On April 5, 2017, the Special Envoy to Medjugorje, Archbishop Henryk Hoser, gave a lengthy press conference in Medjugorje. Giving compassionate, candid, and generous remarks, Hoser expressed an open heart to the events in Medjugorje.
You can watch the entire press conference HERE.
Here is Archbishop Hoser’s opening remarks at the press conference:
With respect to me and my impressions, I can say that there was a time when Medjugorje was not known in the world. It was a little place lost between two hills. That is the meaning of the name, Medjugorje. Today Medjugorje is known in the whole world. And we should know that pilgrims are coming from about 80 countries from all over the world.
When it comes to the meaning of this place, we can compare it with other places, if we say that per year there are about 2 ½ million pilgrims coming here. In Lourdes there are about 6 million people who come, but Lourdes exists for more than 150 years. Medjugorje is only about 36 years old. It is time to make a first estimate, and it is important for the future growing of this place.
Why do so many people come here? On one hand, surely they have heard of the apparitions that took place for the first time in 1981. On the other hand, those who are coming here are discovering something extraordinary. The first thing is the atmosphere, it is the atmosphere of peace and reconciliation. It is an atmosphere of inner peace, of peace of the heart. Also what they discover is a huge space for profound religion and spirituality. They discover or rediscover what it means in their lives to have something sacred, something holy. In Medjugorje they encounter sacred time and sacred space. That sacredness means something that is reserved for something divine.
Usually it is said that Medjugorje is a place where we honor Our Lady, and that is the truth. But if we look at it in a deeper way, we see that it is actually Christocentric, completely turned towards Christ. Christ-life! Worshiping. For instance, at the center is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the transmission of the Word of God, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament where one discovers the real presence of Jesus Christ in His divinity and in His humanity. Some also discover the prayer of the Rosary, that is meditative prayer on the mysteries of our faith. And when they pray the Way of the Cross, they enter into the Paschal mystery which is the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I would like to conclude with the reality of Holy Confession, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the personal and the personalized sacrament. From the religious perspective, Medjugorje is very fertile ground.