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Msgr. Ante Jozić Ordained an Archbishop by Cardinal Parolin 

Solin (IKA)

On September 16, in the newly built Church of the Holy Family in Solin, Msgr. Ante Jozić, the Apostolic Nuncio to Belarus, was ordained as the Titular Archbishop of Cissa. Cardinal Petro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, was the principal consecrator, with Archbishop and Metropolitan Marin Barišić of Split-Makarska and Coadjutor Archbishop Dražen Kutleša, as the coconsecrators. 

The attending presbyters were Fr. Josip Dukić, Director of the Don Frane Bulić Archdiocesan Classical Gymnasium in Split, a cousin of the archbishop elect, and Fr. Dr. Josip Dukić, a distant cousin of the same name, Professor at the Department of Church History, Catholic Faculty of Theology in Split. 

Archbishop Marin Barišić, the host archbishop, welcomed the Secretary of State of the Holy See, who was visiting Split for the second time within a short period and had been to Croatia for a total three times, requesting him to convey sincere prayers, greetings and filial gratitude to Pope Francis. 

The Metropolitan of Split remarked that on October 8, 1075, another successor of Peter, Pope Gregory VII, sent “his legate, the Apostolic Nuncio, to Solin, where he crowned the Croatian king Zvonimir in the Basilica of SS. Peter and Moses. Today, in our Marian shrine of Our Lady of the Island, in the newly built and consecrated Church of the Holy Family, for which we shall seek the title basilica minor, we thank God and the Blessed Virgin Mary. We are proud that Msgr. Ante, a priest of this archdiocese, will be a newly ordained archbishop in the service of the Holy See as a papal delegate—nuncio.” 

The Gospel reading was followed by the Liturgy of Episcopal Ordination. The hymn Come, Creator, Holy Spirit (O dođi, Stvorče, Duše Svet) was chanted, the attending presbyters escorted the bishop-elect before the seat of the principal consecrator, and the Papal Bull was read aloud, to which all gave their assent to the choice of the archbishop by saying “Thanks be to God.” 

Since the ordination of Msgr. Jozić had been postponed twice, due to an automobile accident and the pandemic, Cardinal Parolin began his sermon as follows: “Dear Msgr. Ante, we thank the Lord, who visited you with his consolation at a moment of trial and who today, by episcopal ordination, gives you to be conformed to him in the highest degree of the priesthood. We share this joy with your family and friends, and with your diocese of origin.” 

Addressing Msgr. Jozić about his appointment as the Apostolic Nuncio to Belarus, Cardinal Parolin said: “[You have been called] to be the Pope’s voice in the countries and Churches to which you are sent, with the task of publishing, disseminating,  and, if necessary, defending the Pope’s teachings and the position of the Holy See on major issues being debated in the contemporary world, with particular attention to the dignity of the human being in all stages of life and the needs of the poorest, giving the Pope’s voice and the voice of the entire Church to those  categories who have no voice. At the same time, you will be responsible for informing the Holy See about the needs and problems, as well as the achievements and hopes of the individual Churches and countries to which you are sent, in order to provide the Pope with the elements of insight and judgment essential for conducting his apostolic ministry.” The Cardinal spoke about Jozić’s ten years’ of service at the Study Mission in Hong Kong, from 2009 to 2019, during which, amidst many tense and painful situations, he listened to, watched over and encouraged people with patience and understanding, while seeking solutions for the good of the Church and following the Holy Father’s guidelines.

His mission continues in a new context, in Belarus, “which is going through difficult moments on its national path. In addition to God’s help, you will be able to count on the peaceful and hard-working spirit of this beloved people, on the devotion of the Catholic believers to their faith, under the guidance of their pastors, in their desire to establish fraternal relations with Orthodox Christians, and on the goodwill of those who sincerely care about the fate of their country, and promote justice, truth and the common good through dialogue and reconciliation,” said Cardinal Parolin. The cardinal encouraged Msgr. Jozić to continue to rely on the grace of God in himself and to place his trust in the Lord, which is evident from his episcopal motto, “In Te Domine speravi,” (In you, Lord, I trust).

At the end of the sermon, the Secretary of State of the Holy See said:  “It is essential for Jesus to be our firm stronghold on the path we follow and we must always keep him, his teachings and his example before our eyes, that he may illuminate our steps, bless, accompany and support every good initiative, inspire noble initiatives and grant us perseverance in doing good, so that our love for the Lord, who loved us first and gave his life for us, never fades.   

The homily was followed by the examination of the archbishop elect, litany, laying on of the hands and prayer of consecration, anointing of the archbishop’s head, the presentation of the Book of the Gospels, and investiture, which complete the rite of episcopal ordination. During this time, the choir sang a composition inspired by the motto of the newly ordained archbishop.  

At the conclusion of the episcopal ordination, Archbishop Jozić was congratulated on behalf of the Croatian episcopate by the President of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, Archbishop Želimir Puljić. Among other things, he said: “In you, Pope Francis has recognized a humble servant of God … who has the good prerequisites for carrying out the mission entrusted to you.” On behalf of those present, Archbishop Puljić thanked Cardinal Pietro Parolin for coming to Croatia for the third time, for his words and for testifying to our nation’s good ties with the Holy See and Pope.  

At the conclusion of the celebration of the Mass, the newly ordained Archbishop Jozić expressed his gratitude, saying, among other things: “One of the reasons that we have assembled here today is that this is the anniversary of the day that St. Euphemia, virgin, martyr and the patron saint of the city of Rovinj and my titular Archdiocese of Cissa in Istria, entered heaven. This holy early Christian virgin was born in Chalcedon, Asia Minor, around the year 290. She suffered martyrdom during the time of Diocletian’s persecutions and, due to her faith, was sentenced to be burned at the stake and perished on this date in the year 303.  Her contemporary, St. Domnius, Bishop of Salona (now Solin), also endured martyrdom. Therefore, here we are at the roots of the Christianity of the first Church.” 

He expressed his gratitude to the Triune God, Blessed Virgin Mary, his parents and Pope Francis, saying: “I promise him my filial obedience and selfless service for the benefit of the Church of Christ to which Providence will send me in the future. Msgr. Jozić personally addressed the family of the youth Tiho Lončar, who lost his life in an automobile accident on April 7 of last year, in which Msgr. Jozić was seriously injured, expressing sorrow that he had not had the opportunity to know the young man better: “For him now and also for you, his dear parents, I offer this Holy Mass and include you in my daily prayers.” 

In the Mandarin Chinese, English and Russian languages, he then expressed his gratitude to all those who had wanted to be present at this celebration from China, Hong Kong, Macao, Russia and Belarus but, due to the current epidemiological situation, had been unable to travel to Croatia. “I warmly greet the Catholic Church, all the bishops, priests and lay faithful in Belarus, which is experiencing a difficult time and seeking the best solution to the current situation.  I promise to work fruitfully with everyone and call upon everyone to pray for a swift and peaceful solution to all your problems, through dialogue and solidarity, while avoiding any type of violence. I pray that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ, will always be your inspiration and help, especially during the most difficult moments of your lives.” 

On this occasion, a setting of the Mass composed by Fr. Šime Marović in 1977 was sung. The celebration concluded with the Croatian anthem Our Beautiful Homeland (Lijepa naša) and the hymn Hail, Mary (Zdravo, Djevo), led by part of the Mixed Choir of the Parish of Our Lady of Fatima from Split and part of the Mixed Choir of the Cathedral of  St. Domnius, also from Split, conducted by Fr. Šime Marović, with Fr. Ivan Urlić and Sr. Mirta Škopljanac Mačina on the organ.

Owing to the epidemiological situation, the episcopal ordination was held in compliance with the directives of the Civil Defense Task Force of the Republic of Croatia. The episcopal ordination was broadcast live on Channel 2 of Croatian Television (HTV2), Channel 3 of Croatian Radio (HR3), Croatian Catholic Radio and the YouTube channel of the Archdiocese of Split-Makarska.