Miles Christi 2021
Over the weekend of the 5-7th of March, 2021, the third annual Croatian Catholic Men’s conference – Miles Christi 2021, was held at St Benedict’s retreat Centre, Gross Vale. The conference saw 70 men, some with their sons, come together in Bratovstina, prayer, worship and hearing talks centred around the theme for this year – “Call to Battle”. The theme was inspired by the glorious event from our nation’s past back in 1900, when a staggering number of 160,000 young Croatians chose to engage in the battle, consecrating themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Last year marked the 120th Anniversary of this amazing and unique event. In the introduction to the book marking this amazing event “Hrvatska Omladina” the then Archbishop of Zagreb Dr. Juraj Posilović wrote these words to the Croatian youth of the time.
“All of humanity is divided into two massive camps, two mighty armies, which engage in unceasing battle with each other. The one army is headed by Lucifer, the prince of this world; the other is headed by Jesus, the Living Son of God, our Divine Saviour.
Each person battles under the banner of one of these leaders because life on earth is a battle. Who is not with Christ, is against Christ. Dearest youth of Croatia! Under whose banner do you battle? To this question I hear……
“Isukrste, srcu Tvom s nama naš se kune dom:
dušom, tijelom vijek sam Tvoj, Za krst časni bijuć boj.”
Under the banner of the Sacred Heart of Jesus you battle, o blessed Croatian youth!”
Inspired by the example of our Croatian forefathers, the Holy Spirit and the love of God and their fellow man, the Croatian Australian men stood up to the Call to Battle. This battle which we see raging all around us, manifesting in ourselves, our families, our Church and our Homeland. For some it was their first time at the conference, while for others it was their second or third time.
Friday evening started with a talk by Jakov Periša, outlining the battle terrain. He spoke of the history of the spiritual battle and how with God, we can be victorious in Christ. Calling upon the memory of battles gone by, particularly the Croatian Alamo at the Siege of Gvozdansko, the Croatian man is called to be a witness to the Truth in this battle, living a life with a higher calling either as a white or red martyr. He reminded the men that the Croatian warrior has the highest calling to witness to Christ and it is engraved in our hearts and in our beloved grb. The witness of our Croatian forefathers is the seed on which our faith and nation was built on – rooted deeply in our Catholic faith. The brave Croatians, with fortitude and zeal, armed with the armour of God and their faith in Christ battled for centuries to defend their lands and Christianity from aggressors. The following video compiled for the conference recalls the heroic Croatian men.
Saturday, followed with more presentations, Mijo Tićinović talked about healing in both body and soul, a talk with his testimony, that touched a lot of the men. Ivica Kovac talked about brotherhood and that love that binds us Croatian men together as we battle for Christ under the Sacred Heart banner. Special guest, Danny Abdallah, spoke about fatherhood in the midst of tragedy as he shared his testimony and story of losing his 3 children and niece in a horrific accident just over a year ago. His story brought tears to the men’s eyes but strengthened their resolve to do battle as better men and fathers.
Fra Davor Filko was, as always, was forever present, serving the men saying Holy Mass and hearing Confessions assisted by TLM priest Fr Sypher on Saturday night. Men came forward to give their testimonies which greatly edified those present with their witness and conversion.
The Conference concluded on Sunday with a thanksgiving Mass, where all the men present, knelt and consecrated themselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus reciting the consecration prayer written by Pope Leo XIII, the same prayer used by the 160,000 Croatian Youth 120 years ago. After the consecration the men in unison with voices lifted to the heavens and full of heart, sealed their consecration by singing a song that was specifically written for the consecration 120 years ago “Do Nebesa Nek Se Ori” (all six verse’s). I firmly believe we had 160,000 Croatians in heaven rejoicing with us, as we repeated the consecration and answered the call to battle, first offered by our youth at the turn of the 19th Century at the call of Pope Leo XIII.
This occasion 120 years ago, is a monumental occasion for the Croatian people and nation, and one that should never be forgotten, but remembered annually, with a renewal of consecration to the Sacred Heart. This year also reminds us of many important dates in our Croatian nation’s past. Dates of important people, events and battles which forged the way for the independent and free country of Croatia which we see today. The following video outlines some of these important dates.
The Lord blessed us greatly over the weekend. The following are short written testimonies of men who attended Miles Christi 2021 conference. The first two, are from men who had already been to previous conferences.
“This was my 2nd Croatian Catholic Men’s conference. Last years was incredibly beneficial to my spiritual growth and needs. I wasn’t sure I could attend this year due to other commitments. But ultimately, I decided to attend. And how glad am I that I did! The testimonials and talks were just what I needed. It’s easy to fall back into old, not-so-holy ways. Everything I heard and learnt at this conference was exactly what my mind, heart and soul needed. The weapons for spiritual warfare that were handed out to all attendees are not for mass destruction; they’re for mass healing, forgiving and loving! Looking forward to the 2022 conference! Bog i Hrvati” – Vic (Vjekoslav) Ambrozije Livaja
“After attending the last 2 conferences, I was worried that there wouldn’t be a lot of topics that I would be interested in, and that it would just be “more of the same” …. Boy was I wrong, it just keeps getting better and better every year.… I was grateful when I learnt that everything was recorded in some format including presentations and I am now eager to get back home and listen again to some of the talks that inspired me most. I now have more tools to grow in my faith and to protect my family.” – Paul Luketic
The testimony by Steve is a great summary of every aspect of the conference:
“Thanks again for organising an awesome weekend! Being able to separate yourself from daily life and devote quality time to the Lord was an amazing experience! Here are some of my thoughts on the weekend:
The presenters did a fantastic job, giving us men some practical advice on how to become a better man of Christ. The talks on love and healing were spot on – we’re all carrying some baggage with us, and hearing someone talk about steps to help let go of that baggage was something positive I took away and can hopefully implement.
The testimonies are one of the highlights of the weekend. The honest, raw outpouring of emotion is truly beautiful, and their stories are so inspiring. Tomislav’s journey is an inspiration, and seeing someone overcome their demons and come out stronger on the other side is a wonderful example of God’s love and mercy.
Small groups and brotherhood are such an important part of us men growing in our faith and becoming stronger disciples in the world. The weekend has reinforced in me the need to make that a more regular part of my life to strengthen my devotion to the Lord and help me battle the demons that try to turn us away from God. I also met some great guys over the weekend and had an opportunity to reunite with some old friends. 2 days well spent. “– Steve Furjanić
One man, a first-time attendee, commented on how he was deeply moved and humbled by the event.
“To say I was touched by the Holy Spirit and humbled by the entire experience is an understatement.
What immediately took me by surprise was the warm and friendly welcome I had received by such Godly men. Every one of them personally made an effort with introductions which confirmed the fact that this was going to be a great weekend, and indeed it was.
So how do you get the attention of strong minded, stubborn, 1st generation Croatian-Australian men? Through a shot of Rakija, a great Croatian joke and presentations about Croatian history and our battles for the Catholic faith, that’s how. That definitely pulled at the heart strings for all of us patriotic men present. Learning in depth about the many battles fought and won against the Ottoman Empire, re-ignited my Croatian pride and made me feel blessed to be a Catholic.
Furthermore, the various guest speakers and group leaders where nothing short of inspiring, forcing us to examine and connect with our own lives intentionally, more deeply.
Fra Davor is a legend. A true man of God but also a great bloke who loved a good joke and laugh with us lay people. The masses he conducted were emotional, beautiful and meaningful. Took me right back to my childhood. That left me with a deeper connection to my Catholic faith. Praying, going to mass and receiving the Eucharist has a new meaning for me now.
This weekend humbled me in knowing that going to a Catholic school (thinking you know it all), going to church on Sundays, and being a ‘perceived’ good Christian man was enough. Far from it. Upon self-reflection, I needed and yearned for a deeper relationship with Christ and a mature spiritual prayer life. This weekend has reiterated that, whilst being surrounded by a group of great likeminded ‘Croatian Catholic brothers’ made all the difference. To end with mass and the Croatian National Anthem topped it off.” — Steve Pavlesic
Another first-time attendee, Marijan, reflected on his first conference:
“In the Presence of the Holy Spirit.
For a couple of years, my friend Mile, has asked me come to the Croatian Men’s Conference that is held each year. “Hvala Dragom Bogu” I listened to him this time around.
Last week, as we arrived on the Friday afternoon you could see in the Croatian men’s faces that there is something special here. Everyone was happy and pleased to meet you. That evening we all went to Holy Mass. 70 Croatian men praying and singing, led by the amazing voice of Darko Zorić. After Mass, you could feel and sense in the faces of the Croatian brothers, that the Holy Trinity reigned down inside the Chapel.
I have no doubt in my mind and am 100% convinced that the Holy Spirit was with the Croatian brothers all weekend. How could Our Lord Jesus refuse 70 Croatian men, sincerely praying from their hearts? I’m so proud to be a part of the Knights of the Precious Blood Brotherhood.
This weekend was truly amazing to be in the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Now, I understand why the Croatian brothers keep coming back each year very Spirit lifted and I will definitely be back next year – “ako Bog da”.
I would recommend to my fellow Croatian men to join us for the “Men’s Breakfast” held monthly on the last Sunday of the month at the Croatian Church Blacktown and/or “Summer Hill Men’s Group” held monthly on the first Wednesday of the month at the Croatian Church Summer Hill. I guarantee you won’t regret it. God Bless you all.” – Marijan Abramović
Likewise, Tomislav and Ivan, first time attendees share how the weekend helped them:
“It has been my first attendance at the Cro Men’s Conference. I have had a great time socialising with fellow men, learning about the spiritual growth and making plans for changes in my life. As a husband and father, I got many ideas how to enhance my family life. I cannot wait for the next one.” – Tomislav Miletić
“What a great way to escape from the everyday noise. I found the retreat was all about FRIENDSHIP. Friendship between our fellow Croatian men…as we bond together not only to serve but to grow our divine friendship between ourselves and GOD” – Ivan Babić
The Croatian brotherhood and the support for our fellow man and family in this battle was clearly visible over the weekend. All the men left as different men. Equipped with the weapons needed to enter into the battle as soldiers of Christ, the men understood the importance of engaging in the fight. The need for men to stop sitting on the sidelines and watch our lives, manhood, our families, our Church and Society, get attacked and suppressed was made evident. We praise the Lord who has given us life in His Son Jesus Christ and has given us the victory in His name as we join the battle for souls. We pray that the Lord continue to bless us, those who attended the conference and those who the men touch, their families, friends and society, with their testimony and witness to Jesus Christ. Certainly, the witness of the 160,000 youth who consecrated themselves to battle under the banner of the Sacred Heart, inspired the Croatian men of Australia to continue living up to the name “Antemurale Christianitatis” – The Bulwark of Christianity, given to the Croatian people by Pope Leo X in 1519 honouring the courageous Croatians who defended Christendom against the enemies of Christ.
Bog i Hrvati
Below is a short highlights video from the conference.