Polish Archbishop Hoser, who had denounced "demonic actions" of the mafias at the Marian pilgrimage site, begins His mission as apostolic visitator.
The mission entrusted to him by Pope Francis is “to ensure a stable and continuous accompaniment of the faithful,” without getting into the merits of the phenomenon of the “apparition,” said Archbishop Henryk Hoser, the apostolic visitator for the Parish of Medjugorje (Bosnia-Herzegovina), during a Mass this past Sunday, July 22, 2018.
Many pilgrims and faithful participated in the opening of the pastoral mission of Archbishop Hoser, who had surprised listeners in Poland with a homily on July 4, 2018, when he said that the place of the alleged Marian apparitions is infiltrated by the “demonic actions” of the mafias (Vatican Insider, July 10, 2018).
It is estimated that more than 2.5 million people visit the site every year. “Why do so many people come to Medjugorje every year?” the papal envoy asked. Here is his answer:
The road to happiness
People come to “discover the path that leads to the happiness of living in the house of the Father and the Mother, to finally discover the Marian way as the truest and safest one,” said the Polish archbishop in the temple dedicated to Saint James, protector of the pilgrims, and entrusted to the Capuchin friars of the province of Herzegovina, Vatican News reported.
Hoser affirmed that the road that takes thousands of pilgrims daily to Medjugorje is a path of “Marian devotion” that has been very alive in this place for more than 37 years.
It is a devotion that mixes in “sacred worship” and the highest “expressions of wisdom” that are implicit in the “People of God.”
Medjugorje attracts those who are far away
“In Medjugorje,” the archbishop said, “pilgrims come from far away, from around 80 countries of the world.”
They travel thousands of kilometers, and to do so, “must have a firm and decisive motivation,” which also points to “an existential situation of many who have moved away from God, from Christ, from his Church, and from the light that gives meaning to life.”
Thus, he stressed that his pastoral mission is not only directed to “those who are far away, but also to the neighbors […]; neighbors because they are the parishioners of Medjugorje; neighbors because they have witnessed so many events in this region.” And also to “all those who live a warm and ardent faith.”
Do not disperse the flock in Medjugorje
On the other hand, it would be a sin to disperse the flock. “Woe to the shepherds who lose and scatter the flock of my pasture!” he said, citing the readings of that Sunday.
“The Holy Father, the universal pastor of the Church, takes these words of the prophet (Jeremiah 23:1) as his own. He sends us there, where people exist and live, where the faithful gather to seek the light of salvation,” he added.
And referring to the Gospel, he explained that “the Lord gives us an incomparable example and a missionary model.”
The Pope’s envoy explained that Medjugorje “offers us the time and space of divine grace through the intercession of the Virgin Mary […] venerated here under the title of ‘Queen of Peace.'”
This title is especially significant for “citizens who have suffered the consequences of the war in the Balkans.”
“Promoting peace means building a civilization based on love, on communion, on brotherhood, on justice and, therefore, on peace and freedom,” he said.
“Malignant forces” against Marian devotion
On July 4 in Warsaw (Poland), reflecting on the struggle between good and evil in a homily, Monsignor Hoser indicated that “evil forces” are acting in this city of Herzegovina. The words he spoke made an impact on Catholic media around the world.
“There, in a place of massive conversions, where huge crowds confess, where confessors are never enough, in that place there are also demonic actions that are trying to do everything they can to ruin that place,” said the Archbishop Emeritus of Warsaw-Prague.
According to Archbishop Hoser, “mafias are already penetrating” in the place of pilgrimage, especially the Neapolitan mafia.
As Vatican Insider reported, Hoser could be referring to an ongoing investigation in Naples on alleged links between the Camorra and the management of pilgrimages.
The Polish archbishop was appointed special envoy of the Pope in Medjugorje. As of May 31, their competencies were expanded to continue the “pastoral” mission in Medjugorje.
It is a mission not to pronounce on the veracity of the apparitions, but to ensure “a stable and continuous accompaniment” of the pilgrims.