Interview: Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic, Director of Mother's Village
Mother's Village is an institution for education and care for children and youth, and it exists since 1993. in Bijakovici, parish Medjugorje. Its founder was Fr. Slavko Barbaric. The present director of Mother's Village is Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic. We spoke with him about Christmas in Mother's Village and about the past year.
Fr. Svetozar, how are you preparing for Christmas in Mother's Village?
Fra Svetozar: There are several elements. Children try to finish as good as possible this semester in school, try to have good marks. There are also some practical questions to solve. We were discussing about which children should go home for Christmas, who should not go home for Christmas, who can, who cannot… We also have to decide which collaborators are staying to take care of them during the holydays. This is quite a complex organization. Our team was working intensely these days.
How was the last year in Mother's Village?
Fra Svetozar: It was full of life, full of events. When we say Mother's Village, we mean the Children's village with 54 children, but we also mean the Kindergarten, the Community of the Merciful Father, and the Community of Mother Krispina for unprotected women with problems. There is one particular woman and her two children from Ljubuški who, I believe so, shall have a better Christmas than before. She was with us during two months, and this was her way to tell her husband: "Go and be cured from alcohol, go and change your life", and during these two months, he really realized that he has to change his life. This year, for the first time after many years, this family will have Christmas without alcohol. There are other people, women, mothers, children, who will have a clean, spiritual, God's Christmas. There are also boys who will not spend Christmas on the street.
What is most important for you in the work with children?
Fra Svetozar: In Children's Village, we were trying all this time in a practical way to organize a meaningful and creative daily life. Television cannot fill life in a meaningful way. We organize singing and artistic sections, and off course school and sport. We always pay attention to prayer.
Recently, someone told me: "If we seek happiness for ourselves, we shall never find it. If we seek happiness for someone next to us, if we try to make happy the person next to us, then we shall find happiness for ourselves and for the one next to us." This is how I wish to all a good, blessed and holy Christmas!
Dragana Dugandžic i Ivana Zovko