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The Late Fr. Slavko Barbaric. O.F.M.

Below are email messages I received on the day and next day that Fr. Slavko Barbaric died in Medjugorje, Bosnia Hertzgovonia, which explain about the life and times of this extraordinary priest.

24th. November 2000.

Announcement from Denis Nolan:

Fr. Slavko Barbaric, O.F.M., died today,

November 24, 2000, on the top of Mt. Krizevac.

At 2:00 pm Fr. Slavko had led about 70 parishioners on the "Way of the Cross", as is the parish's custom on Fridays at this time of year.

Upon reaching the top of Mt. Krizevac the sun came out and the rain stopped.

A beautiful rainbow in the distance near the Church could be seen.

As they started to descend, at about 3:50 pm local time, in front of, "The Resurrection" station, Father Slavko slipped and fell.

He suffered a heart attack and died instantly. Fr. Svet accompanied his body down the mountain,along with the medical team that had been summoned.

Fr. Slavko was born March 11, 1946 in Dragicini, Bosnia-Hercegovina. A member of the Hercegovina Franciscan Province, he had joined St. James Parish in Medjugorje in 1982.

Familiar to millions through his many books and articles on spiritual subjects, Fr. Slavko faithfully led the evening program of prayer in the parish.

Often in the early mornings he could be found in prayer on Mt. Krizevac. He lead numerous spiritual retreats and presentations in Medjugorje and conducted meetings on the theme of theMedjugorje events in many parts of the world.

A beloved son of the Gospa, Fr. Slavko faithfully served the needs of the Parish, and millions of pilgrims, all these years. He is a beloved priest to millions of pilgrims who journeyed to Medjugorje from every corner of the world.

May he rest in peace amen.


Received by email November 25th. 2000.

Medjugorje In Shock.

By Jakob Marschner in Bosnia-Hercegovina (with M Brown in NY)

MEDJUGORJE – The death of Father Slavko Barbaric, spiritual director of Medjugorje, left the the Virgin Mary’s foremost apparition site in deep sorrow, shock and a spiritual vacuum it might take a long while to recover from.

The priest expired on top of Mount Krizevac -- the famous 1,700-foot mountain with a cross at its summit -- at about 3:50 p.m. Friday while he was leading seventy parishioners on “the Way of the Cross,” as is the parish’s custom on Fridays at this time of the year.

As we reported yesterday, upon reaching the top of the mountain the sun came out and a rainfall stopped.

A beautiful rainbow in the distance near the church could be seen. As they started to descend, Father Slavko slipped and fell.

He suffered a heart attack and died instantly. Father Svetozar Kraljevic, another well-known Franciscan, accompanied his body down the mountain along with a medical team that had been summoned.

Word of Father Slavko's death spread rapidly around the world. The visionaries, who have known the priest for all of their adult lives, were said to be "very upset" and even "devastated."

It was in 1981 that the Virgin first began appearing to the six seers in former Yugoslavia, and since that time nearly thirty million pilgrims have visited, many under the direction of Father Slavko, who was known as "Father Medjugorje." Events here have been chronicled in the international media, including CBS, ABC, NBC, The New York Times, and Life Magazine.

Continuing the evening service in the nearby adoration chapel, which Father Slavko used to lead, Father Svetozar spoke for the majority when he knelt down in front of the corpse of Father Slavko, lying silent forever with his hands folder as in prayer, and covered by saintly white linen. Behind him was a tall wooden statue of the Virgin, her right hand pointing to her dead son in the middle of the room.

"Today our words cannot speak anymore," said Father Svetozar. "Now words can only remain silent. Words can only become prayer. They can only be transformed into prayer. Father Slavko spent his life in attempting humanity to transform all words and deeds into prayer. That was his life and his struggle. That was his way, the way Our Lady led him along, and the way she leads all of us along. Today all of our feelings are sorrow, a sorrow transformed into prayer."

Father Svetozar then started praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, introducing the second mystery by saying, "Here Jesus is condemned to death – at least they thought so. But there is no death. There is just a new step. Today we feel like little children who wish to be with their Father and Mother because it is better there...”.

Father Slavko had come to represent Medjugorje, a general in the Virgin Mary’s army of holiness. His more than ten books on the spirituality of Medjugorje were translated into more than 20 languages. He traveled extensively and brought the Virgin’s message to several continents.

He was the spiritual director to all of Medjugorje’s six visionaries and an expert on the Virgin Mary’s subtle and multi-layered message, which was clearly his treasure and which he commented and clarified to the benefit of millions.

Inside the parish he was in charge of the liturgy and the adoration of the Cross and The Most Blessed Sacrament. Every Sunday he prayed with the pilgrims on Apparition Mountain, and...every Friday he took them to the foot of the Cross.

Father Slavko was unique in the sense that he was the only priest ever to be personally called to Medjugorje by Virgin Mary herself. Having arrived in 1982, one year after the beginning of the visions, he was originally sent by Bishop Pavao Zanic of Mostar, an opponent of the apparitions who considered Father Slavko the man to be able to put an end to the “nonsense.”

An educated psychotherapist as well, Father Slavko took up the task, but he did it with an open mind, and he soon became convinced that the visionaries were really seeing Virgin Mary.

This caused Bishop Zanic to renew his focus on the man he had sent to destroy the apparitions, and by the mid-eighties it seemed like he was about to have his way.

However, in Medjugorje the Virgin is in charge of everything important. “I wish for Father Slavko to stay here, to guide the life, and to assemble all the news so that when I leave, there will be a complete image of everything that has happened here," the Virgin said in a 1985 message. "I am also praying for Slavko and for all those who work in the parish.”

With the bookkeeper no longer present in the archives, it could clearly be speculated that the Medjugorje apparitions are coming to a close, and that the first of the visionaries’ ten prophetic secrets might be fairly close of becoming a reality.

This is mere speculation, however. The Virgin Mary’s next monthly message to the world will be given Saturday and this message could be thought to give a more reliable clue.

Speaking of the secrets, of which several are known to be predicting chastisements for the sins of humanity, Father Slavko always refused to put these to the forefront of the message he was tirelessly preaching.

Just like the visionaries, whose spiritual director he was, Father Slavko insisted on an up-beat message of faith, prayer, fasting, the Mass, and the Eucharist along with monthly confession and the Bible. Putting special emphasis on prayer like the Virgin he authored books on several of these important topics.

The death of Father Slavko leaves Medjugorje in a spiritual vacuum, and in need of very much prayer. This Summer showed the transfer of Father Ivan Landeka, the parish priest since 1991, and also the transfer of his assistant pastor, Father Branimir Musa.

They were replaced by two young Franciscans, the parish priest now being 33-year-old Ivan Šesar to whom the huge task of directing Medjugorje is his first one ever as a pastor.

Among the experienced friars with a first-hand knowledge of Medjugorje going back to the Eighties the only ones now left are the less visible 80-year-old Bible expert Father Ljudevit Rupcic -- and Father Svetozar, of the same generation as Father Slavko and probably the best bet to replace his late brother as the visionaries’ spiritual director.

Spending a great deal of the last 19 years of his life to explain and preach about conversion, Father Slavko always practiced what he preached.

A few years ago visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti gave people an insight about her spiritual director, saying: “For several years I have been noticing something very good about Father Slavko. He works on his conversion every day.

He has taken the Virgin’s messages about conversion very seriously. For me he is an example”.

Father Slavko was even able to use humor when talking about the need for daily conversion. Having been rudely criticized over two full pages in a book he only reacted by saying: “Tell him that if he is not happy with me, I agree with him. For I am not happy with myself either!”

Born on March 11th 1946 Father Slavko spent his childhood in extreme poverty. There were no indications that one day he should travel and speak to all of the world.

But his mind was clever, at his death he spoke seven languages more or less fluently, and having been ordained a priest in 1971 he received his magistrate in pastoral theology two years later. Immediately before he arrived in Medjugorje he got his doctorate in religious pedagogy, and at the same time he was educated in psychotherapy. But he never forgot his childhood conditions, and the orphanage “Mother’s Village” outside Medjugorje is another fruit of a tree that kept on blossoming all the way to the end.

His place of death, Cross Mountain, is a Medjugorje main location with the symbolical meaning of a gate into Heaven. On the top a more than 7-meter tall white concrete cross dominates all of the landscape.

Heaven thereby paid the tireless Franciscan the honor of letting him enter into Paradise close to the selfsame spot where Virgin Mary was made Mother of humanity. The Cross on top of the mountain even countains a relic from Christ’s original Calvary Cross. Father Slavko loved Cross Mountain which he used to climb every morning at sunrise.

Known to only relatively few Father Slavko was also a very skilled exorcist and the man to cast out hundreds of demons from people who had not got their call to Medjugorje from Virgin Mary alone. At the height of a spiritual war seemingly increasing in strength every day Father Slavko’s death also deprives Medjugorje of a vital figure and function not easily replaced.

Message of November 25, 2000

"Dear children! 

Today when Heaven is near to you in a special way, I call you to prayer so that through prayer you place God in the first place.

Little children, today I am near you and I bless each of you with my motherly blessing so that you have the strength and love for all the people you meet in your earthly life and that you can give God's love.

I rejoice with you and I desire to tell you that your brother Slavko has been born into Heaven and intercedes for you.

Thank you for having responded to my call."

Interesting email just received by email from Jim Shea..... November 30th., 2000

Vicka reiterates comments on Virgin's 'plan'


Medjugorje seer Vicka Ivankovic reiterated to Spirit Daily Wednesday that part of the Blessed Mother's plan is "about to unfold." She added, however, that "Our Blessed Mother did not tell me what part of the plan it was. I will tell you when I know."

There is no indication that the unfolding of a part of the Virgin's plan will involve the secrets of Medjugorje -- prophecies that have been given to each of the six seers at this famous site in Bosnia-Hercegovina -- and there is no tie-in whatsoever with the year 2000 nor with other more spectacular predictions.

The seers have always warned about overexpectation, exaggeration, and setting deadlines. They say only that events will occur within their lifetimes (they're now in their thirties). Although the word "soon" has been used, this has been said for years now and reminds us that in heaven's terminology, "soon" can even mean decades.

But speculation is intense that in some way, large or small, matters are beginning to shift at Medjugorje, where the Virgin has appeared since 1981, and this has come in part because of a recent message in which the Virgin mentioned a "new time."

"Dear children! Today I desire to open my motherly heart to you and to call you all to pray for my intentions," she had said. "I desire to renew prayer with you and to call you to fast which I desire to offer to my Son Jesus for the coming of a new time - a time of spring. In this Jubilee year many hearts have opened to me and the Church is being renewed in the Spirit. I rejoice with you and I thank God for this gift; and you, little children, I call to pray, pray, pray - until prayer becomes a joy for you."

Speculation has likewise been heightened because of the death last week of Father Slavko Barbaric, a long-time spiritual director of the apparitions. (See also story on Medjugorje and the bishop)

In the early days of the apparitions the Blessed Mother spoke about "plans" in terms of the local parish, the apparitions, the conflict against Satan, and "God's design for the salvation of mankind." She has often asked for prayers so that her plan can be fulfilled -- without revealing, at least to the public at large, what the plan involves.

..................Link to Medjugorje Site...................





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