We are a group of people supporting the preservation of Croatian culture and tradition in our communities, in our homes and in our church.
The Croatian community here in Central PA. came into being in the 1890's. Most of the Croatian people that migrated to this area ended up in Steelton, and the community grew.
In the early days, a Croatian priest came to the area to minister to the Croatian Catholic community and in 1898, he was given permission to establish the second Croatian Catholic church in America. On October 28, 1898, the church was dedicated in a solemn ceremony to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The church and the parish came to be known as St. Mary's .
The Bishop of Harrisburg contacted the Franciscan Friars for Croatian speaking priests to serve the faithful. They served the parish until the suppression in 1995.
In 1954, Fra. Vilim Primorac, a Croatian Franciscan assigned to our parish, realized that the traditions brought here by the Croatian immigrants were still very much alive. He wanted to add more of the Croatian culture to these traditions and started the musical song and dance group known as 'KOLO CLUB MARIAN'. The group is still in existence today.
The Traditional St. Mary's Picnic will be held at Cibort Park in Bressler, PA on Sunday, August 3, 2003. This picnic has been continued by the St. Mary's Preservation Society since the suppression of our Croatian parish and the diocesan takeover of our Croatian church, the second Croatian chruch in America.
Anyone travelling thru the area is welcome. There will be roast lamb and roast pork on the spit, right at the park. Continuous music by tambura and polka bands and plenty of refreshment. There is plenty of off-street parking and no admission charge. Directions to the park can be e-mailed by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.