CHF director Marić presented a handcrafted image in straw from Tavankut to CFU national president Edward Pazo. Mr Pazo presented Marić with an inscribed glass trophy as a symbolic expression of gratitude for many years of successful cooperation.
The celebration of the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Croatian Fraternal Union of America kicked off with a Roman Catholic mass. The mass was led by Blase Cupich, an American cardinal of Croatian descent, and concelebrated with David Allen Zubik, the bishop in Pittsburgh, and many other priests. The mass was held at the St Nicholas church in Millvale, built by Croatian immigrants in the early twentieth century.
Joining the many members of the diaspora community, emigrants and their descendants, was Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, foreign and European affairs minister Gordan Grlić Radman—who was on hand on his own behalf and in the capacity of personal envoy of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, state secretary Zdravka Bušić, Croatiana Oresković of the Central Office for Croats Abroad, and our director Mijo Marić leading the Croatian Heritage Foundation delegation.
The mass was followed by a pleasant gala banquet, with the dignitaries joined by William Perduto, Pittsburgh’s mayor, and Mike Doyle, a representative in the Congress of the United States of America. The event speakers all noted the influence and important role of the Croatian Fraternal Union of America.
CHF director Marić noted that there is a strong symbolic bond between the CHF and the CFU in the Croatian capital: one of Zagreb’s finest thoroughfares, Croatian Fraternal Union Street, leads to the headquarters of the Croatian Heritage Foundation. He also noted that the collaboration of the two institutions in organising a junior tamburitza festival in Zagreb contributed to raising the awareness of members of the CFU concerning the land of their ancestors, learning more about the land and creating bonds with it. He also underlined the contribution made by the Croatian Fraternal Union in the struggle to regain Croatia’s independence, noting that our national independence was the shared fruit of the efforts of homeland and diaspora Croatians. Director Marić closed with congratulations on this major milestone for the CFU and his hopes for enduring and successful future collaboration.
The leaders of the two institutions exchanged gifts, with CHF director Marić presenting a handcrafted image in straw from Tavankut to CFU national president Edward Pazo. Mr Pazo presented Marić with an inscribed glass trophy as a symbolic expression of gratitude for many years of successful cooperation.
Speaking at the event Croatian President Grabar Kitarović noted that the CFU has long been a hub around which generations of emigrants have gathered, a place of contact with the ancestral mother tongue, history, culture and national identity, a place where the experience of life on a new continent were shared, a place where aid and succour was sought and received. In his address minister Grlić Radman noted the important role of unity and of the need to nurture it.
Mayor Peduto noted the great impact the CFU has made in the development of Pittsburgh, while representative Doyle noted the many times he has spoken of the CFU on the floor of the United States Congress.
In his inspired speech Roman Catholic cardinal Cupich recounted how his own ancestral family had moved from Croatia to the United States and how proud he was to be a member of the Croatian Fraternal Union.
In his closing words CFU national president Pazo honoured the memory of his predecessors and spoke of the pride CFU members feel towards their eminent and respected organisation.
Entertainment at the event was provided by the TS Ravnica ensemble, singer/songwriter Mia Dimšić, and fellow musician Vjekoslav Dimter.
By: Mirjana Ana-Maria Piskulić