CROATIAN PARISHES IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA IN WHICH FRANCISCANS OF THE CUSTODY ONCE WORKED

HOLY TRINITY PARISH, AMBRIDGE, PENNSYLVANIA

        The Croatians in Ambridge purchased a Baptist church in 1929 even though they had no priest.  In the beginning American priests celebrated mass for them.  During that same year Rev. Rudolf Potočnik, a Croatian priest, arrived in the parish.  Due to poor health, however, he remained in the parish only a very short time, as did the Third Order Franciscans and Conventuals who subsequently tended to the parish.   Franciscans from the Croatian Commissariat came to the parish in 1932 and worked there until its closing in 1994.  The first Franciscan pastor was Fr. Bono Andačić.  Since there was no rectory he had to live in private homes.  His successor, Fr. Franjo Čuturić, built a small rectory adjacent to the church in 1935.  Subsequent pastors paid off debts and prepared for the construction of a new church.  A spacious stone church was built during Fr. Serafin Vištica’s pastorate in 1951.  Fr. Steve Raich, pastor from 1959 to 1965, had the rectory building enlarged and purchased a convent for the Sisters of Charity who had arrived in the parish.  The sisters were responsible for children’s religious instruction and various domestic duties.  Fr. Marko Kozina, pastor from 1965 to 1969, renovated the church and parish hall.  The parish closed in 1994. The reason for the closing of the parish was repeated elsewhere in Pennsylvania and other states.  The bishops in these areas decided to merge several ethnic parishes because most parishioners primarily spoke English and the number of parishioners in these ethnic parishes had declined due to a decrease in job availability and the subsequent move of younger parishioners to other cities.

        The following friars have served in the parish:

Fr. Rudolf Potočnik 1929.

fra Stanko Dujmović, trećoredac 1929.-1930.

fra Dobroslav Sorić, trećoredac 1930.-1931.

fra Venceslav Andras, OFM Conv. 1931.-1932.   

 

Year

 

Pastor

 

Year

 

Associate Pastor

1932-33

fra Bono Andačić

 

 

1933-34

fra Vladimir Luburić

 

 

1934-36

fra Franjo Čuturić

 

 

1936-43

fra Ferdinand Skoko

 

 

1943-45

fra Ljubo Čuvalo

 

 

1945-47

fra Franjo Čuturić

 

 

1947-50

fra Bono Bilandžić

 

 

1950-52

fra Serafin Vištica

1951-52

fra Kruno Pandžić

1952-55

fra Sivlije Grubišić

1954-60

fra Tugomir Soldo

1955-56

fra Patrick Cigić

 

 

1956-59

fra Ivo Sivrić

 

 

1959-65

fra Steve Raich

1959-61

fra Berto Dragićević

 

 

1964-65

fra Bruno Raspudić

1965-69

fra Marko Kozina

1965-74

fra Kvirin Vasilj

1969-71

fra Božidar Benković

 

 

1971-73

fra Silvije Grubišić

 

 

1973-79

fra Zoran Ostojić

1972-76

fra Božidar Benković

1979-82

fra Pavao Maslać

 

 

 

 

 

 

1985-89

fra Vincent Cvitković

 

 

1989-94

fra Robert Galinac

 

 

ST. ANTHONY’S PARISH, MONESSEN, PENNSYLVANIA

        Fr. Theodore Benković arrived in Monessen in 1952 and started working among the Croatians.  He  initially held massees in the Slovak church and resided in that rectory. The local Polish church was used from 1952 to 1957.  A rectory was purchased for the Croatian priest in 1954. The following year Fr. Theodore purchased land on which a church was built in 1957.  It was dedicated in 1958.  He also purchased a rectory in the vicinity of the church.  His successor, Fr. Predrag Kordić (1960-1971), built a new church in the shape of a cross over the first church which was then converted into a parish hall. Over the ensuing years, a relatively small number of Croatian families had to pay off a very large debt.  The parish was closed in 1991 due to the declining  number parishioners.

        The following friars have served in the parish:

Fra Božidar Benković     1952.-1960.

Fra Predrag Kordić 1960.-1971.

Fra Steve Raich 1971.-1979.

Fra Bruno Raspudić 1979.-1991

 

Parishes Index 

ST. MARY’S ASSUMPTION PARISH, STEELTON, PENNSYLVANIA

A relatively large Croatian community existed in Steelton at the end of the 19th century.  They were given their first Croatian pastor, Rev. Dobroslav Božić, in 1898.  That same year, they purchased an old Protestant church where they began to celebrate mass.  During Fr. Anton Žuvić’s pastorate, a new church was built (1913-1917) and named in honor of the Assumption of Mary.   After his departure from the parish in 1919, priests from the Franciscan Commissariat cared for the Croatian parish in Steelton. Under Fr. Irenaeus  Petričak’s guidance, a large school building was built.  His successor, Fr. Ambro Mišetić, paid off the large debt and built a convent for the nuns.  Three sons of the parish presently serve in the Custody:  Fr. Theodore Benković, Fr. Jerome Kućan and Fr. Robert Galinac.

        The parish was terminated in 1995 because the local bishop merged several ethnic parishes.  The facilities of St. Mary’s are used by the newly created parish.  Some Croatians, disappointed with the termination of their Croatian parish, continue to peacefully object to the manner in which the merger was conducted.

        The following friars have served in the parish:

Fr. Dobroslav Božić 1898.-1900.

fra Gaudencije Gorše 1900.-1902.

Fr. Franjo Ažbe         1902.-1909.

Fr. Ilija Gušić            1909.-1911.

Fr. Joseph Petrovitz          1911.

Fr. Anton Žuvić 1911.-1919.  

 

Year

 

Pastor

 

Year

 

Associate Pastor

1919-26

fra Ambrozije Širca

 

 

1926-37

fra Irenej Petričak

1929.

fra Špiro Andrijanić

1937-50

fra Ambro Mišetić

1938-41

fra Silvije Grubišić

 

 

1941-49

fra Charles Pleše

 

 

1944-46

fra Steve Raich

 

 

1949-50

fra Bono Bilandžić

1950-53

fra Charles Pleše

1949-50

fra Patrick Cigić

 

 

1952-53

fra Serafin Vištica

1953-57

fra Steve  Raich

1953-68

fra Vilim Primorac

1957-61

fra Silvije Grubišić

1954.

fra Dominik Ćorić

 

 

1954-55

fra Roko Romac

1961-72

fra Jerko Kućan 

1968-71

fra Zvonimir Kutleša

 

 

1971.

fra Vincent Cvitković

1972-75

fra Božidar Benković

1971-76

fra Ilija Puljić

1975-79

fra Silvije Grubišić

1976-80

fra Jozo Čuić

1979-82

fra Jerko Kućan

1980-82

fra Jozo Grubišić

1982-85

fra Steve Raich

1984-85

fra Stjepan Pandžić

1985-88

fra Jozo Abramović

 

 

1988-89

fra Slavko Soldo

 

 

1989-95

fra Jozo Čuić

1991-95

fra Boško Benković

 

ST. MARY’S VISITATION PARISH, RANKIN, PENNSYLVANIA

        Rev. Mato Matina, a priest from the Zagreb Archdiocese, established this parish in 1902. With his parishioners he soon started  the construction of a church, which was completed and dedicated in 1904. Rev. Bosiljko Bekavac was the pastor of the parish for almost 50 years (1911-1959).  Two successive pastors were priests from the Pittsburgh Diocese.  The Daughters of Divine Charity from Sarajevo arrived in the parish in 1926.  The parish was given to the care of the Franciscan Custody in 1968 with Fr. Miron Lasić as  pastor. He served in this capacity  until the closing of the parish in 1994. The parish was merged with other parishes  due to the  declining number of parishioners.

        The following priests and friars have served in the parish:

Fr. Mato Matina 1903.-1905.

Fr. Franjo Glojnarić 1905.-1911.

Fr. Bosiljko Bekavac 1911.-1959.

Fr. Charles Georgevich 1950.- 1960

Fr. Albert Goralka 1960 -1968.

fra Miron Lasić 1968.-1994.

        Associate Pastors have been: fra Miron Lasić (1949.-1956.), fra Ivo Sivrić (1956.), fra Karlo Zovko (1969.-1974.) i fra Josip Galić (1974.-1976).

Parishes Index

ST.  ANTHONY PARISH, SHARON, PENNSYLVANIA

There were many problems in the establishment of this parish.  The first church built in 1915 developed as an “independent” Croatian parish.  Consequently, the majority of the parishioners turned their back on the church and it closed down in 1917.  In a short time period, Croatian priests, first Rev. Čančarević (1917) followed by Fr. Leon Medić (1918), celebrated mass in a Hungarian church.  Fr. Leon returned to Sharon in 1924 and the Croatians rented the Hungarian church for their services.  Finally, in 1925, a parcel of land on the corner of Idaho and Sherman Streets was purchased and the construction of a new church began.  Unfortunately, the new church was short lived: it was totally destroyed by a fire in 1928.  In 1929 the Croatians repurchased the “independent” church on Market Street and its cemetery.  In 1930 the parish was divided over the construction of the new church: the majority wanted it built on the foundation of the destroyed church, while the minority wanted it constructed on the site of the former independent church.  Together with his parishioners, pastor Fr. Anzelmo Slišković started the construction of the church in 1934 on the foundation of the old, burned down church.  The work was completed in 1938 and the church was blessed.  In 1940 a new rectory was built.  The Daughters of Divine Charity arrived in the parish in 1947 and were the first teachers when the parish opened a school in 1960.  The construction of the school in 1959/1960 was organized by the pastor Fr. Zoran Ostojić.  A spacious playground for the school was purchased in 1962.  The church was completely renovated in 1964. 

        From 1924 to 1996 in the parish 1827 children were baptized, 1104 individuals were buried, 658 couples were married, 1105 children received First Holy Communion and 1104 individuals were confirmed. 

        The following frairs have served in the parish:

 

Year

 

Pastor

 

Year

 

Associate Pastor

1924-29

fra Leon Medić

 

 

1929-31

fra Špiro Andrijanić

 

 

1931-47

fra Anzelmo Slišković

 

 

1947-49

fra Franjo Čuturić

 

 

1949-58

fra David Zrno

1951-52

fra Ivo Sivrić

 

 

1952-54

fra Jerko Kućan

 

 

1954-55

fra Patrik Cigić

 

 

1955-58

fra Roko Romac

1958-72

fra Zoran Ostojić

1958-59

fra Berto Dragićević

 

 

1959-61

fra Gracijan Raspudić

 

 

1961-68

fra Eugen Petrović

 

 

1969-71

fra Vincent Cvitković

 

 

1970-71

fra Vlado Mišetić

 

 

1971.

fra Robert Galinac

 

 

1971-74

fra Vincent Cvitković

1972-73

fra Bruno Raspudić

 

 

1973-77

fra Jerko Kućan

1974.

fra Nenad Galić

1977-78

fra Lawrence Franković

 

 

1978-81

fra Robert Galinac

1978-80

fra Jozo Grubišić

1981-82

fra Silvije Grubišić

 

 

1982-84

fra Ilija Puljić

 

 

1984-87

fra Gregory Furjanić

 

 

1987-89

fra Robert Galinac

 

 

1989-93

fra Vincent Cvitković

 

 

1993-95

don Daniel Kreszinski

 

 

1995-2003

fra Mate Ruyechan

 

 

 

ST. JOSEPH’S PARISH, BETHLEHEM, PENNSYLVANIA

        The parish of St. Joseph in Bethlehem is distinctive among all the other parishes mentioned in this book. Windish Slovenians and a small  number of Croatians constitute the parish.  Slovenian Franciscans, who were members of  a Croatian province, ministered in the parish from its beginnings until 1937.  The Croatian Franciscans have been serving the parish from 1937 to the present.  The first pastor was Fr. Anselm Murn, a member of the joint Franciscan Commissariat of the Holy Cross, who arrived in the parish community in 1913.  From 1914 to 1917 an impressive stone church was built and dedicated to St. Joseph.  After Fr. Anselm, there were two more Slovenian Franciscan pastors who were members of  the Zagreb Franciscan Province in the homeland and the Commissariat in the United States.  The first Croatian pastor was Fr. Irenaeus Petričak who managed to pay off the enormous church debt.  In addition to excellently learning the Windish dialect of the Slovenian language, he compiled a dictionary and grammar book for the Windish.

        From 1913 to 1996 in the parish, 3565 individuals were baptized, 1477 individuals were buried, 1293 couples were married, 2323 children were confirmed and 1154 children received First Holy Communion.  Services are celebrated exclusively in English.

        The following priests have served in this parish:

 

Year

 

Pastor

 

Year

 

Associate Pastor

1913-21

fra Anselm Murn

 

 

1921-23

fra Jeronim Knoblehar

 

 

1923-29

fra Clement Veren

1926-28

fra Leo Novitt

1929-37

fra Egidije Horvath

 

 

1937-50

fra Irenej Petričak

1941-46

fra Leo Novitt

 

 

1946-50

fra Joseph Cagran

1950-71

fra Slavko Luburić

1950-54

fra Patrick Cigić

 

 

1954-61

fra Jerko Kućan

 

 

1961-71

fra Josip Abramović

1971-79

fra Josip Abramović

1971-73

fra Franjo Radišić

 

 

1974-76

fra Vincent Cvitković

1979-85

fra Božidar Benković

 

 

1985-94

fra Lawrence Franković

 

 

1994-97

fra Robert Galinac

 

 

1997-2003

fra Nenad Galić

 

 


        In this summary of parishes in the United States, it should also be noted that Fr. Ljubo Čuvalo, a Hercegovinian Franciscan and Commissariat member, worked as a pastor for six years in a Croatian parish in Portland  (1936-1943).  In addition, other Franciscans, members of the Custody, occasionally worked in several Croatian and American parishes, which are not mentioned here.  Please refer to the summary of individual priests in this book for further details.

Parishes Index

ASSUMPTION PARISH, THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO

                As missionaries the Croatian Franciscans occasionally visited this cold and far off region as early as the pre-World War II era; for example, Fr. Zvonko Mandurić (1929-1930).  Nevertheless, the first Croatian priest assigned there was Rev. Julije Balog, who succeeded in forming a Croatian mission in 1974.  Masses were held in St. Andrew’s church, and the priest resided at its rectory.  Rev. Balog, however, returned to Chile in 1975 from where he came in 1968, and the mission was then entrusted to the Franciscans of the Croatian Custody.  Under  Fr. Ilija Puljić’s guidance the community bought a Pentecostal church in 1979 and  built a rectory and a hall with a capacity for 150 people. The Custody had to withdraw from the mission, and in 1980 the pastoral work was taken over by Fr. Dominik Tomić, a Franciscan from the Holy Redeemer Province in Split.  The Custody was in charge of this mission from 1975 to 1980.  In this mission (from 1995 a parish) from 1974 to 1996, 138 children were baptized, 52 individuals were buried, 47 couples were married, 77 individuals were confirmed and 34 children received First Holy Communion.  Masses are celebrated in Croatian and English.

                    The following priests and friars have served in the parish:

Fr. Julije Balog 1974.-1975.

fra Vitomir Naletilić 1975.

fra Ljubo Krasić 1975.

fra Ivan Bradvica 1976.

fra Ilija Puljić   1976.-1980.

fra Dominik Tomić 1980.-1996.

Fr. Franjo Višaticki 1996.-

 

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