Altar Boys Mark Homes Which Refuse to Admit Priests

Total Croatia News

In Vinkovci, those who do not want to have their homes blessed by a local Catholic priest get a minus on their doors.

Annual season of traditional blessing of homes by Catholic priests in many parts of Croatia has begun, and it has brought some problems. Krešimir Pleše from Vinkovci in eastern Croatia says that, in the Lapovci neighbourhood, local altar boys leave marks on houses, distinguishing those which the priest can enter and those which refuse to take part in the tradition, reports on January 13, 2017.

“In a way, they are not only marking houses, about also people who live in them. Sometimes they use a white chalk, and sometimes they used coloured crayons. They put a plus or a minus on the door. Plus is reserved for those who say they are willing to let a priest bless their home”, said Pleše.

Ladislav Dort, pastor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus parish, to which the Lapovci neighbourhood belongs, says that in previous years altar boys used to write a zero for those who would decline. He adds there were many complaints from citizens and that he changed the tradition when he was transferred to the parish.

“The whole story is partly true. In order to facilitate the process of blessing of the families, and not homes, since homes cannot be blessed, one day prior to my arrival altar boys visit the homes in order to ask people whether they want to receive a blessing. People who want to receive it get a discreet mark of a cross, or a plus if you want. And if people do not want to receive a blessing, then we do not write anything”, said Dort. “And if people are not at home, then altar boys white a small minus which can easily be turned into a cross or a plus.”

“I am sorry that the parishioner was insulted, since we really did not intend to hurt anyone’s feelings”, added the pastor.

Of course, people are entitled to have their homes blessed at the beginning of a new year if they want to, but with altar boys leaving public marks many feel pressured to admit a priest to their home, even though they might decide otherwise if their decision was secret. The pressure is much stronger in smaller towns and villages, where everybody knows everybody, then in larger towns where people are much more tolerant and generally do not care about such things. Needless to say, since each act of blessing is charged by the Catholic Church, it does not mind the pressure.


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