Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fr. Jozo Zovko suspends public appearances for a year

From Spirit Daily - February 15, 2009

On the apparition beat: at the most famous alleged one, Medjugorje, in Bosnia-Hercegovina, there have been rumors for weeks now that seer Mirjana Dragicevic Soldo is no longer allowed (by the local bishop) to have apparitions in a place called Cenacolo -- a Catholic center near the village that reforms alcoholics, drug addicts, and others with severe problems. We have now confirmed that. Is something in the wind? Or is it just another joust with Mostar?

The most well-known priest associated with Medjugorje, Father Jozo Zovko, who was pastor when the apparitions began, and who regularly spoke to pilgrims (as an integral part of pilgrimages), has suspended all public appearances for a year. It is said that he is going to Italy. The stated reason is health: Father Jozo has had heart issues. Some think he has been silenced.

In 2002, he was disallowed from celebrating Mass at the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington after a bishop in Mostar, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Ratko Peric, who is strongly anti-Medjugorje, sent a letter to all dioceses in the U.S. stating that the priest -- accused of defying the bishop -- was under canonical censure. Some dioceses accepted the letter, while others felt the bishop did not have jurisdiction (Father Jozo's Franciscan superior general in Mostar, Father Slavko Soldo, said the priest was in "good standing").

We'll go with the official statement from Medunarodno Kumstvo in Siroki Brieg, circulated February 9, which states that "due to health reasons, the need for rest and recuperation, and due to the commencement of construction on Badija, Father Jozo Zovko has asked his superiors for permission to reside outside of the province. The province board approved his request. For this reason, we are cancelling all programs planned for the ensuing year."

We will strictly abide by whatever the Church decides, regardless of our personal opinions. The matter is currently under study by a special Vatican commission. We can't report full details because an information curtain has been drawn over such details for many years.

Having been to Medjugorje personally on pilgrimage in 2005 and remembering the time I spent listening to Fr. Jozo, I can attest to the obvious sincerity and trust of this holy man.

Let us pray for Fr. Jozo, for the Vatican commission looking into the apparitions @ Medjugorje, and for the visionaries themselves. Let us ask our Holy Mother to continue to bring her messages of peace, love, prayer and conversion to Christ to the world, for as long as our Heavenly Father allows her to do so. In the love of Jesus and Mary, AMEN.

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