His Eminence Cardinal Dr. Franjo Kuharić, Archbishop of Zagreb
(Glas Koncila, August 15, 1993)
The construction of the old parish church was completed in 1897, soon after the creation of the parish (1892). It was a spacious and beautiful construction for its time. Built on unstable ground, it soon started to develop fissures. Immediately after the end of the First World War, the parishioners began to think about building a new church. Construction lasted from 1934 until January 19, 1969, when it was consecrated.
St James Church is today the focus and the centre of both sacramental and prayer life, not only for the parishioners, but also for pilgrims.
A fenced-in park situated within the traffic circle at the east side of the Shrine reminds us of the place where the old parish church once stood.
Because of new needs, which surfaced with the coming of numerous pilgrims, the church and its surroundings have been rearranged ever since 1981.
The exterior altar built in 1989, and the surrounding prayer area (with about 5000 seats), are a place of gathering in the summer time and for big feasts, when numerous thousands of pilgrims gather in Medjugorje.
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