12325Re: [Slovak-World] Slovak Roman Catholic Prayer meets Rusyn Prayer
- May 2, 2005Hi Noreen
How I, as a Slovak with not a drop of Croatian blood in me, ended up at a
Croatian ethnic praish is a story in and of itself.
I should point out a bit of pre-history. My grandpap Jan Pavuk, from
Kurov, was Greek Catholic. My grandmum, Katerina Sestokova, from Malcov,
was Roman Catholic. Malcov and Kurov are somewhat close to each other, but
whether they knew each other there is unknown. This is all very near the
Polish border, so much so that if you look out the windows on the north
side of my grandpap's house you are looking at Poland! (Well, its not that
close, but you get the idea)
Anyway, grandmum was truly a sainted woman. Family history says that she
saw an apparition of the Blessed Mother callin her home before she passed
away back in 1964.
When my grandpap wanted to marry her, he went to the Greek Catholic
parish. He was told no by the pastor. So he said 'go to hell' and became a
Roman Catholic and ended up at St Florin's in United.
Once again, this is the stuff of legend. Is it true? Who knows. But it is
in character for Jan Pavuk!
Back in 1988 I moved to Millvale PA. The largest parish in town was St
Anthony. This had been an ethnic German parish. Somehow, I never felt
quite right here. One day in 1991 or so I asked my neighbor about the
church on the hill. She said that it was St Nicholas. So I went there, and
heard Father Romildo Hrboka preach. He is from Croatia, and his words
combined with his accent brought back a flood of memories of my grandpap
and the strong Slavic morality he instilled in me. I was captivated, and
that same day approached Father Romildo about joining up. He said 'Why
sure. Just send to me your name.'
Now, our church building is adorned with a set of mural painted by Maxo
Vanka. These murals tellthe story of the immigrant experience, and relate
it to the strength of Croatian Catholicism, devotion to Mary, the way the
people have struggled in time of war, and the importance of our mothers in
A year later I became a lector there.
Life went on and I became a part of the parish family. One day, a young
priest from Croatia showed up, Father Franjo Doljanin. Next thing you
know, I'm helping him with his computer. Father Romildo retired, and our
present pastor Father Gabriel Badurina showed up. All of these priests
have been from Croatia. Next thing you know, I'm helping with the parish
mailing list and other computer stuff. Then I became a eucharistic
minister. Then I became a cantor. Before you know it, I'm doing all manner
of little things for Father, and ended up heading the Pastoral Council.
Father has said that I am his right-hand man, but I'm just your average
Josip, doing whatever the church needs me to do.
I have been to Zagreb and actually stayed with Father Gabriel's family
Oh -- then last year, for the first time ever, I actually sang in
I sang the hymn Lord When You Came to The Seashore, Krist na Z^alu.
Hmmm...I think I've become an adopted Croat!
BTW -- does anyone have Slovak lyrics for Lord When You Came to The
Seashore? I'd sure love to surprise Father with that!
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