Msgr. Lacković was known to the general Catholic and Croatian public as the secretary of the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac during the Second World War.
Zagreb, (IKA) – Msgr. Stjepan Lacković, the former secretary of the Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac and retired pastor of the Our Lady of Bistrica Parish in Lackawanna, New York, died on Saturday, March 10, at the St. Joseph Retirement Home for Priests in Zagreb, at the age of 94 and after 67 years in the priesthood.
Msgr. Stjepan Lacković was born on February 7, 1913, in Poljanica Bistrička. From 1941 to 1945, he was Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac’s secretary. From 1945 to 1998, he served in the Croatian Catholic Parish of Our Lady of Biistrica in Lackawanna. From 1994 to 1998, he stayed at the St. Joseph Retirement Home for Priests for brief visits and in the year 2000 became a resident of that institution.
Msgr. Lacković was known to the general Catholic and Croatian public as the secretary of the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac during the Second World War. He was an authentic witness to the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac’s personal holiness, and his love for the Church, Pope and his Croatian nation. When the communist authorities prohibited Msgr. Lacković from returning to Croatia from Rome after the war, he went to the United States, where he spent the next 54 years, chiefly as the pastor of the Croatian Parish of Our Lady of Bistrica in Lackawanna, where he had the Cardinal Stepinac Auditorium built in 1961 and the Church of Our Lady of Bistrica built in 1976. Having an aunt who was a member of the order of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, it was through his offices that members of this order came from Zagreb to the United States, and their delegature is not far from Lackawanna. Mostly due to the personal efforts of Msgr. Lacković, the injustice of the sentencing and imprisonment of the archbishop of Zagreb, Alojzije Stepinac, was heard throughout America.
Msgr. Stjepan Lacković was not only a model pastoral worker and gracious toward those in need but he preceded other Croatian priests in emigration, in the justified struggle of the Croatian nation for freedom and independence. When he was able, he liked to visit the grave of the Blessed Alojzije Stepinac in the Zagreb Cathedral, pointing out with pride that there are few cases in the world when the former secretary of a newly beatified martyr can come to pray at his grave.