Saturday, March 25, 2017

Medjugorje message, March 25, 2017


Dear children! In this time of grace, I am calling all of you to open your hearts to God’s mercy, to begin a new life through prayer, penance and a decision for holiness.

This time of spring moves you to a new life, to a renewal, in your thoughts and hearts.

Therefore, little children, I am with you to help you to say ‘yes’ to God and to God’s commandments with resoluteness.

You are not alone; I am with you through the grace which the Most High gives me for you and your descendants.

Thank you for having responded to my call.

Friday, March 24, 2017

First, Mass, then the message from Monza

Tomorrow, the Feast of the Annunciation, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass (3:00pm) at Monza, northern Italy, as part of his one-day visit to Milan.

Monza is where the Medjugorje visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti and her family live.

Saturday (25th) is also the day when Marija is due to receive her regular monthly message for the world from Our Lady and, coincidently, at about the same time Pope Francis is scheduled to fly back to Rome at 6:30pm.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Will bishop invite Pope Francis?

In his opening speech at the start of the 69th session of the Bosnia & Herzegovina Bishops’ Conference in Mostar on Tuesday, Cardinal Vinko Puljic encouraged bishop Ratko Peric to consider inviting Pope Francis to Mostar.

“I consider it valuable to you, brother Ratko, to think about an invitation to Pope Francis to visit Mostar as the seat of the Mostar-Duvno diocese, and we bishops are happy to support this call,” said the Conference President.

Medjugorje is part of the Mostar-Duvno diocese. In an interview earlier this month Cardinal Puljic said that Medjugorje is one of the largest confessionals and prayer sites in Europe. ​

Attending the first day of the episcopal conference was the Apostolic Nuncio for Bosnia & Herzegovina, Msgr Luigi Pezutto.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Spiritually enriched


“The fact that Medjugorje is visited by so many faithful, who are no doubt spiritually enriched there, is something to be borne in mind.”

Archbishop Henryk Hoser,
special envoy of Pope Francis
assigned to Medjugorje





I have come here as the Queen of Peace and I desire to enrich you with my motherly heart. Dear children, I love you and I desire to bring all of you to the peace which only God gives and which enriches every heart. ​

part Medjugorje message, July 25, 1990

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

One of the largest confessionals in Europe..

Medjugorje is one of the largest prayer sites and confessionals in Europe, said Cardinal Vinko Puljic in an interview for the Polish Catholic Agency (KAI).

The Vrhbosna diocese archbishop who served on the latest Vatican commission study on the Medjugorje phenomenon, also emphasised that private revelations are not an essential element of faith, but that Jesus Christ is and that his mother always leads to her Son.

“This is the centre of faith and private revelation can only help the believers on their way,” said Cardinal Puljic.

Moreover, he added that it must be recognised that a large number of believers come to Medjugorje and that is why the place represents a prayer site in a certain way and is a great confessional of Europe.

The Cardinal expressed his satisfaction that there is a lot of interest in prayer and confession at Medjugorje, and believes that this can help new evangelisation and strengthen faith.

“In BiH it is necessary to restore hope and faith that helped the local people survive so many centuries, and will help them to overcome the current [political] difficulties as well,” said the Cardinal Puljic.

As for the arrival of the Pope’s special envoy to Medjugorje rescheduled for the end of the month, Cardinal Puljic expressed the readiness of all the bishops to be available to Msgr Henrik Hoser in assisting him in accomplishing his mission. ​

sources: klix.com and brotnjo.info

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Catholics not obliged to believe in Marian phenomena says CDF Prefect


Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) today intervened in the matter of Medjugorje and dampened any expectation that the Vatican may soon declare on the Medjugorje phenomenon.

Speaking to the Italian news agency ANSA, the cardinal said the future of the Church is not dependent on Medjugorje or even approved sanctuaries at Fatima and Lourdes.

He added: “Some exaggerate the importance of these phenomena, as if it were almost a dogma. Even when the Church has declared itself in favour of these kind of events no Catholic is obliged to go there or believe it.”

Cardinal Müller acknowledged that pilgrimage shrines help in presenting the message of repentance to the world, but added that faith is also experienced in everyday life: in families, at work and in parishes.

As for any pronouncement on Medjugorje by the Vatican the CDF Prefect said that this will take time and presently it was more important to address the pastoral needs of the parish and pilgrims, an explicit reference to the recent appointment of Archibishop Henryk Hoser as the Pope’s special envoy at Medjugorje.

As to bishop Ratko Peric’s recent statement and “self-styled” visionaries, Cardinal Müller concluded: “I must say, as a Catholic, we need to focus on Jesus Christ. There are some private revelations but they do not replace the unique revelation of God in Jesus Christ.”

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Envoy’s arrival delayed for a month


The Catholic Press Agency (KTA) of the Bosnia Herzegovina Bishops’ Conference has announced that the anticipated arrival of Msgr Hoser at Medjugorje on February 27 has been rescheduled to March 27. The delay is put down to a misunderstanding by the Warsaw-Prague curia. Archbishop Hoser was, in fact, in Bosnia Herzegovina on Monday, but in Sarajevo and not Medjugorje. ​

Msgr Hoser’s visit to Sarajevo was the same day bishop Ratko Peric, local ordinary for the Mostar diocese which Medjugorje is part of, issued his press release reiterating his non-belief in the claimed apparitions.

However his statement does not reflect the official position of the Church and the CDF has issued advice previously that the views expressed by the bishop are his own.

What Bishop Peric said in his letter to the Secretary General of “Famille Chretienne”, declaring: “My conviction and my position is not only ‘non constat de supernaturalitate’, but likewise, ‘constat de non supernaturalitate’ of the apparitions or revelations in Medjugorje”, should be considered the expression of the personal conviction of the Bishop of Mostar which he has the right to express as Ordinary of the place, but which is and remains his personal opinion.

May 26, 1998, Archbishop Bertone, Secretary to the CDF

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Medjugorje message to Marija, February 25, 2017


Dear children! Today I am calling you to profoundly live your faith and to implore the Most High to strengthen it, so that winds and storms cannot break it.

May the roots of your faith be prayer and hope in eternal life.

Already now, little children, work on yourselves in this time of grace, wherein God is giving you the grace – through renunciation and the call to conversion – to be people of clear and persevering faith and hope.

Thank you for having responded to my call

High number of Medjugorje pilgrims a challenge


In a telephone interview with Vatican Radio on Monday, Archbishop Henryk Hoser explained his “special envoy” appointment as an example of the Holy Father’s concern for the situation in Medjugorje to be clear and orderly, and as the Pope’s envoy he is able to assess the situation on the ground and recognise any opportunties that arise. “Above all”, he added “it is about regular, pastoral reception of the millions of pilgrims coming to Medjugorje. This high number is a challenge for the Church and a call to improve the reception if possible.”

Msgr Hoser also spoke of two crucial aspects regarding Medjugorje. “On the one hand are the phemomena and are the messages of the Mother of God genuine? This was the subject of the investigation by the special commission led by Cardinal Ruini. The second aspect is that which has been entrusted to me: it is about organising pastoral care, in agreement and harmony with the ecclesiastical hierarchy on the ground.”

“Yes, I know there is opposition – or rather, we say, disagreement – but I cannot say anything in detail because I have never been to Medjugorje. This is where I can appear as someone who is neutral in this conflict.”

Asked if his proposals might include the appointment of an apostolic administrator for Medjugorje, the Pope’s envoy said “Yes, this is not impossible. Perhaps one will have to supplement the structure of the hierarchy on the ground so that initiatives can be better coordinated and thus more effective. I must confirm that these are only hypotheses.”

Msgr Hoser added that he did not know when his report to Pope Francis, or any other, would be published.

• Prayer answered says parish priest

Medjugorje’s parish priest Marinko Šakota responded to the the news of the appointment of a special envoy saying: “This is an answer to prayer, a moment of grace and joy, and also a time of great responsibility for the parish of Medjugorje.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Positive fruits at Medjugorje says Pope’s envoy

Following his appointment as the Holy Father’s “special envoy” to Medjugorje, Archbishop Henryk Hoser has given a short interview to the Italian website La Fede Quotidiana.

He was asked if he had expected his commission and replied that he didn’t know the reason why Pope Francis assigned him the post. “Of course, I am grateful,” he continued “I will give it all my comittment. The mission does not alarm me.”

Questioned about being defined a ‘conservative’ bishop Msgr Hoser said, “I do not define myself in that way. Rather, I am a man of the Church who seeks to be faithful to the Word, to doctrine and tradition, to all the documents. If this means ‘conservative’, then I’m conservative.”

The Polish prelate then agreed that the people of Poland generally nourish a positive feeling towards Medjugorje and added: “The Catholics of this nation, which is deeply Marian, have a positive view about Medjugorje and a lot of them go there, as from other nations, so this means something. But I will not deal with theological aspects or apparitions, only with the Pontifical commission. My task is pastoral.”

And the seers? “For me they are neither a problem or the problem. I repeat, they are not part of my commission.”

It was put to the archbishop that John Paul II harboured good feelings towards Medjugorje. Msgr Hoser responded: “He was devoted to the Virgin Mary in general, including that of Medjugorje. It’s not a bad thing.”

Archbishop Hoser is noted for his defence and promotion of family values and confirmed the Virgin’s role in this. “It’s true. It’s very important to invoke Mary for the protection of the family, formed by a man and a woman united by the sacrament of marriage. At Medjugorje we find the Rosary, Eucharistic adoration, fasting and penance are present, and these encourage the development of faith.

Asked about the ‘fruits’ of Medjugorje the “special envoy” reiterated that his role is confined to pastoral issues and not doctrine, “not to the issue of truthfulness”. He added, “With regard to the fruit in souls, I find positive. By fruits I mean the practice of the sacraments, conversions, change of life, participation in the Mass. This is what happens at Medjugorje – we cannot deny it or do without it pastorally.”

Asked about his recent recovery from maleria and the rumour that he had prayed to Our Lady of Medjugorje, archbishop Hoser responded: “I contracted maleria in Africa. I have prayed to the Virgin. I believe in Mary, in all her manifestations.”

Monday, February 13, 2017

The pacemaker Pope

So just why has Pope Francis entrusted Archbishop Henryk Hoser to go to Medjugore as a Special Envoy of the Holy See?

The Vatican press statement released on Saturday explains: “The mission has the aim of acquiring a deeper knowledge of the pastoral situation there and above all, the needs of the faithful who go there on pilgrimage, and on the basis of this, to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future. The mission will therefore have an exclusively pastoral character.” ​

However, the appointment is primarily a result of Pope Francis responding to a recommendation made in the dossier submitted to him in January 2014 by Cardinal Ruini, president of the Vatican Commission investigating the Medjugorje phenomenon. ​

The provision of pastoral care was pointed out by Vatican Insider’s Andrea Tornielli reporting on the handover at the time. ​

“Some of the Commission’s members have highlighted the need for a change of pace in the provision of pastoral care to millions of faithful who come to Medjugorje from all over the world. The Commission and Cardinal Ruini himself, thanks to visits by people close to him, have noticed that people really are converting to the faith or returning to the sacraments – what the Church refers to as spiritual fruits – in a significant way.”

With this appointment by Pope Francis we see his first and very positive response to the significant study on Medjugorje undertaken by the Commission appointed by Benedict XVI in March 2010 – an unspoken but visible sign that the Holy See is not intent on cutting down the tree that produces good fruit in abundance.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Mother of Pastoral Care


I am making myself known to you by these comings, by these words; I desire to witness to you my love and motherly care.

Medjugorje message, January 2, 2017

Pope appoints special envoy to Medjugorje


Pope Francis has appointed his “special envoy” to Medjugorje, but not to make any further investigations into the Marian apparitions that some sections of the Italian media is reporting.


A statement from the Vatican press office advises that the Holy Father has mandated Henryk Hoser (pictured), Archbishop of Warsaw-Prague (Poland) “to go to Medjugorje as a special envoy of the Holy See”.

“The mission aims to acquire more in-depth knowledge of the pastoral situation of that reality and, above all, the needs of the faithful who go there on a pilgrimage... The mission will, therefore, be of a purely pastoral character.”

Writing for Vatican Insider, Andreas Tornielli commented: “With the appointment today confirms the attitude of Pope Francis towards these phenomena. Although he has repeatedly warned against morbid attention to the ‘messages’ and the ‘secrets’ attributed to Our Lady, which in some cases ends up diverting some of the faithful from the heart of the Gospel message, Bergoglio shows great respect for what goes on in these places.”


This from Vatican Radio:

On Saturday, Pope Francis named Archbishop Henryk Hoser, S.A.C., the Bishop of Warszawa-Praga, as a Special Envoy of the Holy See to Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The scope of his mission, according to the press release announcing the appointment, is “to acquire a profound understanding of the pastoral situation” in Medjugorje, with special concern for the “needs of the faithful who come on pilgrimage;” and on the basis of that understanding “to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future.” His mission, therefore, “will have an exclusively pastoral character.”

Responding to questions from journalists, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke said, “The Special Envoy of the Holy See will not enter into the question of the Marian apparitions, which are the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” Archbishop Hoser’s mission, he said, “is a sign of Holy Father’s concern for the pilgrims. It’s purpose is not inquisitive, but strictly pastoral.”

Burke said, “The Special Envoy of the Holy See will be in contact with the diocesan Bishop; the Franciscans, to whom the parish of Medjugorje is entrusted; and with the faithful” of Medjugorje. Archbishop Hoser, who will continue to exercise the office of Bishop of Warszawa-Praga, is expected to complete his mission by summer.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

A 15th century painting by Rogier van der Weyden of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.

Can you spot the two turtledoves offered in sacrifice?

The man on the extreme right is a reference to King David and another painter of the period, Robert Campin.


Wednesday, February 01, 2017

President of European Parliament visited Medjugorje

Italian Antonio Tajani, who was elected President of the European Parliament earlier this month (January 17), visited Medjugorje for the first time in July last year, accompanied by three other politicians: the French MEP Elisabeth Morin-Chartier and two Italian MEPs, Alberto Cirio and Lorenzo Casa. Mr Cirio is a regular pilgrim to Medjugorje. The group met with parish priest Fr Marinko Šakota and also the visionary Jakov Čolo.

The 53-year-old President is a former Italian Air Force officer and a member of the European People’s Party (EPP), a pro-European centre-right political party. He succeeds German socialist MEP Martin Schulz who announced this week that he will now stand as the SPD candidate for the German Chancellorship.

Antonio Tajani prays at the Blue Cross
photo by Michele Vasilj

Monday, January 30, 2017

When Our Lady speaks of Satan

When Our Lady makes mention of Satan in her messages it can be for no other reason than to serve as a warning about the threat of the Evil One’s activities in the world.

Satan is named in her latest message (January 25, 2017), as he was in the January messages for the previous two years, and other months besides. So is there a pattern forming that indicates a growing threat in some way?

When Our Lady first began giving weekly messages at Medjugorje in 1984 she made regular mentions of Satan. Seven years later the reason became very clear when the Bosnian War broke out in 1992 and lasted for four years.

The diagram clearly shows the pattern of consistent warnings leading upto and during the war.

For the next 14 years after the cessation of hostilities the name of Satan was mentioned just five times in all of the monthly messages given to the seer Marija Pavlovic. But in 2010 Our Lady began again to point out the threat of Satan to the world, coincidently just two months after Pope Benedict XVI announced the latest Vatican investigation into the Medjugorje phenomenon.

The mentions have started to become more frequent, particularly these past two years, and it will be interesting to see if the pattern of warnings intensifies during the current year and if they are directed at any specific region or event as they were in the early 90s.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Medjugorje message to Marija, January 25, 2017


Dear children! Today I am calling you to pray for peace: peace in human hearts, peace in the families and peace in the world.

Satan is strong and wants to turn all of you against God, and to return you to everything that is human, and to destroy in the heart all feelings towards God and the things of God.

You, little children, pray and fight against materialism, modernism and egoism, which the world offers to you.

Little children, you decide for holiness and I, with my Son Jesus, intercede for you.

Thank you for having responded to my call.


Medjugorje message, January 25, 2017

WHEN OUR LADY WARNS AGAINST SATAN...

Numbers down at Medjugorje

The number of communicants at Medjugorje in 2016 was down almost 8% (1,658,800) on the previous year’s total of 1,800,400, and 18% on the record high of 2,027,900 recorded by the parish office for the 30th anniversary in 2011. ​

How this translates into pilgrim numbers is anyone’s guess, but it would not be unreasonable to assume that pilgrims receive Holy Communion at least five times during their stay at Medjugorje. On this basis that would put the number of pilgrims visiting Medjugorje last year at no more than 330,000. ​

It will be interesting to see if the Fatima centenary celebrations will impact in any way on pilgrim numbers visiting Medjugorje during 2017.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Balthasar’s Bouquet


This edited article by Fr Richard Foley SJ first appeared in the 1988 winter edition of the Medjugorje Messenger.

• Cardinal-designate Urs von Balthasar died suddenly, aged 82 on June 26, 1988 – just two days before he was due to receive the red hat from Pope John Paul II, who had long been one of his warmest admirers.

“Medjugorje’s theology rings true. I am convinced of its truth. And everything about Medjugorje is authentic, in a Catholic sense. What’s happening there is so evident, so convincing.”

Bouquets seldom come more glowing than this one presented to the extraordinary little (Yugoslav) “world village” by the world-famous Swiss theologian.

Von Balthasar was a tall, gaunt man who wore his 80- plus years extremely lightly. What had long established him as a giant figure in the world of theology and culture was his profound learning combined with a wide vision. Also he had a unique gift for marrying up modernity with tradition. It came as no surprise when, in 1984, the Holy Father (whose favourite theologian Balthasar was) award him the prestigious “Paul VI prize” for theology.

Cardinal du Lubac hailed Balthasar as the most cultured mind of our generation. Not only as a theologian but as a friend, he was on close terms with the likes of Cardinal Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI). And it was another theological giant – Karl Rahner – who referred to what he called the “breathtaking versatility” of Balthasar’s writings.

His views on Medjugorje were expressed in sundry articles and private letters (including one to myself). And he developed these views in the course of a long interview he gave me in London.

To begin with, the Swiss theologian emphasised our liberty and right to go to Medjugorje on private pilgrimage. Pending the Church’s formal acceptance of Medjugorje, pilgrimages organised at an official level have rightly bee vetoed by the Yugoslav bishops as presumptuous and pre-emptive of the (expected) go-ahead.

Balthasar told me that he, too, had come across any number of people, including priests and even prelates, who dismiss Medjugorje as anything from irrelevant to impossible, yet have not taken a really hard look at the evidence. And he agreed with my verdict on theological liberals: they are illiberal enough to question the Mother of God’s freedom to appear where, when, and to whom she likes, and over as long a period of time as she likes.

Yet the ordinary faithful, he pointed out, see divine realities instantly and uncomplicatedly. This is thanks to their instinct for Heaven-sent truths; we refer to it technically as sensus fidelium. Not for nothing did Our Lord tell us that his Heavenly Father is wont to reveal things to plain, ordinary folk that blinkered wiseacres (some with theological degrees) miss by a mile.

For Balthasar, the clinching proof of Medjugorje’s genuineness is in the quantity and quality of its fruits. By going there on pilgrimage, or simply through such contacts as books, videos etc, countless thousands have received rich graces. These graces pertain to things like peace of mind, a deepening faith, the desire to pray more, courage to fast once or twice a week on bread and water (or hot drinks), the resolution to frequent the Sacraments regularly.

Incidentally, Balthasar noted how pastorally wise and opportune is Our Lady of Medjugorje’s recommendation of frequent confession as the very instrument to sanctify and renew the contemporary Church.

Given that the “fullness of faith” is a recurrent Balthasarian theme, it is not difficult to see why he accepted Medjugorje so wholeheartedly. For its message is thoroughly, uncompromising orthodox. And it nourishes within us respect for the Church’s divine authority. Nor could this be otherwise, seeing that the message comes from her whom Balthasar has styled “the mother and model of the Church, the immaculate Church; the heart and centre of the Communion of Saints.”

Another Balthasarian concept finds in Medjugorje a fresh and exciting expression. It is what he terms Theoramatik – “the drama of love being played out between God and the world.”

Looking at Medjugorje in the light of Balthasar’s concept, we can say that the God of love has transformed it into a theatre of holiness in which his Mother – leading lady in the divine drama – is teaching multitudes of people and helping them to make her message the very guiding star of their pilgrimage of faith, their lifelong adventure into the grace of God and the God of grace.

Closely linked with divine drama in Balthasar’s theological system is the communication of truth. And there’s certainly an abundance of this commodity to be found in Medjugorje. Its messages coincides and dovetails to a remarkable degree with what John the Baptist proclaimed in the Judaean dessert. In fact, the general Medjugorje message virtually amounts to the Gospel according to the Gospa (Croatian name for Our Lady).

Finally, Medjugorje’s message is shot with divine beauty – another key idea in Balthasar’s thinking. To apply it to Medjugorje, we canny say that beauty is abundantly manifest in that little favoured corner of Yugoslavia. It is in the hills, the fields, the stars that look down, the soft winds that blow across the plains. It is in the faces and hearts of those gracious people who live there. It is in the faith and prayer of the pilgrim throngs. It is in the vast Eucharistic assemblies and the haunting Slav hymns. It is in the patient lines of penitents seeking absolution. It is in the myriad of Aves that rise day and night.

Medjugorje’s beauty is, above all, in the glorified humanity and maternal love of Mary. The perfume of her holiness is everywhere. Her presence it is that permeates Medjugorje with “God’s better beauty – grace.”

Fr Richard Foley SJ