Vatican Allows Official Pilgrimages to Medjugorje

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The most obvious option is for Medjugorje to become a separate diocese, under the direct jurisdiction of the Holy See.

Bishops and priests can organise pilgrimages in Medjugorje. This was announced by the special papal envoy for Medjugorje, Msgr. Henryk Hoser, the Archbishop of Warsaw-Prague, explaining that this decision actually annulled a decree made by the Bishops’ Conference of Yugoslavia, which banned the official organisation of pilgrimages but on the other hand allowed priests to come to Medjugorje as spiritual accompaniment, reports Večernji List on December 10, 2017.

This is apparently another step towards the official recognition of the Medjugorje sanctuary. According to Vatican sources, the most realistic option is for Medjugorje to become a separate diocese, over which the Holy See would have a direct jurisdiction. “The name of the possible future bishop is already known, but this is still a secret,” said a source, adding that the announcement would be delayed until the retirement of the current Mostar-Duvno Bishop Ratko Perić, who will be retired in about one year.

Meanwhile, the Vatican is warming towards Medjugorje, which can best be seen by statements made by Hoser, who told an Italian news agency that the devotion of Medjugorje was allowed. “My mission was to analyse the pastoral situation and give suggestions how to improve it,” said Hoser, reiterating that Pope Francis did not send him to Medjugorje to investigate the phenomenon or the credibility of the apparitions, but rather to improve the pastoral situation of millions of Medjugorje pilgrims. One of the improvements is the abolition of the decision made by the Bishops’ Conference of Yugoslavia.

“Dioceses and other institutions can organise official pilgrimages. This is no longer a problem,” said Hoser, explaining that “the decree of the Bishops’ Conference of former Yugoslavia, which was against bishop-organised pilgrimages to Medjugorje, is no longer relevant.”

“Pope Francis recently gave an Albanian Cardinal his blessing before travelling to Medjugorje,” said Hoser, impressed by the work done by local friars in the Medjugorje parish, because a relatively small team is doing a massive job of receiving pilgrims and organizing a youth festival each year, which this year brought together 50,000 young people from all over the world and more than 700 priests.

Hoser also recalled the apparitions of Virgin Mary in Rwanda, where he stayed for a while and observed similarities with Medjugorje. There, the local bishop accepted part of the apparitions and permitted the worship of the phenomenon, and continued with the further analysis of the apparitions.

“The final decision will eventually be made by the Pope. The Cardinal Ruini’s report, which is very positive, is in the State Secretariat. I believe that the final decision will be ultimately made,” said Msgr. Hoser.

Translated from Večernji List.


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