Our History

1970s

​Three Croatian Dominican priests, Father Hyacinth Eterovic, Father Nikola Dugandzic and Father Ivo Plenkovic, arrived on the North Side of Chicago in the early 1970s to begin a new mission for the Croatian community living in this part of the city.  

 

In November of 1972, the first Croatian Catholic Mission was established by the Croatian Dominican order.   The Dominicans had opened the Dominican House on 1628 W. Morse Avenue and formed two societies, including a chapter of the Croatian Catholic Union.  

 

The Dominican priests began the process to receive permission to offer a weekly Mass in Croatian at St. Jerome's Church on Lunt and Paulina Streets.  St. Jerome's was built in 1894 and had been one of the largest neighborhood parishes during the turn of the century.  It became a logical choice to serve the Croatians living on the North Side of Chicago.  

 

By September of 1973, John Cardinal Cody, Archbishop of Chicago, granted permission to the Dominicans to officiate Croatian-language Mass at St. Jerome's.   Around 80 Croatian parishioners celebrated the inaugural Mass in the basement of St. Jerome's.

1980s

In 1974, the first church board was formed.   In 1975, the Croatian priests moved their flock to St. Henry's Church - the present location of our parish - located on Devon and Ridge Avenues.

 

St. Henry’s Church was built in 1863 to serve farmers from Luxembourg.  The church later moved to Ridge and Devon and was consecrated in 1905.   It was here that the Angel Guardian Orphanage was established, adjacent to the church, and therefore became the inspiration for the initial name of our parish, Angel Guardian Croatian Catholic Mission in 1977.

 

In 1980, Father Eterovic retired and Father Nikola Dugandzic became associate pastor.   

 

On June 29th, 1981, Father Ivo Plenkovic returned to Croatia and Father Nikola Dugandzic

became pastor.   

Today...

In 1998, Pope John Paul II beatified Croatian Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac and shortly thereafter, the church was re-named Blessed Aloysius Stepinac Croatian Catholic Mission.  A special Mass was officiated by Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago. 

 

In 2006, the Croatian Franciscan Holy Custody of North America took over administering the church.   Father Ivica Majstorovic became the parish's first Franciscan pastor, followed by Father Paul Maslach in January 2013.  In 2016, Father Drazan Boras came from New York to become the parish priest.

 

Blessed Aloysius Stepinac

Croatian Catholic Mission

6346 N. Ridge Avenue

Chicago, Illinois 60660

 

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