On July 22, 2018, Monsignor Henryk Hoser began his official role as Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visitor to Medjugorje by celebrating Holy Mass at St. James’ Church at 7 pm.
Transcript of the Homily of Archbishop Hoser, given in Medjugorje, July 22, 2018
Your Excellency, Monsignor Apostolic Nuncio in Bosnia and Hercegovina, Your Excellency, Bishop of Alexandria de la Pallia, Reverend Father Provincial, dear Priests, dear Persons of Consecrated Life, dear Faithful of the Parish of Medjugorje, dear Pilgrims, Brothers and Sisters!
The Lord speaks: “Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture.” The Holy Father, the Universal Shepherd of the Church, takes the words of the prophet as his own. He sends us there where people exist and live, there where the faithful gather together seeking the light of salvation.
Today the Lord provides us with an incomparable example, and the role model of missionaries. When He disembarked and saw the vast crowd, His heart was moved with compassion for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He began to teach them many things.
The Holy Father sends apostles and missionaries all over the world, in accordance with Christ’s command: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and behold I am with you until the end of the age.”
Gathered together at this Sunday Holy Mass, let us be sensitive to the words of St. Paul, the Apostle of Nations. He said: “But now, in Christ Jesus, you who once were far-off have become near by the Blood of Christ. He came and preached peace to you who were far-off, and peace to you who are near.”
Pilgrims come to Medjugorje from far away regions, from approximately 80 countries of the world. The distance, the remoteness, represents the space measured by the kilometers we have passed. In order to pass these kilometers, we need to have a firm and decisive motivation as well as the means of transportation that are important to accomplish many journeys.
But the word distance means something else as well. The word distance represents the existential situation of the many who have distanced themselves from God, from Christ, from the Church and from the Light which gives meaning to life, which directs it, and gives it a dignified goal, and is the life worthy of living.
Now we can understand why the Holy Father has sent the Apostolic Visitor to Medjugorje. The pastoral care requires ensuring a stable and continuous accompaniment of the Parish Community of Medjugorje and of the Faithful who come here on pilgrimage.
This mission equally concerns not only those who are far-off, but also those who are near. The latter has a double meaning. They are near because they have lived in this place and territory for generations. They are near because they are the Parishioners of Medjugorje. They are near also because for 37 years they have witnessed so many events in this region.
In another meaning, near are all those who live an ardent and warm faith, and who desire to live in an intimate and grateful contact with the Risen and Merciful Lord.
Let us now ask the fundamental question: “Why do so many people come to Medjugorje every year?”
The clear answer is this: They come to meet someone. To meet God. To meet Christ. To meet His Mother. And then to discover the path that leads to the joy of living in the house of the Father and the Mother. And ultimately to discover the Marian Way as the safest one. This is the path of the Marian Devotion that has been taking place here for years. That is the Sacred Worship in which the culmination of Wisdom and the Summit of Faith come together, and which is therefore the primary task of God’s people.
Indeed this is a Christ-centered worship, because it takes its origin and effectiveness from Christ, finds its complete expression in Christ, and leads through Christ and the Spirit to the Father – as the Holy Father, Pope Paul VI, said.
The Second Vatican Council strongly emphasizes that the various forms of devotion towards the Mother of God that the Church has approved, within the limits of wholesome and orthodox doctrine, have developed in harmonious subordination to the worship of Christ and have gravitated towards this worship as to their natural and necessary point of reference.
Besides this, it is useful to return to them, in order to remove doubts and especially to help the development of that devotion of the Blessed Virgin which in the Church is motivated by the Word of God, and practiced in the Spirit of Christ, as Paul the VI said in his “Marialis Cultus.”
This is what the devotion of the people in Medjugorje looks like. In the center is the Holy Mass, Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and all of this followed by other forms of devotion, the Rosary, and the Way of the Cross – which has turned what in the beginning used to be a trail of sharp stones, and made it into a smooth path.
Pilgrims take time off and dedicate their time to be able to sojourn in Medjugorje. In this regard, Pope John Paul II said, “Just as time can be marked by [ ] by special moments of grace, space too may by analogy bear the [ ] or particular saving actions of God. Moreover, this is an intuition present in all religions which not only have sacred times but also sacred spaces where they encounter where the Divine may be also experienced more intensely than it would be normally in the vastness of the cosmos.
Medjugorje gives us both the time and the space of God’s grace, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church, whom here we honor as the Queen of Peace. This title is well known from the Litany of Loreto.
It is true, the world is in great need of peace, peace in one’s own heart, peace in the family, peace in society and international peace. Peace is desired by everybody, especially by the people of this country who suffered so much in the recent Balkan War.
To promote peace means to build a civilization based on love, on communion, on fraternity, on justice, and therefore on peace and freedom. May the Gospa, the Mother of the Prince of Peace who was proclaimed by the prophets, be our Protectress, our Queen and our Mother. Amen
在朝聖期間，加拿大主辦中心Pat的提醒，我留意到名牌後面聖母媽媽的信息：Decide for God, little children, and you will find in God the Peace your hearts seek. 原來，聖母媽媽一早已知道我內心的不安，藉著朝拜聖體她提醒我，多陪伴耶穌，在主內尋找平安！所以回港後，我每天都頌唸玫瑰經和33天祈禱奉獻，我亦會多參加朝拜聖體。雖然我還是在祈禱中祈求我尚未領洗的兒子早日領洗，祈求主賜他健康，但是，我心境總算比以前平安多了！
Peace in Lord be with you
June A 2018
I had a wonderful time and filled with blessings from Medjugorje. Thank you Jesus & Mother Mary for this invitation. No doubt that I’ll bring my husband back to Medjugorje next time.
As you said my mind still remember the many graces & blessings we had in Medjugorje. I’m really treasure every moments there.
Talking about the nametag, of course I noticed that all our group members with a different message from our Blessed Mother. Mine is “Little children, may hope in a better tomorrow be always in your heart.” Our Lady Queen of Medjugorje Message 01/25/2015.
We are all so blessed and will try our very best to share the joy, peace, love, prayerful heart, and many blessings with our friends & family.
In fact I have shared my fruitful pilgrimage to my family & friends already upon arrival to Hong Kong. And also I remember the five stones from Medjugorje need to be followed and proceeded in my daily life.
Praise be our Lord! & God bless to everyone!
Ada Chi Yin Luk
June A 2018
Holy Mass in St. James Church (outdoor)
直至要交費之前也有一點點憂慮，幸好得到好朋友 Danny 及太太的鼓勵，亦想考驗一下自己才確認成行，旅程中自己感受是每天都在親近天主，親近聖母媽媽，沒有如此的親近，感恩的是之前的憂慮一掃而空，只感到滿懷的恩寵，在十多天的旅程當中給我的印象是宗教氣氛十分濃厚，當地居民對信仰渴求很熱烈，每日的多台彌撒都坐無虛席，在街上很容易看到手持念珠邊行邊頌念玫瑰經的民眾，在我們攀登聖母山及十字架山的艱辛路上，大家都悉力以付，特別是年長者為要登頂所付出毅力都令人倍添感動，在旅程接近尾聲的一天，一位團友對我說因她沒有看見會旋轉的太陽，聞不到玫瑰花香也沒有感受到其他異像而有㸃失望，最初我也有同感，但之後回想自己也不是為此而來，主要是為自己的靈修，在信仰生活上增添對天主及聖母媽媽的虔敬。
After Medjugorje pilgrimage I have more trust in God 。
Alan Sak Lun Chan陳錫麟
June A 2018
Having been a legionary during secondary school, I had always had a special connection with the Virgin Mary. We prayed the rosary in every meeting and were told to pray it as much as we could etc. but it was nowhere close to what I have experienced in Medjugorje.
A few days before heading to Medjugorje, I was excited to see what I was going to get out from this place but I did not have a great deal of expectations. My knowledge about this place was minimal, where I did not even know much about the visionaries or that apparitions are still ongoing. I thought it was just another place where the Virgin Mary has once appeared. However, since the first day of my arrival, everything has gone so smoothly and I thought it must have been my calling to come here.
As soon as I arrived, the group leader handed me a name tag with a message from our Lady, she said “Dear children, through love you will achieve everything, even what you think is impossible.” Immediately after that, I felt like our Lady had already answered my prayer. At that moment, I was buzzing with anticipation of what our Lady wanted me to do for her and to humbly take from this place.
For the first few days of pilgrimage, the evening programs were not the most ideal thing I have ever imagined. To be honest, I think I have fallen asleep in most of the rosary sessions. However, my thoughts and feelings towards prayers and rosary were completely overturned on the night where our Lady’s apparition took place in the Apparition Hill. I felt like praying with heart is the most essential thing to do, praying rosary is just like communicating with our Lady whilst holding the rosary is just like holding our Lady’s hand. Having prayed with heart, we could truly be our Lady’s extended hand to help those who has not known God and God’s love. Even solely thinking of how joyful and happy our Lady would be when we pray our rosary, everything is just worth it. At that moment, in my mind, the one mission in my life is to live like our Lady so that I could go to heaven. (I even secretly wished that I could die right after the minute I did my confession!)
The eleven days were life changing, it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. God is giving all of us everything we are and everything we have, it might be difficult for us to realise what he has done for us as there is too much going on in our lives and we have always ignored the simplest thing that gives us true joy. Medjugorje, I think, it’s a place where you find peace, joy, purity and love. With zero distraction, it’s a place where you could completely connect with God, where you could feel the presence of God through the help of our Lady. After the pilgrimage, I feel that I have a deeper connection with our Lady. I would never have thought that our heavenly mother loves us so much before I went there, she once said “If you knew how much I love you, you’d cry for joy.”
There is one thing that is vital for any of us, we do not necessarily have to tell people what God’s love is or spread the messages of our Lady by words as it is hard for people who has never experienced to understand. Instead, we apostles, should walk and live the way like Jesus did, so people could see and understand God’s love through each and every one of us. The Queen of Peace once said, “An impure heart cannot do correct and just things; it is not an example of the beauty of God’s love to those who surround it and to those who have not come to know that love.” “My children, do not forget that you are not in this world only for yourselves, and that I am not calling you here only for your sake.”
My first ever experience in Medjugorje was magnificent, it is like experiencing Heaven on Earth. I am so blessed to have this invitation from our Lady, and I thank God for that.
June A 2018