Early memories…

• This recollection by Fr Jozo was recorded by Pietro Zorza, and appears in the book: Ten Years of Apparitions, by Fr René Laurentin.


I was alone, praying in the church. I was praying to God with all my heart to give me a valid sign in order to convince me whether the work was from satan or from Him. Those were the days when the police made the families of the area and the visionaries, the six young people themselves, suffer.

Here many had lost their jobs for having disobeyed the regulations of the police and of the government, for instead of remaining silent, they would tell everyone who came what was happening. All would suffer for defending that the Gospa was there. I, on the contrary, suffered because I did not want to believe. It was then that a strong human voice resounded in the church: Go out and protect my children. Then I will tell you what you have to do.

Instinctively, I got up and I went to the back of the church. I opened the door on the left when, from the right, like swarming bees, the six visionaries rushed in all around me, tugging and grabbing hold of me. “Save us, the police are chasing us!”

I took them to the presbytery and locked them in. I went outside and down the flight of stairs and, behold, the police came running by and asked me: “Have you seen the young people?” “Yes,” I answered. And they, without waiting for the rest of my answer, continued on their way.
But I was still not convinced.

That night I talked at length with these young people. It was little Jakov who asked me why I did not believe. I answered him: “Because people do not come to the church and it cannot be the Gospa who keeps them away.” I referred to the curious people who came from the outside and wanted to see signs, but not to pray. It was then that Jakov told me: “Tomorrow, people will come to the church.”

And it was thus so. No one had told them. Before, all went to the hill of apparitions. That day the church was full.


Then the area was blocked by the police and by the army. The visionaries, controlled by the home guards, could not leave their houses. Jakov had the apparition in his home. The Gospa gave a message to him to bring to me that evening at the church for Mass.

He was like a prisoner in his home, for the armed guard was in front of his door. Jakov, so small, felt he should obey the Gospa. He looked through the keyhole. When he saw that the guard had fallen asleep (for here in July it is very warm), quietly he opened the window and jumped out. The guard awakened, entered the house, and saw that Jakov was no longer there. By radio, he informed all the stations of the blockade in the direction of the church. Jakov changed cars six times in order to escape the stations of the blockade.

He arrived at the church as I was finishing Mass. I felt someone pulling on my sleeve. I looked down and saw him. He told me very quietly, “The Gospa has given me a message for the people.” I lifted him up and stood him on the altar before the microphone. He said: “ The Gospa told me to come to tell you to pray the Rosary this evening.” The people immediately felt that the Gospa was near them. Many began to weep because it was a period of great repression on the part of the police. They looked for the rosary in their pockets.

It was the first parish Rosary which was said in the church at Medjugorje. I put Jakov back on the floor. He was barefooted, dirty and dusty. On the altar cloth remained the imprint of his two little feet. Then the Gospa came in the middle of the church and thanked me, and added the same words: You must say the Rosary every evening. And since then, in Medjugorje, we always say the Rosary.


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