THE ordination of Croatian native Antun Pasalic into the priesthood at the weekend was described as a “unique joy” by Bishop Fintan Monahan.
Antun’s parents, Marko and Anđa, and his family, travelled from Croatia to be present at his ordination on Sunday in Ennis’ Cathedral of St Peter and Paul.
Following his ordination, Fr Antun celebrated his First Mass of Thanksgiving in the Cathedral on Monday evening.
In his homily at the ordination Bishop Monahan recalled how in 2016 he did the pilgrim climb of Croagh Patrick in County Mayo and Antun was on the climb with him that day.
“Little did I think then that we would share the Pilgrim Path as colleagues in the Diocese of Killaloe. It is a unique joy for me to ordain him today and it is an immense joy too for the priests, religious and people of the diocese. May we continue together on the pilgrim path of Antun’s divine call to priesthood in the weeks, months and years that lie ahead,” he said.
He spoke of the “immense joy” for Antun’s parents, brothers and sisters and other relatives who came from their native Croatia for his ordination. Bishop Monahan asked Father Josip Levakovic, Chaplain to the Croatian Community in Ireland to translate his address to the Pasalic family.
“Mr and Mrs Pasalic, Marco and Andja, and Antun’s brothers: Miko, Mairin, Martin and Matej, sisters: Daniela, Martina and Maria, aunt Sister Verica and aunt Danica and uncle Vinko, nephews: Miko, Marko and Matija and nieces: Maria and Clara who are all here today, I welcome you in the words of our native Irish greeting of Cead Mile Failte or a hundred thousand welcomes.
“To you Marco and Andja, I would say this: congratulations on the ordination of Antun your son as a priest of Jesus. I want to also thank you for the good upbringing and the foundation of a good Catholic faith you gave to your eldest son and all of your family.
“You have every right to be proud today and I ask God to bless all of you in a unique way. I also hope you will enjoy your brief time with us in Ennis and express the wish that you will come as often as you can to see Antun and to visit all of us again. May God bless you the Pasalic family.”
He continued, “Today marks a new beginning in Antun’s life and it is full of promise and hope,” reciting the late Brendan Kennelly’s poem ‘Every beginning is a promise’.
Bishop Monahan added, “It is my prayerful wish that Antun in collaboration with his fellow priests and the new lay ministers of the diocese will renew in many ways the lives of all who live in this diocese: in the home, the school, and the workplace.
“As a new priest, Antun arrives at the dawn of a new beginning in these synodal times for exploring and developing new directions for the Church of the present and the future.”
Speaking about Antun’s answer to God’s calling he said, “A lot is asked of and expected of a priest. Primarily, it is important that a priest is committed to developing and progressing his life of prayer.
This prayer life will enhance the other gifts a priest may have and in Antun’s case he has the gifts of natural intelligence, clear thinking, musical expertise, a relaxed and friendly demeanour, and effective communication skills.
“He is well suited to and capable of preaching God’s Word from the altar as well as living out the preached word in the example of his daily life. He will do so with the attractive nuance of a slightly “more native than the native” Clare accent which his musical ear has effortlessly picked up over the past few years.”
He concluded by offering his congratulations and blessings in English, Croatian and as gaelige.
“Antun, we all rejoice with you and your family today as you begin a life of commitment to the gospel of Christ. It is my wish for you that you will be that beautiful priest, that you will never be hard on others but always gentle with them and gentle with yourself. May Christ be reflected in your priestly life of mercy, love, and compassion for everyone.”
Antun is a native of Zagreb, Croatia. He first came to Ireland when he was 18 years old and worked for some time in the Cistercian Abbey in Roscrea.
He began his studies for the priesthood in St Patrick’s College Maynooth in 2015. Ordained as a deacon in September 2021, he has been ministering in the Ennis Parish and Abbey Pastoral Area since then. During his time of formation Antun has ministered in Ennis, Nenagh and at Knock Shrine.