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St. Faustina relic given to Catholic basilica hit by Croatia earthquake

Relics of St. Faustina and Blessed Michał Sopoćko at Divine Mercy Sunday Mass in Sisak, Croatia. Relics of St. Faustina and Blessed Michał Sopoćko at the Divine Mercy Sunday Mass in Sisak, Croatia./ Diocese of Sisak

A Catholic basilica in one of the towns most-damaged by an earthquake in Croatia last December recently received a relic of St. Faustina Kowalska.

The relic of the Divine Mercy saint was donated to the Diocese of Sisak, Croatia by the Sisters of Merciful Jesus, a religious congregation founded in Vilnius in 1942 by Blessed Michał Sopoćko.

The sisters also donated a relic of Blessed Sopoćko, the Polish priest who served as St. Faustina’s spiritual director and then continued to spread devotion to Divine Mercy in the decades after her death.

With the installation of the relics, the Basilica of St. Quirinus in Sisak can now be considered a sanctuary of Divine Mercy.

Bishop Ivan Milivan, the emeritus bishop of Poreč-Pula, celebrated the arrival of the relics during the Divine Mercy Sunday Mass on April 11.

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Fr. Robert Jakica, the rector of the basilica, also offered words of gratitude at the Mass, recalling the difficulties that the local community has endured in the months after the Dec. 29 earthquake.

“We were hit by a catastrophic earthquake that destroyed thousands of our homes, over thirty churches, the historic center of Sisak, Petrinja and Glina … Many lost their homes for the second time in 30 years,” he said.

The magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck eastern Central Croatia killed seven people and injured 26 others.

Among the victims was a 12-year-old girl and a parish organist, who was found dead in the rubble of his church.

“We all felt helpless and many still feel so in front of the force of nature that reminds us almost daily of those difficult days since the end of 2020. But the Feast of Divine Mercy has a lot to teach us,” Jakica said.

“God's mercy is inexhaustible. It testifies to us that God is alive and merciful, that he loves every man, each of us, regardless of our religious or national affiliation, does not leave or reject anyone in any problem, even this most recent one. We have experienced a natural disaster, but also an abundance of God's mercy and love in the rivers of good people.”

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