The meeting was organised by the Croatian Community of Veneto and the Pula branch office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation, with the support of the Federation of Croatian Communities of Italy and the Croatian diplomatic corps in Italy.

The 8th Meeting of Croatians in the Italian city of Padua was held on Saturday, May 10th, ahead of the feast day celebrating Croatian Catholic saint Leopold Bogdan Mandić. The traditional celebration that the local Capuchin monks hold every year as a novena dedicated to their brother St Leopold Mandić was joined by the Croatian community of Veneto with a Croatian programme. It was an opportunity for a pilgrimage and prayer and to see the culture and information programme for Croatians in Italy and all the always-welcome guests.
The programme of the celebration of the 8th Meeting of Croatians in Italy included a series of events. As every year, the festivity kicked off with a Catholic mass in Croatian at St Leopold Mandić church led by friar Ivan Bradarić from Zagreb and his fellow monk Nikola Šantak, a parish priest from Vinkovci. The choir was led by a tamburitza band from Zagreb.
The programme continued in the afternoon with a very interesting lecture given by Božo Skoko DSc on the topic of “Croatia & Europe – A Homecoming”, and a promotion of Hrvatski iseljenički duhopis (Croatian Emigrant Spiritualogue), a book by well-known diplomat Tuga Tarle. Dubravka Čolak, president of the Croatian Community of Veneto, opened the event while Ana Bedrina, the head of the Pula branch office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation, presented the lecturers and served as moderator. The lecture was well received and followed by a good discussion.
Filip Vučak, the Croatian ambassador to the Vatican, expressed his great support of the meeting of Croatians in Padua. Counsellor Ilija Želalić greeted all the gathered on behalf Damir Grubiša, our ambassador in Rome. Ms Krstičević, the head of the State Office for Croats Abroad, thanked the Croatian Community of Veneto and all Croatians in Italy for the efforts they have invested and their achievements in preserving the Croatian national identity in the Italian Republic and in nurturing good and friendly relations between the Croatian and Italian people. Also on hand to welcome everyone was Damir Murković, president of the Federation of Croatian Communities of Italy. Dubravka Čolak expressed her particular gratitude to the Pula branch office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation, which has actively supported and co-organised these meetings since their inception. CHF director Marin Knezović expressed his satisfaction and further support in bringing together the Croatians of Italy.
The meeting of Croatians wrapped up with a performance of Salve Regina featuring mezzosoprano Sofija Cingula and Valma Grazia Žmak, a pupil of the Music School in Pula, accompanied on organ by Monika Zlatarek.
The 8th Meeting of Croatians in Italy was organised by the Croatian Community of Veneto, led by president Dubravka Čolak, and the Pula branch office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation, led by Ana Bedrina, with the support of the Federation of Croatian Communities of Italy and the Croatian diplomatic corps in Italy.

Text by: Ana Bedrina