Father Jozo OFM was imprisoned and tortured by the communists in the early days, shortly after the apparitions began in Medjugorje in 1981. At that time, he was pastor of St. James Church. When he was released from prison, he was forbidden by the communists to return to Medjugorje. He went to a parish in Tihaljina and later to a parish in Siroki Brijeg both about twenty miles from Medjugorje.
Pilgrims were bused to those parishes to hear him speak; the parking lots were always jammed with large buses. Father Jozo had interpreters in all the major languages so his words were heard by pilgrims from around the world. Every day for many years he spent long hours speaking to them.
A remarkably beautiful life-sized statue of what came to be known as Our Lady of Tihaljina, stood near the altar in the Tihaljina Church. Many miracles were associated with that statue.
Fr. Jozo's love for Our Lady touched the hearts of all who heard him.
Many of you who went to Medjugorje in the eighties and nineties will remember him say these or similar words about her. He would then pass out the picture of her, tell us to look at her as he spoke and conclude with: "Now kiss your Mother." There are priests today who were called to the priesthood at that very moment.
Today Father is retired and is in poor health. He lives in Zagreb at the Franciscan Seminary. Please keep him in your prayers.
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