Fr. Boris Baron, Parisian priest of the Franciscan Province, testified to the youth during the morning programme, on Tuesday 2nd of August. Fr. Boris said he was very grace to spend one year in Medjugorje, a place of grace.
"I am Croatian, I was born in Paris in 1965, my parents are Croats, true believers. In family of my father there were about 20 religious, nuns and priests. And I was named after father's uncle who was a Franciscan. It was this uncle gave me the first Holy Bible when I was only 6 years old. It was the Bible for youth.
I went with my parents every Sunday for Holy Mass in Croatian community in Paris, where I received religious education and all the sacraments. As a child I lived the normal religious life. Difficulties began in adolescence. I didn’t have friends who would be faithful and very quickly I lost my faith. Little by little, God came to me and offered me His mercy. Here I emphasise it was something happening little by little, because it was nothing sudden.
My cousin who lived in Zagreb, the day before his wedding, shared his testimony how he lived his faith in the communist world, and especially while he served during the military service. That made me very shocked and I was so impressed. The freedom of that believer to say that he believed in God in the totalitarianism time, in which mindedness was imposed, was so huge for me. At that time the church was a symbol of freedom and resistance to single-mindedness. That same year, I met other relative who had immigrated with their parents to the United States. He invited me to come next year. I had the opportunity to go. He, too, stood firmly in his faith. He greeted people that he met on the street with words like: God loves you, believers and unbelievers. These two cousins were the light for me. They awakened in me desire to get closer to God, although it was still little desire. Because they lived their faith strong, free and joyful, but was not yet decisive step", said Fr. Boris, adding that this step took place in Paris.
"Can you imagine that the conversion can happen in the pub, usually it happens in churches, shrines? For me it happened in the pub. I met a girl from the Croatian community in Paris, who was born in Citluk. I had tried to get her closer to our group of students Croats, but she was not like the others. She refused to come to our meetings with argument that this is a time of prayer for her and that is not the time of such meetings. Croatian community in Paris wasn’t big and we were happy to meet each others, not only at Mass. So we had meetings, sports activities, cultural events ... But this girl did not want to come to what we were organised. I asked her to explain to me why she was like that. She accept my invitation to meet me for a drink. We went to the pub in the student block of Paris. I asked her for an explanation. She told me that she decided to put Christ at the first place in her life. I realised that there was a person in front of me who has decided to put Christ at the first place because she loved Jesus. Suddenly, I realised the beauty of the soul which was there in front of me. In front of me was the open page of the Gospel. This girl, she loved God with all of her heart and soul, just as Jesus asked. And in that moment I realised that we do not have to be priests or religious to love God.
In this girl, I felt the thirst for God. And then I felt the need to go to confession. I was a student, I studied aeronautics, and for me it was everything. But here I felt something very strong and the need to get closer to the source of life, God himself. I felt the need to confess because I didn’t live in God's presence.
I did not know how to pray. And this girl from Citluk told me to begin to pray the rosary. For me, the rosary was something for old grandmothers. I was far away from God and the Lord was merciful. Every place is good; in every place God is present. In that moment I felt the need to pray and then I started reading Our Lady messages of Medjugorje because my parents gave me the book "A thousand encounters with Our Lady" - Interviews with Vicka. And when I read that, I felt warm power in my heart, and then I forgot about it. But after meeting with the girl, again, I was steeped in the messages of Medjugorje, and I felt and experienced that prayer is joy. And I began to ask the question, why I have so much joy in prayer? I got fascinated by the monks who live cloistered. Then I found about the life of St. Francis. It was there that I found the joy of living the Gospel, and I said this is what I need. But I said that I want to live with that power by which St. Francis and his first brothers lived, I want to live the Gospel in poverty and joy, without money, food. The Lord took me up to that.
When I entered the Franciscan novitiate, the first course was how Francis sends his brothers, according to that Gospel where Jesus sends the disciples two by two and tells them not to carry anything. And this is a powerful way to confirm what I felt in my heart. The rest is just a question of whether I would be able to live in the concrete way. While I studied theology, together with other brothers, we found that we have the same aspirations. At that time we all studied together, we and the Jesuits. Some of these Jesuits have felt the desire to be mobile, as it was in the beginning, as were Jesus' apostles. And then we made a promise to each other that we will at the end of study together make something in the spirit of the new evangelisation. That we will not wait for people to come to us then we will go to them. The Lord has allowed this to happen. There were difficulties, but God's providence allowed that we can live what we wanted. And so we together with the Jesuits and Dominicans, went on mission, totally committed in God's hands. In the backpacks there are only a sleeping bag, clothes to change, the Bible, missal and prayer. And then we left with full confidence and we experienced extraordinary things. Many non-believers are thus revealed word of God. And sometimes it's not supposed to say anything, because our habit speak for us, our habit is the living word. Simply show interest in people, their sorrows and joys. Because there is only one happiness that we all are looking for. And this happiness is someone. That someone is named Jesus Christ. "