November 8, 2020 – Nedelisce parishioners are seemingly universal in their understanding and forgiveness as their local pastor leaves the priesthood for an altogether different kind of calling
Not every job is undertaken just to pay the bills. The strong urge to take a specific career is often referred to as a calling. Occupations in which you help other people are usually those described in this way – doctors, teachers, nurses, nuns and priests.
Spoken of with admiration, those who receive ‘a calling’ are presumed to be on a path of life which is their true destiny. Be it supernatural, genetically implanted or influenced by God, it is considered unlikely that anything could turn their heads and make them veer off course. Such considerations are naïve in their ignorance of Cupid’s arrow.
Both Vecernji List and 24 Sata this week reported on the recent resignation of popular parish priest Rev. Tihomir Ciglar (30). Although on his path to the priesthood since he attended Archbishop’s Classical Gymnasium in Zagreb, Ciglar has recently departed from his chosen course in favour of an altogether different calling – he fell in love.
The parish church in Nedelišće © Župa Presvetog Trojstva – Nedelišće
“He was wonderful.,” one of Ciglar’s former Nedelisce parishioners is quoted as saying in 24 Sata. Nedelišće is a small town near Varaždin. “He was mild-mannered, good, everyone’s favourite. My whole family loved going to Mass and listening to the sermons because of him. And then what happened, happened. He just fell in love, that’s how it was.”
“We don’t blame him for anything,” the parishioner continued, her voice apparently representative of locals’ general feeling on the affair of the popular priest. She also added that news was circulating about the imminent arrival of the couple’s first child. “May God give them many more children!”
Tihomir Ciglar was first presented to Nedelisce parishioners in 2014 as a chaplain, and in 2018 he was appointed pastor of the church. His pull from the pulpit occurred after he met the woman who is now his girlfriend in service of the church – she donated her time in the form of a cook. Further speculation on the development of feelings between the woman and her roamin Catholic partner is perhaps best left for village gossip.
An older image of the church in Nedelišće © TZ Nedelišće
In a heartfelt letter Ciglar penned to his flock, which was read aloud at Mass last Sunday, he asked for their forgiveness. The Nedelisce parishioners seem uniform in their understanding of the situation.
“I wasn’t surprised when the letter was read,” one is quoted as saying in 24 Sata. “We’d seen something happen between him and that girl before. That’s no small thing with us. Still, we were all kind of rooting for their love story.”
The local diocese is in the process of assigning another young priest to the parish. It is unlikely that the new priest will be similarly tempted from his path, but, you never know. This is not the first time it has happened. A similar case was recorded in Nedelišće forty years ago when a priest left the service out of love for a woman.