Today is the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, a national holiday in Croatia, when believers mark the taking of the Virgin Mary's body and soul up to heaven upon the completion of her earthly life.
Like every year numerous pilgrims from all parts of Croatia traveled to the biggest Marian shrine in Croatia at Marija Bistrica, where mass was led by Zagreb arch bishop Cardinal Josip Bozanić.
"You are Christian families and the hope of Croatian society," Cardinal Bozanić told pilgrims at Marija Bistrica. "Christ's love by testimony of Christian families has the power to reconcile society with God in every generation and build unity among people,” he added. He said that protecting the rights of the most fragile, the unborn or the elderly is necessary, because sometimes there is a desire to force the impression on us that they disturb our sense of freedom.
During his homily in Cardinal Bozanić called upon believers to discover the beauty of family unity, to nurture Christian patriotism and their own traditions as well as those of others.
“Christian patriotism is a form of demanding love for those close to you, which includes full and all round responsibility for the general good of the people and every citizen, for the inherited parts of the country, for strengthening state institutions, for cultural heritage and the language. Christian patriotism encourages us to build unity, to understand each other and forgive,” said the Cardinal.
Among pilgrims at Marija Bistrica today there were believers from Slovenia, Poland, Hungary and even Hong Kong, while the most were from northern Croatia. Around 800 thousand believers go to the national Marian shrine in Marija Bistrica each year.
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