Pope appoints Special Envoy to Medjugorje

Discussion in 'General discussion' started by David, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. David

    David Well-Known Member

    Although this is already being widely reported, I thought I should include this announcement on this forum.

    Vatican appoints pastoral envoy to Medjugorje
    February 11, 2017 8:21 AM

    Archbishop Henryk Hoser​

    Vatican City, Feb 11, 2017 / 09:21 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Saturday appointed Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warszawa-Praga as a delegate of the Holy See to look into the pastoral situation at Medjugore, the site of alleged Marian apparitions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    “The mission has the aim of acquiring a deeper knowledge of the pastoral situation there and above all, of the needs of the faithful who go there in pilgrimage, and on the basis of this, to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future,” stated a Feb. 11 communique from the Vatican Secretariat of State.

    “The mission will therefore have an exclusively pastoral character,” it added.

    Greg Burke, the Holy See press officer, strenuously reiterated the pastoral, and not doctrinal, nature of Archbishop Hoser's mission, while speaking at a press conference.

    “The special envoy won’t enter into the substance of the Marian apparitions, which is a doctrinal question in the competency of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” he said.

    The alleged apparitions originally began June 24, 1981, when six children in Medjugorje, a town in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina, began to experience phenomena which they have claimed to be apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    According to these six “seers,” the apparitions contained a message of peace for the world, a call to conversion, prayer and fasting, as well as certain secrets surrounding events to be fulfilled in the future.

    These apparitions are said to have continued almost daily since their first occurrence, with three of the original six children – who are now young adults – continuing to receive apparitions every afternoon because not all of the “secrets” intended for them have been revealed.

    Since their beginning, the alleged apparitions have been a source of both controversy and conversion, with many flocking to the city for pilgrimage and prayer, and some claiming to have experienced miracles at the site, while many others claim the visions are non-credible.

    In April 1991, the bishops of the former Yugoslavia determined that “on the basis of the research that has been done, it is not possible to state that there were apparitions or supernatural revelations.”

    On the basis of those findings the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith directed in October 2013 that clerics and the faithful “are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such 'apparitions' would be taken for granted.”

    In January 2014, a Vatican commission completed an investigation into the supposed apparitions' doctrinal and disciplinary aspects, and was to have submitted its findings to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    When the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will have analyzed the commission's findings, it will finalize a document on Medjugorge, which will be submitted to the Pope, who will make a final decision.

    Pope Francis visited Bosnia and Herzegovina in June 2015, but declined to stop at Medjugorje during his trip.

    During his return flight to Rome, he indicated that the process of investigation in the apparitions was nearly complete.

    When journalists noted this point at Saturday's press conference, Burke responded that the doctrinal question of the alleged apparitions “are still being studied … this is neither a recognition nor a negative judgement. That is always a doctrinal question separate from this, which is pastoral. If you read [the communique], you can’t read any doctrinal judgement” in the pastoral appointment of Archbishop Hoser.

    Rather than being involved in the doctrinal questions, Archbishop Hoser's mission is a matter of “people’s needs,” Burke emphasized: “pastoral life, liturgy, catechesis, sacraments and the experience of devotion they have there,” but not the management of local parishes.

    “It’s important to note that it’s not an apostolic visitation,” Burke concluded. “Look at the words. This is more 'for' than 'against'. It’s for the life of the pilgrims who go there.”

    Archbishop Hoser will remain Bishop of Warszawa-Praga, and is expected to complete his role at Medjugorje by the summer.

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2017
  2. davidtlig

    davidtlig Administrator

    Archbishop Hoser: "I believe in Mary, in all of her manifestations"

    Following his appointment as the Holy Father's ''special envoy" to Medjugorje, Archbishop Henryk Hoser has given a short interview to the Italian website LaFede Quotidiana.

    He was asked if he had expected his commission and replied that he didn't know the reason why Pope Francis assigned him the post. "Of course, I am grateful," he continued "I 'will give it all my comittment. The mission does not alarm me."

    Questioned about being defined a 'conservative' bishop Msgr Hoser said, "I do not define myself in that way. Rather, I am a man of the Church who seeks to be faithful to the Word, to doctrine and tradition, to all the documents . If this means 'conservative', then I'm conservative."

    The Polish prelate then agreed that the people of Poland generally nourish a positive feeling towards Medjugorje and added: "The Catholics of this nation, which is deeply Marian, have a positive view about Medjugorje and a lot of them go there, as from other nations, so this means something. But I will not deal with theological aspects or apparitions, only with the Pontifical commission. My task is pastoral."

    Archbishop Hoser is noted for his defence and promotion of family values and confirmed the Virgin's role in this. It's true. It is very important to invoke Mary for the protection of the family, formed by a man and a woman united by the sacrament of marriage. At Medjugoije we find the Rosary, Eucharistic adoration, fasting and penance are present, and these encourage the development of faith.

    Asked about the 'fruits' of Medjugoije the 'special envoy" reiterated that his role is confined to pastoral issues and not doctrine, :"not to the issue of truthfulness". He added. 'With regard to the fruit in souls. I find positive. By fruits I mean the practice of the sacraments, conversions, change of life, participation in the Mass. This is what happens at Mediugorje - we cannot deny it or do without it pastorally.

    Asked about his recent recovery from maleria and the rumour that he had prayed to Our Lady of Medjugoije, archbishop Hoser responded: "I contracted maleria in Africa. I have prayed to the Virgin. I believe in Mary, in all her manifestations.

  3. David

    David Well-Known Member

    High number of pilgrims at Medjugorje is a challenge to the Church says Pope's special envoy

    In a telephone interview with Vatican Radio on Monday, Archbishop Henryk Hoser explained his "special envoy" appointment as an example of the Holy Father's concern for the situation in Medjugoije to be clear and orderly, and as the Pope's envoy he is able to assess the situation on the ground and recognise any opportunties that arise. "Above all", he added "it is about regular, pastoral reception of the millions of pilgrims coming to Medjugoije. This high number is a challenge for the Church and a call to improve the reception if possible."

    Msgr Hoser also spoke of two crucial aspects regarding Medjugoije. "On the one hand are the phemomena and are the messages of the Mother of God genuine? This was the subject of the investigation by the special commission led by Cardinal Ruini. The second aspect is that which has been entrusted to me: it is about organising pastoral care, in agreement and harmony with the ecclesiastical hierarchy on the ground."

    "Yes, I know there is opposition - or rather, we say, disagreement - but I cannot say anything in detail because I have never been to Medjugoije. This is where I can appear as someone who is neutral in this conflict."

    Asked if his proposals might include the appointment of an apostolic administrator for Medjugoije, the Pope's envoy said "Yes, this is not impossible. Perhaps one will have to supplement the structure of the hierarchy on the ground so that initiatives can be better coordinated and thus more effective. I must confirm that these are only hypotheses."

    Msgr Hoser added that he did not know when his report to Pope Francis, or any other, would be published.

    Prayer answered says parish priest

    Medjugorje's parish priest Marinko Sakota responded to the the news of the appointment of a special envoy saying: "This is an answer to prayer, a moment of grace and joy, and also a time of great responsibility for the parish of Medjugorje."

  4. David

    David Well-Known Member

    Archbishop Henryk Hoser: We should not be worried about Medjugorje!
    [​IMG] Konrad Sawicki | Mar 15, 2017

    “If Marian devotion has flourished in Medjugorje, if such multitudes arrive there, it is therefore a place where veneration will continue, since Our Lady can be venerated everywhere, especially in those locations where this veneration is so fruitful, as we hear it has been from so many testimonies.”

    This is the affirmation offered to Aleteia from Archbishop Henryk Hoser, a special envoy sent by Pope Francis to investigate the situation surrounding the reported Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, a small town in the Herzegovina region of Bosnia and Herzegovina, close to the border with Croatia.


    Pope Francis appointed the archbishop in February to be the Holy See’s special envoy to the site, where millions of pilgrims have visited since the apparitions were said to begin, in 1981.

    The archbishop told Aleteia some of the details of his mission.

    Konrad Sawicki: When will Your Excellency leave for Medjugorje?

    Archbishop Hoser: I have recently heard that I am allegedly there and that I have been miraculously healed by the Holy Virgin Mary… Joking aside, my first visit to Medjugorje, an orientation one, will start at the end of March.

    I will meet first with the Apostolic Nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Archbishop of Sarajevo. Then, naturally, I will meet with the local Bishop of Mostar and the Franciscan friars who work in the shrine. First of all, however, I will listen intently to different opinions and examine the local pastoral situation.

    This will be Your Excellency’s first visit to the shrine. Yet this is not going to be Your Excellency’s first special mission, is it?

    It is true I have never visited Medjugorje myself, but a lot of the faithful from my Diocese of Warsaw-Praga go there and I am well-familiar with their accounts.

    It is also true that this is not going to be my first mission as a special envoy of the pope. I have so far held three such missions. Two apostolic visitations were short; I have spent two weeks in Togo and Benin, respectively. I looked into the questions of seminaries there. The third mission was long; I spent one and a half years in Rwanda immediately after the genocide. This experience gives me courage to embark on another visitation, to Medjugorje.

    Your Excellency’s mission concerns not only the apparitions themselves; it is pastoral in character. However, not everyone understands why a Polish archbishop received a special mission from Francis. One website announced that Your Excellency is to “examine the conflict concerning Marian apparitions.”

    The mission entrusted to me is auxiliary to what the doctrinal commission has accomplished. Every year the shrine is visited by 2 to 2.5 million pilgrims from across the world. It has become a charismatic place. The fact that Medjugorje is visited by so many faithful, who are no doubt spiritually enriched there, is something to be borne in mind.

    A demand for pastoral care in this place is huge. Imagine – there are 50 confessionals on the premises. The problem is that often there are not enough confessors speaking different languages.

    My mission, as has been stipulated in the communiqué released by the Holy See, is to closely examine the local pastoral situation, in particular the needs of the pilgrims. I am also supposed to indicate possible new pastoral initiatives. The underlying objective is to enhance pastoral outreach and to better coordinate local pastoral actions.

    After the nomination of the special envoy and the publication of a letter by the local bishop, which contests the authenticity of the apparitions, many faithful around the world are concerned. Was their pilgrimage to no avail? Were their prayers untrue? – they ask. Could Your Excellency as a papal pastoral envoy explain the current situation to them and dispel their worries?

    We should by no means worry! The Church has not yet spoken on the authenticity of the apparitions. We should calmly wait for the final position. This is by no means the first situation when the Church is slow to take a decision, especially given that the form of the Marian apparitions in Medjugorje significantly differs from that of earlier well-known apparitions.

    Besides, this issue will not change anything in the teaching of the Church concerning Marian veneration. If Marian devotion has flourished in Medjugorje, if such multitudes arrive there, it is therefore a place where veneration will continue, since Our Lady can be venerated everywhere, especially in those locations where this veneration is so fruitful, as we hear it has been from so many testimonies.

    The Holy Father is aware of it and therefore would like to examine not only the pastoral situation in Medjugorje, but also, if necessary, find methods of improving the pastoral care provided to the pilgrims in this place, so strongly dedicated to Our Lady.

    Let me take this opportunity to greet Your Excellency on behalf of the editors and readers of Aleteia and wish you a complete and fast recovery. Would Your Excellency like to address our staff and readers?

    I would like to ask the Aleteia readers to pray for the success of my mission in Medjugorje. I embark on this mission on behalf of the Church, entrusted to me by the Holy Father. I want this mission to come closest to objective truth and to produce very good and concrete results.

    I am an emissary of the Church but the Church should pray for me, as She prayed at one time for St. Peter and St. Paul. After all, prayer is the driving force of our actions in the Church, both the tangible and the invisible ones.

    Henryk Hoser, Bishop of the Diocese of Warsaw-Praga, was born in 1942 in Warsaw. A graduate of a university school of medicine, in 1968 he entered the Society of Catholic Apostolate (the Pallottines). Having obtained degrees in philosophy and theology and having been ordained to the priesthood, he left for Paris and then for a mission to Rwanda (1975–1996). In 1978 he established a Medical and Social Centre in Kigali and led it for 17 years. He also set up the Family Formation Center (Action Familiale). After the civil war in Rwanda, the Holy See appointed him apostolic visitor in Rwanda. In 2005 John Paul II appointed him archbishop and auxiliary secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and Chairman of the Pontifical Missionary Works. In 2008 Benedict XVI named him Bishop of the Diocese of Warsaw-Praga. On 11 February 2017 Pope Francis nominated him a special envoy of the Holy See to Medjugorje. At the beginning of 2017 Archbishop Hoser revealed that he is suffering from malaria.

    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  5. David

    David Well-Known Member

    A short video of the arrival of the papal envoy in Medjugorje is available at:


    Upon his arrival, the Papal Envoy to Medjugorje addressed all those gathered in St. James Church:

    “We are in the place that gathers many pilgrims. Let us all together pray for the intercession of the Mother of God, so she would open our hearts to the grace of God, so she would open our minds to the grace of God, to the teaching of the Church and to the Word of God. Our life is the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. We seek for God’s truth, God’s truth about ourselves, but we also seek for the truth about man. This place of prayer is now famous in the whole world, and the Holy Father is very interested in the development of devotion of the faithful that takes place here. This is also part of my mission – to evaluate the pastoral activity that takes place here and to suggest some guidelines that should be accomplished in the future. I come from the country that has special devotion towards the Mother of God. Mary is the Queen of Poland. My wish to all of you is to make Mary the Queen of your lives. For the time being, this is what I have to say.”

    At the end, Archbishop Hoser invoked the blessing of God upon all those gathered in the church.
  6. David

    David Well-Known Member

    On Saturday evening in Medjugorje, Archbishop Hoser celebrated the 6pm Mass in St James'.

    There have been so many arguments about whether the church was going to close down Medjugorje etc yet here we have an amazing confirmation that the Holy Father is happy with what is going on there. This is a much more important development than I had thought possible just a month or two ago. It is a personal 'thumbs up' from Pope Francis.

    Here is a report of the Archbishop's homily:

    Archbishop Henryk Hoser, appointed as special envoy to Medjugorje by Pope Francis, celebrated his first Mass in St James church on Saturday evening.

    In his homily, spoken in French, the traditional diplomatic language of the Church, the Polish prelate said, "Let us pray for peace because the destructive forces are immense, the arms race is on the rise, people are torn apart, families are torn apart, societies are torn apart. We need an intervention from heaven! And the presence of the Blessed Virgin is this type of intervention. It is an initiative of God. And so, I would like to encourage and comfort you as a special envoy of the Pope.

    "Protect the world with peace through conversion of the heart; the greatest miracle of Medjugorje is the confessions here. The sacrament of forgiveness and mercy. It is a sacrament of the Resurrection. I thank all the priests who come to confess here, about fifty- today, in the service of the people.

    "I have spent many years in the West where confession has disappeared and personal confession no longer exists except here and there. The world dries up, hearts are closed, conflicts multiply.

    "[...] Let us be the apostles of the good news of conversion and also of peace in the world. [...] Whoever touches the love of God, his Mercy, sees something irresistible and cannot resist.

    "We are witnesses of what saves life. We are witnesses of what saves the world. The Franciscan friars said that there are pilgrims who come from more than 80 countries from around the world. This call can spread to the ends of the Earth as Christ said by sending his apostles.

    "Mary is with us and shares in our suffering and pain. She helps us, helps to bring us to repentance and to feel its spiritual presence. We call her, especially here, the Queen of Peace and invoke this title when we pray the litany of the Blessed Mother. [...] She participates in the reign of her Son. [...] We thank her for her constant presence with each of us. The Queen of Peace brings peace to our hearts, and so to our families, our country and society.

    "You are therefore witness to Christ's love of his Mother's love and the love of the Church. May God bless you and strengthen you. Amen.

  7. David

    David Well-Known Member

    A video of the hour long press conference in Medjugorje with the papal envoy can be viewed at


    The video has a running English translation. There are some very interesting questions towards the end!

    It is amazing (actually not so amazing!) that the religious (and secular) press who have happily reported negative 'news' about Medjugorje seem to have little interest in this new and remarkable development in the Medjugorje story.

    Here is a further report on some of the press conference:
    Archbishop Hoser began the conference with a prepared message.

    The Papal Envoy first spoke of the comparison of Lourdes with Medjugorje saying that Lourdes, after 150 years, has about 6 million visitors a year and Medjugorje has 2.5 million visitors after just 36 years.

    “It is important to grow Medjugorje. People discover something extraordinary at Medjugorje There is an atmosphere of peace and reconciliation. An atmosphere of peace of the heart – an inter peace of the heart. At Medjugorje there is a huge space for spirituality. People rediscover something sacred, something holy There is something divine when we honor Our Lady.

    “Our Lady is always showing us back to Christ. When we look closely at Medjugorje we see at the center is the Holy Eucharist. We see Adoration where the real presence of Jesus Christ is found. People at Medjugorje discover the Holy Rosary. People at Mejdugorje pray the ‘Way of the Cross” and experience the passion of Jesus Christ. Of course the Holy confession and reconciliation with God is also at the center. ‘

    Archbishop Hoser made an interesting point about the commercialization of Medjugorje. He said that Lourdes, outside of Paris, has the most hotels in France, so it would be natural for Medjugorje to have many shops and hotels. He said Medjugorje will continue to grow.

    The Papal Envoy then spoke of the fruits of Medjugorje.

    “Medjugorje transforms people. In many countries individual confessions do not exist. No adoration of the Holy Sacrement, no “Way of the Cross” , no prayer of the rosary. In many countries there is a dryness of sacred space which leads to a crisis of the faith. At Medjugorje people come to the source. The discovery of prayer all takes place with the help of the Virgin Mary.”

    “Medjugorje emphasizes the title of “The Queen of Peace” The Holy Father, Pope Francis has said “we are in a piecemeal third world war. We see this in the cruelness of civil wars . I have lived the genocide in Rwanda. Syria has been destroyed. Syria has the oldest Christian presence in the world. Chemical weapons are now used. There are so many political conflicts, this is the reality of the today’s world. So now to evoke the Queen of Peace, the Mother of God in prayer for peace is important. The specific role of Medjugorje is utterly important .

    “You can say to the whole world that there is a light with Medjugorje and you can find the light again. We need these spots of light in the world that is going down to darkness. So friends, be carriers of this joyful news.

  8. David

    David Well-Known Member

    Pope Francis has often mentioned God being "a God of surprises". Well, Pope Franis himself is full of surprises and in his latest interview on the plane coming back from his visit to Fatima, he shows himself to be a far from convinced believer in Medjugorje:

    In Fatima we have seen a great testimony of popular faith, the same one that is also found in Medjugorje. What do you think of those apparitions and the religious fervor that they have generated, in the light of having decided to appoint a bishop delegated for the pastoral aspects?

    “All apparitions or alleged apparitions belong to the private sphere; they are not part of the ordinary public magisterium. For Medjugorje, Benedict XVI set up a commission presided over by Cardinal Ruini. I received the results; the commission was composed of good theologians, bishops and cardinals. The committee report is very, very good. There were some doubts in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the Doctrine thought appropriate to send each of the members of the Feria IV - the monthly meeting of the Congregation - all the documentation, including the opinions contrary to the Ruini report. I received the notification on a late Saturday night. It did not seem right to me; it was like putting the Ruini report, which is very well done, at auction. On Sunday morning, the Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith received a letter in which I asked that instead of sending those opposing views to Feria IV, they should be sent to me personally. These opinions have all been studied - I would like to stress, all of them. The Ruini report states that the first apparitions when the seers were young must be distinguished from the others, and says that investigation should be done on those first ones. The report presents its doubts on the current alleged visions. Personally, I’m meaner: I prefer the Lady Mother, to the boss of telegraphic office, who sends a message every day. And these supposed apparitions do not have much value: I say this as a personal opinion. There are those who think that Our Lady is saying: Come, on that day I will give a message to that seer. Thirdly, there is the spiritual and pastoral fact, the core of the relationship: people who convert, who meet God, who change life. And this is not thanks to a magic wand. This fact cannot be denied. Now to see this, I have appointed a good bishop (Monsignor Hoser, ndr) who has experience in dealing with the pastoral side. In the end, you will hear some words.”
    I have no doubts about Medjugorje and I have no doubts about Pope Francis either. I rather suspect he has been strongly influenced by the flood of non-authentic 'messages' that have emerged from South America over recent years. But note how gentle he has been in dealing with events that he finds difficult to accept. It is a lesson in itself.
  9. David

    David Well-Known Member

    And here is the video of Pope Francis on the plane saying what I've quoted above.

  10. David

    David Well-Known Member

  11. Radhe

    Radhe Well-Known Member

    With any apparitions - prudence, and patience. The Pope has to be these things and then some...

    I will never forget my pilgrimage to Medjugorje
    The joy outside that beautiful church after mass. The devotion of the people there
    from all over the world..was awesome. I felt the Blessed Mother brought me there in the most indulgent way possible.

    Popes in the past got some confirmation on apparitons from the Blessed Mother herself, witness Fatima. I am confident she will do the same again.
  12. David

    David Well-Known Member

    I was very surprised by this development. But somehow it makes Francis more human for me!

    He really has got it wrong and I’m surprised that he seems able to recognize the fruits but not the tree producing it!

    He will protect Medjugorje I believe, but I also believe he is going to be very surprised and humbled one day....
    Last edited: May 17, 2017

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