Franciscans from various Franciscan Provinces in Croatia came to the USA in the early decades of the twentieth century to serve the needs of the many Croatian immigrants, as they still do today. They are members of the universal First Order of Franciscans (O.F.M.). At first, they were part of the Holy Cross Commissariat which also included the Slovenian and Slovak Franciscans. In 1926 the Croatian Franciscan Commissariat of the Holy Family was canonically established with headquarters in Chicago. In 1931 it was placed under the jurisdiction of the Franciscan Province in Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The official title was changed to the Croatian Franciscan Custody of the Holy Family in 1967 in compliance with the new General Constitutions of the Franciscan Order.
The main Franciscan monastery is St. Anthony’s in Chicago. Right now, they serve in 7 parishes in the USA and in 6 in Canada. Aside from parish ministry among the Croatian immigrants and all other Catholics in their territories, other apostolates include writing and publishing for the Croatian speaking population of this continent, chaplaincy work, teaching, and mission-retreat work. Presently, there are 23 members in the Custody.
On 22 November 1988, the Most Reverend Anthony F. Tonnos, Bishop of Hamilton, issued a Decree by which The Queen of Peace Croatian Franciscan Centre in Norval, Ontario as a Catholic Community was established. Since then, there have been active two, sometimes three Franciscans. At the time of writing this text, they are Fr. Marko Puljić, O.F.M. and Fr. Tomislav Pek, O.F.M. In 1989, the Diocese of Hamilton entrusted the pastoral work in the Holy Family Parish in Kitchener to the Franciscans of our Custody. Presently, the pastor there is Fr. Miro Grubišić, O.F.M..
For more information, contact www.croatianfranciscans.org