On the day when we remember Bl. Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, February 10, Medjugorje parish also celebrates Holy Mass for martyred Franciscans who were born in this parish or served in in during the time of World War II. During and immediately after the World War II, communists killed 66 Franciscans in Herzegovina. Ten of them were born here or served here during the time of the war.
We also remembered all victims from Medjugorje parish killed in the period of two World Wars, as well as recent Homeland War, as well as all others who laid their lives for faith and homeland. Fr. Mario Knezovic was the main celebrant with Fr. Marinko Sakota, parish priest and 8 more priests concelebrating. This is what Fr. Mario, among other things, said in his homily:
“To speak about Bl. Alojzije Stepinac means to truly feel profound spiritual and human respect for him, deep gratitude to God for such immense testimony he and other martyrs revealed in this world. We are spiritually proud, aware of human humility and God’s greatness and we celebrate the feast of our martyr Bl. Alojzije, praying for all martyred and brutally killed people, whose graves perhaps are still not known to us. That February 1945, was month full of blood massacres here in Herzegovina. We are also aware and we know that blood of martyrs gives seed for new Christians. It is what gathered us here tonight.
…The third day was the day of trial to Bl. Alojzije, Archbishop of Zagreb, on that day a word came to him and this is what he said: „My response to all accusations against me here is that my consciousness is calm and at peace, even the audience may ridicule me. I have no intention of defending myself nor I appeal against the accusations. I am prepared to endure not just mockery and humiliations, nevertheless, as my consciousness is clean, I am prepared to die for my cause…
That is how Blessed Alojzije spoke during his trial, trail and process fully framed back in those days. We could conclude and say that all those feelings, all words against Christ when he was accused, Bl. Stepinac repeats in the same way. Those were powerful words, words that take us who have hearts and souls immersed in faith, to most profound questioning of our own answers to God’s pleas. We also have obligation to be proud, to pray and to witness for the truth that many of our great leaders were prepared to pay with their lives.“
Fr. Marinko said at the very end how we want to thank God for the testimony of faith of all those who were killed. This celebration of Holy Mass was more solemn thanks to the singing of the parish choir “Christ the King” from Citluk.