ZAGREB, August 15, 2019 – The Archbishop of Zagreb, Cardinal Josip Bozanić, on Thursday served Mass in the Marian shrine of Marija Bistrica on the occasion of the Feast of the Assumption, saying that the feast was a holiday of Christian joy, hope and future and that the Croatian Christian identity was deeply marked by Marian devotion.
The archbishop conducted the religious service, the central event celebrating the Feast of the Assumption, in front of several thousand believers who came to Marija Bistrica for the occasion.
“By (coming here) we live and confirm the centuries-old tradition of Croatian believers. This calm, holy nation, as Pope Francis described it, has its face, its history, its identity and mission,” Bozanić said, stressing that Marian devotion had deeply marked the identity of Croatian Christianity.
In his sermon, Bozanić also spoke about the importance of promoting the family as a holy institution as well as the importance of Christian patriotism.
“Christian patriotism… includes full responsibility for the well-being of the people and every citizen, for stronger institutions, for cultural heritage and language,” he said, adding that Christian patriotism also encouraged unity, mutual respect and forgiveness, and sympathy with those in need.
Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on Wednesday visited the Marian shrine near Teslić in central Bosnia, where she attended Mass as a believer along with a large number of other pilgrims.
The religious service was conducted by the Archbishop of Sarajevo, Cardinal Vinko Puljić, who before the service held talks with Grabar-Kitarović behind closed doors.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday participated in a procession on the occasion of the Feast of the Assumption in the Marian shrine of Sinj, where around 100,000 pilgrims were expected to arrive during the day.
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