Given the “considerable affluence of people “ that go to Medjugorje and the “abundant fruits of grace,” Pope Francis authorized pilgrimages to Medjugorje, “always being careful to avoid that those pilgrimages are interpreted as an authentication of the known events, which still require an examination on the part of the Church.”
So said Alessandro Gisotti, interim Director of the Holy See Press Office on Sunday, May 12, 2019, according to reports of Monsignor Henryk Hoser, Apostolic Visitor of special character for the parish of Medjugorje and the Apostolic Nunciature in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the place where the Virgin’s apparitions are taking place.
Henceforth, pilgrimages will be officially organized by dioceses and parishes, and will no longer be carried out “privately,” as has been the case up to now. However, Gisotti clarified, “such pilgrimages must avoid creating confusion or ambiguity in the doctrinal aspect. This also concerns the Pastors of all Orders and degrees who intend to go to Medjugorje and to celebrate or concelebrate there also in a solemn way.”
In approving the pilgrimages, the Pope took into account the “considerable affluence” of people that go to Medjugorje and the “abundant fruits of grace” that emanate from it, so that “this disposition is part of the particular pastoral care, which the Holy Father intended to give that reality, destined to foster and promote fruits of goodness.”
Special Apostolic Visitor
The Pontiff’s decision comes one year after the appointment of Monsignor Hoser, Archbishop Emeritus of Warszawa-Praga in Poland, as Special Apostolic Visitor for the parish of Medjugorje, for an indefinite period and ad nutum Sanctae Sedis,” at the disposition of the Holy See, and which took place on May 31, 2018, reported “Vatican News.”
Therefore, both the appointment as well as today’s announcement don’t enter into doctrinal questions related to the authenticity of the history of the six visionaries on what has occurred in Medjugorje since June of 1981, a phenomenon yet to be concluded.
Thus, continued the Director of the Press Office, “in keeping with the Ordinaries of the places,” the Apostolic Visitor “will have greater ease in establishing relations with the priests in charge of organizing pilgrimages to Medjugorje, as safe and well-prepared persons, offering them information and indications to be able to lead such pilgrimages fruitfully.”
The Virgin’s apparitions in the small village of Medjugorje (Bosnia-Herzegovina) began in 1981, when the visionaries — six youngsters between ten and sixteen years of age, saw the Virgin Mary on the hill.
Since 1981, Medjugorje has become a spiritual phenomenon, which has attracted to this village millions of pilgrims from countries of five continents and who in turn have taken to their countries of origin the spirituality learned there, derived from the Virgin Mary’s messages.
The Church follows with openness and at the same time prudence, the development of the events.