Commemorative medals from points of interest in CZ
coinage 006HR

The Blessed Alojzije Stepinac and Marija Bistrica

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The Zagreb archbishop and car- dinal the blessed Alojzije Stepinac (1937'1960), as a devoted won shiper of the Mother of God, was connected with the shrine of the Mother of God of Bistrica. He used to walk from Zagreb at the head of the Zagreb pilgrims, to preach in Marija Bistrica, and he encouraged all the faithful to greater piety to- wards the Blessed Virgin Mary in his circular letters. In 1939, he invited Croatian bishops, priests and believ- ers to support the organization of the Bistrica shrine. The same year, lead' ing a pilgrimage to Rome on the OC' casion of the 1300th anniversary of the first links of the Croatian people with the Holy See, he announced the devotion of the Croatian people to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the building of the Bistrica Calvary with the Stations of the the Cross. On the last Sunday of October, on the feast of Jesus the King, in 1939, he laid the foundation-stone for the chapel of St Peter, at the foot of the mount below the basilica and the parish building, which would be used for giving Communion during mass pilgrimages. The chapel of St Peter is today a chapel for votive gifts, and sometimes it serves as a solemn hall for various meetings.

Archbishop Stepinac’s vow to Mary Jesus’s Mother
“We promise to remain your faithful and sincere admirers! Faithful while our small streams murmur, our rivers roar, while our dear sea foams!
Faithful until our meadows gleam green, while our meadows shine golden, while our dark woods cast a shadow,
while the flowers of our country smell sweet. ”

The first magnificent pilgrim’s meeting after the end of the Second World War took place on August 15, 1971. That was at the end of the Vlth International Congress of Mary (August 6 to 12, 1971 in Zagreb) and the Mary’s XHIth Inten national Congress from August 12 to 14 in Zagreb, and August 15,1971 in Marija Bistrica. Both congresses were organized by the Papal Acad' emy of Mary in Rome at the head of which was the Croatian Jesuit f. Karlo Balic for many years. The Em charist celebration was led by Pope Paul Vi’s envoy, cardinal Franjo Seper, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (19684981) and a previous Zagreb archbishop (19604968). The Em charist was celebrated by a then ah most inconceivable number of wor^ shipers in communist countries, 150.000 pilgrims.
During the celebration, the very Holy Father Paul VI. (19634978) spoke to the gathered pilgrims by means of radio Vatican. The same pope donated the golden chalice to the Bistrica shrine.