Queen of Peace Productions reports from Medjugorje
In a move that many consider to be a major step towards official recognition of Medjugorje as a shrine, Pope Francis today appointed recently-retired Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Poland as Special Apostolic Visitor to the parish of Medjugorje.
Announcing the news on May 31, 2018, the feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary, the Vatican declared that Monsignor Hoser would take up residence in Medjugorje in his new role “for an indefinite period and ad nutum Sanctae Sedis,” which means “at the disposal of the Holy See.”
Queen of Peace Productions/Stella Mar Films is in Medjugorje now. We spoke with both locals and pilgrims today to get their reactions about the news (and we will post a video report about it soon).
The mood here in Medjugorje is overwhelmingly jubilant, with many recalling the positive comments Archbishop Hoser made during and after his appointment by Pope Francis as papal envoy to Medjugorje last year.
“The devotion of Medjugorje is allowed. It’s not prohibited, and need not be done in secret,” had said to Catholic news organization Aleteia. “Today, dioceses and other institutions can organize official pilgrimages. It’s no longer a problem. The decree of the former episcopal conference of what used to be Yugoslavia, which, before the Balkan war, advised against pilgrimages in Medjugorje organized by bishops, is no longer relevant.
“I am full of admiration for the work the Franciscans are doing there. With a relatively small team—there is only a dozen of them—they do a huge job of welcoming pilgrims. Every summer they organize a youth festival. This year, there were 50,000 young people from around the world, with more than 700 priests.
“There is a massive number of confessions. They have about 50 confessionals, which are not enough. These are very deep confessions.
“This is a phenomenon. And what confirms the authenticity of the place is the large amount of charitable institutions that exist around the sanctuary. And another aspect as well: the great effort that is being made at the level of Christian formation. Each year, they organize conferences at different levels, for various audiences – priests, doctors, parents, young people, couples.
“What I find touching is that all the seers have turned to family life. In our day and age, the family is of enormous importance. All of them have a family. Those who were teenagers at the time, are already grandmothers; 37 years have passed!”
CORPUS CHRISTI PROCESSION
In addition to the announcement coming on a Marian feast day, the parish of Medjugorje also celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi today. Per tradition, the priests led thousands of parishioners and pilgrims through the village in a Eucharistic procession. Locals placed candles and statues outside their shops and homes along the route, and the crowd was so immense that police had to block traffic as the procession made its way through town.
The Vatican issued a statement describing Monsignor Hoser’s duty as an “exclusively pastoral task, in continuity with the mission of the Holy See’ special envoy of the parish of Medjugorje, entrusted to Monsignor Hoser on 11 February 2017 and concluded by him in recent months.”
His new mission, according to the Vatican, is “to ensure a stable and continuous accompaniment of the parish community of Medjugorje and of the faithful who go there on pilgrimage, whose needs require special attention.”
The local bishop of Mostar has been vocal in his opposition to Medjugorje, although an enormous number of other clergy throughout the world express belief in the apparitions. According to news source Vatican Insider, Hoser’s appointment represents a solution to this problem that was suggested by the Ruini Report, the result of an investigation into Medjugorje begun by Pope Benedict XVI and led by Cardinal Camillo Ruini (read the report here).
According to Vatican Insider:
When the commission concluded its work – with a positive judgment on the supernatural nature of the phenomenon at least in the first weeks of apparitions and the proposal to separate Medjugorje from the diocese of Mostar transforming it into a shrine under the direct control of the Holy See – the results were put into the hands of Pope Francis, who repeatedly publicly showed appreciation for the work and its conclusions.
The choice of the Polish bishop by now emeritus represents a first step in the solution indicated by the Ruini commission, that is the Holy See taking over the pastoral accompaniment of the millions of people who visit the small village of Herzegovina, which became famous in June 1981 for the most numerous Marian apparitions in history.
We will continue to report from Medjugorje as this story develops.
MORE FROM QUEEN OF PEACE PRODUCTIONS
- Experience Medjugorje through the award-winning film Apparition Hill and the bestselling book My Heart Will Triumph.
- See videos of recent apparitions in Medjugorje by Stella Mar Films.
- Join our free mailing list to receive Medjugorje messages and news.
- Queen of Peace Productions and Stella Mar Films are also currently working on two new films: Cross Mountain and Where There Is Darkness. Please consider supporting our mission to bring God’s love to those who need it most.