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10.11.2007 | 15:03 | IKA E - 98003/11

Zagreb: The Opening of the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac Museum

The new museum exhibition, located in the Nebojan Tower in the Kaptol section of Zagreb, presents all the periods in the life of the Blessed Stepinac, objects that he used and documents that he wrote.

Zagreb, (IKA) – The Blessed Alojzije Stepinac Museum opened on Saturday, November 10, in the Nebojan Tower in the Kaptol section of Zagreb. The opening was preceded by a commemoration in the Vijenac auditorium attended by Archbishop Josip Cardinal Bozanić of Zagreb, Auxiliary Bishops Vlado Košić and Valentin Pozaić, Bishop Josip Mrzljak of Varaždin, Military Ordinary Bishop Juraj Jezerinac, canons of the Zagreb Cathedral Chapter, numerous priests, the faithful and admirers of the Blessed Stepinac.
Introductory remarks about the Blessed Stepinac based upon his last will and testament were presented by the postulator of his cause, Dr. Juraj Batelja. He thanked all who had made possible, supported and created this "new focal point of spiritual and cultural events in the archdiocese, the city of Zagreb, and the entire Croatian nation." He recalled the year 1995 when a memorial collection was established at the initiative of Msgr. Jezerinac, which has been viewed by many students, soldiers, pilgrims, bishops and cardinals. Dr. Ivan Šaško spoke about the significance of the museum exhibition. The premises of the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac Museum embody the dynamics of a sacred place. They are part of the archdiocesan palace, i.e. the Nebojan Tower was part of the personal life and home of the Blessed Alojzije, to the extent that it directly imbued with the atmosphere of the past. The exhibition is unusual because it does not begin chronologically with the birth of the beatus but with his second last will and testament, from the viewpoint that death for him, as he wrote, is "merely a separation." The exhibition is fitting for a Christian martyr and the office that he held under the circumstances of the ideological conflicts and communist reign of fear. Dr. Šaško then pointed out the four main themes of the exhibition, especially Cardinal Stepinac's efforts on behalf of those who were subjected to persecution, the Second World War and postwar period, incarceration and beatification. The museum includes a multimedia auditorium in which a visitor can watch a documentary film, view materials that are not exhibited due to space limitations and move chronologically from the Blessed Stepinac's childhood, family and youth, and everything that marked his service as the archbishop of Zagreb. Since the tomb of the beatus is only a very short walk from the museum, the museum is an introduction to prayer, pointed out Dr. Šaško. In conclusion, he mentioned that this museum is the beginning of the implementation of several large projects that the Zagreb Archdiocese has inaugurated in the area of culture, including the Diocesan Museum, the treasury of the Zagreb Cathedral, the archdiocesan library Metropolitana, the archdiocesan archives and the cathedral chapter archives.
On the occasion of the opening of the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac Museum and the tenth anniversary of the administration of the Zagreb Archdiocese by Cardinal Bozanić, a medallion was issued, "Blessed Pastors of the Zagreb Church." This refers to two exceptional pastors, the Blessed Augustin Kažotić and the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, whose portraits and coats-of-arms are on the averse. The medallion is 75 mm in diameter, weighs approximately 170 g and is fashioned from gold-plated forged silver. The medallion was presented by the director of the Catholic weekly newspaper Glas Koncila, Nedjeljko Pintarić, and the author of the medallion, Prof. Damir Mataušić.
Bishop Košić briefly spoke about the most important events in the Zagreb Archdiocese during the past ten years, when it was led by Cardinal Bozanić. He recalled how in 1998, proclaimed the Year of Alojzije Stepinac, Archbishop Bozanić welcomed Pope John Paul II and asked the Pope to proclaim the beatification of Cardinal Stepinac on October 3 in Marija Bistrica. He recalled that during the Second Apostolic Visit to Bosnia Herzegovina, May 22, 2003, Archbishop Bozanić asked the Pope to proclaim the beatification of Ivan Merz and was then inducted into the College of Cardinals. Bishop Košić noted Cardinal Bozanić's role in moving the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity to their new home, the renovation of the St. Martin facility for troubled youth in Lošinj, the construction of a new retirement home for priests in the Kaptol section of Zagreb, the renovation of the archdiocesan cathedral and residence, and particularly the construction of pastoral offices, the renovation of the school of theology, the opening of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Institute and now the opening of the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac Museum. The opening of the Catholic university has significance not only as a major church undertaking but is also of immeasurable national significance, particularly regarding the education of the young. Bishop Košić also recalled the establishment of new dioceses with the goal of improving the organization of pastoral activity, the establishment of many new parishes, and mentioned the first parish in honor of the Blessed Augustin Kažotić and several parishes dedicated to the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, the Year of the Blessed Augustin Kažotić, and the largest project of the Zagreb Archdiocese — the Second Episcopal Synod.

Blessing the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac Museum in the Nebojan Tower, Cardinal Bozanić asked people to pray that the work of this museum will link the proclamation of the good news and the memorial to the holiness of our dear pastor, who is a permanent guidepost for the life of the local Church, all the Croatian faithful and a glorious symbol of love for the Universal Church. Presenting this precious heritage, which we do not consider merely in the light of the past, this exhibition is Christian evangelization and fidelity to the mystery of the Incarnation of Christ in a new and effective manner, said Cardinal Bozanić. He expressed the hope that the museum will stimulate greater interest in the history of the Croatian Church and the Croatian nation, providing an opportunity to look toward the future in the light of Christian hope.
The opening ceremonies concluded with the concelebration of a Mass in the Zagreb Cathedral, led by Cardinal Bozanić.

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