“Medjugorje is a reference of international prayer, where one touches extraordinary spiritual fruits. I’m referring, for instance, to conversions, to priestly and religious vocations, and to incessant Confessions. I don’t think there is a trace of heresy,” said Monsignor Henryk Hoser, Archbishop Emeritus of Warsaw-Prague (Poland), “Apostolic Visitor of special character” for the parish of Medjugorje (Bosnia-Herzegovina), sent by Pope Francis in May 2018 for an indeterminate time and at the disposition of the Holy See (ad nutum Sanctae Sedis).
A year after the start of his mission (July 22, 2018), Monsignor Hoser pointed out that it was “an intense year, under the sign of Our Lady,” in an interview on July 23, 2019, with the daily “Avvenire” of the Italian Episcopal Conference. This mission is in continuity with that of Special Envoy of the Holy See, which Monsignor Hoser received from the Pope on February 11, 2017, after the conclusions of the investigation on the Marian apparition phenomena presumed in this place.
Medjugorje is a small village of Herzegovina where, since June of 1981, six young people (now adults) say they see the Virgin Mary and receive Her messages. Every year, over two million people go there. Last May, Pope Francis authorized pilgrimages to this place, which, however, must not be “interpreted as an authentication of the known events, which still call for an examination by the Church.”
“People say they feel Our Lady’s presence,” underscored Monsignor Hoser. “It’s a blessed place of encounter and dialogue with the Lord through the Virgin, marked by silence, the Rosary, meditation, catechesis, the celebration of the Sacraments, in particular, the Eucharist and that of Reconciliation.”
“Today, my mission in Medjugorje is to accompany the pilgrims who come from all the Continents and to be at their side. The most numerous are the Italian and Poles. However, there are pilgrims from eighty different countries. In the course of the last weeks, for instance, an international retreat for priests took place with over four hundred priests from forty nations, who were all received for free in private homes,” he continued.
The Archbishop also mentioned the activities of the “Mother’s Village” — a reception center for the needy — which has existed since the War of the 90s in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It’s “a reality that meets wounded humanity and shows how devotion to the Virgin is translated by charity,” explained Monsignor Hoser.
As to the witnesses of the apparitions, they now lead a normal life: “They are married. They have founded families. They have children. Some are already grandparents. To live, they have also dedicated themselves to receiving the faithful.” According to the Apostolic Visitor, it’s necessary to “foster courses of formation” to avoid drifts.
A sign of encouragement is the Pope’s Vicar for Rome, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, who will open an international youth festival in Medjugorje. The thirtieth edition of the summer manifestation entitled “Mladifest,” will begin on August 1 with a Mass at 7:00 pm presided over by Cardinal De Donatis. The days, whose theme is “Follow Me,” which will end on August 6, will be marked by prayer, catechesis, testimonies, the recitation of the Rosary and the Eucharist.