Our Lady of Lourdes new Family Educator reflects on his faith, family, the road to God and answering His call with a passion to share the good news of Christ.
My name is Ivica Kovac and I’m a new School Family Educator for 2021. I am new to the Our Lady of Lourdes, Earlwood, school community and new to the Sydney Catholic Schools network.
I was brought up in a traditional Croatian Catholic home in Berala (Sydney’s west) with my parents and older sister. My father had left communism coming to Australia by boat in 1969 not knowing a word of English for a better life and future.
My mother was brought out by my father in 1973. My parents started communicating by writing letters to each other for a short time and then he asked her to marry him even though they had never met. So after 48 years they are still alive and happily married!
My older sister Sylvia was born in 1974 and then I came in 1977. We didn’t have much but we were happy. I remember starting school in 1983 at St Peter Chanel Catholic Primary School, Berala, not knowing a word of English. Vividly stuck in my memory is the kindergarten teacher asking me to draw a tree but I had no idea what she was talking about. And I still don’t know how to draw!
After marrying my beautiful wife, Marija in February 2002, I thought life could not get better but I was distant from God, I began struggling with some problems in life and deep down felt empty.
Like most married couples, the time came when we wanted to start a family but didn’t expect to be hit with fertility issues. After many tests and month after month visiting different doctors and specialists we were ultimately told that we would never have our own children. I remember the moment hearing those words like it was yesterday.
So for the first time in my adult life I was desperate and started to sporadically pray begging God to give us children. I was angry and thought that this was all unfair. Meanwhile, our cousins and friends all around us were having babies and I felt like, why us?
But I’ll never ever forget the promise I made to God which was, ‘I’ll do anything if you grant us children. I meant it at the time but I did not understand the gravity of that cry to God until many years later.
Upon reflection it reminds me of Jesus’ cry from the cross: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) and how Jesus is quoting from the opening of Psalm 22. Jesus is not abandoned and does not despair but rather God (The Father) provides salvation and a fulfilment of the prophesy as we see and read on in Psalm 22. My motto is, Jesus I trust in You.
“My motto is, Jesus I trust in You.”
It was November 2004 and others in our community began to pray for our intentions as they saw our desperation. It was precisely at this time that a lady from our community asked my wife if she would be open to visiting the late, Fr Luke Newington in Hunters Hill to pray over her as he had the gift of praying in tongues.
This was all very foreign to us but my wife did go and Fr Luke said to not worry, go and see a Natural Family Planning Specialist (a doctor contact which he provided) and that my wife will conceive in February (2005). Subsequently, my first born son was born on November 5, 2005 and we now have seven beautiful children here with us and three lost in miscarriages. That’s 10 children, an absolute blessing.
There is a lot that has happened since that cry (promise) to God back in 2004 and one major impact was leading my wife and I to the amazing writings of St John Paul II’s ‘Theology of the Body’ which was a life (marriage) saver. We have been abundantly blessed with much healing that His love knows no limits and continues to flow like a river. I am eternally grateful.
I desperately want to share the good news with all those I come in contact with and from 2004 many saints have interceded and guided me in my journey and most recently St Joseph to this role of Family Educator in the Year of St Joseph.
God Bless you and keep you,
Mr Ivica Kovac