by S. DUKIC, D. SARAC, G. JELAVIC, Z. JURAS, M. LJUBIC, A.DRAGICEVIC, J. CELAR, D. MEZIC, T. KOLUMBIC
The holy mass was attended by the Defense Minister, Jozo Rados, his deputy Zlatko Gareljic, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia General Petar Stipetic, deputy of the chief of staff General Colonel Josip Lucic, head of the police Vladimir Flaber and numerous officers of the Croatian Army, members of the Police and representatives of the associations of victims and war veterans of the Homeland War.
Bishop Jezerinac in his sermon thanked defenders of Croatia, who lead by their commanders and the supreme commander Dr. Franjo Tudman liberated one quarter of Croatia occupied by the enemy. Today, unfortunately, bishop Jezerinac emphasized in his sermon, we see that many countries despite vows to protect fundamental democratic, personal, national and general human rights not only do not support those right but also violate them for their own selfish interests.
Msgr. Jezerinac called for a prayer for the peace of fallen defenders of Croatia and civilians, for all victims who died, were wounded, or disappeared, and for the enlightenment of those who did evil in the war, for all those who "unjustly malign us and spread evil lies against us".
"But, recognizing our own weakness and sinfulness, we remain proud, not allowing that we be covered by the shroud of grief because of attempts to behead us and deny all our positive achievements with indictments issued against our defenders," Jezerinac said and wondered whether we've really done everything to make sure that powerbrokers of this world treat our homeland as a sovereign state.
In Split, the holy mass for the homeland was served by Dr. don Drago Simundza, together with the Police Spiritual Shepherd don Stjepan Loncar.
"The Cross of Christ, hands held together, rosary and a prayer, should, just like during the struggle for our independence, be an eternal memento that would not permit any mutual recriminations or divisions. The greatest legacy of the late president Franjo Tudman was his advocacy of reconciliation of different options. He knew that reconciliation is the basis of everything," don Drago said in his sermon.
During the holy mass in the church of St. Dominik, don Luka Prcela in his sermon said that "it is our duty to thank God for giving us a state." However, he also concluded that "that gratitude is all but gone". Don Luka added:
"When president Tudman proclaimed this day for the day of gratitude to the homeland, he wanted us to recall all those who sacrificed their lives for all of us. We wonder whether that sacrifice made sense, when the current authorities would rather forget everything. Instead of thinking about the most glorious days in our history, Racan is concerned with the returnees from Serbia. The foundations of our state have been shaken. That makes us sadder than ever before," Prcela said.
In the Knin church of the Our Lady of the Great Croat Christian Vow holy mass for the homeland, attended by Prime Minister Ivica Racan, and his deputy Dr. Goran Granic, was served by local parish priest, Fr. Ivan Nimac. Fr. Nimac emphasized that the faith of defenders of Croatia had a great role in the Homeland War. The mass in the church of Our Lady of Sinj, in Sinj, was served by Fr. Mirko Maric, the guardian of Sinj, while the sermon was delivered by Fr. Bone Prcela, a parish priest from Vancouver in Canada. Fr. Prcela appealed to the authorities to continue the policy of bringing together Croats living in the homeland and abroad. In the courtyard of the ancient sacred site in Solin, Our Lady of the Islands, holy mass for the homeland was served by don Vinko Sanader, who in his sermon called on the gathered faithful to pray for peace, unity and concord.
"When politics loses face, the voice of the Church must be clear. The views of the Church must be respected, because the Church for centuries shared all the travails with the people," don Vinko Sanader said, calling on the faithful to resist the attacks on the Church, Homeland, and heroes of the Homeland War.
Msgr. Ivo Djurdjevic, dean of the Makarska deanery, served the mass in Makarska. He said in his sermon that "the Church begs for wisdom and clarity, as well as decisiveness of those whom the Croat people has entrusted with its fate, present and future." The mass for all fallen defenders of Croatia from the Homeland War and all those who died for Croatia was served in the Sibenik cathedral by parish priest Fr. Nikola Curcija, who said that "persecution of the Croat generals by the Hague tribunal, rampant inflation, and divisions in the society, indicate that the crisis has reached its peak."
In the cathedral in Zadar the mass was served by the Zadar archbishop Msgr. Ivan Prendja, who averred that very important events we commemorate these days demand answers and at the same time prompt the faithful to seriously contemplate the importance of the Homeland in the spirit of the truth and justice. "The Church is concerned about the devaluation of the courage and the number of victims, both among the soldiers and civilians and rejects all attempts to draw parallels between the victim and the aggressor," Zadar archbishop Prendja stressed, calling on the current opposition to show more tolerance with respect to the current authorities.
Faithful of the island of Hvar attended the holy mass served by Hvar archbishop Msgr. Slobodan Stambuk in the St. Stjepan cathedral in Hvar. "If 'great nations' are allowed to love and respect their homeland, why isn't that right acknowledged to the 'small nations'?" the Hvar archbishop asked.