Croatian Priest Attends ULTRA Europe, Tells His Story

Daniela Rogulj

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Ultra Europe

Priest Damir Stojić attended this year’s ULTRA Europe music festival in Split and described his experience through a Facebook post he shared during the early morning hours. 

Water, bura, and Ultra, as shared by Damir Stojić’s Facebook page on July 17, 2017. 

“Why did you come to Ultra? Do you support Ultra? How do you feel about Ultra? Is Ultra a place for priests? These questions and others have been asked of me by a number of people – believers, clubbers and journalists – over the last few days. Yes, I went to Ultra this year, just like I did last year, with about fifty other young men and women who are volunteers from all over Croatia. In the Gospel we read about how Jesus asked similar questions. Many did not understand Jesus’ behavior so they looked for answers and explanations. Jesus responded with stories and parables. Stories are much more convincing of theories and arguments because we are open to the message that they carry. Therefore, I want to answer these questions with three stories. 

I noticed a girl, who later told me that her name was Bethany, from Ireland, sitting alone on the sidewalk in poor condition. I watched her for a while and no one approached her. When I asked her how she was, she said that she was alone and she was not well. I brought her water. I moved her hand over my shoulder and took her to the emergency tent where she was taken care of.

Five Jews from Israel stopped with us to drink water. When they noticed that I was a priest, they asked me whether I believe that Jews are still the chosen people. I replied in the affirmative; Jews are still the chosen people because God does not withdraw his words. They questioned my knowledge of the Jewish history of salvation. While I confused the names of women patriarchs, they were satisfied with my answers. Finally, we prayed together a popular Jewish prayer in Hebrew, Shema Yisrael, and one of them invited me to the Holy Land, saying that it is my motherland.

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Damir Stojicć Facebook

An unknown Italian came to me, kissed my hands, hugged me and thanked for being here. I gave him the cross on his forehead and he carried on. There were many meetings like this.

Why did I come to Ultra? Pope Francis calls on us to come out of our monastery and to create a so-called ‘culture meeting,’ to be where the people are. For me, that still means to be where the young are. At Ultra among the young people, we did not preach or teach a doctrine. In fact, we put the doctrine into practice. We shared water to thirsty people. Nothing else. Some showed gratitude, some did not. Some stopped to talk, some did not. With some, we prayed.

Many have asked me if I had any inconveniences or negative experiences? Yes, there were two: the bura and some of our media. Both of them were uncomfortable because they threw dust into people’s eyes and hindered our work.

Finally, I wish to answer the question of whether a priest’s place is at Ultra? I remember Jesus Christ at the well when he met the Samaritan woman. For us Westerners, this is not a problem. But two thousand years ago in the time of Jesus? To be at the well and talk to a Samaritan woman was unthinkable and offensive. But Jesus was there. In that encounter, Jesus offers living water and violates all of the taboos and social expectations because he was prepared to do everything for man. That’s why I went to Ultra.”


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