The first task will be to improve the pastoral care.
Medjugorje is delighted with the recent decision made by Pope Francis to appoint a retired bishop of Warszawa-Praga, Msgr Henryk Hoser, as the apostolic visitor “with a special role for the parish of Medjugorje for an indefinite time,” reports Večernji List on June 4, 2018.
“We are thankful to God and Our Lady, the Queen of Peace, and to the Holy Father for sending us Archbishop Hoser as the Apostolic Visitor. We welcome Archbishop Hoser,” said Marinko Šakota, the parish priest of Medjugorje, at the end of a mass yesterday. “I invite you all to pray every day for our Holy Father Francis, Archbishop Hoser and his mission in our parish,” added the priest.
Since the news about the appointment was announced just several days ago, the exact date of Hoser’s arrival in Medjugorje is still unknown, but it is assumed that this should happen by the end of June, before the anniversary of Medjugorje apparitions. It is even possible that June 25, when the anniversary is officially marked, might be the date of the first official event for the apostolic visitor. He is expected to live in the old parish office where he stayed during his first (and so far only) visit to Medjugorje in March 2017.
His primary task will be to promote pastoral care for pilgrims in Medjugorje. The pastoral plan will be released after he arrives, but its outlines are roughly known. First, it will enable the abolishment of the current instructions regarding pilgrimages to Medjugorje, which warn priests that they can be a spiritual accompaniment to pilgrims, but cannot organise the pilgrimages themselves. Also, Msgr Hoser will certainly ask some of the European episcopal conferences (those from which a large number of faithful come to Medjugorje, such as Italy, Poland, Ukraine, Slovenia, Hungary) to send priests for permanent residence and pastoral work in Medjugorje.
It is expected that Msgr Hoser will also continue some of the stopped projects in Medjugorje, such as the construction of a roof in front of the outer altar, where between 10,000 and 15,000 pilgrims can gather.
Medjugorje expects that Msgr Hoser could do much to improve the local infrastructure, since the approach roads are in disastrous shape, as well as help with the electricity supply, especially during the summer months when electricity is often lost due to a large number of air conditioners being used simultaneously. All that is necessary for the normal stay of between a million and million and a half pilgrims who arrive in this village in Herzegovina every year.
Even though Msgr Hoser will not deal with the issue of the validity of apparitions, he will undoubtedly meet with the visionaries (just like he did during his first visit). The arrival of Msgr Hoser is being carefully prepared by the Vatican, and Apostolic Nuncio in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been regularly visiting Medjugorje to get a better insight into the situation and help Msgr Hoser in assuming his duties.
Translated from Večernji List (reported by Darko Pavičić).