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Pope John Paul II’s personal secretary makes private visit to Medjugorje

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz. / Credit: Kyle Burkhart/ACI Prensa

ACI Prensa Staff, Jul 14, 2023 / 16:30 pm (CNA).

Polish Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, archbishop emeritus of Krakow and for more than 40 years the personal secretary to Pope John Paul II, has paid a private visit to Medjugorje.

As reported by Radio Mir Medjugorje, the cardinal arrived in the town on July 11 and was received by the apostolic visitor with a special responsibility for the parish of Medjugorje, Archbishop Aldo Cavalli; the pastor of Medjugorje, Father Zvonimir Pavičić; and Father Antonio Primorac, Cavalli’s secretary.

Dziwisz visited the places of prayer in Medjugorje and St. James Church, where he prayed. After that, the two archbishops conversed in private.

In front of St. James Church, the Polish cardinal met pilgrims from Ukraine, with whom he prayed and whom he blessed.

In a statement to the Polish media during a 2021 visit on the 40th anniversary of the alleged apparitions, Dziwisz commented that when he worked in the Vatican, he closely followed what was happening in Medjugorje, a place that “was very present in the life of John Paul II.”

“Medjugorje is a place of great prayer and conversion through prayer, confession, and penance. The apparitions are not as important as the fact that it is a place of encounter with the Mother of God and the possibility of asking for mercy through her intercession. The number of people who come here is incredible,” Dziwisz said on that occasion. 

Alleged apparitions

The alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, which have not yet received approval from the Church, began on June 24, 1981. Six children from this small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina, then under the communist regime of the former Yugoslavia, claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary. From the beginning, the reported apparitions have been a source of controversy but also of sincere devotion and conversion.

In May 2017, Pope Francis, on the flight back to Rome after visiting the shrine at Fatima, revealed that the document being studied by the commission that he established to investigate the facts establishes a distinction between the first Marian apparitions in Medjugorje and those that followed.

Regarding the “alleged current apparitions,” the Holy Father noted, “the report has its doubts.”

However, in 2019 the Holy See gave authorization for priests and bishops to organize pilgrimages to the Medjugorje shrine as long as they do not imply recognition of the apparitions.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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