In the parish church of Mary Star of the Sea in San Pedro, California, the 50th anniversary of the priesthood of Father Ivan Gerovac, DI was celebrated.
For the occasion, a Holy Mass was led by Rev. Maurice Harrigan in concelebration by Rev. Charbel Grbavac, Ivan Jordan, Patrik Foutts and Peter Arnodi.
At the end of the mass celebration, the ceremony continued in the packed parish hall. The Croatian church choir magnified the celebration. Speeches were held in gratitude for the graces that Father Gerovac shared with the faithful. They were handed over to him with speeches of recognition and thanks.
Emil Sunjara presented recognition to Father Ivan on behalf of the American Croatian Congress, and Natalie Sutlovich on behalf of the Velika Gospa association. Mario Juravich, president of the Croatian Catholic Society, organized the celebration, which is also the celebration of the patron saint of St. Nikola Tavelić. Mario also presented a recognition to Father Ivan for all the support and spiritual shepherding with which Father Ivan generously cooperated with the Croatian community in San Pedro.
Father Ivan was visibly moved by the congratulations and good wishes of the hall full of believers, and he thanked everyone for the congratulations and the organization of the celebration for his golden anniversary as a priest.
Father Ivan Gerovac was born and grew up in Zagreb. His monastic life began in 1962 as a member of the Society of Jesus, and he was ordained a priest in 1972. From 1970, Father Ivan was preparing for missions in Africa. In Dublin, Ireland, he studied theology and “Community Development”, in Rome he continued with theology and completed a medical course for missionaries.
He took his last vows in 1983 in Rome after his last probation, which was partly in Croatia, France and Italy. He received his doctorate in Rome in 1984. He has been working in the missions since 1978.
After 25 years of missionary work in Africa, Father Ivan came in 2003 to the parish of Mary Star of the Sea in San Pedro. He worked as an assistant priest until the middle of 2012, when he was appointed manager of the Croatian parish of St. Ante in Los Angeles. In 2015 he returned to Mary Star Parish to continue helping the parish as a retired priest.
In addition to pastoral work in the parish with an emphasis on the Croatian and Italian regiments, he also helps in a nearby hospital and works as a chaplain in the US Air Force in Los Angeles. No matter where he works, he works for God’s people and for the glory of God.