Frairs Toni Mutnik and Vlado Klement Novak celebrated their fiftieth year of service, while Friar Euzebijo Petar Mak celebrated his sixtieth. Their many years of work in the service of the Roman Catholic Church and the ethnic Croatian community in Sydney has earned them the gratitude of their parishioners.
Three Roman Catholic priests recently celebrated grand jubilees and reminisced with the members of their congregations on the events of the past years. On Sunday the 3rd of June Friar Toni Mutnik celebrated his fifty years of service to the Churchat the Franciscan Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary inhis native Samobor. The celebration of the Eucharist was led by the celebrating priest, joined in concelebration by Friar SmiljanKozul,Franciscan provincial minister FriarIlija Vrdoljak, and several other fellow Franciscans.Delivering the sermon Friar DragutinBedeničić, also a native of Samobor, spoke of the religious upbringing in the Mutnik family, saying that it had raised a priest that has made a great contribution to the Catholic communities of Sydney in distant Australia during his many years of service to the Roman Catholic Church. He also pointed to the fact that Friar Mutnik took part in building these centres, which have become gathering places for Croatians in the diaspora communities and have been pivotal in the preservation of their culture and identity. At the close of the mass FriarIlija Vrdoljak expressed the gratitude of the entire Franciscan province to Friar Mutnik, who for his part thanked everyone, above all the God who invited him to take up his calling and saw him through to this fifty year jubilee, his family, his Franciscan brethren, the Franciscan province, and the congregation on hand for the mass. The celebration of the fifty-year mass continued at a shared luncheon at the monastery’s refectory. After taking his priestly vows Friar Toni Mutnik spent a year studying in Assisi, then served in Trsat for two years, at the Croatian Catholic Centres in Summer Hill and Blacktown in Australia for 37 years, and then another year in Trsat. Since 2009 he has been the parish vicar at the Parish of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus in Zagreb’s Kozari Bok district.
Friar VladoKlement Novak also celebrating his fiftieth year in the service of the Roman Catholic community. His fiftieth year of priestly duties was celebrated at a mass in Sydney on the 17th of June before a packed Church of St Anthony of Padua in Summer Hill. At the mass Friar Novak thanked the congregation, which had gathered in great numbers to honour his service over the past years and all that he has done for the benefit of the religious and social life of the local ethnic Croatian community, the youth in particular. The celebration continued after the mass at the traditional St Anthony’s luncheon at the Punchbowl Croatian Club in Sydney.
The third priest to celebrate a jubilee was Friar Euzebijo PetarMak. His 60 year mass was held on the 1st of July at the packed Church of Our Lady of the Great Croatian Pledge at the Croatian Catholic Centre in Blacktown.Friar Euzebijo thanked his congregation for their many years of very successful and exemplary collaboration among the Croatian members of the Church in Sydney. After the mass the celebration continued at a festive luncheon at the hall of the parish centre drawing some four hundred revellers.
All three of these priests have been and remain much-loved pastoral guides in the Croatian Catholic Centres, having gathered parishioners not only at masses but also for other activities and through the supplementary Croatian language schools that operate at these parish centres.
By: Franjo Harmat
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