July 22, 2018, marked an important moment in the history of the parish of Medjugorje.
Archbishop Henryk Hoser, recently appointed as Apostolic Visitor to Medjugorje by Pope Francis, celebrated Sunday Mass at St. James Church among thousands of locals and pilgrims and dozens of priests.
“It was unbelievable,” said Medjugorje guide and translator Miki Musa, who translated Archbishop Hoser’s homily into English, among the many other language translations that were broadcast. “It almost felt like a dream to see a person who came in the name of the Holy Father standing at the altar in Medjugorje.”
“In my opinion, said Musa, “this is the greatest event to take place in Medjugorje in the past 37 years, after June 24, 1981 when the apparitions first began. We are all so grateful. I had to stop my translation for a moment and take a deep breath. He said such powerful words.”
The Papal Nuncio of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Msgr. Luigi Pezzuto, accompanied Hoser and read a letter from Pope Francis announcing Hoser’s appointment in Medjugorje.
Fr. Miljenko, Medjugorje parish priest, introduced Msgr. Hoser at the service. “Dear Archbishop Hoser,” said Fr. Miljenko. “In this grace-filled moment, I am greeting you most sincerely on behalf of all of us gathered here! In the name of the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina, I wish you a blessed stay with us in the mission that was entrusted to you by the Holy Father, Pope Francis.”
Archbishop Hoser shared a beautiful sermon which touched on the reasons for coming to Medjugorje as a pilgrim:
“Pilgrims come to Medjugorje from faraway regions, from approximately 80 countries of the world. . . ,” he said. “. . . Let us now ask the fundamental question: Why do so many people come to Medjugorje every year? The clear answer is this: they come to meet someone, to meet God, to meet Christ, to meet His Mother. And then to discover the path that leads to the joy of living in the house of the Father and of the Mother; and ultimately to discover the Marian way as the more certain and sure one. This is the path of the Marian devotion that has been taking place here for years.”
Later in his homily, Archbishop Hoser said, “This is what the people’s devotion in Medjugorje looks like: in the center is the Holy Mass, Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the sacrament of Reconciliation. And all of this followed by other forms of devotion: the Rosary and the Way of the Cross, which have turned what in the beginning used to be sharp stones into smooth paths.”
Last year, around two million people from more than a hundred countries from all over the world visited Medjugorje last year, and the locals expect that with Archbishop Hoser’s presence in Medjugorje, the numbers could increase. Archbishop Hoser was sent by Pope Francis for his new official post there of Apostolic Visitor.
Archbishop Hoser made a point to invite all believers to go to Medjugorje, if they are able, and to receive spiritualrenewal. “I would highly recommend it. I would say that it is the pilgrimage of spiritual change, conversion, and strengthening of faith – you can experience all of that there.”
For an update on the Catholic Church’s stance on Medjugorje, click on the following article:
Are the Medjugorje Apparitions Real? What Does the Church, the Vatican, Say about Medjugorje?
The above information was taken from Queen of Peace Productions and Sarajevo Times and edited by Christine Watkins.