The eighth Youth Festival – the encounter of the Croatian youth of America and Canada – was held last weekend in Chicago. The host of this Encounter, held under the theme Lord, everyone is looking for you (Mk 1, 37) was Croatian parish of St. Jerome, one of the oldest and the most numerable Croatian communities in the United States.
Chicago Youth Festival was to be held last summer, but in the midst of Coronavirus pandemic, this encounter was moved to summer 2021. Unfortunately, since the border between the United States and America is still closed, youth from Canada could not come, so this was meeting of seven Croatian parishes in the United States.
The Youth Festival started on Friday, June 4, in the afternoon hours with the opening Holy Mass, celebrated by Fr. Antonio Musa from the Croatian parish of St. Jerome, who were the hosts of the encounter, that continued for the whole Saturday. The youth had the opportunity to hear the great Catholic speaker Paul J. Kim, then the testimony of permanent deacon Ivan Mikan and his wife Lily, they took part in the workshops in the small groups, got to know more about the saints they have chosen, there was the opportunity for confessions and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The solemn Holy Mass on the second day was celebrated by Fr. Jozo Grbes, OFM custodian of Croatian Franciscans in America and Canada.
The programme on the third day began early in the morning in the church of St. Jerome, when all participants were greeted by the parish priest Fr. Ivica Majstorovic, OFM. The youth had opportunity to take part in the procession with the Blessed Sacrament on Corpus Christi and closing solemn mass was celebrated by Fr. Lovro Simic, OFM from the Croatian parish of Sts. Cyril and Method from New York. The youth from Croatia, members of Nova Eva, led by Fr. David Leskovar, SDB and Fr. Filip Vukin, OFM. Members of the Choir of the Croatian Youth from Chicago, Opera Christi, animated the entire encounter with the music. On Sunday, the youth relaxed with lunch and game of the Croatian football team.
''We are grateful to God for all of His gifts that He gave us, that despite all the obstacles accompanying organisation of all events in this year, we were able to be gathered in the communion of the faith. This has strengthened us all who are far from our homeland and we are trying to live the faith passed on us from our predecessors, faith in Jesus Christ – the Saviour of the world. The Youth Festival Chicago ended with the prayer recited by all participants – Profession of the faith of Croatian people. Our prayers always rise to God with the similar intentions: The most faithful Advocate stand firm and watch over us, protect our faith and our Croatian home!, was the final plea of grateful organisers. (PHOTO)