The Diocese of Zagreb, Croatia has a new minor basilica dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua. It is the third church in the diocese and the twenty-fifth church in the Order to be so dedicated.
On Thursday December 8, 2022, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the St. Anthony of Padua Church in Zagreb was proclaimed a Minor Basilica with the motto: “Florete quasi lilium” [Blossom like the Lily]. This event was the culmination of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Conventual Franciscan community in Zagreb. The Mass was presided over by His Eminence, Cardinal Josip BOZANIĆ, Archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia. The Decree of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments was read by the Most Reverend Giorgio LINGUA, Apostolic Nuncio to Croatia, who has always followed the pastoral and charitable activities of the friars.
Around fifty priests took part in the Mass, including the Ministers Provincial of the religious congregations present in Croatia and a number of local pastors. Others present included representatives of the Orthodox and Jewish communities, the Minister of Culture and Media, the Vice-President of the Croatian Parliament, Delegates of the President of the Croatian Republic, the Mayor of Zagreb, the Ambassador of Portugal in Croatia, and various other authorities.
The Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI, sent a message in which he expressed his best wishes and thanked the cardinal for his thoughtful attention towards the friars of Zagreb. Friar Carlos called on the Conventual community “to develop a deeper community identity, in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi and in the spirituality of communion.” Friar Carlos also hoped that the basilica would continue to be “a place of prayer, spiritual direction, formation in Christian life, industrious charity and a place of activities for the young.”
In his homily, Cardinal BOZANIĆ stressed that the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception reminds us that evil can threaten humanity, it can hurt humankind, but it cannot win. It does not get the last word. Furthermore, he said that this great solemnity “is a celebration of our roots and our future, because Mary, as our model and guide, shows what will happen for us too.” In this sense, the basilica is important for the faithful of the Diocese and for all the pilgrims who come to this Antonian shrine in Croatia, where there is a particular devotion to both St. Anthony and the Immaculate Conception.
Friar Zlatko VLAHEK, Provincial Secretary
Friar Zvonimir PERVAN, Member of the Commission for the Proclamation of the Minor Basilica