From: News and Views | City Beat |
Tuesday, March 05, 2002
Stigmata Priest Has Church Buzzing
By JOYCE SHELBY
Daily News Staff Writer
The young Croat-born cleric known as the stigmata priest is due at a
Bensonhurst church next week, and the pastor says he's getting nervous.
"We're getting a lot of calls," said Msgr. David Cassato, pastor of St.
Athanasius Catholic Church. "Everyone wants to meet him and have him pray
over them because of his giftedness. I hear he brings in very big crowds."
The Rev. Zlatko Sudac, 31, has attracted large audiences since he arrived on
a Mass tour of the metropolitan area more than five months ago.
Last month, thousands went to Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Greenwich
Village, where Sudac celebrated two Masses instead of the one that had been
Incredible Claims Made
Sudac claims to have supernatural gifts, including stigmata, or marks, on
his body that resemble those on the body of Jesus Christ when he was
The priest claims that the marks bleed spontaneously and that he can heal,
levitate, be in two places at once and know the future.
Sudac does not give interviews, but the Rev. Giordano Belanich, a priest in
the Newark Archdiocese, said Sudac received the stigmata on his forehead in
1999, a year after his ordination, and other gifts followed soon after.
Cassato said: "I heard about him just recently. A friend who knows of his
work called and asked if I would be interested in having him come to our
church. I said, 'Of course.' I thought it would be a nice Lenten reflection
to have a spiritual uplift for all of us."
Last month, a Long Island church canceled an appearance by Sudac, citing
limited sanctuary space.
Cassato said he had not met Sudac but did not question accounts of the
stigmata. "It's a gift," he said. "It's a very unusual, extraordinary gift
that has been given at times in our church history - to St. Francis of
Assisi, to Padre Pio."
The Catholic Church has permitted Sudac to continue his tour until May, when
he returns to his homeland, but has remained silent on his sensational
Frank DeRosa, spokesman for the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, said: "From
what I understand, Father Sudac is a priest in good standing. He's been
speaking at various parishes in the metropolitan area, and there's been a
rather substantial following.
"There's no indication he's been anything but a good priest. As far as the
stigmata is concerned, there has been no position taken on that," DeRosa
Cassato said Sudac would celebrate a Mass and conduct a healing service
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