The Croatian Diaspora

100th Anniversary of Most Precious Blood Parish in Queens

By 1 July 2022

July 1, 2022 - On June 19, Croatian Catholics celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Most Precious Blood Parish - “The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Precious Blood of Christ” followed by a wonderful procession in the streets of Astoria.

Most Rev. Robert J. Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn presided, Music Coordinator Fr. Saša Ilijić, PhD, composed a wonderful new song “Alleluia”, especially for this anniversary, which was performed by klapa Astoria




Most Precious Blood Church is a Roman Catholic Parish in the center of Astoria, NY, and home to a multicultural community made up of parishioners from diverse backgrounds united in their common walk of faith. Most Precious Blood Parish serves multiple cultural groups, with Masses celebrated each Sunday in English, Croatian, Spanish, and Tagalog.  


Croatian-speaking Catholics have been attending services at Most Precious Blood Parish in Astoria, Queens, since 1971 when the parish formed what today is called the Croatian Apostolate of Blessed Ivan Merz to serve a massive wave of immigrants from the former Yugoslavia. The community is very vibrant. For example, the apostolate has a bilingual faith formation program that helps succeeding generations become rooted in their ancestors’ devout legacies. They learn folk dancing, but also hymns and prayers in Croatian. People want to preserve their language and their culture, which is tied in with their faith. Three out of the seven members of the Parish pastoral team are Croats: Fr. Vedran Kirinčić (Administrator), Fr. Saša Ilijić, PhD (Parochial Vicar) and Nada Bernich (Faith Formation Director). Fr. Kirinčić and Fr. Sasa Ilijic are both “on loan” from the Diocese of Krk, which has shared priests with Most Precious Blood Parish since the Croatian apostolate began in 1971. 

For more, check out our lifestyle section.