Vi ste nas posjetitelj
Vi ste nas
Sadržaj prenešen sa američkih stranica :
Monday thru Friday at
See why so many consider the
Daily CATHOLIC as the
"USA Today for CATHOLICS!"
WEDNESDAY November 3, 1999
SECTION ONE vol 10, no. 208
TOP CATHOLIC OF THE CENTURY COUNTDOWN:
Father Jozo Zovko, O.F.M.
Wherever this charismatic Franciscan goes he imparts the truths of
the Gospel through the Gospa as a monument of love for all God's children thus fulfilling
the charge from Heaven to "Protect the children."
Today we bring you the 29th person selected out of the TOP
100 CATHOLICS OF THE CENTURY. The voters chose Father Jozo Zovko, O.F.M., the
popular 58 year-old charismatic Franciscan most synonymous with Medjugorje for he is the
priest who, as pastor of St. James in 1981, sheltered the visionaries from the communist
soldiers and spent nearly two years incarcerated for his courage and beliefs. He was then
transferred to Tihaljina and is associated with the beautiful statue of Our Lady of
Tihaljina. In 1992 he was assigned to the Franciscan Monastery in Siroki Brijeg where
he remains today when not traveling around the world promoting the messages and love
through various organizations he has founded. For more, click on FATHER JOZO ZOVKO,
29. Father Jozo Zovko, O.F.M.
The voters chose, as the 29th selection Father Jozo Zovko,
O.F.M., the priest most recognized with the apparitions and spiritual phenomena of
Medjugorje. His selection came from the many readers who believe in the message of
Medjugorje which Father Jozo continues to emphasize today, the same message imparted to
saints for centuries including Saint John Bosco through his vision of the two
pillars - the Eucharist and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary's Immaculate Heart.
He has often been called the "Eucharistic priest." While this term should apply
to all priests because of the immense privilege and right they are afforded through the
Sacrament of Holy Orders, Father Jozo is constantly upholding the Eucharist as the answer
to all our questions.
How fitting it was that he was called Jozo for in Croatian it means Joseph
and he was born on that great saint's feast day - March 19, 1941 in the village of Uzarici
in the parish of Siroki Brijeg, where he is assigned today at the Franciscan monastery. He
was the eighth of ten children born to Mate and Milka Zovko and the times
were tough for World War II was in full force, but the family survived and little Jozo
finished his primary grade school first in Uzarici, then Siroki Brijeg before realizing he
had a vocation to the priesthood. He entered the seminary in Bol on the island of Brac
directly south of Split in the Adriatic Sea. He transfered to the major seminary in
Sarajevo after Novitiate and at the age of 26 was enrolled at Ljubljana University
receiving his degree in Theology. He was ordained in Sarajevo on August 6, 1967. He was
assigned to the Gratz University in Austria to continue studies.
Upon graduating in the early seventies he returned to his homeland
of Yugoslavia where communism ruled. Though the communist regime allowed worship, they
frowned on those who were too faithful. One of those was Father Jozo. Because of his deep
faith, his devotion to God and because of his tremendous influence in the parishes where
he was assigned, the communists influenced the local bishop to transfer him often. It must
be understood that the bishops were selected at that time and all the way up until after
the fall of the communistic regime in the early nineties, by approval of the communist
authorities in Belgrade. This included Bishop Zanic and the present prelate Bishop
Peric. It was often a tough call for the Vatican but the Holy See realized it was the
only way to prevent total persecution of the Church. It's also interesting to note that
the two bishops in question who have ruled against Medjugorje, the Vatican has taken
jurisdiction on ruling on Medjugorje out of their hands in unprecedented moves. That and
the long history of the Franciscans' loyalty to the people and the Church should shed some
light on the current flap between the bishops and Franciscans regarding Medjugorje and
which have been totally blown out of proportion in accusing the Franciscans of being
disobedient. Nothing could be further from the truth and the Franciscans continue to
operate in Medjugorje at St. James and surrounding areas of Bosnia within the Diocese of
Mostar because of Vatican intervention. The Holy See is well aware of the politics and
corruption of past bishoprics because of communist influence.
It was into this atmosphere that Father Jozo was transferred to St.
James parish in Medjugorje, which, in Croatian means "between two mountains."
This agricultural valley was a small village where the Faith was practiced but not with
the devotion expected. Father Jozo began to preach and entreat the people to return to the
Sacraments, to live their Faith. He was like "John the Baptist" if you
will for, without him realizing it, he was preparing the parish for what was to come eight
months after he had been assigned to St. James as the new pastor. On June 24, 1981, while
he was on retreat in Croatia, the Blessed Mother is reported to have appeared on the
Podrbo, also called "Apparition Hill." Medjugorje would never be the same, nor
would Father Jozo.
When he first was told of the apparitions, he felt the children - Mirjana
Dragicevic, Ivanka Ivankovic, Maria Pavlovic, Ivan Dragicevic, Vicka Ivankovic and Jakov
Colo - were all pulling a prank. He chastised them for such tales and the seriousness
of such claims. To his surprise, rather than the children coming clean and admitting it
was a hoax, they stuck to their story insisting the "Gospa" had appeared to
them. Still he didn't believe until he knelt in St. James alone one morning after Mass and
heard a Heavenly voice say, "Protect the children." Almost immediately they came
flying into the rectory, out of breath with the communist soldiers in pursuit. He knew
instantly it was no hoax and sought to give the six young ones sanctuary. For this he paid
the price. He was summoned to communist headquarters in Mostar where he was accused of
provoking an uprising by spurring the children to fabricate the apparitions and get the
parishioners stirred up against the communists. They ordered him to suppress the movement
in Medjugorje as more and more were flocking to this village as news spread. Had they
called him in one week earlier, before he heard the voice which he knew instinctively was
from God, he might have complied. But he could not go against God's charge. Therefore he
refused and, after a kangaroo court, was sentenced to three years of prison. The sentence
in communistic incarceration was commuted to half that following the pressure applied on
the Yugoslav government by the faithful in Medjugorje and surrounding areas as well as
others outside the country who had heard of the phenomena and the travesties against him.
In the spring of 1983, Father Jozo was released and transferred to
St. Elijah in Tihaljina. It was here where we first came in contact with this holy priest.
It was May of 1990 during our first pilgrimage to Medjugorje, one that would forever
change our life. We were kneeling at the communion rail after his inspiring two hour talk
in which he blessed each person afterwards. It was a throwback to the old way of receiving
Our Lord at Holy Communion, except this time it was the Holy Spirit Who came
through the charisma of Father Jozo; for as we knelt immediately in front of that
beautiful, famous statue of Our Lady, known as "Our Lady of Tihaljina" we could
feel the power of the Advocate. As he placed his hands on our head, a warmth never before
felt came over us and were slain in the Spirit for the first time ever in the most
relaxing, peacefilled mode ever experienced.
This charism has been experienced by millions who have flocked to
Medjugorje and made side trips to Tihaljina and now the monastery in Siroki Brijeg to hear
and be touched by this amazing priest. He continued to receive pilgrims, preaching and
touching them until 1992 when the war in Croatia and then Bosnia-Herzegovina prevented
this. He turned his attentions to helping his people, making trips to London, Washington,
New York, Paris, Brussels, Strasbourg and Rome on a peace mission trying to persuade
political leaders to help stop the killing and suffering of innocent people. It was the
same kind of mission Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo just returned from concerning his
beleaguered and suffering flock in East Timor. Just as he had been called by Heaven to
"Protect the children" when the six visionaries were threatened, so also he has
been called by God to protect the children ravaged by war and hate. He helped establish
the International Godparenthood which served as a vehicle for people the world over to
adopt a Godchild from among the many whose parents were killed in the devastating war that
slaughtered 280,000 over a four-year period and destroyed countless homes and churches
throughout Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was established on December 20, 1992 with
Father Jozo as president of the association. Today over 4,000 children are cared for
spiritually and financially in Siroki Brijeg through this organization. There is also the
Holy Family Institute which he is involved with which sponsors a children's renewal center
in Siroki Brijeg serving as a clearing house for people of all faiths in rebuilding and
getting back on their feet after the devastation of war. The center provides food,
shelter, clothing and the opportunity to educate all as to the sacredness of human
dignity. The center is, as Father Jozo explains, "a monument of love..the monument
that speaks to all generations here as to what love has done by reestablishing themselves
in society for the good."
While he has sponsored and approved of many organizations, he has
also been used by some. One such was the "Nine Novenas of Prayer" in which the
organizers illegally signed his name to it. He took umbrage for much of the appeal dealt
with a forboding apocalyptic tone full of fear and fatalistic threats. Father Jozo
renounced that as he wrote, "In through these fatalistic and threatening texts are
obviously contrary to the messages of the Queen of Peace who for eighteen years as a
mother has been arousing, instructing and inspiring millions of pilgrims and followers
toward an apostolate of prayer and fasting."
Another project that did not have his blessings and which he was not
consulted on was the movie "Gospa", a poorly done portrayal of him played
by Martin Sheen in which the facts were misrepresented and he was made to look like
a priest more interested in his image than souls. Nothing could be further from the truth
for he is a man who speaks from the heart - a heart that reveals a selflessness and total
surrender to God's Will. Even though "Gospa" was promoted to aid the
refugees, it died a quick death because it was not faithful to the life of Father Jozo and
his own sister Sister Fabiana, a humble, obedient nun who in no way represents the
Hollywood image conveyed by Morgan Fairchild in the part of Sister Fabiana. In an
interview in 1995, Father Jozo refuted most of what was in the movie.
Since 1992 he has been stationed at the Franciscan monastery in
Siroki Brijeg just a short way from where he was born. But he has also traveled the world,
from the far east, the mid east, Americas and throughout Europe and Africa spreading the
message of Medjugorje and the vital importance of the Eucharist which are intrinsically
linked as Father says, "Place your life upon the altar. You will witness how a priest
will place a drop of water within a chalice full of wine. That drop of water intermingles
with the wine and signifies you in the Holy Mass. You can become one, unite with and
intermingle with Jesus. That is why the Holy Mass is called Communion - union with God -
you and your God together - that is the Holy Eucharist." He also pointed out this
link before Mass in Portland, Oregon a few years ago which we have taken from http://www.medjugorje.org/, "Why is it
that churches and sects do not tolerate the Mass, do not respect Our Lady? Because they go
hand-in-hand. Yes, they go together. Our Lady teaches to come to love Jesus, to fall in
love with Him, and that is why she places us before the Holy Eucharist, and pleads with us
to pray before this holy, Blessed Sacrament, so from Jesus we may learn to become bread
for others; so that I not have fear to say, 'Take this, all of you, of Me, and eat of
it.'...Our Lady works in miraculous ways. She was always the sign, the sign of a
better world, the sign of peace and unit in the Church, the sign of our salvation."
Father Jozo has been persecuted, imprisoned, denigrated and accused
of unspeakable sins from graft to child abuse. What is his defense against all of this?
"Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." He can be found innumerable
hours a day before the Tabernacle in prayer, pleading not for his own will and reputation
but for God's Will to be done no matter the consequences. He epitomizes the priests of
Medjugorje who day-in-day-out are ridiculed and placed under the magnifying glass of
scrutiny - men like Father Svetozar Kraljivec, OFM, another very humble and holy
priest whose heroic acts during the war have gone untold at his request; Father Ivan
Landeka, OFM, the current pastor of St. James, Father Slavko Barbaric, OFM, who
was the voter's choice for the 41st selection of the TOP 100 CATHOLICS OF THE CENTURY on
October 14th; Father Petar Ljubicic, OFM, the priest whom visionary Mirjana
Dragicevic has selected to receive and announce the ten secrets when Our Lady says to do
so; Father Philip Pavic, OFM, the American-born Franciscan who serves the
English-speaking pilgrims in Medjugorje and has come to be known as the loveable ol'
curmudgeon with a cynical streak; Father Tomislav Vlasic, OFM, Father Ivan
Dugandzic, OFM;Father Tomislav Pervan, OFM, now the Franciscan provincial, and Father
Ljudevit Rupcic, OFM who we personally interviewed extensively along with Archbishop
Frane Franic, the former Archbishop of Split who was instrumental in the Vatican
taking the matter out of the local ordinary of Mostar's hands.
Today, at 58 Father Jozo continues to minister to the people of
Siroki Brijeg and the countless pilgrims who come to hear and be inspired. He also
continues to travel the globe bringing Our Lady's message to all. When asked about the
criticism that Medjugorje has become a commercial venture, he winces but admits, "Our
Lady is so pure that I would like the entrance to her shrine to be clean, with no shops at
all. But I also understand that the people want to take something home, to remember their
visit. This is something that happens in all famous places." He is truly correct in
this which can be corroborated if one ever visited Guadalupe, Lourdes or Fatima. They all
have vendors coming out of the woodwork, as does the Vatican.
When asked about the fact the apparitions continue to this day after
an unprecedented eighteen and a half years, he doesn't hesitate in affirming that "A
made-up story could not last this long. And it couldn't be satan's work. Satan doesn't
call for prayer and conversion." And this is what Father Jozo continues to preach
with every waking breath - prayer and conversion! In this humble, charismatic Franciscan
is embodied the messages of Medjugorje.
Ten Popes after Gregory the Great deal with Schism in the East
We continue with our on-going series of this
abridged History of the Mass and Holy Mother Church over a 2000 year span called 2000
YEAR VOYAGE ON THE BARQUE OF PETER. Today we feature the Sovereign Pontiffs from the
first half of the seventh century covering ten Popes from 604 and Pope Saint Gregory
the Great's immediate successor Pope Sabinian to the martyrdom death of Pope
Saint Martin I in 655. For Installment twenty-five The Agony and ecstasy of the
Church after Pope Gregory the Great - part two: "The Apostolic Line of
Peter during the first half of the seventh century" in the BARQUE OF PETER
The Agony and ecstasy of the Church after Pope Gregory the Great - Part
The Apostolic Line of Peter during the first half of the seventh century
Over the next several installments we will cover the Supreme
Pontiffs who ruled Rome from 604 to 900 A.D. Today we cover the first half of the seventh
century from Pope Sabinian to Pope Saint Martin I.
With the death of Pope Saint Gregory in 604, Christianity was
on the defensive almost everywhere it existed. The one connecting link to Catholicism was
the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - the rubrics, reverence and ritual having been established
by Gregory. Pope Sabinian succeeded Gregory as the 65th Pontiff for two years from
September 13, 604 to February 22, 606. He regulaged the ringing of the bells to indicated
the canonical hours for meditation and prayer for the faithful and also decreed that
sanctuary lamps be kept lit in all churches when the Blessed Sacrament was residing in the
Pope Boniface III became the next Vicar of Christ for less
than a year from Feburary 19 607 to November 12, 607. During his ten month reign, delayed
by a year, he outlawed arrangements for the election of a new Pope until three days had
passed. Today that time period has been extended to nine days minimum. He also made the
important declaration that the Pope as the Bishop of Rome was the only universal bishop.
On his death Pope Saint Boniface IV ruled from August 25, 608
to May 8, 615. It was this 67th successor of Peter who instituted All Saints Day on
November 1st after he had consecrated the pagan temple of Agrippa, more commonly known as
the Pantheon, to the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints. He also sanctioned
reforms improving the moral and material climate of the lower clergy including priests and
On October 10, 615 six months after Boniface IV's death, Pope
Saint Deusdedit I was chosen as the 68th in the line of Peter. He was a humble,
dedicated servant of the servants, opting to go into the streets to treat lepers and the
plaguestricken during the plague that had struck Rome during this time. He also was the
first Sovereign Pontiff to use seals of lead to imprint on Papal Bulls and other
Pontifical Decrees and his seal is still preserved today in the Vatican museum. He died on
November 8, 618.
Pope Boniface V replaced him a year later on December 23,
619. The delay was due to the terrible wars for the Crown of Italy and the lingering
plague. Boniface is credited with instituting the privilege of sanctuary for those
persecuted ones who sought refuge. He decreed that they would have it in the churches
where no military or government could arrest someone or harass them. It was during his six
year pontificate that the prophet Mohammed began preaching, signaling dark times
ahead for the Church.
His successor Pope Honorius I, born in Capua, Italywas
elected on the same day as Boniface's death and enjoyed the longest papacy of the century
- 13 years during which he sent missionaries to almost all parts of the known world and
resolved the problem of the Eastern Church and the Schism of Aquileia on the question of
the "Three Chapters." Honorius is also the Pope who decreed the Feast of the
Exultation of the Holy Cross would be held on September 14th each year. He died on October
Because of plague and tensions with the Byzantine Emperor, the
Throne of Peter remained vacant for two years until Pope Severinus was elected on
May 28th, 640. During his very brief pontificate he greatly angered the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius
because of the Pope's condemnation of sthe monoteletic heresy. Heraclius retaliated by
sacking the Basilica of St. John Lateran and the Lateran Palace where the Supreme Pontiffs
resided at the time. It was too much for Severinus who succumbed on August 2, 640.
Dalmatian-born Pope John IV succeeded him on December 24, 640
as the 72nd successor of Peter and tried to bring the people of Egypt into the Faith.
Because of the schisms, he personally ordained 28 priests and 18 bishops to make sure of
their allegiance. He passed away on October 12, 642.
The next Pontiff chosen was Pope Theodore I who had been born
in Jerusalem. He also struggled with the schismatic Byzantine Emperor Costans II
who had succeeded Heraclius. Theodore restored order to the internal jurisdiction of the
clergy and added the title of "Sovereign" to "Pontiff." He died on May
14, 649 and many suspect he was poisoned by one of Costans' spies who had infiltrated the
Following Theodore's death, the saintly Pope Saint Martin I was
elected the 74th in the line of Peter on July 5, 649. He sought valiantly to cooperate
with the emperor and patriarch of Constantinople in bringing the eastern factions
together, strongly opposed the heresy perpetrated within these factions of Monotheilitism,
the false belief that Christ had only one will, both human and devine. This heresy denied
the humanity of Christ. It was eventually condemned at the Council of Constantinople in
680. He was imprisoned by the Byzantine emperor and exiled to the island of Cherso where
he was sentenced to a life of hardship and torture and he died a martyr's death on Cherso
on September 16, 655. Three hundred years after the worst persecutions of the Church, her
people were still being tortured and martyred for the Faith and Pope St. Martin was an
ideal example of the saints of that time in history.
Next Wednesday: Installment Twenty-six: Agony and Ecstasy of the Church after
Gregory the Great part three: The Apostolic Line of Peter during the second half of
the seventh century A.D.
Events Today in Church History
On this date in 1148 Ireland's Saint Malachy passed to his
eternal reward at the age of 54. He was the Archbishop of Armagh and Down who is most
remembered for his famous prophecies of the men who would sit on the Throne of Peter. This
mystic's prognostication has been unbelieveably accurate right up to our present Holy
Father Pope John Paul II. For other pertinent events throughout the centuries that
are memorable in Church history today, click on MILLENNIUM
MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
Historical Events in Church Annals for November 3:
Death of Saint Silvia, mother of Pope Gregory the Great. After the
death of her husband, she devoted her life to piety and prayer. She is considered one of
the patron saints of expectant mothers.
Death of Saint Malachy at the age of 54. He was the Irish Archbishop of
Armagh and Down who was a mystic and is credited with his famous "Prophecies of the
Popes" which foretold every Supreme Pontiff until the end of time. His accuracy to
this point on all the Popes has been amazing, giving more credence to its authenticity.
Some historians say he died on November 2, others November 3. Since it was around midnight
we adhere to the latter.
Death of Saint Martin de Porres, Dominican Missionary in Peru. For more about
this devoted saint, see DAILY
Pope John Paul II beatifies the Carmelite Blessed Titus Brandsma.
A Jewel in the rough!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the words of Bishop
Fulton J. Sheen have been known to launch a thousand images in one's mind, one of the
ways this late luminary did so much to evangelize the faith. Because of the urgency of the
times and because few there are today who possess the wisdom, simplicity and insight than
the late Archbishop who touched millions, we are bringing you daily gems from his
writings. The good bishop makes it so simple that we have dubbed this daily series: "SIMPLY
"All during His life, love went out to those who were not only weak, but even
the worst people, like the woman in the city, the grasping tax collector, the robber on
the tree. Jesus saw that a jewel had fallen into the mud and thou encrusted with foulness
that it was still a jewel."
October 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message
Dear children! Do not forget: this is a time of grace; that is
why, pray, pray, pray! Thank you for having responded to my call.
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE
The DAILY WORD
"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and
mother, and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he
cannot be My disciple. And he who does not carry his cross and follow Me, cannot be My
disciple...So, therefore, every one of you who does not renounce all that he possesses,
cannot be My disciple."
- Total number of visits to the DAILY CATHOLIC thus far in 1999 (as of
November 1): 4,099,546
- Total number of visits since this daily publication went on line November 1, 1997:
November 3, 1999 volume 10, no. 208 DAILY CATHOLIC
For More Information Contact:
Selo Uzarići, Bosna i Hercegovina