Speaking to the Polish Press Agency today, Mons. Henryk Hoser—who, on Thursday, was appointed by Pope Francis as a special Apostolic Visitor at the parish of Medjugorje—called the famous site of Marian apparitions "a prophetic and charismatic place of prayer for world peace."
Henryk Hoser retired as Archbishop of Warsaw-Prague last December—as is customary for bishops when they turn 75 years old—shortly after completing his mission as papal envoy to Medjugorje.
During his first mission to Medjugorje, Archbishop Hoser was tasked by Pope Francis to assess the pastoral needs there. Just before he left Medjugorje, Hoser praised the spiritual fruits of the parish when he celebrated Mass in St. James Church, and he continued to proclaim his positive impressions through the media after his departure.
Mons. Hoser's new appointment is the "second stage" of his mission from the pope.
"Pilgrims from all over the world come to Medjugorje every year, about 2.5 million people each year," said Mons. Hoser. "And now my task will be to help the local priests in all improvements and changes that will help pilgrims live spiritually in Medjugorje, and in better conditions."
Medjugorje, Hoser remarked, is becoming one of the most important pilgrimage places in the world.
"Our Lady is venerated there," he said, "dedicated to Our Lady Queen of Peace, and we know how much peace is threatened in the world today."
When asked about the pastoral needs he hoped to address in Medjugorje, he listed several. The most important one, said Hoser, was "an increase in the number of confessors, especially foreign-language ones. Medjugorje is a phenomenon of mass confession—there are 50 confessionals, and still not enough, and above all, there are too few confessors.
He also noted that Medjugorje's infrastructure needed to be expanded. "It is necessary to ensure that the liturgical space is larger. There is a small parish church, nothing more - there is no bigger place of worship."
Mons. Hoser even identified a need to expand accommodation for pilgrims. "There are small hotels run by people who live there, but all this is inadequate."
Interestingly, there are an estimated 40,000 hotel beds in Medjugorje already, and most hotels in Medjugorje are not full aside from a few weeks out of each year. Could it be that Mons. Hoser is preparing Medjugorje for a massive influx of pilgrims?
Time will tell; Mons. Hoser takes up his new post next month.
Apparition Hill DVD - Documentary about Medjugorje
My Heart Will Triumph - The autobiography of visionary Mirjana Soldo
Medjugorje Pilgrimages by Stella Mar