On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Friday 14th September, His Excellency Monsignor Martin Charlesworth visited the Shrine Church of St Joseph at Medjugorje to receive into the Province of Europe the Superior and Community of the Cistercians of St Joseph led by Fra. Andrijā-Bonifacije [Andrew-John] Škulić O.Cist.SJ. The Community had been in preliminary dialogue with His Grace Archbishop Douglas Lewins of the ORCC/GB and it was felt appropriate for the Community to be received into the ORCCE. Msgr Charlesworth and Fra. Škulić O.Cist.SJ spent the entire day in prayer and conversation before Fra. Škulić’s oath of Canonical Obedience was received by Monsignor on behalf of the Metropolitan Archbishop before the Blessed Sacrament in the Shrine Church.
On Wednesday 19th September, His Excellency Monsignor +Széles Tamás of the Old Catholic Mission in Hungary, as an act of fraternal charity having received Letters Dimissorial from the Metropolitan Archbishop and having graciously acceded to His Grace’s request, ordained Fra. Škulić O.Cist.SJ as a Deacon on the Metropolitan’s behalf in the Chapel of the Holy Trinity in Budapest. Msgr Charlesworth witnessed the Ordination and celebrated the Mass of Ember. Fra. Andrew-Boniface had served in the Police in Croatia as a martial arts / defensive instructor; he is a martial arts expert. Fra. Škulić was in Germany training and teaching when he joined the Pallotines with whom he received his formation and academic qualifications in theology and philosophy. When the war of independence broke out he was recalled to Croatia. After the war he started work in sales, representing Chimay Trappist beer and an energy drink and living a semi-monastic life.
Later, Fra. Andrew-Boniface was joined by the Community’s other professed brother, Fra. John-Peter and together they acquired a former monastery, a shell after the war and have embarked on a great project of rebuilding. It is in Zadir, north of Split and south of Zagreb, a beautiful and popular coastal resort. Their vision is to eventually create a mixed religious community of monks, nuns, and oblate families dedicated to the charism of a Benedictine inspired life. The rebuilding has progressed slowly but the brothers hope to be able to begin permanent residency by April next year. Already they have a growing number of oblates and postulants and a regular worshiping community forming around the monastery church. They hope eventually to be able to offer holiday accommodation for clergy and families too, as well as a conference and retreat centre.