Mystery behind reported Marian apparitions will not be solved by Medjugorje pastoral envoy
The Virgin Mary has been making appearances in Medjugorje, Bosnia since June 1981. To honor the holy apparitions, on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Pope Francis appointed a Polish bishop as his delegate to Our Lady in Medjugorje on a pastoral envoy.
Medjugorje will receive a pastoral envoy for the faithful.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Holy Virgin first appeared to six children and teens aged between ten and 17-years-old.
She appeared on a daily basis at first, but since 1989, she only appears to some of those now adults on the 2nd and 25th of each month.
According to Crux, the alleged apparitions must be investigated by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, not Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Prague, whom an anonymous source claimed would be playing a pastoral role.
On Saturday, Vatican press secretary Greg Burke announced Archbishop Hoser would be sent on a pastoral envoy in a statement that included a brief message concerning his "exclusively pastoral character."
It also acknowledged the thousands of pilgrims who travel to Medjugorje annually in hopes of being present during a Marian apparition:
"The mission has the aim of acquiring a deeper knowledge of the pastoral situation there, and, above all, of the needs of the faithful who go there in pilgrimage, and on the basis of this, to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future.
"The special envoy won't enter into the substance of the Marian apparitions, which is a doctrinal question in the competency of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."
A statue of Our Lady in Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Gnuckx/Flickr).
Since she began to appear, the Vatican has yet to rule on the legitimacy of the apparitions.
When Pope Francis paid Bosnia and Herzegovina a visit in June 2015, he did not stop at Medjugorje at all but, during his return flight to Rome, the Pontiff did imply the investigation into the apparitions was nearly complete.
Archbishop Hoser is expected to remain the Bishop of Warszawa-Praga and will complete the pastoral envoy in Medjugorje by the summer.
Journalists did question Burke when he released the statement at Saturday's press conference, asking specifically whether the legitimacy of the apparitions have been proven.
According to CNA, Burke simply stated the alleged apparitions "are still being studied ... this is neither a recognition nor a negative judgement. That is always a doctrinal question separate from this, which is pastoral. If you read [the communique], you can't read any doctrinal judgement" in Archbishop Hoser's pastoral appointment.
Burke reiterated the Archbishop's role would focus on "people's needs...pastoral life, liturgy, catechesis, sacraments and the experience of devotion they have there," though he will not be managing local parishes.
"It's important to note that it's not an apostolic visitation," Burke explained again. "Look at the words. This is more 'for' than 'against.' It's for the life of the pilgrims who go there."
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