On the Feast of Blessed Cardinal Stepinac, February 10, the parish of Medjugorje commemorates the martyr’s death of the Franciscans from this parish: Fr. Krizan Galic, Fr. Jozo Bencun, Fr. Marko Dragicevic, Fr. Mariofil Sivric, Fr. Grgo Vasilj and Fr. Jenko Vasilj, six out of 66 Franciscans of the Herzegovinian Province, who were killed by Tito’s partisans and communists during and at the very end of the Word War II.
The Sacrifice of Mass was also celebrated in memory of all the victims from the Parish Medjugorje, fallen during the World Wars I and II, and during the recent war for the defence of the country, as well as in memory of all those who gave their lives for the faith and the homeland. The Mass, concelebrated by 18 priests, was presided by Fr. Branko Rados, pastor of Medjugorje. In his homily, Fr. Branko underlined the unwavering fidelity to Christ and to the Church of these martyrs; their example speaks to us in our times, when it is so easy to make compromises with false values. The parish choir under the guidance of Sr. Slavica Kozul sung during Mass. Sanja Komadina from Radio “Mir” Medjugorje read a short biography of the murdered Franciscans from Medjugorje.
A short biography of the murdered Franciscans
Between 1942 and 1945, the communist system executed 66 Franciscans of the Herzegovinian Franciscan Province, among whom 6 Franciscans related to this parish.
Fr. Krizan Galic was born in Gorica on November 30, 1870. He worked in different parishes in Herzegovina. During the war, as an old man, he lived in Humac. After the bombing of the monastery of Humac, he came to Medjugorje. He was a man full of determination and courage. Communist threats did not make him falter: he remained to watch over the presbytery. He was killed by a bomb in the presbytery on October 30, 1944. He is buried on the cemetery Kovacica in Medjugorje.
Fr. Jozo Bencun was born in Medjugorje on September 26, 1869. As a priest, he worked in almost all the parts of Herzegovina. He spent the last years of his life in the monastery in Siroki Brijeg from where the partisans took him to Mostar and killed him there on February 14, 1945. His body was thrown into the river Neretva.
Fr. Marko Dragicevic was born in Medjugorje on February 17, 1902. After finishing his postgraduate studies in Philology, he worked as a professor and educator in the Franciscan high school in Siroki Brijeg. On February 11, he was taken from the altar of the church in Izbicno and killed. Nobody knows where his grave is.
Fr. Mariofil Sivric was born in Medjugorje on February 13, 1913. The partisans found him in Siroki Brijeg where he was working as a Parish vicar, Prefect of the Convict and Vicar of the monastery. He was taken away from the monastery, and after February 10, he was killed somewhere near Siroki Brijeg. Nobody knows where his grave is.
Fr. Grgo Vasilj was born in Medjugorje on March 13, 1886. As a priest, he was working between Mostar and Tomislavgrad. He was a loving man, full of goodness and hospitability. He took care of numerous persons exiled from Eastern Herzegovina who – because of the war - found refuge in the church and the monastery in Mostar. As the superior of the monastery of Mostar, he was killed together with seven other brothers and thrown into the river Neretva on February 14, 1945.
Fr. Jenko Vasilj was born in Medjugorje on May 2, 1914. As a young vicar and catechist, he was working in Konjic. In May 1945, he was killed together with several other Franciscans near Klanjec in Croatian Zagorje. Nobody knows where his grave is.