PARISH OF SAINT JOSEPH IN KRAGUJEVAC
Pastoral center in this town was established in the second half of the nineteenth century, when Serbia was freed and started to develop its industry, in which a large number of Catholics experts from abroad were included. After long hesitation, local Catholics were given their own priest, but never managed to get their own church. From the beginning, they were pushing in the chapel – small room in a private (rented) house. Even today, although there have been many masonry negotiations on building a new and appropriate pastoral center and church (which should be in accordance with contemporary urban planning regulations and the needs of today’s believers), Catholics in Kragujevac have only a modest chapel in the parish house. Everything is very modest, unadorned, near large new residential buildings. The plans have already been made for the construction, but – at least so far – nothing has been done!
More certain data on pastoral center in Kragujevac come from 1885, when they officially started keeping parish records. World War I destroyed what had previously been built with struggle, so after the war everything had to be started all over again. For a time, the Catholics in the inner Serbia (outside Belgrade) were taken care of by the Apostolic Administrator of Serbia Ferdinand Hrdy, but Ivan Vinodolac was mentioned as a pastor since 1923. Therefore, during the establishment of the Archdiocese of Belgrade it was claimed that the Archdiocese has three parishes: Belgrade, Niš and Kragujevac – even though none of them was legally established. This happened in 1927, when according to the canonical norms legally first pastors were named.
During World War II in Kragujevac and its surroundings there were many Catholic refugees, particularly Slovenians, but they returned to Slovenia after the war. Throughout the century parish has been experiencing continuous immigration and emigration. Therefore, the exact (even approximate) number of believers is never known. The parish has an extensive diaspora.
The first resident priest in Kragujevac was the Barnabite father Cesare Tondini de Quarenghi who was sent to Serbia in 1883 headed by the Holy See at the request of Bishop Strossmayer considering the fact that he had been fluent in Russian. To complete the knowledge of the Serbian language, he came “to school” of Bishop Strossmayer in Đakovo, where in half a year he actually learned the language well and took over the care of Catholics in the inner Serbia (outside Belgrade). He settled in Kragujevac, because at that time the local factories employed over 600 Catholic professionals and workers, with many who lived in other places as well. As his delegate bishop, he washim extensive powers (“vicem gerens”). Tondini had a modest chapel in a private house, but neither he nor his successors were able to build the church – and this has lasted until this day, although a few years ago an agreement on the construction site had was already reached. Father Marbeau, about whom we do not have any accurate data came to aid for the French workers. Father Tondiniv served both the Catholics in Niš (about 200 permanent residents), for which he built a chapel (blessed on 30 November 1884) and an elementary school (8 February 1885), and about 1,000 workers engaged in construction of railways to Sofia and at various mines. When he handed the care for Catholics in Niš and Eastern Serbia to father Czock, he was able to devote more to the scattered Catholics engaged in the construction of the railway to Skopje. But soon he was forced to leave Serbia (9 July 1885) and was replaced by Antun Vj. Edinger.
Church of Saint Joseph
1 Knjeginje Ljubice Street, Kragujevac 34 000
Rev. Pastor. Stjepan Vinojčić
Tel.: 036 / 333-864
Service of God
Sundays and holidays: 9am