First Session of Commission on Medjugorje

(Source: © Informativni centar “Mir” Međugorje www.medjugorje.hr.)

SEE: Video – Commission investigating Medjugorje apparitions begins work

VaticanRome (IKA) – The Holy See Press Office published on April 13, 2010 report from the first session of International Investigative Commission on Medjugorje, held on March 26th,2010. International Investigative Commission on Medjugorje is being presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, who used to be Vicar of Rome Diocese and includes several cardinals and archbishops, many of whom serve on Vatican congregations or Pontifical Councils. These members include, Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; Cardinal Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Vrhbosna, and president of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina; Cardinal Josip Bozanic, Archbishop of Zagreb and vice-president of the Council of European Bishops’ Conference; Cardinal Julian Herranz, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and Archbishop Angelo Amato,  prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

The commission also includes specialists such as Msgr. Tony Anatrella, psychoanalyst and specialist in Social Psychiatry; Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, professor of Fundamental Theology at the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy; Fr. David Maria Jaeger, O.F.M., consultant to the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; Fr. Zdzislaw Jozef Kijas, O.F.M. Conv., relator of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Fr. Salvatore M. Perrella, O.S.M., teacher of Mariology at the Pontifical Marianum Faculty of Theology and Fr. Achim Schutz, professor of Theological Anthropology at the Pontifical Lateran University as secretary. Msgr. Krzysztof Nykiel, an officer of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, serves as additional secretary.
Other experts participating in the commission’s work include Fr. Franjo Topic, professor of Fundamental Theology in Sarajevo; Fr. Mijo Nikic, S.J., professor of Psychology and Psychology of Religion at the Philosophical and Theological Institute of the Society of Jesus in Zagreb; Fr. Mihaly Szentmartoni, S.J., professor of Spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University and Sr. Veronica Nela Gaspar, professor of Theology at Rijeka.

As it was announced earlier on, the work of this Commission is not going to be open for the public and all conclusions and findings will be subject to Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Medjugorje Commission… first session underway

Thursday, 25 March 2010

(Source: www.crownofstars.blogspot.com)

According to the Office of the Archbishop of Zagreb the first session of the Holy See’s International Commission to study the Medjugorje phenomenon has started today and will end on Friday. Archbishop of Zagreb, cardinal Josip Bozanić, is one of 20 members attending this first session at the CDF in Rome.

Considering that an official announcement of the new Commission was made only seven days ago, the speed at which this first session has got underway suggests that Rome is in a hurry to make an announcement of some kind, though not necessarily to reach a final verdict on the Medjugorje phenomenon.

Heading the Commission is Cardinal Camillo Ruini.

Fr. Sesar’s reaction to the Commission on Medjugorje

Thursday, 18 March 2010

(Source: © Informativni centar “Mir” Međugorje www.medjugorje.hr.)

St. James Church in MedjugorjePress office of Holy See reported on Wednesday, March 17th that Holy See, as a part of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, established International Commission that will be investigating phenomenon of Medjugorje. Camillo Ruini is the Chairman of Commission that was made of cardinals, bishops and experts. During the press conference in Vatican, Fr. Federico Lombardi, Director of Holy See Press Office, explained that mentioned Commission will be operating with full discretion, and that all results that will follow after long term operation, will be delivered to Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Archbishop Allessandro D’Errico, Apostolic Nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina, gave this information to bishops of Bishop’s Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as instructed by Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone.

Nuncio D’Errico also shared this information with all faithful at the end of Eucharistic celebration in Mostar Cathedral of Mary, Mother of the Church.

Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar, Provincial of Franciscan Province of Herzegovina, said the following in his statement for Vecernji list, Croatian newspaper: “This is not surprise for us. We are excited about the whole matter and completely open for any kind of cooperation. Everything that happens in Medjugorje is not a secret, everything is available to public. Everybody who has good intentions and who is interested for phenomenon of Medjugorje, can personally come and see what is happening. When it comes to Franciscan Province of Herzegovina, and to this parish entrusted to Province, we are absolutely open to any kind of cooperation, and we are prepared to help them in their work by providing them every information they might need.”

Medjugorje and Shrine status

St. James Church in MedjugorjeIf the Holy See is to grant International Shrine status to Medjugorje, then careful scrutiny of liturgical practices is part of the process, and where any practices and customs are deemed not to be in harmony with criteria laid down for Shrine status, then changes are necessary in order to match the standards required.

In reaching its decision on Shrine status, the Holy See will not be focusing on personalities, priests, bishops and visionaries. It will not be deciding on the question of the apparitions. It will be guided by the Canon and Liturgical Law of the Church appertaining to Shrines and their status.

The Code of Canon Law (1983) includes the following Canons relating to Shrines:

Canon 1230 The term shrine means a church or other sacred place which, with the approval of the local Ordinary, is by reason of special devotion frequented by the faithful as pilgrims.

Canon 1231 For shrine to be described as national, the approval of the Episcopal Conference is necessary. For it to be described as international, the approval of the Holy See is required.

Canon 1232 (i) The local Ordinary is competent to approve the statutes of a diocese and shrine; the Episcopal Conference, those of a national shrine, the Holy See alone, those of an international shrine.

Canon 1232 (ii) The statutes of a shrine are to determine principally, the authority of the rector, and the ownership and administration of its property.

Canon 1233 Certain privileges may be granted to shrines when the local circumstances, the number of pilgrims, and especially the good of the faithful would seem to make this advisable.

Canon 124 (i) At shrines the means of salvation are to be more abundantly made available to the faithful: by sedulous proclamation of the word of God, by suitable encouragement of liturgical life, especially by the celebration of the Eucharist and penance, and by the fostering of approved forms of popular devotion.

Canon 124 (ii) In shrines or in places adjacent to them, votive offerings of popular art are to be displayed and carefully safeguarded.

Please pray that the Holy See will grant Shrine status to Medjugorje.

Bishop Hegarty on Medjugorje

Friday, January 15, 2010

(Source: crownofstars)

Bishop Seamus Hegarty of the Derry diocese in IrelandBishop’s ‘outstanding experience’ in Medjugorje

Bishop Seamus Hegarty of the Derry diocese in Ireland is one of many prelates who have made a private pilgrimage to Medjugorje. He travelled there in July 1987 (when he was bishop of Raphoe) and afterwards gave this testimony.

I had heard so much about the Medjugorje phenomenon and, as things turned out, managed to go there myself for five days in July 1987. I went, of course, as a private pilgrim, a private person.

I couldn’t help being enormously impressed by everyone, both local parishioners and those who visit Medjugorje from all over Europe and overseas. I also got a very clear impression that here in Medjugorje you are dealing with a centre of prayer, of penance, and of reconciliation.

“By their fruits you shall know them.” Here the fruits are so manifest, so clear and impressive, both in Medjugorje itself and among those who return home after a pilgrimage, that they simply cannot be ignored.

Among many people from my own diocese that had been to Medjugorje I noticed the ongoing, positive results in relation both to their personal and family life. Thus I felt simply obliged to go to the place and find out myself the source, the explanation, of this experience, this tremendous manifestation of faith, this high and exemplary Christian way of life.

I have read the messages the Mother of God is said to be giving to the visionaries. And what I have seen and heard tells me that there is a strong accord, a parallel, between these messages and what the gospels say about the teaching of Christ. The emphasis is very strongly on prayer, fasting, reconciliation and peace – themes that occur over and over again in Scripture. One thing is clear about the Medjugorje messages: they contain nothing that contradicts the Church’s official teaching, which is based on Scripture as on a foundation. Here the emphasis is on prayer and how to pray – that is, with more giving of ourselves and intensity, and new methods of prayer; prayer not only in words but also as something lived.

But what is likewise emphasised in the messages is fasting. It has a long Church tradition behind it. Of recent years, however, it has fallen into disuse on a wide scale. Now it has been revived as a challenge that young people, in particular, face up to in a dramatic way.

We recognise that in Medjugorje we are dealing with a genuine call to peace, and that peace is a divine gift for which we all must pray. ~On the basis of what I myself observed in Medjugorje, and which everyone that has been there likewise observes, I believe that we are going to experience a radiation of this atmosphere of peace which has it origin, its centre, in Medjugorje, thereupon extending itself over the entire world.

Many prayer groups have been formed as a direct result of a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, an outcome of the religious experience people gain there and which they thereupon keep up and apply to their own life circumstances among their families and communities. Beyond doubt, the Medjugorje phenomenon has had a particular success in everything to do with fostering prayer. Not only do people pray more than is normal in parishes, but the quality of their prayer is particularly impressive.

The rosary, as we would expect, is one of the most important forms of prayer practised by Medjugorje groups. What has strongly impressed me is that in its recitation the biblical dimension of the mysteries is brought out so prominently.

As regards the Church – the official Church – it cannot afford to ignore this development. Bishops and priests must encourage these prayer groups and, in my opinion, must also be present at them to give leadership and due advice and spiritual orientation. It must also be said that the laity who, with good intentions and devotion, come together to pray deserve every help and direction they can get from the clergy. While, it is true, the presence of a priest is not absolutely necessary at prayer meetings, it is nonetheless most desirable in order that exaggerations and unrealistic or mistaken ideas and expectations may be avoided.

It would be a great pity if Medjugorje’s central message (prayer, fasting, reconciliation and peace) became obscured in any way or if excessive emphasis came to be placed on signs and wonders. Accordingly, the presence at these prayer meetings of the Official Church in the person of the priest is very much to be desired.

My most outstanding experience in Medjugorje was the hearing of Confessions. One day I spent three hours doing so. And I am sure that during those three hours I heard more Confessions of the kind that are basic and come from the depth of the heart than during all the 21 years of my priesthood. I could not help but be moved by the workings of grace – the clear workings of grace; also, by the clear acceptance of the call to penance and reconciliation which expressed themselves so unmistakably in the quality of the Confessions I heard. So this experience will ever remain my most impressive and abiding Medjugorje memory.