PITTSBURGH, 23 September 2019 – On the occasion of the 125th Anniversary of the Croatian Fraternal Union, the President of the Republic Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović attended holy mass in the St. Nicholas Croatian Church in Millvale where she met with the Croatian diaspora.
In her address she stated that the Croatian Fraternal Union through its excellent organization, longevity, community spirit and solidarity has become a symbol of the Croatian diaspora on the American continent and beyond.
The story about the founding of the Croatian Fraternal Union, the President said, is one about the role of the Croatian diaspora throughout history. For generations of our diaspora and for decades the Croatian Fraternal Union was the central meeting place where the mother tongue was spoken and where contact was made with Croatian history, culture and national identity. It was a place where new life experiences were shared on the new continent; where help and consolation were sought and received.
She told them that as the Croatian President, she places special emphasis on the Croatian diaspora and referred to her personal experience as a diplomat and foreign minister, and particularly her work in the United States and Canada, where she gained the experience of living in a new environment. Back then, she had the opportunity to meet members of our diaspora and became convinced of their fellowship, fraternal unity, and above all, of their patriotism and willingness to help the Homeland.
“During my mandate, I have repeatedly visited Croats in the U.S. and Canada, Australia and South America, and was the first Croatian President after President Franjo Tuđman to visit these distant Croatian communities”, the President said. This is very important because Croatia must never forget how much the Croatian diaspora has helped its country during the Homeland War and thanked them for their material and moral support, for their individual and organized efforts with which they have contributed to building Croatia.
“Today, it is our duty and responsibility to encourage the strengthening of national unity, to strengthen the preconditions for affirming and promoting our culture, identity and the Croatian name. To achieve these goals, we need national unity and true patriotism on a permanent basis”, President Grabar-Kitarović said.
The unity between the Croatian Homeland and its diaspora was at the heart of President Tuđman’s policy and in the process of creating a modern Croatian State that we are so proud of, the President noted, underlining that the constant determination and willingness of members of our diaspora to help and promote their Homeland must never be forgotten.
Thanking the generations of Croats who have reinforced, through their efforts in the Croatian Fraternal Union, the vision of its founders on the need for unity and solidarity, President Grabar-Kitarović congratulated them on 125 years of work and expressed her firm belief that in the future they will continue to be the guardians of Croatian identity and fraternal unity.