorje. This movement of Our Lady involves us in the most powerful movement in the Church today. It is becoming more and more the recognizable light of the world, the salt of the earth, the leaven to the dough of our generation.

Since the Visitation exists on three continents and there is no possibility for joint meetings of all members, all branches commit themselves to a single programme apostolate, which allows us a joint spiritual development. In this way all branches have the same programme of activity:

The Activity of the Prayer Fraternity “Visitation”

1. All communities have a weekly meeting on Thursdays, which consists of:
- a one-hour prayer meeting of the Visitation members (in the small chapel) at which we have: catechesis on the latest message of Our Lady (spiritual father), the rosary of Jesus’ mercy, and the prayer for the intention of those who have recommended themselves in our prayers (by fax, letter, e-mail and the like).
- prayer of the Rosary (with the congregation in the church) with meditations, followed by the celebration of the holy Eucharist, and the adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

2. Annual Conventions

Although the members of the fraternity keep in touch (through letters, some of them even visiting each other), every year on the feast of Visitation we have a Convention of the Prayer Community (two-day retreats) at Široki Brijeg and Međugorje. Taking part in the conventions are the representatives of all branches, which allows us an exchange of information, constructive proposals, projects, etc. But first and foremost, what one does here is personal soul-searching: Have I responded to the call and what am I to do next?!

3. The Fruits of the Apostolate
The fruits of our apostolate are recognisable and gracious: actual healings (physical and spiritual), conversions, return to the Church, return to the family, etc.
The greatest mercy is, in fact, that we have responded to the call of the Queen of Peace and have become, through this apostolate, “a weapon in God’s hands” by which He transforms the world into the “image” in which He first created it and in which He wants it to be!

4. What is necessary for the establishment of the Prayer Fraternity “Visitation”?

- In the first place, what is needed is a spiritual father – a priest who will take over the spiritual leadership of the community members. Namely, the spiritual father of the movement is Father Jozo Zovko, but every community has got its own spiritual father.

- A place for the assembly of the members (a chapel or a church).

- A coordinator (a layman or a priest), i.e. a person who will keep the necessary records.
Through the coordinator all the community members receive the information about vows, intentions, monthly meditations and the intentions to Our Lady’s message, records of the members and their prayer brothers, and the like.


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