Forty Years of the Living Community: From Print to Internet

The CHF was the venue of a presentation of this exceptional publishing venture of the Croatian pastoral office in Germany's Frankfurt

A round table event on Forty Years of the Living Community: From Print to Internet, staged at the Croatian Heritage Foundation on the 5th of April, featured Živa zajednica ("Living Community"), an exceptional publishing venture undertaken by the Croatian pastoral office in Germany's Frankfurt (www.kroatenseelsorge.de).
CHF director Mijo Marić welcomed the guests and speakers on behalf of the host organisation.
"I wish to congratulate the director of the Croatian pastoral office in Frankfurt, the Reverend Ivica Komadina, and the chief editor of Živa zajednica, Dr Adolf Polegubić, for the creative and forward-looking steps they have made among Croatian migrants and their descendants in all of Germany's sixteen federal states.
Along with the Živa zajednica magazine, the dissemination of the Good News and their other spiritual activities, this team also launched, several decades ago, the excellent Diaspora Croatica series, a festival of folklore creativity among youth of Croatian extraction, a Bible Olympiad and gatherings of Croatian university students born in Germany.
Having made the move to the Internet, the Živa zajednica magazine has ensured its continuing relevance among readers of the digital epoch.
It can be said that the publishing activity of the Croatian pastoral organisation in Germany, symbolised by the much-read Živa zajednica, offers a very broad scope and thematic depth, and today constitutes the best conceived literary production among ethnic Croatian writing in the countries of Western Europe and among homeland authors who write about our diaspora on all aspects of human activity. On the pages of its serial publications and books the editorial board has opened space to a broad range of associates writing about the challenges faced by people on the move. And finally, I wish to thank you for the many articles you have for decades submitted to our own Matica magazine," said director Marić.
Among the many guests were CHF board of directors president Milan Kovač, poet and diplomat Drago Štambuk and returnee writer Drago Šaravanja, all warmly greeted on behalf of the prime minister by Ivana Perkušić, the deputy to state secretary Zvonko Milas.
Cardinal Josip Bozanić, the archbishop of Zagreb, was represented by Tomislav Subotičanec, the moderator of the archdiocesan spiritual district, with Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić represented by Katarina Milković.
Another speaker at the event was the director of the pastoral office for Croatians abroad priest Tomislav Markić PhD.
For the past four decades the pastoral office has published Živa zajednica as the monthly of the Croatian Catholic missions in Germany, with an online edition available since January of this year at the site www.zivazajednica.de
According to the statistics compiled by the pastoral office there are about three hundred thousand ethnic Croatian Catholics in Germany as of early 2016, gathering at ninety-seven Croatian Catholic missions.
The first issue of the magazine, published in September of 1978 was rightly named after the living faith and national community of Croatian Catholics in the diaspora. The bilingual magazine, thanks to its well-conceived layout, has become a welcome read among all generations of our emigrant compatriots. Providing news from the faith, society and cultural life of the local Croatian communities saw its full affirmation with the fall of the Berlin wall and Croatian independence.
The chief editors of Živa zajednica have been: friar Bernard Dukić (1978–1979), friar Ignacije Vugdelija (1979–1991), don Ante Živko Kustić (1991–1993), friar Anto Batinić (1994–2002) and Adolf Polegubić PhD (2002 to the present).
Along with Živa zajednica the pastoral office also regularly publishes a miscellany of papers from the autumn annual pastoral meeting of priests and pastoral associates, a Croatian wall calendar and a Croatian directory with the addresses of all Croatian Catholic missions in European and overseas countries.
At the Zagreb round table event to speak about this long-standing magazine were Danijel Labaš PhD, a communicologist with the University of Zagreb's University Centre for Croatian Studies, priest Ivica Komadina, the delegate for the Croatian faithful in Germany and the director of the Croatian pastoral office in Frankfurt, and the current chief editor of Živa zajednica Adolf Polegubić PhD.
The April round table event at the CHF was, as always, ably moderated by Vesna Kukavica, the editor of our Croatian Emigrant Almanac and a long-standing associate of the Živa zajednica magazine.
Summarising the programme he has pursued over the past sixteen years as editor of the Živa zajednica magazine Polegubić noted that, "Our editors to date have given it their all in sustaining the flame of the living body of Croatian writing in this part of the world. I wish to thank them from the heart for these efforts and promise that I will do whatever it takes, as much as is within my capacity, to continue this work in the service of my compatriots, Croatian Catholics, in Germany, regardless of what part of the country they hail from. The dissemination of our faith and the preservation of Croatian culture and identity through the written word is presently a matter of great consequence. That is why Živa zajednica, in the face of the contemporary migrations, is growing in significance. We need to work in the new circumstances with full responsibility, not only for the first, but also for the second and third generation of Croatian Catholics in Germany. We need to communicate with younger generations in a manner that is both comprehensible and appealing to them, which is often not a simple task. In the process we all need to work together, because this is a shared mission; the good of our people and of the Church."

By: Diana Šimurina-Šoufek; Photography: Snježana Radoš

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