After celebrating his 50 years of priesthood in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Sarajevo in September 2021, the former Apostolic Nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Archbishop Msgr. Luigi Pezzuto also celebrated his golden jubilee in Medjugorje with a Mass of Thanksgiving (October 10, 2021), and there were in concelebration Msgr. Petar Palić, Bishop of Mostar-Duvanj and Administrator of Trebinje-Mrkanj, Msgr. Guido Gallese, Bishop of the Diocese of Alessandria della Paglia in Italy, Provincial of the Herzegovina Franciscan Province Fr. Miljenko Šteko, Vicar of the Herzegovina Franciscan Province Fr. Iko Skoko, Medjugorje Parish priest Fr. Marinko Šakota and 29 other priests.
At the beginning of the Mass, Fr. Miljenko Šteko greeted all those gathered, expressing joy over this event.
"We are glad that you have decided to celebrate your golden priestly jubilee in Medjugorje, our small, and now already world-famous place, which has become a model and centre of evangelisation. You are welcome to Medjugorje at any time, not only as before, as the Apostolic Nuncio, but also in the future whenever you find the time. This day is very rich in content for you. You are completing and crowning your long-term activity in the diplomatic service of the Holy See with the golden jubilee of the priesthood. While together with you we thank God for the happy end of your diplomatic service, at the same time we congratulate you from the bottom of our hearts on your golden priestly jubilee and wish you to remain active in priestly service until you reach complete conformity with the One who called you this mission. We are grateful to the Holy Father for your many years of presence and activity in our country. I express my special gratitude on behalf of my brothers from the Herzegovinian Franciscan Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary for your presence among us, especially here in Medjugorje. Often people when they change their place of residence, they say that they leave a part of the heart in those parts. I have no doubt that you, Excellency, have left a part of your heart in the countries where you were in the diplomatic service, you will leave a part here in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in our Medjugorje", said Fr. Miljenko Šteko.
Msgr. Luigi Pezzuto also thanked all who wished to unite with him in thanking the Lord for 50 years of priesthood. He greeted the bishops present, Msgr. Palić and Msgr. Gallese, Provincial Fr. Miljenko Šteko, Parish priest Fr. Marinko and all the priests of the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina, saying at the beginning that he was grateful because after Italy he was able to celebrate this priestly jubilee in Medjugorje.
In his sermon, Msgr. Pezzuto referred to the Gospel from the liturgy on the 28th Sunday of the year, the encounter of Jesus with a rich young man…
Before Jesus' remark about the lack of wealth in achieving salvation, the disciples were not only stunned but even disappointed and openly expressed their disappointment with the question, which is also a negative comment: "So who can be saved then?" The Lord’s programme that says: whoever wants to save his own life should lose it for Him, seemed impossible to the disciples because he deprived them of all earthly security. The disciples thought that salvation could be achieved by their human strength, not excluding economic or political strength. In a word, they were deprived of all power to achieve salvation, and therefore, for them it became an unattainable dream", said Archbishop Pezzuto, noting that "in the realisation of this life program we are always accompanied and guarded by the Blessed Virgin Mary, who in we call this temple the Queen of Peace and God's Mercy”.
In the end, Fr. Marinko Šakota greeted everyone, who on behalf of parishioners and pilgrims from all over the world presented the Apostolic Nuncio with an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with which, as he said, he wished to congratulate him on his great jubilee and thank him for all the good he has done for the Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina and for Medjugorje.
"What you have done for Medjugorje is of great importance. During your mandate here, Pope Francis sent to Medjugorje, first as his envoy, and then as the apostolic visitor, Archbishop Henryk Hoser, who recently left us. And second: Pope Francis allowed the official organisation of pilgrimages to Medjugorje. Dear Archbishop Luigi Pezzuto, thank you from the bottom of my heart and we congratulate you on 50 years of your priesthood”, said Fr. Marinko Šakota at the end of the Mass, and Archbishop Pezzuto said at the end that he was “grateful to the Lord for the gift of the priesthood and you all accompanied me in that thanksgiving to the Lord”.
On August 31, 2021, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Msgr. Luigi Pezzuto from the office of the Apostolic Nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro due to his age. (FOTO)