The Cultural and Religious Heritage of the Croatians of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the first incarnation of this event, was staged in Zagreb on the 7th and 8th of July, drawing the participation of over twenty heritage communities and associations of Croatians in Croatia and neighbouring Bosnia-Herzegovina.
“Restoring Hope in the Homeland” was the motto for the first incarnation of the Cultural and Religious Heritage of the Croatians of Bosnia-Herzegovina event, staged in Zagreb on the 7th and 8th of July and drawing the participation of over twenty heritage communities and associations of Croatians in Croatia and neighbouring Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Day one of the event saw a meeting hosted by the Croatian Heritage Foundation, pooling the representatives of heritage associations and other figures from the religious, cultural and public spheres in Zagreb, with Cardinal Vinko Puljić, the archbishop of Vrhbosna, and Dragan Čović, the Croatian member of the Bosnia-Herzegovinian presidency. On hand to welcome everyone on behalf of the organisers and hosts were Mijo Marić, the director of the Croatian Heritage Foundation and the president of the Prsten Association of Bosnian Croats, and Friar Stipo Karajica, the monastery and parish vicar in Sesvetska Sopnica and the coordinator of the event organising committee.
Day two of the event began with a parade from the local elementary school to the monastery and parish churchfeaturing the ensembles and culture and arts associations in folk costume, followed by a Roman Catholic celebration of the Eucharist for over two thousand gathered members of the Church led by Cardinal Puljić and concelebrated by another fourteen priests. The Anima Una choir sang at the mass, broadcast by the Laudato television station and by Croatian Catholic Radio.
On hand to welcome everyone on behalf of the host, the Franciscan monastery of St Elijah, was the monastery guardian Friar Božo Lujić.
In his encouraging sermon Cardinal Puljić touched on the importance of unity and the sense of identity and one’s own roots, noting that, “We must not forget that our strength throughout history has been to bravely bear our cross. We need to raise a generation that is also prepared to do this, that is not afraid of life, that is capable of facing the challenges presented in our lives and to do so by setting an example.”
At the end of the mass Sopnica parish priest and definitor of the Franciscan Province of Bosna Srebrena Friar Zdravko Dadić thanked everyone, in his own name and on behalf of the gathered worshippers and Franciscans working in this parish and on behalf of Frair Jozo Marinčić, who was unable to be present, that helped see this event to fruition, above all the organisers, including the Croatian Heritage foundation, the Prsten Association of Bosnian Croats, the Parish of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Angels and the heritage associations of Croatians from Bosnia-Herzegovina in Croatia, and the event sponsors, including the State Office for Croats Abroad, the City of Zagreb and its Mayor Milan Bandić and many other sponsor associations.
The event continued in the large tent set up in the courtyard of the parish grounds, with greetings for the gathered from Zdravka Bušić, representing the Croatian prime minister and Croatian Parliament, Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, state secretary Zvonko Milas, head of the State Office for Croats Abroad, Dragan Čović, the president of the HDZ party in Bosnia-Herzegovina and member of the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina representing the Croatian constitutive nation in that country, CHF director Mijo Marić and Friar Stipo Karajica.
On hand to provide the entertainment were culture and arts societies from across Bosnia-Herzegovina, pop singer Miroslav Škoro and the Tamburix tamburitza ensemble. The event was capably moderated by Ljiljana Vinković.
By: Josip Tolić