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Church Bell donated by Croatian diaspora blessed by Cardinal

Church Bell donated by Croatian diaspora blessed by Cardinal

ister Ljilja Martić, Cardinal Vinko Puljić and Don Josip Tadić

by Mate Paškanović Pavković

On Sunday December 12th, 2021, Pilgrims from around Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the diaspora came to pay homage to the Drina Martyrs who were killed 80 years ago after jumping from a window while escaping Chetnik soldiers in Goražde, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Vinko Puljić and a tour of the city honoring the Drina Martyrs was organized by Don Josip Tadić and Sister Ljilja Martić. 

The mass celebrated the Drina Martyrs and the significant work that has been done on the church dedicated to the Drina Martyrs. Don Tadić, with help from Jelena Puljić, in New York, found and contacted Nedjeljko Miličević, a Croatian from California, to donate a new Bell for the new church dedicated to the Martyrs which at mass on Sunday was blessed by Cardinal Puljić. 

Church Bell donated by Croatian diaspora blessed by Cardinal

Mass celebrated over the Bell donated by Nedjeljko Miličević from California.

Church Bell donated by Croatian diaspora blessed by Cardinal

The new bell donated by Nedjeljko Miličević

After mass, Cardinal Puljić, Don Tadić, Sister Ljilja and the other pilgrims walked to the memorial for the children who died in Goražde in the siege of the city in 1992. Honoring the victims of the horrors of World War II, everyone walked to the pedestrian bridge in Goražde where the memorial to the 8,000 Bosniaks who died in a mass genocide between December 1941 and January 1942 in Goražde is located. Pilgrims laid roses and paid their respects to the children who were killed in the siege in 1992 and to the 8,000 Bosniaks who were killed immediately after the Drina Martyrs were killed. 

The group then walked to the Husein Efendija Đozo Elementary School. On the 11th of December 1941, Chetniks surrounded the Roman Catholic abbey run by the sisters of Divine Charity in Sarajevo. After the Chetniks pillaged the abbey, they captured the nuns and took them to Goražde where they were locked in the now Husein Efendija Đozo Elementary School. In honor of the tragic deaths of the Drina Martyrs, Cardinal Puljić blessed the monument infront of the school dedicated to the Martyrs. 

Church Bell donated by Croatian diaspora blessed by Cardinal

Cardinal Vinko Puljić blessing the monument dedicated to the Martyrs infront of the Husein Efendija Đozo Elementary School

After Cardinal Puljić blessed the monument, Sister Ljlilja with the Pilgrims went inside the school. Sister Ljilja led prayers and a reflection of the horrors that happened 80 years ago. 

Church Bell donated by Croatian diaspora blessed by Cardinal

A view from the room in which the nuns were imprisoned

To end the pilgrimage, Cardinal Puljić met the parishioners at the new church being built in Goražde which has seen significant progress since July. Donations for the church are being raised in the Croatian diaspora and the fruits of their donations are more than apparent. To see how the church looked like in July click here.

Church Bell donated by Croatian diaspora blessed by Cardinal

Church being built dedicated to the Drina Martyrs

Church Bell donated by Croatian diaspora blessed by Cardinal

Church being built dedicated to the Drina Martyrs

Church Bell donated by Croatian diaspora blessed by Cardinal

One of the nuns from the sisters of Divine Charity in Sarajevo taking a picture of the church dedicated to the martyrs

“I want to thank all those who donated their time, effort and funds in building this church, especially Nedjeljko Miličević, who donated the bell for the new church. I would also like to thank Jelena Perić, from New York and Fra Nikola Pašalić, who are spearheading efforts in the diaspora,” said Don Tadić, the Pastor of St. Dominik’s church in Goražde.

The day ended with a modest lunch with the nuns, priests and volunteers who made the day happen. Cardinal Puljić at the head of the table blessed the food and gave thanks to all those involved in building the church, including the many Croats around the world who donated to the church. Cardinal Puljić after lunch reflected on the day’s events and the the excitement around the new church:

Church Bell donated by Croatian diaspora blessed by Cardinal

Cardinal Vinko Puljić with the sisters of Divine Charity in front of the St. Dominic Chapel in Goražde.

“On this third Sunday of advent, Gaudete Sunday, as we prepare for the arrival of our Lord, today’s message is of Christian joy. Today we had one more thing to rejoice- the blessing of the new bell for the new church dedicated to the Drina Martyrs. The small St. Dominic’s chapel was full of parishioners and pilgrims alike and not everyone was able to fit in the chapel. Nevertheless, we celebrated mass, went to where the Martyrs spent their last days and visited the new site of the church.“

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