velj. 08

Croatian pallottines

palotinciI am Fr Jozo Ivić from Croatia. I write as the Delegate of the Heart of Jesus Province [Germany]. I am 40 years a Pallottine, 35 years a priest and have been the Delegate for 27 years. Over that time I have been involved in a variety of pastoral activities such as novice master, parish priest, hospital chaplain, member of the Commission for Justice and Peace and Provincial Delegate.


The Pallottine ministry in Croatia was founded by Fr Joseph Brant sac in 1978, a Belgian and a member of the former Sacred Heart Province. He made his first visit to Croatia in the early ‘70s and eventually the Delegature was founded in 1978.

hrvatski palotinci


We are a rather small community with 7 members working in two parishes. The total population of the country is 4 million and 90% of them are Catholics. About 30% can be considered practising. The pastoral needs vary from place to place. In the cities there are many enlightened lay people belonging to diverse ecclesial movements and we extend our pastoral ministry to them. It is so important to accompany these groups spiritually in order to ensure that they remain faithful to the life of the church especially in the parishes.


To get an overview of our mission in this country, it is important to take note of the demographic situation. It is particularly preoccupying that so few children are being born into our families. Hence the primary field of apostolate must be families. This is a challenge too for all of Europe! We may have had great projects in the past but now we have to learn to situate them into the living reality of our local church and our country.


We work in only two parishes and our main challenge is to incorporate the laity into the mission of the church. We have to go beyond the classical way of doing apostolate and mission, which was through the construction of many structures. Instead we need to be open and flexible to the promptings of the Spirit and discern the signs of the times. We must not hesitate to move into the big cities, like Munich in Germany, and engage with people in the spirit of our charism. We must sing and pray together. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is of special significance in this Holy Year of Mercy.


As far as the Union of Catholic Apostolate is concerned, its function would be to animate the various groups in the parish with an authentic apostolic spirit, always inspired by our Founder. The spirit of the Union can become a source of communion especially in families.

The diocese has initiated several steps for the Holy Year of Mercy. As said earlier, the Sacrament of Confession is of special significance in this context. As Pallottines we must discover more and more the spiritual depth of understanding of God’s “infinite love and mercy” of our holy Founder, St Vincent Pallotti. As Pallottines we have a rich spiritual tradition in this area, much earlier than St Faustina who is recognised as spreading the devotion to the merciful Jesus.


As we prepare for the XXI General Assembly of our Society, I am tempted to dream once again of a stronger Pallottine presence in Croatia. I studied in a Jesuit College and I was expected to join them but I made a conscious choice for the Pallottines and today I wish to see once again the development of our Society in this country.


My dream for the entire Society is that it be a community of communion, prayer and work. Fraternal life in community is fundamental. Even as a secular priest, Pallotti came to realise the importance of working together. Travelling alone will not help; we can all be specialists in something but by working together we enrich each other.


We must not be a group of soloists – we are called to be members of a big orchestra, singing and playing together. This is the meaning of church. This is also the core of our charism.


Jozo Ivić sac [CJ.HR] – Vinkovci – CROATIA