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On December 29, 2020, an earthquake hit the city of Petrinja (some 40 km south of Zagreb) and its surrounding area. Seven people have died in the destructive earthquake, many were injured, and many people lost their homes. Being 6.3 degrees strong at the epicenter, it has destroyed the neighboring towns and villages, including an elderly home run by a Jesuit Charity (Bishop Josip Lang Foundation) in Mala Gorica near Petrinja. All residents of the elderly home were evacuated and transferred to a safe location. The president of the Foundation, Fr. Mijo Nikić SJ, who came to assess the situation of the elderly home after the previous earthquake, was slightly injured during the earthquake.

The earthquake also hit Zagreb, causing the same degree of damages to Jesuit communities as the March Earthquake, including new cracks and holes in the Jesuit Basilica of the Sacred Heart and other Jesuit houses. The Basilica’s ceiling was additionally damaged, just after the works on its reconstruction had begun. There are also new damages to St. Joseph’s College in Zagreb, both on the walls and the roof. The historical building was already severely damaged by the earthquake in March. The old College has to be completely reconstructed to be habitable again.

Mobile team of priests helping victims of earthquake

At the initiative of Croatian Jesuits, on January 8, 2021, a mobile team of priests was formed to provide psychological and spiritual help to people and families who were victims of the recent destructive earthquake on the territory of the Diocese of Sisak (Croatia). The team is a part of a broader project of the Commission for Family Pastoral Care of the Diocese of Sisak. The team headquarters is located in Mala Gorica near Petrinja, and it is from there that the priests and psychologists visit families and parish communities of the affected areas.

The mobile team began their active work on January 9, 2021. They visited many families near Petrinja, Glina, and Sisak. On the first day, nine people participated: six Jesuits (Fr. Ivo Antunović, Fr. Stipo Balatinac, Fr. Zvonko Vlah, Fr. Antun Volenik, Fr. Zdravko Jelušić, and Fr. Mijo Nikić, leader of the team), two Diocesan priests (Rev. Branko Koretić and Rev. Josip Bošnjaković), and a layman (Dr. Petar-Krešimir Hodžić, head of the Office for Family and Life of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference).

The task of the team is to listen to people, to empathize with them and understand their pain and suffering, to be with those in need. Also, they are administering sacraments (Confession, Eucharist, and Anointing of the Sick). In that way, they are being ministers of reconciliation and consolation, bringing light and peace to people that have suffered gravely because of the earthquake.

Several European Jesuit Provinces and JESC mobilise funds to support Croatia earthquake victims​

Earthquake destroyed “Lang’s Home” for the elderly, sick, invalids and abandoned persons in Croatia

How to fund? Click here.

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