by Ana Strazicic Rodriguez
Every year on 8 September the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known in Croatia as Mala Gospa, is celebrated. It is also celebrated in Croatian communities abroad.
On the east coast of the Unites States, the traditional Croatian picnic was held on the weekend at Hrvatska Zemlja in New Jersey to celebrate the occasion.
This year, the Holy Mass was led by Fr. Ivica Perić, a missionary in Africa.
Although the weather was not favourable this year either, with rain all day, a considerable number of parishioners from the Croatian parish of St. Cyril and Methodius and St. Raphael in New York and their friends gathered after mass.
As usual, the Consul General of the Republic of Croatia in New York, Nikica Kopačević, was present, who is always happy to socialise with Croats in New York. Bruno Lukić and his wife, Military Advisor of the BiH Mission to the UN, as well as Ivica Dubić, representative of Croatian TV America, were also present.
The organiser of the picnic is the Committee of Hrvatska Zemlja, known as the Cultural Club Cardinal Stepinac, who with a hardworking team of parishioners prepared their favourite food, include pig and lambs on the spit, as well as ćevapčiće, ražnjiće and kobasice on the grill.
Money raised from donations go to the decoration of the newly built Hrvatski Narodni Dom, Fra Mladen Čuvalo, who is most responsible for this beautiful piece of land in NJ that belongs to all the Croats of the Croatian Parish in NY.
The centre was built with charitable donations and the voluntary work of a large number of hard-working Croats.
Any help and donation is welcome to finish this beautiful house inside so that parishioners can use it for better and for organising not only picnics, but also other events and meetings that are important for the Croatian Parish and Croats in this part of America.
As usual, the Society of the Holy Rosary sold homemade cakes for its humanitarian campaigns. Even though it was raining, many covered the tables with awnings and continued to socialise and enjoy music by Viktor Šarić into the evening.
The Croatian youth, the children of our emigrants, who played football and continued the long-standing tradition that their fathers and grandfathers started, should also be praised. The President of the Hrvatska Zemlja Committee, Ivica Kajić, despite the not bad weather, was still satisfied with the arrival of a large number of visitors.
It was a beautiful gathering of Croats in America and watching the young generation enjoying the benefits of the Hrvatska Zemlja in NJ, it will surely continue for many, many years to come, as long as there are Croats and their descendants in this part of America and as long as the Croatian heart beats and the Croatian the flag on Croatian Earth is flying.