The inhabitants of three towns, Lupak, Klokotić and Karaševo, were joined by the representatives of Croatians from the nearby villages of Vodnik, Ravnik, Nermiđ and Jabalče as a united ethnic Croatian community to welcome Speaker Josip Leko with church bells and applause.

The small Croatian community gave a warm welcome to Speaker of Croatian Parliament Josip Leko.
The inhabitants of three towns, Lupak (Lupac), Klokotić (Clocotici) and Karaševo (Carașova), were joined by the representatives of Croatians from the nearby villages of Vodnik, Ravnik, Nermiđ and Jabalče as a united ethnic Croatian community to welcome Speaker Josip Leko with church bells and applause.
The Croatian delegation was welcomed at St Matthew’s (Sveti Matej) church in Lupak by knez Marjan Vlasić, the priest Marjan Tinkul, president of the Democratic Federation of Croatians in Romania and representative in the Croatian Government Advisory Council for Croats Abroad Petar Hategan, the honorary president of the Democratic Federation of Croatians in Romania Ivan Birta and many other representatives and councillors, children in traditional folk costume and numerous local inhabitants.
The scene was equally touching in Klokotić, where the reception was staged in front of the local Name of Mary church. The hosts offered their guest the traditional bread and salt with the members of the Klokotić Culture & Arts Society putting on a wonderful show.
In Klokotić Petar Hategan welcomed Speaker Leko and the gathered. The fact that over 66 percent of 156 Croatians polled declared their language as Croatian and their religious affiliation as Roman Catholic, as the most significant elements of Croatian identity, as shown by a recent sociological study, justifies every assistance to Croatians in Romania in their efforts to preserve their Croatian identity, Hategan noted. He thanked the Croatian ambassador to Romania Andreja Gustović-Ercegovac and the staff of the Croatian embassy in Bucharest and greeted the Romanian delegation led by state secretary Laczikó Enikő Katalin and thanked the prefect of Caraș-Severin county Silviu Hurduzeu.
At the local elementary school the gathered were welcomed by Marjan Lukačela with his colleagues and pupils!
The inhabitants of Karaševo, led by their knez Milja Radan, also greeted their distinguished guest. Speaking at the Union of Croatians in Romania were representatives of local government, Caraș-Severin county prefect Silviu Hurduzeu, the mayor of nearby Rešice Mihai Stepanescu, state secretary Laczikó Enikő Katalin and Speaker of Croatian Parliament Josip Leko.
Joining Speaker Leko during his visit to the Croatians of Romania was Slobodan Đureć Gera, the Croatian representative in Romanian parliament, who also spoke at the gathering in Karaševo.
Almost all of us were born in Romania, a country and people we respect and in which we live, contributing to its positive image in the country and abroad and to the wellbeing of its citizens, demonstrating our loyalty. The best way to do so is to be aware of our Croatian ethnicity and of everything else that makes us Croatian – learning the language, preserving and passing on customs, traditions, cultural heritage, knowledge of Croatian culture, living the values and teachings of the Roman Catholic confession, an open attitude towards differences and a desire to become better acquainted with others and to live in peace and harmony. In this manner we will justify the trust and role we have been given to serve as a bridge between Croatia and Romania.

Text by: Petar Hategan