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Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje 
WARSAW (CNS): Archbishop Henryk Hoser, retired archbishop of Warsaw-Praga, Poland, who oversees Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Medjugorje shrine, has outlined plans for expansion, including more Masses in different languages and facilities for young pilgrims who flock to the site of the alleged Marian apparitions. 
 
“Medjugorje represents Europe’s spiritual lungs, a place where millions discover God and the beauties of the Church,” he said. 
 
“We now have to re-create its infrastructure, firstly by securing its liturgical space. We also need to expand its areas for retreats and provide new places for celebrating the Eucharist, especially for pilgrims,” he said. 
 
In May, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Hoser apostolic visitor to Medjugorje, where six young people claimed in 1981 that Mary had appeared to them. 
 
Many people see “only the sociological side of the Church, which is also the face of sinners,” and fail to comprehend its religious mission, the archbishop explained on September 16 at a new Catholic youth centre in Warsaw. 
 
“We all bear responsibility for the Church—we’re all called to be apostles, evangelisers and teachers, according to the gifts we’ve obtained from God,” he said.
 
Italian missionary abducted in Niger
VATICAN (CNS): An Italian missionary, Father Pierluigi Maccalli of the Society of African Missions, was kidnapped in southern Niger on September 17, according to Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. The abduction of the 57-year-old priest occurred around 9:30pm. local time near the border with Burkina Faso."
 
As at September 20, there was “no news of Father Pierluigi. There has been no claim by the kidnappers at present,” his confrère in Niamey, Niger’s capital, Father Mauro Armanino, said. 
 
According to local residents, about eight men arrived on motorbikes, broke into Father Maccalli’s house opposite the church and forced him to go with them,” a church spokesperson, Thomas Codjovi, esplained. They also stole his computer and phone, according to Fides
 
Father Armanino said the kidnappers have received global visibility with the abduction of a Western missionary, which likely was the result they were seeking.
 
Singer, Bono, calls pope ‘extraordinary man for extraordinary times’
VATICAN (CNS): Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band, U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland “it looks as though the abusers are being more protected than the victims. And you could see the pain in his face.” 
 
Bono met the pope on September 19 to sign an agreement between his charity, ONE, and the Scholas Occurentes educational charity supported by Pope Francis. 
 
During the half-hour meeting, Bono said, he brought up Pope Francis’ recent trip to Ireland and the concerns there about the sexual abuse crisis. The pope was “aghast,” Bono said. 
 
“I thought he was sincere. I think he is an extraordinary man for extraordinary times,” the singer said. 
 
ONE is a campaign and advocacy effort working to end extreme poverty, especially in Africa. One of its current focuses, Bono told reporters is education for girls and young women. 
 
“(Some) 130 million girls around the world do not go to school, because they are girls,” he said, adding that Poverty is sexist is the campaign slogan.
 
Calls for change in German Church
SCHOENSTATT (CNS): Reinhard Cardinal Marx, head of the German Bishops’ Conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German Church’s handling of sex abuse of minors and said he anticipates change. 
 
Speaking out for the first time on September 16 regarding the contents of a leaked document on clerical sexual abuse in Germany, Cardinal Marx attributed the abuse to the lack of “attentiveness, lacking sensitivity, through the absence of love.” 
 
He said during his homily at a Mass in Schoenstatt, Germany, “God suffers about what we overlooked, where we looked away, what we did not want to believe as true.” 
 
The leaked document contained the findings of a confidential study, sponsored by the German Bishops’ Conference, revealing that an estimated 3,700 minors were abused in Germany from 1946 to 2014. The bishops’ conference did not disclose the findings to the public. 
 
New details from the leaked document state that more than half of the victims were boys under the age of 14. Three quarters of the victims had a pastoral or ecclesiastical association with the accused. 
 
“The Church experiences highs and lows,” said Cardinal Marx, “Particularly in these days, we are thinking about the dark sides of what has happened and what is happening within the Church.”

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