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Bishop sent by Pope to accompany Medjugorje pilgrims dies at 78


Michał Woźniak/EAST NEWS

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 08/16/21

Archbishop Henryk Hoser spent some two decades ministering in Rwanda, putting his medical background to good use.

Polish Archbishop Henryk Hoser died on Friday, August 13, in Warsaw, Poland. He was 78 years old. Archbishop Hoser was named by Pope Francis in 2017 to be a special envoy to Medjugorje, in order to investigate the pastoral situation of the pilgrimage site.

For almost 40 years, Medjugorje, a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been a complex issue for the Holy See. It is claimed that the Virgin started appearing there in 1981, and since, some 2 million people travel there each year on pilgrimages.

Just some weeks ago, Pope Francis sent a message to a large group of young pilgrims there.

In Medjugorje with a pastoral mission

Pope Francis entrusted Archbishop Hoser with the task of accompanying in a “stable and continuous” way, the parish community of the small town, and the many faithful who go there on pilgrimage and “whose needs require special attention.”

Archbishop Hoser was sent to Medjugorje with a strictly pastoral task, without entering into questions regarding the purported Marian apparitions.

Read his interview with Aleteia here:

Medical doctor and missionary in Rwanda

Archbishop Hoser was born in Warsaw on November 27, 1942, and studied medicine before joining the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottines) in 1969. Ordained a priest in 1974, he left as a missionary for Rwanda, where he remained until 1995. In Kigali he founded the Medical-Social Center, leading it for 17 years, and the Family Formation Center (Action Familiale). For several years he was secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Health, and then also of the Episcopal Commission for the Family, president of the Association of Affiliated Medical Centers in Kigali (BUFMAR), head of an AIDS epidemiological monitoring center and a program of psychological-medical and social assistance to patients. In 1994 he was appointed expert in the field of the family and development at the Special Synod for Africa. In the absence of the apostolic nuncio to Rwanda, in 1994 he was also appointed apostolic visitor to that country, an office he held for over two years.

Mission in Europe

From 1996 to 2003 he was regional superior of the Pallottines and a member of the Missionary Council of the Conference of Major Superiors in France. In 2004, he was rector of the Pallottine Missionary office in Brussels, Belgium, and was involved in pastoral work within the European Community.

In 2005, John Paul II appointed him assistant secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and president of the Pontifical Mission Societies with the rank of archbishop. In 2008, under Benedict XVI, he became archbishop-bishop of the Diocese of Warsaw-Prague. In February 2017, Pope Francis sent him to Medjugorje as a special envoy of the Holy See. The following December, he became bishop emeritus of Warsaw-Prague. On May 31, 2018, the Pope appointed him apostolic visitor of the parish of Medjugorje, indefinitely and ad nutum Sanctae Sedis (“at the disposition of the Holy See”).

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