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Croatian parish chips in for WYD pilgrims’ journey

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Parishioners funded five senior high students from St Anthony’s Croatian Catholic Centre, Summer Hill. Photo: Supplied

One Sydney parish was so determined to help their young people get to World Youth Day in Lisbon that it raised almost $20,000 to go towards their travel costs.

The five senior high students who attend St Anthony’s Croatian Catholic Centre, Summer Hill, contacted their priest Fr Davor Filko OFM with interest in the pilgrimage early this year.

Parishioners were so willing to help them and their parents with the cost that the first fundraising event, a picnic held after Palm Sunday Mass in April, raised $9,750. Following that success, a second picnic in July raised $9,700.

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All five, Danijela Susic, Emilia Kinda, Lara Pavicic, Toma Kovac and Adrian Prusac, are a part of the Trinity Catholic College Auburn pilgrimage group, where four of them are students.

“World Youth Day is a great event for the church and especially for the youth,” said Fr Filko. “As a community we pray for them that the Lord will accompany them on their pilgrimage and that the meeting with young people and the pope in Portugal will bring abundant spiritual fruits.”

The pilgrims’ parents were blown away by the generosity of their faith community amid a cost of living crisis.

“We are very blessed to be part of a generous and caring community,” said Korina Kinda, Emilia’s mother. “Our parishioners were more than willing to support our children on their pilgrimage and words cannot explain the extent of our gratitude. “A big thank you to our parish priest, Fr Davor, for his encouragement of the initiatives.”

Marija Kovac, Toma’s mother, said the community was known to be generous but she still felt “abundantly blessed and humbled” at the practical and prayerful support it gave the pilgrims.

“This place is where we encounter the living body of Christ. This place is where we are nourished body and soul,” she said.

“These people, our parish family are our extended family, our home. Thank you for helping us send these young ones on pilgrimage.”

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