With our beloved Holy Father’s resignation, which was officially undertaken today as he stepped down from the Seat of Peter, a question has been lingering for many of the faithful: what will happen with Medjugorje?
Pope Benedict XVI did so much to fight for Medjugorje, from his days as a cardinal to his papal actions in establishing the international Vatican Commission to examine the apparitions objectively. I recently came across a beautiful homily by Fr. Jozo Zovko, who confirms that Pope Benedict XVI loved Medjugorje, calling it “a place of prayer. Medjugorje is a place of sacraments, where people seek the sacraments.”
Fr. Jozo, addressing a group of pilgrims — lay people and priests — at Široki Brijeg on October 22, 2007, pointed to a photograph of Fr. Slavko Barbaric, who for many years was the spiritual director of the Medjugorje seers, meeting with (then) Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Fr. Jozo explained:
“….in the small picture we see Father Slavko with Cardinal Ratzinger, today our Pope, on an interview about Medjugorje, what our Pope says about Medjugorje as Cardinal Ratzinger. He issued a most beautiful document then that stands to this very day. What does that document say?”
” ‘Medjugorje is a place of prayer. Medjugorje is a place of sacraments, where people seek the sacraments.’ And he asks the priests to be at the disposition of a place of reconciliation with God, asking to respond all the better. The right to determine the supernaturalness was taken away from the Bishops but the observation continues about the fruit of Medjugorje that speak about Medjugorje. And our wise Pope Benedict XVI at that time freed the Bishops before the pressure of the communists and today before the pressure of atheism of us faithful. Do not be afraid. Our Pope loves Medjugorje. The Pope loves you as a pilgrim, as a priest. As a priest when you confess, pray the rosary and live the messages, and proclaim the messages.”
What powerful words from Fr. Jozo — “Do not be afraid. Our Pope loves Medjugorje.” Should we be afraid now that the Holy Father has stepped down and a new pontiff is to be elected?
Of course not.
When we are dealing with sublime matters we must realize that the hand of God is involved, and the Lord will guide his flock, his Church, with a chosen successor. I believe that Pope Benedict’s successor, whoever he may be, will realize how dear and important Medjugorje was to both of his precursors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI; he will realize what an important decision it was to form a Vatican Commission, the first in the Church’s history to examine a Marian apparition site.
The Holy Spirit has been good to us, to the Church, in giving us the grace of Our Lady’s appearances in Medjugorje and in giving us Popes who have, despite much opposition within, fought courageously to protect those appearances, protecting Our Lady’s messages and her continual work of conversion of bringing so many of the masses back to her Son.
Let us continue praying for our Holy Father (emeritus), for his successor, and for Our Lady’s continual work and intentions. Peace & abundant blessings to you, friends!