ARCHBISHOP DOM HENRYK HOSER APOSTOLIC VISITOR ON EXPANSION OF MEDJUGORJE SANCTUARY – We are building a new Medjugorje!

– Miguel Augusto (*)

Medjugorje will be raised as a Marian Shrine and plans are underway for the extension of the existing sanctuary, said Polish Archbishop Henryk Hoser, apostolic visitor to Medjugorje. The faithful followers of Our Lady in Medjugorje are filled with joy with the support that is being given by the Vatican and by Pope Francis, where it is increasingly concluded that Our Lady speaks to us here for the whole humanity, in a way that has never done in the past, and in any other geographic region.

The Vatican’s Apostolic Visitor sent by Pope Francis to support the pilgrims and look after the expansion of the parish, recently spoke of plans to elevate Medjugorje to a Marian Shrine: “we are hiring architects, we are building a new Medjugorje!”. In this enthusiastic way, the special Envoy of Pope Francis for Medjugorje highlighted changes that will take place as a result of his mission in an interview with Darko Pavičić for the Bosnian newspaper Večernji list (Vecernji.hr) earlier this year, and emphasized the importance of the attention and care of the Holy Father, for the pastoral development that takes place in Medjugorje.

The Church thus shows that the time has come to create the structures and conditions, to give pastoral support and spiritual hospitality to so many pilgrims coming from different corners of the planet. Archbishop Henryk Hoser emphasized “an important argument in favor of Medjugorje is the statistics. We see the number of pilgrims increasing, not only that the pilgrims come from all over the world, but after returning home, they do everything to continue living the spirit they have discovered here.”

Henryk Hoser praised the development of the liturgy and other forms of devotion carried out by the Franciscans, who are all “correct from the point of view of the teachings of the Church and liturgical regulations.” On the spiritual aspect, he intends to continue working in the formation of catechesis for pilgrims, congresses, seminaries, retreats, spiritual reforms for priests, friars, etc. As for structural improvements, he said that “there is already a group of architects preparing projects to cover the external altar and the construction of a perpetual Adoration Chapel.” The plan is to develop a space for liturgical celebrations, which will be covered to protect pilgrims from the weather, such as the summer heat and the winter cold, the prelate added.

On the other hand, Hoser highlighted the good collaboration with the Franciscan brothers who serve the parish of Medjugorje, valuing their great experience as guides of the sanctuary: “I would say that we have sincere and fruitful cooperation.”

During his second stay in Medjugorje, which he uses to further familiarize himself with this complex and rich reality, Henryk Hoser highlighted two aspects of his mission: on the one hand, the spiritual level that reaches here a great depth, and the second point is the material development: “the infrastructure currently available is very simple compared to the number of pilgrims, not only from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and other Balkan countries, but from all over the world.”

As for the visionaries, Archbishop Henryk Hoser said he had not been with them since his first visit to Medjugorje, “the next meeting will be in the future. I spoke with some of them during the first visit. My special function is not to investigate the apparitions or the dogmatic aspect of these apparitions, but only the pastoral attention.”

On the similarities of the apparitions of Medjugorje with those of Rwanda, where he had been destined for years, he stated that, according to the seers in both places, the apparitions began in 1981; in Medjugorje in June and in Rwanda in November of the same year. In both places, peace was lacking. The war in the Balkans was hard and difficult, and in Rwanda it was a civil war, a genocide, which lasted four years and also had its tragic consequences.”

Asked about Cardinal Camillo Ruini’s report on Medjugorje, he said that it is not officially published, so he cannot comment on the report. On the other hand, the report prepared by him, sent last year, was “a great report and was positive. And now I am able to confirm last year’s report and expand it with the changes I have found; new elements that I have seen and that I had not commented on in the last report.”

Archbishop Henryk Hoser was also very explicit in referring to the faith of the Croatian people: “Faith is a very powerful part of the identity of man and of the Croatian society. For the Croats, the Catholic faith is a very powerful aspect that saved the existence of their society during the last centuries that were very difficult, for example, during the Turkish occupation. I think that the number of Croats who come here confirms their attachment to the Catholic faith, they have a deep faith and full of enthusiasm. This is the identity of the Croatians, and not only of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but also of the Republic of Croatia and other neighbouring countries, because the languages are similar in Serbia, Slovenia, etc. And that’s their common denomination.”

Finally, the journalist pointed out the symbolism of the accommodation for Archbishop Hoser, the old parochial office where Father Jozo Zovko hid the children and where there were also several apparitions. The archbishop concluded with the following message: “Let us pray together for the final decision on these events, and for a final decision to be made as long as we live.”

Last December, Archbishop Hoser visited the radio MIR in Medjugorje, and also gave an interview which was conducted by Sanja Pehar. He revealed that in Medjugorje we find a resemblance to the apparitions of Fatima, giving us curious data: “The title Queen of Peace was introduced in a Litany by Pope Benedict XV in 1917, the same year of the apparitions of Fatima during the First World War and in the year of the Russian revolution. We see how God is present in human history and sends us Our Lady to be close to us.”

Hoser said that the role of Mary is truly great in his life, and recalled that Polish devotion was always Marian “let us not forget that in the middle of the seventeenth century the Mother of God was proclaimed Queen of Poland.” Hoser recalled that it was also a political act, confirmed by the king and the parliament, and added “in all Christian houses in Poland you will find an image of Our Lady.” To conclude how Marian is the Polish people, the apostolic visitor shared a historical curiosity: “The oldest religious site in Polish language is in the Middle Ages and is consecrated exactly to Our Lady. All the Polish knights had a Marian sign on their armor.”

Hoser is archbishop emeritus of Warsaw-Prague (Poland) was appointed Apostolic Visitor on May 31, 2018 for an indefinite period and ad nutum Sanctae Sedis.

With the apparitions that have been going on for more than 37 years – still open today – the Church, which have been studying and accompanying these apparitions, can not yet give a final verdict, regarding an official approval of the authenticity of this private revelation, as was done in the case of Lourdes and Fatima.

Evidence of the inner transformation of those who visit Medjugorje, and there are touched in an “inexplicable” way by God, proves to us the countless testimonies of conversion, miracles and vocations fruit of the presence of Our Lady in this “village between mountains” as the name Medjugorje indicates.

Queen of Peace, pray for us!

(*) with Gabriel Paulino and centromedjugorje.org.

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