Dolac na Lasvi – Blessing of Youth Educational Centre – 6th May 2015.
Wednesday, 6th May 2015 was a very special day in the life of the Arthur McCluskey Foundation. In 2006 Arthur McCluskey and his directors agreed to help with funding a building in the grounds of the Franciscan church in Dolac na Lasvi which is near Novi Travnik, central Bosnia.
The initial plan was to use the building as a small orphanage for about 20 children. As time passed the numbers of Franciscan Sisters in the parish diminished so they were unable to provide the required level of trained staff. The parish sent orphans to Mother’s Village instead.
The house was used in various ways in the intervening years. Accommodating drug addicts did not last for very long as there was concern among the parishioners. The parish orchestra and children’s choir used the building for rehearsals as did the excellent adult choir.
Fr Zoran Livancic had a vision for the building. He wanted to use the facilities not only for music and singing but for art and especially for the spiritual development of the youth of the parish. Local artists and musicians willingly give of their time to work with young people, including children with special needs.
Some refurbishment was needed and the directors were pleased to be able to help. Work was completed and the building was ready for an Official Blessing in May, 2015. Donal O’Shea and Pat Henry travelled to Dolac na Lasvi with two Irish friends and supporters, Margaret McEntee and Aine Farrell. They were accompanied by Marijana Drmic, driver and translator.
Holy Mass began at 11.00 a m with Fr Lovro Gavran, Franciscan Provincial, as chief celebrant. Seven priests including, Fr Zoran Livancic, PP and Fr Nikola Matanovic, CC con-celebrated. At the beginning of Holy Mass, Fr Zoran welcomed his fellow priests and the young people. In a special way, he greeted the benefactors of the Arthur McCluskey Foundation whose generous donors enabled the construction of the Education Centre for the Youth of Dolac na Lasvi.
Fr Zoran said that Holy Mass was being offered for the intentions of the entire organisation and especially for the late Samantha Brady and Arthur McCluskey, founder of the Charity. Fr Zoran prayed that Samantha and Arthur would be rewarded for their good lives and good deeds with eternal happiness in Heaven.
He greeted all the young people who will use the Centre. He asked them to use it to grow into an exemplary community of believers, to become the pride of the parish, the pride of the region and the pride of all their people. He prayed that they would become the salt of the earth and the light of the world in accordance with Christ’s wishes.
After Holy Mass, the congregation was entertained by the orchestra, youth and adult choirs. All the rooms in the Education Centre were then blessed by Fr Gavran. People were invited to do a tour of the building, “conference centre” basement with kitchen and three other floors. Students painted and did drawings under the guidance of their talented teachers, played their instruments, sang and showed their gratitude for this wonderful facility. €6,000 of our charity donations was used to purchase new instruments.
In true Franciscan style, a delicious lunch followed after which the visitors left Dolac na Lasvi to visit other projects in other towns along the way back to Medjugorje. Their hearts were full of joy knowing that this wonderful facility will enrich the lives of young people for generations to come. Arthur very much wanted to concentrate on Education when the time was right. Rest easy, Arthur; your dreams are coming true. Your plans to help the people of Bosnia Herzegovina continue, but as you knew all too well, we are helpless without our donors and the creative people who raise funds on our behalf. May the Lord continue to send labourers into His Harvest.