The required construction work necessitated by the planned building of a new sacristy to accommodate a larger number of priests began in January 2008, in the area between the outside altar and the parish church.
The existing sacristy of St. James’ parish church was built in 1969, to cater for the normal needs of the parish. Under the outside altar, built in 1989, there is a larger sacristy, which has since become too small for current needs.
Year after year, Our Lady’s apparitions attract an increasing number of pilgrims, who are regularly accompanied by priests, to Medjugorje. In 2007, 34.265 priests visited Medjugorje, averaging in excess of 90 priests daily. During the summer period, and also on significant feast days, several hundred priests visit Medjugorje. In July 2007, for example, 628 priests from 46 countries and from all the continents participated in the Priests’ Retreat. During the Youth Festival, and again on the Anniversary of the apparitions, over 300 priests attended.