Liturgical Arts Alive and Well in Croatia

Photos: Tradicionalna Misa on Facebook

Thankfully the liturgical arts are flourishing in Croatia, a venerable Catholic country that borders Italy.  Croatia is the land of St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church, who was born there in the Roman province of Dalmatia (and buried in the Roman Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore).  The celebrant in the above photo at the baroque church of St. Catherine in Zagreb is our good friend from Croatia, Fr. Borna Puskaric, a graduate of the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary and an old friend from studium days in Rome at the Gregoriana.  Thank you, Fr. Borna!  Fr. Borna speaks excellent English and Italian and he is a born leader and a wonderful priest.  The Croatians are fortunate to have such a fine young priest to lead them.       

The main website for TLM content in Croatia, Tradicionalna Misa, showcases many important resources and photos that illustrate all the good news coming from Croatia.  Many thanks to the site administrator for being in touch with us, Igor Juric, President of the Society for the Promotion of the Traditional Mass "Benedictus."  Igor has done a tremendous amount of work to help promote the Roman Rite and he deserves our praise.  Below is the immensely popular hand missal for the lay faithful he published, which is frequently sold out.  Excellent design and marketing, Igor!  

Also, a noteworthy Croatian blog deserves mention, the oldest and most popular in Croatia that promotes the liturgical arts, Toma Blizanac.   Meanwhile, beautiful calendars have been made available that help promote the liturgical life and rhythm of the church year, available to the Croatian faithful, seen below.  The colors and photos look great.  Such a tremendous resource to put into the hands of the faithful.  Arguably one of the greatest losses of the postconciliar liturgical reform was the loss of the traditional calendar, an unfortunate move born from an excessive urgency to be modern.    

Recently on December 29th Croatia suffered a strong magnitude earthquake that caused heavy damage to many churches and even the episcopal palace in Zagreb.  Earthquakes are not uncommon in Croatia.  Nevertheless, the unfortunate act of nature was devastating.  Some of the churches where the EF has been celebrated sustained considerable damage.  This included the Church of St. Catherine, the Church of Christ the King (with cemetery complex), the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and the Church of St. Francis (with attached monastery).  Below is an image of Mass at the truly incredible St. Catherine, designed in the style of the Roman Baroque.    

Our prayers go out to the people of Croatia.  Rubble even fell all around the tomb of Cardinal Stepinac, which holds his incorrupt remains in Zagreb.  Thankfully, the location of the diocesan sanctioned TLM in Zagreb, the Franciscan church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, built in the 1970's, suffered no damage.  Meanwhile, the Church of St. Blaise in Zagreb, where the TLM is also offered, suffered minimal damage.  Many thanks to Ivan Perak for the news of the damage of St. Catherine, seen below when Mass was celebrated there before the quake.

Let us pray for Croatia!  It is a beautiful Catholic land that I was privileged to once visit while exploring its Roman history and Diocletian's Palace.  One of my favorite professors in Rome at the Angelicum was a Dominican from Croatia.  By God's grace, the Croatian faithful are led by some great young priests who are totally dedicated to the cause of sacred liturgy.  God always preserves a remnant.  I pray for Croatia, that one day it will have its own personal parish for the exclusive celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  Today the foundation is being laid for personal parishes by the great priests and lay faithful who are behind this movement of authentic renewal in the life of the universal Church, a movement which has always been led by the laity.  Below are some more photos that help illustrate all the good things happening in Croatia.   

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