Father Nikica Bosnjakovic has a lot to do. He is the parish priest of Sid, in Serbia, a country where Catholics make up only 5.5% of the total population, while 85% of the 7.2 million inhabitants of the country belong to the Orthodox Church. For the most part, the Catholics are either of Hungarian or Croatian extraction.
The parish is part of the Diocese of Srijem in the north of the country, on the border with Croatia. It was established as a new diocese only in 2008, and currently, some 48,000 of the 798,000 inhabitants are Catholic. There are 29 parishes and just 19 priests, so priests like Father Bosnjakovic have to minister to more than one parish. In his case, he ministers to five sub-parishes and four outlying churches.
One problem Father Bosnjakovic faces is the fact that in the entire parish there is no place that can accommodate gatherings of up to 300 people or where various church functions can be held. Christening parties, catechetical sessions, educational programs, ecumenical gatherings with fellow Orthodox Christians – there is simply no space for these and many other kinds of gatherings.
Father Nikica also dreams of the day when the traditional meetings of Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical church choirs, which are held regularly in the Diocese of Srijem, can also be held in his own parish. This still very young and energetic priest sets great store by good contacts, above all with the Orthodox Church, not least because there are many mixed marriages between Catholic and Orthodox and many mixed families as a result – hence being able to meet and celebrate together is a very important aspect.
One of the villages of the parish is called Sot. There are 124 Catholic families here, an exceptionally large number. For this reason, work has already begun there on a simple parish center that could ultimately benefit the whole parish. The basic structure is already complete in fact, but it needs to be finally finished and the fire safety provisions fully met with.
Father Bosnjakovic has turned to ACN for help, and we are planning to give him $10,600. Will you help Father Bosnjakovic complete construction of this parish center in Serbia?
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