Archbishop Henryk Hoser – Papal Envoy to Medugorje.
Yesterday I watched a very positive press conference from Medjugorije given by Papal Envoy to Medjugorje, Archbishop Henryk Hoser.
Archbishop Hoser is not there to comment on the authenticity of the apparitions. His role in the investigative commission is to focus more on the pastoral side of things.
First of all he spoke about the pastoral Initiatives now and for the future to tend to the needs of the many pilgrims who come and will be coming to Medjugorje. He spoke of the many “positive fruits” that have come, and continue to come from Medjugorje.
St James’ Church in Medjugorje.
“Not long ago, Medjugorje was not very well known. It was just a little place between two hills which is the meaning of the name “Medjugorje”. Today, Medjugorje is know throughout the whole world. Pilgrims are now coming from about 80 countries from all over the world. The significance of this place we can compare to Lourdes. 2.5 million pilgrims are coming here, in Lourdes there is 6 million people who come but that has been here for 150 and Medjugorje only 36 years. It is a time to make a first estimate and for the future growing of this place. Why so many people coming here? On one hand they have surely heard about the apparitions in Medjugorje taking place since 1981 on the other hand, those others who are coming are experiencing something extraordinary.”
“First, the atmosphere is an atmosphere of peace and reconciliation, and of inner peace and peace of the heart. Also what they discover is a huge space for profound religion and spirituality. They rediscover or discover what something sacred and Holy means.”
Priests line the front of the crowd during Medjugorje youth festival.
“In Medjugorje they encounter sacred time and sacred space. That sacred means specially reserved for something that is divine. Usually it says that Medjugorje is the place where we honor our lady and that is the truth. But if we look deeper we will see that actually it is all completely turned to worshiping Christ. For instance at the center is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, transmitting of the word of God, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, where one discovers the real presence of Jesus Christ and his Divinity and Character.”
“Some discover the prayer of the Rosary that is meditative prayer on the mysteries of our faith. And when they pray the way of the Cross they enter into the pascal mystery which is the mystery of passion death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
People queue for the Sacrament of Confession in some of the 61 confessionals in Medjugorje. The queues are regulary 10-15 people deep.
“I would like to conclude this with a question of the Holy Sacrament of Confession with the personal and personalized Sacrament. From the religious perspective, Medjugorje is a very fertile ground. During the pervious years we noticed and counted 610 priests with vocations that came from medjugorje with the greatest number from Italy, the US and Germany. When we are aware of crises of Vocations in those countries then we can see that there is something new, something that can touch us in a profound way. If we look at the distribution of Holy communion, which is the only way we can keep track of the number of pilgrims arriving here, then we can see there were were 37,000,000 Holy Communions that were administered pilgrims here since 1986 to today. And we can say that the number of pilgrims is greater because not that all those who come can receive Holy Communion.”
“When it comes to evaluating events in Medjugorje we should differentiate different areas. The first area is the parish. The parish takes care of people who live here people who work here and parish is already and then the number of those living in the parish has increased.”
Confession in Medjugorje.
“The parish in the previous century that built the way of the Cross on Cross Mountain was the parish that accepted Medjugorje. The story of the parish of Medjugorje that was written is also the phenomenon of the visionaries.”
“The second belongs to the pilgrims. Up to 2.5 each year that come and that number is also growing. Of course it is a huge challenge for priests who serve here and this phenomenon has grown to include the current infrastructure that needs to respond to the increase in pilgrims.”
Crowds often exceed 10,000 during outdoor Adoration in the summer months.
“The Chapel of Adoration, and the huge space in the back of the church was all added in time according to the amount of pilgrims that were coming here. On the other hand we see the development of this place. There are more and more hotels, and shops that reminds me a lot of Lourdes already. It might not be widely known but Lourdes is the largest hotel town after Paris. Maybe that is the future of Medjugorje in relation to Sarajevo.”
“The population is growing and what else is growing is the possibility of accommodating pilgrims.”
“The third area, In Medjugorje there are various humanitarian organizations and there are about 30 of them. Some are from Medjugorje with their roots here and some who have been founded other places who live here so that they could live the Phenomenon of Medjugorje.”
Sr. Elvira who founded the Cenacalo – a place where young men and woman can come to recover from drug addiction and prostitution and rebuild their lives based on Rosary and Eucharist.
“There have been things that were created here that were initiated from Franciscans like Mother’s village. It is worth visiting because it is about watching someone’s life in those difficult faces with orphans who have difficulties, addicts, men who are there because of drugs, because of alcohol and those who are disabled.”
Medjugorje international seminar for Priests.
“That is an expression of an act of love that is related to the faith. There is another thing that is very important and that is Domus Paces which is the house for silent retreat and spiritual exercises. We have more than 1000 to 2000 groups that have passed and more that 42,000 participants over these years. Those type of spiritual exercises transform people from the inside. And the seminars are yet another fruit of the Parish of Medjugorje. The seminars that are held each year and take place once a year already for 23 years are seminars that are open to everyone. And for 22 years it is exclusively for the formation of priests. For 17 years there is the seminar for married couples and for 4 years seminars for Doctors and medical professionals. Last year first year we had pro-life seminar that was organized for the protection of human life. And there is one for those with disabilities.”
“I would like to recommend to you to sign up for some of the seminars here in Medjugorje so that you would be able to discover something that you wouldn’t be able to dream about.”
Please visit http://marytv.tv/ to see the full press conference.
For pilgrimages please visit http://www.nationalmedjugorjemovement.com/