For the first time in almost three months, since the church was temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of believers gathered at a mass in Medjugorje on Sunday, Vijesti.ba news portal reports.
The Mass at 11.00 o’clock, which was led by Fr. Zvonimir Pavicic on the feast of the Holy Trinity, was also an occasion for a joint blessing of the field for the entire parish of Medjugorje.
It was attended by hundreds of believers who filled the spaces behind the outer altar of the Church of St. James and Medjugorje.
Prayer program and Mass, as reported by the MIR Information Center in Medjugorje, is followed by millions of believers through several online platforms and a radio program.
The head of the office of the Tourist Board in Medjugorje, Zeljko Vasilj, stated that the arrival of pilgrims and the tourist season there will primarily depend on the opening of the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
For Medjugorje, the most important are pilgrims from Italy.
Up to half a million tourists from Italy visit annually, which is a clear indication of what extension of this agony would mean for this Herzegovina tourist destination. ” They have been our guests since day one, they have always been number one, the oldest, most numerous and grateful guests in every way, ” Vasilj points out.
On May 12th last year, Pope Francis has made an important decision about the status of Medjugorje by allowing pilgrimages to visit this prehistoric place.
It has been emphasized that it should not to be interpreted as acknowledgment of well-known events that still require examination from the church.
This information was published by the special envoy of Msgr. Henryk Hoser, and the Mass was attended by the apostolic nuncio in BiH, Mons. Luigino Pezutto.
“Pope Francis has determined that it is possible to organize pilgrimages to Medjugorje, always making sure that they are not interpreted as acknowledgment of well-known events that still require examination by the church, ie they do not create any misleading and ambiguous doctrinal meaning,” was written in the statement by Pope Francis.
Henryk Hoser, Archbishop whom Pope Francis has named as the Apostolic Visitator to Medjugorje, announced the construction of a shrine in this town located in Herzegovina in 2018.
“An important argument in favor of Medjugorje is the statistics of Medjugorje itself. We see the number of pilgrims increasing, and not only that pilgrims come from all over the world, but, after their return home, they do everything to keep on living in the spirit they have discovered here in Medjugorje. It seems to me that there are more people in the world who know where Medjugorje is located than for the capital of BiH, “Archbishop Hoser said in an interview for Vecernji.hr.
Speaking on the expansion of the shrine, he said that a group of architects is already preparing the project.
“The plan is to extend the space for liturgical celebrations, which will meet all the climatic conditions, it will be cold during summer, and warm in the winter. The open square, the outer altar space, do not protect the people who participate in the liturgical celebrations. We still think to build a chapel, “Hoser said.
Medjugorje is one of the most famous Roman Catholic pilgrimage destinations in the world. It became known through the apparitions of the Virgin Mary, which began in 1981, after which religious tourism began to develop.
Since then, this Herzegovinian place, besides Sarajevo, is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.