Pope John Paul II and Medjugorje
Date: September 1, 2006
Category: Medjugorje and Vatican
Content of the article
Medjugorje in Light of the Pope's visit to Sarajevo
The Pope has come and gone from Sarajevo, and he did not visit Medjugorje as many had hoped he would due to the Pope's obvious goodwill toward the events in the parish of Medjugorje. We remember that the Croatian president, Dr. Franjo Tudjman, immediately preceding the Pope's coming to Sarajevo testified before an assembly of politicians and priests that Pope John Paul II in their last conversation said that on the occasion of his visit to Sarajevo he wanted also to visit Medjugorje. The local bishop Dr. Ratko Peric was also present for this testimony and did not say a word at that.
What the Pope said behind the scenes to the assembled church leaders in Sarajevo is not known and most likely will not be known. What is known is his question about who is the provincial of the Franciscan Province in which the parish of Medjugorje is located. Also known is his mentioning the name of Medjugorje with a smile on the occasion of his arrival in Sarajevo, at the supper in the Catholic School of Theology and at his departure from Sarajevo. In general no great stir came from all that.
Spirits were upset only after the usual papal general audience on the Wednesday immediately after the Sarajevo visit. According to reports of the news agencies, the Pope on that occasion among other things said: "In the course of the war pilgrimages of the faithful to the Marian shrine in Bosnia-Hercegovina did not stop as also not in other parts of the world, especially in Loreto, in order to request the Mother of Nations and the Queen of Peace to intervene in that suffering region." These words of the Pope were interpreted by many as his indirect recognition of the Medjugorje events.
It is difficult to say what the Church will undertake regarding the Medjugorje events in the near and distant future. Since the Bishops' Conference of Yugoslavia no more exists, there is no longer a commission which was established by it with the charge of accompanying the events in the parish of Medjugorje. The Church therefore will, to be sure, have to do something. Medjugorje in the meantime will proceed on its course and that sentence of Sacred Scripture which says a tree will be known by its fruits will be realized.
The Pope, Medjugorje and the Provincial of the Hercegovina Franciscans
The visit of Pope John Paul II to Bosnia-Hercegovina April 12 - 13, 1997 was a visit which many had hoped would end with a visit of the Pope to Medjugorje, since in several references he had expressed such a desire. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Nevertheless, the Pope did not forget Medjugorje.
At the Sarajevo airport April 12 the very first to await the Pope's arrival were the bishops and provincials of Bosnia-Hercegovina. When the provincial of the Sarajevo Province, Fr. Peter Andjelovic, as the first of the provincials approached the Pope to greet him, the Pope asked him the question, "Medjugorje?". He pointed to Dr. Fr. Tomislav Pervan, the provincial of Hercegovina who said, "I am from Mostar and Medjugorje." The Pope nodded his head with satisfaction and twice repeated, "Medjugorje, Medjugorje". All TV viewers who watched the presentation of the Pope's arrival also saw it.
While the Pope prayed with those gathered in the Sarajevo cathedral he prayed twice referring to the Queen of Peace for Bosnia-Hercegovina. Many of those present interpreted it as having recourse to the Queen of Peace from Medjugorje.
After supper in the Sarajevo Catholic School of Theology Fr. Tomislav took advantage of the occasion to personally present the Pope with the newest photo-monograph on Medjugorje which the Franciscans who work in the parish of Medjugorje had sent to him. On that occasion he spoke to him briefly about Medjugorje. The Pope did not say anything, but by the expression on his face, he accepted both the former and the latter with satisfaction and interest.
On the occasion of the Pope's departure from the Sarajevo airport Fr. Tomislav Pervan by way of greeting said, "Holy Father, we are expecting you in Medjugorje." The Pope answered with a smile, "Medjugorje, Medjugorje" as was visible also on TV screens.
The President of Croatia, Medjugorje and the Pope
According to the Dayton peace accord the Republic of Croatia and the Federation of Bosnia-Hercegovina should one day enter a confederal relationship. One of the essential ways of attaining that goal is joining together on the economic level. Therefore the Croatian President, Dr. Franjo Tudjman, on March 15, 1997 participated in the re-opening for production of the local aluminum factory in Mostar.
After the festivities in Mostar the Croatian President, by his own expressed desire, came to visit the Shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje. He was welcomed on the part of the local people by the Provincial of the Franciscan Hercegovina province, Fr. Dr. Tomislav Pervan, and the Medjugorje parish pastor, Fr. Ivan Landeka. Moved by the meeting at the shrine and the cheers of the large gathered crowd of over 30,000 people that came to greet him from all parts of Bosnia-Hercegovina, Mr. President stayed for a talk with the assembled priests. Present were not only the priests that work in Medjugorje, but also priests from the surrounding parishes. Present at the same time, as also in Mostar, were the local bishop Dr. Ratko Peric and a group of 15 of the highest ranking officials of the Republic of Croatia and the Federation of Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Among other things, Dr. Franjo Tudjman also said the following: "Again I repeat that on the occasion of my last conversation with him Pope John Paul II said that, on the occasion of his visit to Bosnia-Hercegovina, he would like also to visit Medjugorje."
The latest news says that the Pope, nevertheless, will not visit Medjugorje on April 13. But, it's good to know that he wished to.
Statements of Pope John Paul II about Medjugorje
These statements are not verified by the Pope`s seal and signature but are brought to us by persons in whom we may trust. Because of this we have inserted them under the title of "Documents".
Pope John Paul II wrote positively about Medjugorje
Our Lady’s apparitions in Medjugorje were credible for the Pope, which can be seen from his private correspondence with a renowned Polish journalist Marek Skwarnicki and his wife Zofia.
Marek and Zofia Skwarnicki published four letters written by the Pope himself on 30.03.1991, 28.05.1992, 8.12.1992 and 25.02.1994. These are the first published documents written by John Paul II on behalf of Medjugorje.
“I thank Zofia for all that is linked to Medjugorje”, writes John Paul II in his letter dated 28.05.1992. “I am connected to each one of those who are praying there and receiving from there the call to prayer. Today, we grasp better this call.”
In his letter dated 25.02.1994, John Paul II is writing on behalf of the war in former Yugoslavia: “Now, we can understand Medjugorje better. Now, when we have before our eyes the proportion of this great danger, we can understand better this motherly persistence”.
Marek Skwarnicki, who knows Karol Wojtyla since 1958, is editor of the catholic weekly “Tygodnik Powszechny” and of the monthly “Znak” which is published in Krakow. He is a member of the Pontifical Council for Laity and was present on numerous journeys of the Pope.
Our Lady about Pope John Paul II