The 20th Anniversary of the “Fr. Slavko Barbaric” Association for providing stipends and grants to students was celebrated with solemn Academy held in Medjugorje on December 29, 2011 in the packed Hall of the Blessed John Paul II.
Twenty years ago Fr. Slavko Barbaric initiated founding of this Association, with the intention of offering material and spiritual help to talented and poor students.
Since Fr. Slavko had greatly contributed in foundation and work of this Association, the Board of the Association brought up decision in 2001 about changing the name the Fund “The Friends of the Talented” Medjugorje to the Association “Fr. Slavko Barbaric” Medjugorje.
Fr. Slavko was unselfishly giving himself in the work of this Association while he collected the funds for grants and stipends of the students, and his brothers continued his work after his death. In the beginning it was Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar, who was a parish priest at the time of Fr. Slavko’s death, and then Dr. Fr. Miljenko Steko continued as the current President of the Association.
This Association gave stipends and one-time grants to 3,244 students. Only in the last ten years since Fr. Slavko died this Association has given 875 stipends nad 717 one-time grants.
The Association is able to collect part of the financial funds by selling calendars and organising painting auctions. The artists gathered in the Art Colony led by Mario Vasilj – Totin are also contributing to the work of this Association.
The following were speakers at this last Academy: the Provincial of Herzegovinian Franciscan Province, Dr. Fr. Ivan Sesar; Director of the Mother’s Village, Fra Svetozar Kraljevic, the current President of the Association, Dr. Fr. Miljenko Steko; former scholar of the Association, Doc. Dr. Nino Raspudic and the Rector of the University in Mostar, Prof. Dr. Vlado Majstorovic.
All of the speakers emphasised how youth is the time when one develops his virtues and learns and becomes proficient and thereby young people need to make the best use of that unrepeatable time to become useful to others.
Two scholars of this Association, Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig, who are both world famous tennis players, always emphasise Medjugorje and its spiritual message throughout the world. Two of them spoke through video message, thanked the Association and invited all people who are able to help to become supporters of this Association.
At the end, Dr. Fr. Miljenko Steko, the President of the Association, gave acknowledgments to all who were included in the project of this Association either through its leadership, material or spiritual help and who in that way had helped many students to realise their dreams about education.
At the end, the contracts for scholars for 2012 were signed and after the reception party, they all joined the evening prayer programme in the church of St. James. (fotos)