St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican Gets Memorial Plaque about Croats

By 14 November 2018

Croatian Catholic bishops are visiting the Vatican and they have unveiled a special memorial plaque at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica about the history of Croats and the Christianity, reports Večernji List on November 14, 2018.

“I hope. I am still looking into some things,” said Pope Francis asked by Croatian bishops whether Croats would soon get another saint. Croatian bishops, who are visiting the Vatican, have directly asked the pope whether Cardinal Stepinac would soon be canonized, said the president of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference Želimir Puljić. The conversation lasted for about an hour. Puljić had sent the Pope a written statement about the situation in the Croatian Church. After the Pope read it, they spoke cordially and openly.

Of course, they also discussed the issue of refugees and migrants. Pope Francis said people should accept the refugees in the numbers which can be integrated. “We need to have an open heart, an open door for the needy, but if there is no room and if it is not possible to integrate them, then we should be cautious, that is to ensure that people are received and that they can live,” said Puljić talking about Pope Francis’ opinion.

“We did not discuss the possible visit of Pope Francis to Croatia, but such things are discussed at other levels,” said the secretary general of the Croatian Bishop’s Conference (HBK) Petar Palić, adding that the Vatican treaties were discussed with the Secretariat of State.

In the St. Peter’s Basilica, in the presence of Croatian bishops, a memorial plaque about the connections between Croats and the Holy See was unveiled. The initiator of the idea was Jesuit Božidar Nagy. “The idea to put a memorial plaque in the St. Peter’s Basilica came about after I saw that Hungarians have as many as three memorials about their Christianity. In January 2013, I sent a letter to the HBK and presented the idea. After three months, I received a positive answer, but in three years nothing happened. In February 2016, I went directly to Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the rector of the St. Peter’s Basilica. He listened to my proposal and immediately accepted it,” explained Nagy.

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“When I informed the HBK about my conversation with Cardinal Comastri in February 2016, I also sent them my proposal for the text, which included the most important events in the Christian history of Croatia associated with various popes. The proposal was then corrected, supplemented and changed by the HBK. Slavko Kovačić from Split translated the text into Latin and then in May 2017 the HBK sent the text to the Vatican,” explained Nagy.

The plate is a gift from the St. Peter’s Basilica to the Croatian Church and the Croatian people. It was made by the stone workshop of Fabbrica di San Pietro, which is responsible for maintaining the basilica. The plaque was produced in late 2017, and in January 2018 it was put into place. However, the plaque was then covered with a wooden cover.

The Croatian bishops decided to have the plaque unveiled now, in November, when they knew they were coming to Rome.

For more on the Catholic Church in Croatia, click here.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Silvije Tomašević).