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Nedjelja, 16 lipnja 2024
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HRVATI U AMERICI PROSLAVILI BLAGDAN MALE GOSPE

U Americi je, sada već tradicionalno proslavljen blagdan Male Gospe u organizaciji Odbora Hrvatske Zemlje – Cultural Club Cardinal Stepinac. Nakon svete mise, objedovalo se zajedno uz autohtone hrvatske delicije

Hrvati istočne obale Amerike proslavili su u nedjelju 10. rujna blagdan Male Gospe. Odbor Hrvatske Zemlje – Cultural Club Cardinal Stepinac organizirao je tom prilikom već tradicionalni piknik, a ni loše vrijeme nije spriječilo okupljanje velikog broja župljana. Svetu misu vodili su župnik fra Nikola Pašalić i župni vikar fra Lovro Šimić. Zbog spomenutih vremenskih (ne)prilika nažalost nije održana i procesija s Gospinim kipom. 

Nakon mise uslijedilo je zajedničko druženje uz obiteljski stol, također pripremljen od strane Odbora Hrvatske Zemlje. Osim janjetine i svinjetine s ražnja, te ražnjića i ćevapa, ponuđeni su i razni domaći kolači koje su spremile vrijedne žene iz Društva Svete Krunice. 

Za odličnu atmosferu pobrinuo se glazbeni tehničar Viktor Šarić Igrao se nogomet, kartala bela, a dobrog društva nije nedostajalo. Zajedno su Hrvati u Americi zahvalili Bogu na svim darovima i dobročinstvima, posebno na daru najmilijih. Hvalevrijedno je spomenuti i prisutnog Ivicu Dubića sa CroatianTVAmerica, koji se trudi što većem broju Hrvata u Americi omogućiti praćenje programa Hrvatske radiotelevizije. Valja naglasiti i prisutnost Ivice Kajića, predsjednika odbora Hrvatske Zemlje koji je najavio proslavu pedesete godišnjice Hrvatske Zemlje čija će se donatorska večera održati 30. rujna 2023. u Hrvatskom Centru u New Yorku. Svi su dobrodošli. 

Za kraj, pišemo malo i o povijesti Hrvatske Zemlje, autentično (prenosimo) na engleskom jeziku: 

“Hrvatska Zemlja” – Croatian Land is a property in Boonton, NJ which, as its name reflects, is dedicated to serve as a piece of homeland to all Croatian immigrants and their descendants in the tri-state area.

How this property came to be and why it was named Croatian Land can only be properly understood if we take a look back at what happened in Croatia at the end of World War II. At that time the communist regime that seized control of Croatia set out to purge all the remaining traits of the opposition, specifically among those who were still hoping for Croatian independence.

As a result of this manhunt, many of the Croatian immigrants now residing in the tri-state area were forced to flee their homeland in order to save their lives or escape imprisonment. During the following decades, many more Croatian immigrants left their homes in either Croatia or Bosnia and Herzegovina because of the unjust political and economic conditions put in place by the communist regime. Most of these immigrants were banned from ever returning home under the threat of imprisonment or worse. As they settled into their new lives in the United States, their love for their homeland has not faded away, but was kept alive through different institutions, groups and organizations which have continued to promote the Croatian language, culture and history striving to pass it on to the next generations.

As a part of that effort, in the early 1970’s, Fr. Mladen Čuvalo O.F.M. approached Croatian immigrants who were members of the Croatian Catholic parish of St. Cyril and Methodius and St. Raphael in New York proposing a purchase of a piece of land in New Jersey that would be dedicated to the perpetual use by Croatian immigrants and their descendants. Following the positive feedback, the aforementioned property containing 46 acres of land covered by forest was purchased by Croatian immigrants and incorporated on May 9, 1973 into the Cultural Club “Cardinal Stepinac”. The official corporate papers state that incorporation was done for the purpose of creating “a center of activities for recreation, entertainment and culture among all its members, but especially the American youth of Croatian extraction”.

From its inception, the Croatian Land turned out to be exactly what Fr. Čuvalo had hoped it would and what Croatian immigrants needed. Namely, as soon as the property was purchased it became a hotbed for activities uniting many Croatian immigrants, both young and old, newcomers and old timers in efforts of clearing the land, cutting down some of the forest and widening the irrigation canal, which transformed into the lake that is presently on the property. In the following years a soccer field was added coupled with a beach volleyball field and a new parking lot was cleared. Some time later a BBQ pit and few utilities were added as well. All of these improvements were built by Croatian immigrants themselves who selflessly donated both time and money to the development of the land, which they all understood to be a part of their home away from home.

In the summer of 1974, the first Parish picnic took place at the Croatian Land although the property itself was not yet cleared and fully prepared. The picnic was so well attended that it became clear that the purchase of the property was providential for Croatian immigrants of the tri-state area. The picnic began with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist by Fr. Čuvalo after which he formally blessed the Croatian Land. Picnic followed the mass and although tables were few and far between, that didn’t stop hundreds of families, around 4,000 people in total, to share a meal and celebrate together on a piece of land, which they rightfully considered as their own. This first picnic established a routine of regular annual picnics and festivities of Croatian immigrants that continues still to this day. In much the same way, every picnic held at the Croatian land was always preceded by a celebration of an outdoor mass. This link reflects the inseparable connection between Croatian and Catholic identity that gave rise to the idea of the Croatian Land and it remains enshrined in the official title of the Croatian Club, which was named after Croatian Cardinal blessed Aloysius Stepinac who was persecuted by the same communist regime that forced many of these Croatian immigrants to flee their homeland.

Even after Croatia won its independence in 1990, the Croatian Land has remained a vital part of Croatian heritage and a presence for all Croatian immigrants in the tri-state area and it continues to further its foundational goals by development of new facilities and projects. (Odbor Hrvatske Zemlje)

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