The fourth anniversary of Fr. Slavko’s death was commemorated in Medjugorje on November 24. He died on November 24, 2000, at 3.30 pm, after the weekly prayer of the Way of the Cross. Numerous parishioners and pilgrims climbed Cross Mountain praying the Way of the Cross. At the place of Fr. Slavko’s death, between the 13th and the 14th station, they remembered the moment of his passing into eternity. The Way of the Cross was led by Fr. Mario Knezovic and Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic. The evening Mass at the parish church was presided by Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic and concelebrated by numerous local and foreign priests. During the whole day, parishioners and pilgrims were coming on Fr. Slavko’s grave, which has become one of the evident prayer places of Medjugorje.
Father Slavko Barbaric was born on March 11, 1946. He entered into the Franciscan order at the age of 19. He was ordained a priest in 1971. He had a doctorate in religious pedagogy and the title of psychotherapist. He was at the service of Medjugorje pilgrims from the time when he finished his studies and came back to the country, in 1982.
During his service in Medjugorje, he wrote numerous books that were translated into more then 20 languages and published all over the world. He was tireless in giving conferences for pilgrims, leading adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, veneration of the Cross, the rosary up the Apparition Hill, the Way of the Cross on the Mount Krizevac, where he finished his earthly life. He animated annual international meetings for priests and youth; he started the seminar for married couples; in the house of prayer “Domus Pacis” he led “Fasting and prayer retreats”. The destructions of the war inspired him to found and lead an institution for the education and care of the young, the “Mother’s Village”. His psychotherapeutic education allowed him to work in a competent way with drug addicts in the Community of Sister Elvira. For young men in need, he founded the Community of the Merciful Father. He directed the help received from the whole world in two Foundations: for young talented people and for war orphans.
Father Slavko has travelled throughout the whole world, spreading Our Lady’s message of peace and reconciliation. He had wonderful gifts: knowledge of languages, facility of communicating with people, education, simplicity, care for human beings in need, inexhaustible energy, diligence, and above all piety, humility, charity. He prayed and he fasted a lot, he loved Our Lady with a childlike love. The essence of his life was to bring souls to God through Mary, the Queen of Peace, by means of prayer and fasting.
We will always miss him.