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Medjugorje can “quench the thirst for the sacred,” says pope’s special envoy

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“The greatest miracle of Medjugorje is Confession.”

VATICAN CITY — The Marian shrine of Medjugorje can help to quench the “holy thirst” of the 2.5 million pilgrims traveling there annually, Bishop Henryk Hoser, special envoy of the pope, said on Wednesday.

The prelate held his first press conference today, following his March 29 arrival in the village (located in Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Recalling the “crisis of faith” present in the world today, Bishop Hoser stressed that the shrine of Medjugorje can quench pilgrims’ “thirst for the sacred, and for prayer.”

The prelate observed that, through their experience in Medjugorje, pilgrims “discover and rediscover” the ordinary means of sanctification: “the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the transmission of the Word of God, and the sacraments.”

“Here people receive what they no longer receive at home,” he said. According to the papal envoy, “in many regions, individual confession does not exist; there is no worship of the Blessed Sacrament, or the Way of the Cross; and the rosary is not recited.”

“The greatest miracle of Medjugorje is Confession,” he added, before thanking “all the priests who come to hear confessions here.”

This bears witness that worship and prayer at the shrine “is profoundly Christocentric,” said Bishop Hoser.

The pope’s special envoy highlighted the importance of the 2.5 million pilgrims who travel to Medjugorje each year, compared to the 6 million who went to the sanctuary in Lourdes (France), the latter having existed for more than 150 years.

The pilgrims “sense the sacred in Medjugorje, also through the Blessed Virgin Mary’s care,” he observed.

Bishop Hoser added: “Medjugorje is a place of true Marian devotion.”

The prelate did not attempt to make any sort of definitive pronouncement regarding the Marian apparitions that are alleged to have taken place there for 36 years. The mission entrusted to him by the pope, he said, is purely pastoral.

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