The book “Life for others” about Fr. Jozo Vasilj was presented on Wednesday, July 23 in the Hall of John Paul II, as a part of preparation for the feast of St. James. The book was written by Fr. Ivan Dugandzic and Fr. Filip Sucic. Fr. Marinko Sakota, parish priest in Medjugorje, greeted and welcomed everyone and said that he was joyful to greet all present during the introduction of the book on life of Fr. Jozo: “Fr. Jozo is a jewel of our parish and of the whole world. He is alive again since we have brought memory of him into life”
General Vicar of the Herzegovina Franciscan Province, Fr. Ivan Sevo spoke on behalf of the Province and said that many people were coming to Fr. Jozo, but youth really loved him.
Fr. Jozo worked as a professor at the University in Mostar for five years and prof. dr. Simun Musa as well as prof .dr. Zoran Tomic, dean at the University of Arts, spoke about his work there. Prof. Tomic spoke about the influence Fr. Jozo left there and they named one of the lecture halls after him, along with seven other great lecturers the University had. “In that way Fr. Jozo can live every day with our students”, said prof. Tomic.
Fr. Ivan, who prepared this book also spoke and said that behind the smile of Fr. Jozo that conquered all, there was also life wisdom, goodness, kindness and that is something that people always knew how to recognise and appreciate. At the same time, that is the meaning of the book, to remember that: “The idea to write the book was born four years ago. Fr. Fillip Sucic that worked with Fr. Jozo in Afica was on vacation and told me later that people in Africa were so thrilled with Fr. Jozo and they cannot forget him at all. He heard from many that something needs to be done, so the memory of such unique person could be preserved. That is when we agreed to try to publish a book for his fifth death anniversary. I took the part of his life here, in his home country and Fr. Filip accepted to write about 12 years Fr. Jozo spent in missions. But our communication was not easy, Africa was far and it was more difficult for Fr. Filip to gather the material from Africa than for me here. Thereby, we were not able to achieve our goal for the fifth death anniversary, but we did for the seventh, which is on September 16”, said Fr. Ivan and Fr. Filip added that many wanted to speak about Fr. Jozo who was so good to them all. Fr. Stanko Cosic shared his personal experience of Fr. Jozo who was his spiritual guide during his formation as a priest: “It was interesting how Fr. Jozo was close and unreachable at the same time, as if he belonged to everyone, but at the same time to no one. At first I was frustrated with that, I wanted to understand him, to come close to him, to analyse all, but eventually I understood that I needed to respect who he was , that he belonged to God before he belonged to anyone else and through God he was looking at other people and was making relationships in his life, that is how he was able to be merciful and patient, always to see goodness.”
During the evening, the documentary movie about Fr. Jozo Vasilj was introduced, and it was the short summary of his life. The script was written by Fr. Ivan Dugandzic and Mario Vasilj Totin is director of that movie. The whole event was even more beautiful thanks to the singing of the parish choir of “The Queen of Peace”, conducted by Sr. Irena Azinovic. Robert Pehar, actor from Mostar Theatre read passages from the book about Fr. Jozo and the whole programme was led by Fr. Mario Knezovic.