Pastoral Centre and Public Kitchen
In May 2011 we received a letter from Fr Pero Karajica and Cardinal Vinko Puljic. They asked for our assistance to complete a church and Pastoral Centre in a new parish at Dobrinje, Sarajevo. The Pastoral Centre (Presbytery) would incorporate a Public Kitchen which was urgently needed to provide meals for the poor of the city.
Opening of Public Kitchen
On 23rd June 2011, Arthur McCluskey with his sister Pat Henry and Susan Bond, directors of his charity, visited the site. The foundations of the Pastoral Centre and church were in along with some lower sections of the walls. Most of their donations were spent by then but, subsequently, we enabled the completion of the Pastoral Centre and Public Kitchen with funds raised by our charity.
Arthur died suddenly on 13th August 2011 but he was represented by his directors at the opening ceremony and blessing of the Kitchen on the 2nd October 2012. Fr Lovro Gavran, Franciscan Provincial, explained that a Public Kitchen had operated in this area from the war days, when people of good will tried to save the lives of a starving population. (It is worth reading about the Siege of Sarajevo, the longest siege of a city in history).
Fr. Lovro said in his Blessing of the centre: “May God give new hope to these people through the good deeds of others and may He bring hope and happiness to the poorest among us, who need our help the most”.
From Monday to Friday, approximately 250 meals are prepared for poor people. Users either eat at the centre or take food home. Meals are delivered to those who are disabled or too ill to attend. On Fridays, meals are provided for the weekend so this facility really is a life saver.
“The Bread of St. Anthony”, a Franciscan organisation, provides the food for the poor of all nationalities. Serbs, Croats, and Muslims come for food and there are no differences between people in need, no matter who they are.
Dobrinja Church Consecration:
On 3rd October 2015, some directors and supporters attended the Consecration of the new church in Dobrinje which stands alongside the Public Kitchen and Presbytery. Cardinal Vinko Puljic officiated at the wonderful ceremony and celebrated the first mass.
The service of consecration was fascinating to watch as Cardinal Puljic rolled up his sleeves and cleansed the altar with oil of chrism. This was followed by an anointing with fire and then papers of Consecration were signed by the Cardinal, Fr Pero Karajica, PP and Fr Lovro Gavran, Franciscan Provincial. The papers were then secured in a wooden box and inserted under the top part of the altar which was made of white wood engraved with animals, reminiscent of St Francis in whose name the church was dedicated.
The Cardinal and Fr Pero thanked all the donors who had helped to take the building to this point. Arthur’s charity directors and donors were thanked repeatedly as the major donors. A wonderful project to be proud of in Arthur’s name!