Fr. Andrea Murabale, Vicar of the Franciscan Province in Congo, was in Medjugorje in the last few days. He told us how the first missionaries in one part of Congo were from Croatia and he especially remembered late Fr. Jozo Vasilj, who left a profound trace in that country.
Fr. Andrea spoke about numerous spiritual vocations in his country, about life in Congo as well as about experience of Medjugorje. “Fr. Jozo did many good deeds in Congo. I remember him as an exceptional person. I met him in 1989, during my time in the Novitiate. The first thing I noticed about him was his intelligence and the warmth and gentleness he had when he spoke to us. He came into the Novitiate in the evening, and already the next morning, he knew the names of all twenty candidates. He was my professor and my educator for full six years and his lectures were so vivid that it was pure joy to listen to him. At the same time, he remembered birthdays of all candidates and students and never missed opportunity to congratulate us on those days.” As he spoke more about Fr. Jozo, who was born in Medjugorje, Fr. Andrea especially remembered his sense for brotherhood and love he expressed towards his brothers, men: “He was man of love. Once, we went together into the prison, and Fr. Jozo, after he saw prisoner that had nothing to put on him, he took off his shirt and gave it to him.” This was Fr. Andrea’s second trip to Medjugorje, and this is what he said: “This is indeed the place of prayer. Franciscans from Medjugorje speak to me frequently about Croatian missionaries, and that is always a wonderful opportunity to remember the encounters that have contributed to wellbeing of my people so much. It is really beautiful for me to be here.”