Home » Posts tagged 'Bosnia-Herzegovina'

Polish archbishop says Vatican will recognize Medjugorje visions

By

Catholic News Service

WARSAW, Poland — A Polish archbishop who inspected Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Medjugorje shrine for the pope predicted the Vatican will soon recognize its Marian apparitions.

Pilgrims pray in front of a statue of Mary in 2011 on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga, Poland, who inspected the shrine for Pope Francis, predicts the Vatican will soon recognize its Marian apparitions. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has passed all documentation to the Secretariat of State, everything suggests the apparitions will be accepted before the year ends,” said Archbishop Henryk Hoser.

“It’s difficult to believe the six visionaries have been lying for 36 years,” the archbishop said. “What they say is coherent, and none is mentally disturbed, while the apparitions’ faithfulness to church doctrine is also a powerful argument for their authenticity.”

The archbishop spoke as he completed a report from his spring mission to the hilltop shrine, which has not been officially recognized by the church despite 2.5 million pilgrims annually.

He told Poland’s Catholic Information Agency, KAI, he had found an “exceptional atmosphere” of “spiritual creativeness” at Medjugorje, characterized by “prayer, silence, meditation, Eucharist, adoration, fasting and reconciliation.”

He added that the shrine was seeing “huge dynamic growth,” in contrast to older sanctuaries in Portugal, France and Poland and had succeeded in remaining “a true place for pilgrims” while “eliminating tourist elements.”

“Everything is moving in a good direction. My mission wasn’t aimed at closing Medjugorje down, but at evaluating whether pastoral work is being properly organized there in line with church teaching,” Archbishop Hoser said.

“My conclusions are that it is, and my impression is highly positive,” he told KAI.

Six teenagers claim to have seen the Virgin Mary June 24, 1981, near Medjugorje. Since then, they have reported more than 42,000 apparitions at the site, which was largely untouched by the 1992-95 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

 

Local bishop doesn’t agree

In April, the then-prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, told KAI ageny it still could “take a long time” for the Vatican to rule on the apparitions, despite Archbishop Hoser’s pastoral visitation.

Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, the local ordinary, has consistently dismissed the Medjugorje apparitions as false, like his predecessor, Bishop Pavao Zanic, and appealed to bishops abroad not to support pilgrimages there.

However, in March, Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, defended the shrine as “Europe’s largest confessional,” and said he counted on the Vatican to appreciate its evangelical potential in generating “conversions and acts of grace.”

Pope Francis told reporters traveling with him from Fatima, Portugal, in May that the most important fact about Medjugorje is “the spiritual fact, the pastoral fact” that thousands of pilgrims go to Medjugorje and are converted. “For this there is no magic wand; this spiritual-pastoral fact cannot be denied.”

The spiritual fruits of the pilgrimages, he said, are the reason why in February he appointed Archbishop Hoser to study the best ways to provide pastoral care to townspeople and the pilgrims.

Speaking to reporters May 13, Pope Francis gave no indication of when a final pronouncement about the alleged apparitions would be made. However, the said that a commission set up by then-Pope Benedict XVI had spent years investigating the phenomenon and tended to believe the apparitions in that first week of the summer of 1981 may have been real, but the continued reports of apparitions are questionable.

Furthermore, Pope Francis told the press, “personally, I am more ‘mischievous.’ I prefer Our Lady to be a mother, our mother, and not a telegraph operator who sends out a message every day at a certain time; this is not the mother of Jesus.”

Comments Off on Polish archbishop says Vatican will recognize Medjugorje visions

Commission reportedly thought the first alleged visions at Medjugorje were real

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The commission that now-retired Pope Benedict XVI established to study the alleged apparitions of Mary at Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, reportedly voted overwhelmingly to recognize as supernatural the first seven appearances of Mary in 1981.

The sun sets behind a statue of Mary on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this 2011 file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The sun sets behind a statue of Mary on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this 2011 file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

However, according to a report published by the website Vatican Insider, the commission was much more doubtful about the thousands of alleged visions that have occurred since July 4, 1981, and supposedly continue to this day.

Two of the 17 commission members and consultants thought the alleged visions after the period of June 24-July 3, 1981, were not supernatural, while the other members said it was not possible to make a judgment.

The commission said it was clear that the six alleged visionaries and a seventh who claims to have begun receiving messages from Mary in December 1982 were not given adequate spiritual support.

Vatican Insider published its piece on the report May 16, three days after Pope Francis spoke about some details of the report to journalists traveling with him from Fatima, Portugal.

The Vatican press office May 17 declined to comment on the Vatican Insider piece.

Speaking to journalists May 13, Pope Francis said that, regarding the Medjugorje commission’s work, “three things need to be distinguished.”

“About the first apparitions, when (the ‘seers’) were young, the report more or less says that the investigation needs to continue,” the pope said, according to the English translation posted on the Vatican website.

“Concerning the alleged current apparitions, the report expresses doubts,” he said. Furthermore, “personally, I am more ‘mischievous.’ I prefer Our Lady to be a mother, our mother, and not a telegraph operator who sends out a message every day at a certain time; this is not the mother of Jesus.”

Pope Francis said his “personal opinion” is that “these alleged apparitions have no great value.”

The real core of the commission’s report, he said, is “the spiritual fact, the pastoral fact” that thousands of pilgrims go to Medjugorje and are converted. “For this there is no magic wand; this spiritual-pastoral fact cannot be denied.”

The spiritual fruits of the pilgrimages, he said, are the reason why in February he appointed Polish Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga to study the best ways to provide pastoral care to townspeople and the pilgrims.

According to Vatican Insider, 13 of the 14 commission members present at one meeting voted to recommend lifting the Vatican ban on official diocesan and parish pilgrimages to Medjugorje.

The commission also recommended turning the town’s parish Church of St. James into a pontifical shrine with Vatican oversight. The move, the commission said, would not signify recognition of the apparitions, but would acknowledge the faith and pastoral needs of the pilgrims while ensuring a proper accounting of the financial donations pilgrims leave.

The commission’s role was to make recommendations to the pope; its report is not an official church judgment on the apparitions. Pope Francis told reporters May 13 that “in the end, something will be said,” but he gave no timeline.

Comments Off on Commission reportedly thought the first alleged visions at Medjugorje were real

Pope’s opinion: Alleged apparitions at Medjugorje ‘don’t have much value’

By

Catholic News Service

ABOARD PAPAL FLIGHT FROM PORTUGAL — While the investigations into the very first alleged apparitions at Medjugorje in must continue, Pope Francis said he has doubts about claims that Mary continues to appear in the village of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Asked May 13 about the authenticity of the Marian apparitions, which reportedly began in 1981, the pope referred to the findings of a commission chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the retired papal vicar of Rome.

Pope Francis listens to a question from Joana Haderer of LUSA as he speaks with journalists aboard his flight from Portugal to Rome May 13. The pope made a two-day visit to Fatima to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions and to canonize Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Marto, two of the young seers. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis listens to a question from Joana Haderer of LUSA as he speaks with journalists aboard his flight from Portugal to Rome May 13. The pope made a two-day visit to Fatima to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions and to canonize Sts. Francisco and Jacinta Marto, two of the young seers. (CNS/Paul Haring)

“The report has its doubts, but personally, I am a little worse,” the pope told reporters traveling with him from Fatima, Portugal. “I prefer Our Lady as mother, our mother, and not Our Lady as head of the post office who sends a message at a stated time.”

“This isn’t Jesus’ mother,” he said. “And these alleged apparitions don’t have much value. I say this as a personal opinion, but it is clear. Who thinks that Our Lady says, ‘Come, because tomorrow at this time I will give a message to that seer?’ No!”

Three of the six young people who originally claimed to have seen Mary in Medjugorje in June 1981 say she continues to appear to them each day; the other three say Mary appears to them once a year now.

A diocesan commission studied the alleged apparitions in 1982-1984 and again in 1984-1986 with more members; and the then-Yugoslavian bishops’ conference studied them from 1987 to 1990. All three commissions concluded that they could not affirm that a supernatural event was occurring in the town.

Despite his personal doubts, the pope said that the “spiritual and pastoral facts cannot be denied: People go there and convert, people who find God, who change their lives. There isn’t magic there,” he said.

In February, Pope Francis appointed Polish Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga to study the pastoral needs of the townspeople and the thousands of pilgrims who flock to Medjugorje each year. He told reporters those people deserve spiritual care and support.

Also during the in-flight news conference, the pope was asked about his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, who will visit the Vatican May 24 as part of his first foreign trip as president.

Specifically asked how he would speak to a head of state with clearly opposing views on issues such as immigration, the pope said he would never “make a judgment about a person without listening to him first.”

“There are always doors that aren’t closed. Look for the doors that at least are a little bit open, enter and speak about things held in common and go forward, step by step,” the pope said. “Peace is artisanal; it is made every day. Even friendship among people, mutual knowledge and esteem are made every day,” he said.

Pope Francis also was asked about the resignation of Marie Collins, one of the founding members and the last remaining abuse survivor on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors.

She left the commission March 1, citing the reluctance of members of the Roman Curia to implement recommendations or cooperate with the commission’s work.

The pope praised Collins’ work on the commission and her continuing role in training bishops to deal with abuse allegations.

As for her reasons for leaving the commission, Pope Francis said, “she is a little bit right because there are so many cases that are delayed.”

However, the pope said the delays in handling cases are due to the need to draft new legislation and to the fact that there are few people capable of handling cases of sexual abuse.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, and Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith, he added, are looking “for new people.”

“We are going forward, but Marie Collins was right about some things,” he said. “We also are moving forward, but there are least 2,000 cases piled up.”

Asked about continuing discussions to fully reconcile the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X with the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said he is patient. “I don’t like to rush things.”

He has made overtures to the faithful attached to the society by recognizing the validity of absolution granted by SSPX priests and the validity of marriages they celebrate, but the Vatican still is waiting for the society’s leadership to sign a document affirming certain teachings of the church.

“This isn’t a problem of winners and losers,” the pope said; it is about “brothers who should walk together, looking for ways to take steps forward.”

Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

Comments Off on Pope’s opinion: Alleged apparitions at Medjugorje ‘don’t have much value’

Bosnian bishop says again: Mary has not appeared in Medjugorje

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — “The Virgin Mary has not appeared in Medjugorje,” said Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, the diocese in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which includes Medjugorje.

A statue of Mary is seen outside St. James Church in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this file photo.  (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

A statue of Mary is seen outside St. James Church in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Two weeks after the Vatican announced Pope Francis was sending a Polish archbishop to study the pastoral needs of the townspeople and the thousands of pilgrims who flock to Medjugorje each year, Bishop Peric posted his statement Feb. 26 on his diocesan website.

Three of the six young people who originally claimed to have seen Mary in Medjugorje in June 1981 say she continues to appear to them each day; the other three say Mary appears to them once a year now.

Bishop Peric noted that a diocesan commission studied the alleged apparitions in 1982-1984 and again in 1984-1986 with more members; and the then-Yugoslavian bishops’ conference studied them from 1987 to 1990. All three commissions concluded that it could not be affirmed that a supernatural event was occurring in the town.

The six young people continued to claim to see Mary and receive messages from her and tens of thousands of pilgrims visited the town, and the alleged visionaries, each year. Pope Benedict XVI established a commission that worked from 2010 to 2014; and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith began looking at that commission’s report in 2014.

Many observers believe Pope Francis appointed his envoy in February to study the pastoral needs of the town and the pilgrims in preparation for releasing a judgment on the alleged apparitions.

The position of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno “for this entire period has been clear and resolute: these are not real apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” Bishop Peric wrote in his statement, which was posted in Croatian and Italian.

Some people, he said, believe the apparitions were real at least at the beginning, perhaps for the first week, but that the young people continued to claim to see and hear Mary “for other reasons, most of which are not religious.”

Bishop Peric said a study of the transcripts of interviews with the six alleged visionaries from that first week give several motives for suspicion if not total doubt about the supernatural nature of events.

First, he said, the Mary of Medjugorje usually speaks only when spoken to, “she laughs in a strange way, in response to certain questions she disappears and then returns, and she obeyed the ‘seers’ and the pastor who made her come down from the hill into the church even against her will. She does not know with certainty how long she will appear, she allows some of those present to step on her veil lying on the ground, to touch her clothes and her body. This is not the Gospel Mary.”

The seventh time Mary allegedly appeared, June 30, 1981, five of the youngsters were in a nearby town called Cerno and claimed to have seen Mary there. Bishop Peric said that in the recorded interviews all five reported that the apparitions would continue only three more days, July 1-3, 1981.

“Then she changed her mind and still ‘appears,’” the bishop wrote.

“Taking into account all that was examined and studied by this diocesan curia, including the study of the first seven days of the presumed apparitions, one calmly can affirm: The Virgin Mary has not appeared in Medjugorje. This is the truth that we uphold, and we believe in the word of Jesus who said the truth will set you free.”

Comments Off on Bosnian bishop says again: Mary has not appeared in Medjugorje

Pope sends envoy to study pastoral care of faithful in Medjugorje

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Without commenting on the authenticity of alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pope Francis has appointed a Polish archbishop to study the pastoral needs of the townspeople and the thousands of pilgrims who flock to the town each year.

A statue of Mary is seen outside St. James Church in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this file photo. Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga, Poland, as his special envoy to Medjugorje, the site of alleged Marian apparitions. A Vatican statement said his role would be to study the pastoral situation in Medjugorje. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

A statue of Mary is seen outside St. James Church in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this file photo. Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga, Poland, as his special envoy to Medjugorje, the site of alleged Marian apparitions. A Vatican statement said his role would be to study the pastoral situation in Medjugorje. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The pope chose Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga as his special envoy to Medjugorje, the Vatican announced Feb. 11.

“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 Vatican announcement said.

Archbishop Hoser’s assignment has “an exclusively pastoral character,” the Vatican said, making it clear his task is separate from the work of a commission set up in 2010 by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI to investigate the claims of six young people who said Mary had appeared to them daily beginning in 1981. Some of the six say Mary still appears to them and gives them messages each day, while others say they see her only once a year now.

Pope Benedict had named retired Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini to chair the group studying the apparitions. In June 2015, Pope Francis told reporters that Cardinal Ruini had given him the group’s report and that it would be studied by the cardinals and bishops who are members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. At the time, Pope Francis said, “We’re close to making decisions,” although nothing was announced until the appointment of Archbishop Hoser about 20 months later.

Thousands of pilgrims travel to the small town each month to meet the alleged seers and to pray. Because the apparitions have not been approved, the Vatican has said dioceses should not organize official pilgrimages to Medjugorje. However, it also has said Catholics are free to visit the town and pray there, and that the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno and the Franciscans who minister in the town should organize pastoral care for them.

The Vatican’s February announcement said that Archbishop Hoser “is expected to finish his mandate as special envoy by summer of this year.”

Comments Off on Pope sends envoy to study pastoral care of faithful in Medjugorje

Peace demands hard work amid world’s atmosphere of war, pope tells Balkan nation

By

Catholic News Service

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — To overcome fear, discrimination and conflict, people must have a deep desire to open themselves up to God and his mercy, and work actively for peace every day, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis arrives for a meeting with priests, men and women religious and seminarians in Sacred Heart Cathedral in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, June 6. Also pictured in the popemobile is Bosnian Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo. The pope was making a one-day visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina to encourage a minority Catholic community in the faith, and to foster dialogue and peace in a nation still largely divided along ethnic lines. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis arrives for a meeting with priests, men and women religious and seminarians in Sacred Heart Cathedral in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, June 6. Also pictured in the popemobile is Bosnian Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo. The pope was making a one-day visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina to encourage a minority Catholic community in the faith, and to foster dialogue and peace in a nation still largely divided along ethnic lines. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

God’s plan for creation is peace, “which always meets opposition from humanity and the devil,” he said during a one-day visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina June 6.

The cold reality today is that the world is facing “a kind of Third World War being fought in piecemeal” amidst “an atmosphere of war” worldwide, he said on the 71st anniversary of “D-Day,” the World War II anniversary of Allied forces landing in Normandy marking the liberation of Europe.

But the “ray of sunshine piercing the clouds” is Christ’s appeal to work for peace, the pope said during an outdoor Mass in the capital’s Kosevo sports stadium, where more than 60,000 people gathered from different parts of the Balkan region under a hot, hazy sky.

Signs of peace emerging from a war-torn nation stood out throughout the city, whose residents are mostly Muslim.

Small groups of well-wishers and cheering families lined the main avenues from the airport as armed military helicopters circled the sky.

Sleek modern glass and steel commercial buildings were scattered among rows of towering communist-era apartment buildings whose gray cement walls were riddled with bullet holes and gouged by shrapnel. The holes left behind are marked with large dark grey splotches where the newer cement was troweled on and left unpainted. Flowers adorned some gravestones in a makeshift cemetery on a grassy plot between a snarl of highway bypasses. During the years of urban warfare, it was difficult to bury the dead in established cemeteries on the outskirts of town, so parks and roadsides became burial grounds.

More than 100,000 people died and millions more were displaced during the 1992-1995 conflict, which saw a Serb campaign of ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims after the mostly Muslim nation declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1992.

“War means children, women and the elderly in refugee camps; it means forced displacement of peoples; it means destroyed homes, streets and factories; it means above all, countless shattered lives,” the pope said in his homily.

While there are those who foment war and profit from it by selling weapons, he said, there are those who hear Jesus’ words, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

“He does not say, ‘Blessed are the preachers of peace,’ since everyone is capable of proclaiming peace, even in a hypocritical or indeed, duplicitous manner,” the pope said. “No. He says, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers,’ that is, those who make peace.”

Peacemaking requires putting justice into practice, and it takes patience, passion, experience and the tenacity to never give up, every day, “step by step,” he said.

A vital step, one that cannot be skipped, he said, is personal conversion since nothing in the world can change without a change in the human heart, one that makes room for God, his love and mercy.

Only with such change can a person see that former enemies “really have the same face as I have, the same heart, the same soul,” he said.

Signs of unity were seen throughout the Mass. An ecumenical choir of 1,600 people from Catholic and Serbian Orthodox churches and the country’s national choir were accompanied by the nation’s military band. Behind the altar was an intricately detailed chair for the pope, hand carved from dark walnut wood by a Muslim father and son. A large cross placed near the altar still bore the punctures of ammunition from the three-year long conflict.

In just the first hours of his visit, the pope said he saw signs of hope in the joy and smiles of the Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox and Catholic children who greeted him at the airport.

He told government and religious leaders during a morning meeting at the presidential palace, that “I saw hope today in those children. … That is hope. Let’s bet on that.”

“In order to successfully oppose the barbarity of those who would make of every difference the occasion and pretext for further unspeakable violence, we need to recognize the fundamental values of human communities,” values that help people communicate, forgive, build and grow, Pope Francis said.

“This will allow different voices to unite in creating a melody of sublime nobility and beauty, instead of fanatical cries of hatred,” he said.

 

Comments Off on Peace demands hard work amid world’s atmosphere of war, pope tells Balkan nation

Vatican to announce guidelines on Medjugorje, pope says

By

Catholic News Service

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Pope Francis said the Vatican was ready to make an announcement concerning the alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met recently to discuss the issue and “we’ve reached the point of making a decision and then they will say,” he told journalists on the flight back to Rome June 6.

Pope Francis speaks to journalists aboard his flight from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Rome June 6. At left is Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman. The pope announced on the return flight that a decision soon will be announced concerning alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis speaks to journalists aboard his flight from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Rome June 6. At left is Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman. The pope announced on the return flight that a decision soon will be announced concerning alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The expected announcement will include “just some guidelines (the congregation) will give to the bishops,” he said in response to a reporter’s question.

An international commission of cardinals, bishops, theologians and other experts, working under the auspices of the doctrinal congregation, was set up in 2010 to investigate the claims of six young people who said Mary had appeared to them daily beginning in 1981. The apparitions purportedly continue and thousands travel to the small town each month to meet the alleged seers and to pray.

After a few years, the commission completed its study in which the members “did a beautiful job, a beautiful job,” Pope Francis said at the end of his one-day visit to Sarajevo.

For years the local bishop, Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, has said he believes nothing supernatural is happening in Medjugorje.

While the Vatican has said dioceses should not organize official pilgrimages to Medjugorje, it has said Catholics are free to visit the town and pray there, and that the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno and the Franciscans should organize pastoral care for them.

Pope Benedict XVI had reaffirmed that the church never requires the faithful to believe in apparitions, not even those recognized by the church.

 

Comments Off on Vatican to announce guidelines on Medjugorje, pope says

Pope heads to Bosnia June 6 as ‘brother messenger of peace’

June 5th, 2015 Posted in Vatican News Tags: , , ,

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said he will dedicate his one-day visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina to encouraging a minority Catholic community in the faith, fostering ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and calling for peace and harmony after the devastations of war.

Souvenirs with images of Pope Francis are seen June 5 at a vendor's stand in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the pope will visit June 6. (CNS photo/Fehim Demir, EPA)

Souvenirs with images of Pope Francis are seen June 5 at a vendor’s stand in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the pope will visit June 6. (CNS photo/Fehim Demir, EPA)

He said he would be coming “as a brother messenger of peace to express to everyone, everyone, my esteem and friendship. I would like to proclaim to each person, each family, each community, God’s mercy, tenderness and love.”

The pope made his comments in a brief recorded video message sent to the Balkan nation ahead of his trip to the capital of Sarajevo June 6.

Twenty years after the end of a three-year conflict of war and ethnic cleansing, Bosnia-Herzegovina is still largely divided along ethnic lines. Bosnians make up 48 percent of the country’s nearly 4 million people, while Serbs make up 37 percent and Croats 14 percent. About 40 percent of all citizens are Muslim, 31 percent Orthodox and 15 percent Catholic.

In his video message, released June 2, Pope Francis said the aim of the trip was to confirm the nation’s Catholics in the faith, “support ecumenical and interreligious dialogue and above all to encourage the peaceful coexistence in your country.”

He said he hoped his visit would have a positive impact on society and on the Catholic community, which has seen the loss of about half of its members since the war because of mass immigration due to the conflict and lingering economic difficulties, as well as because of declining birthrates.

While expressing his “affection and my strong spiritual closeness” to all the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the pope encourage its Catholics “to be at the side of your fellow citizens as witnesses of faith and God’s love, working for a society that journeys toward peace in harmony and mutual collaboration.”

It will be Pope Francis’ eighth trip abroad and the 11th country he has visited outside of Italy since his election in 2013.

 

Comments Off on Pope heads to Bosnia June 6 as ‘brother messenger of peace’

Periphery pope: Bosnia trip aims to build bridges in divided nation

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis’ concern for those suffering on the margins and for small Catholic communities that have kept the faith alive through war or repression will take him to Bosnia-Herzegovina in early June.

By making a one-day trip June 6 to Sarajevo, he said he hoped he could “be an encouragement for the Catholic faithful, give rise to the development of the good and contribute to strengthening fraternity, peace, interreligious dialogue and friendship.” Read more »

Comments Off on Periphery pope: Bosnia trip aims to build bridges in divided nation
Marquee Powered By Know How Media.