Pon, 25. Srpanj 2022. 08:41
On Saturday, July 23rd, during the solemn Holy Mass in the due to war displaced parish of St. Elijah the Prophet in Liskovica, near Mrkonjić Grad, the Bishop of Banja Luka, Msgr. Franjo consecrated the church and blessed the altar.
Several priests concelebrated, including the parish administrator in Liskovica and the parish priest in Mrkonjić Grad, rev. Darko Anušić.
In the appropriate sermon, Bishop Komarica first noted that it was not recorded in history that the parish of Liskovica had a church dedication. He thanked God for “giving him the opportunity to live this day”. He then spoke about the difficult war times when the church was burned, but not destroyed. “The statue of Our Lady that you had was knocked down, I wanted to take it, but they wouldn't let me. Everything was thrown on the floor. After that, the church was demolished. Then winters and summers passed, and we, not giving up our intention to rebuild church, with God's help, began the restoration of the first place of worship, the chapel at the cemetery”, said Bishop Komarica and thanked all the priests who worked in that parish.
He recalled how a believer had told him to start building a church. “Build a church, bishop, let the houses go. I, being an old man, have to carry my sick wife on my back 10 kilometres to the church in Mrkonjić”, quoted Msgr. Komarica had a conversation with a parishioner and brought to his attention that “few bishops in Europe experience such things from their faithful”. He further informed that the houses were built, but that the believers wanted their own church.
Thinking that it would be normal if the reconstruction of the church was financed by those who demolished it, he praised the parishioners who were working hard so that it could be built. He informed that so many churches in the diocese of Banja Luka were destroyed, but nowhere did it happen that the faithful themselves started the reconstruction. “We believe in God, we want to have a church here. What kind of nation is it that doesn't have its own place of worship”, recalled Msgr. Komarica conversation he had with the faithful before laying the foundation for the rebuilt church and noted that both Muslims and Orthodox gave donations.
He explained that during the war he heard an explanation of why Catholic churches were being demolished: “Your church is the heart of the community, if we demolish it, we will destroy that community and you will disappear from here. It was the devil's plan, but God's plan is what we are experiencing today”.
He mentioned how 300 years ago, in 1709, the then Franciscan provincial OFM Stjepan Margetić sent a letter to the Bishop of Rome in which, among other things, it was stated: “We have no churches, they are all destroyed, but we cannot do without the Holy Mass. We carry the altar with us and we celebrate the Eucharist in the fields”. Following this, he noted that today's believers in Liskovica are the descendants of those Catholics and underlined that he was “moved to tears that they remained true to themselves even in a foreign country”. “It can be seen that you are a good ‘wood’, healthy branches, healthy trees and healthy roots and ancestors, your parents, your priests, who sowed faith. If you had to leave Liskovica, you did not move away from God, unlike many contemporaries in Europe who forget the Christian roots on which European civilization was built”, said Bishop Komarica at the end.
After the sermon, the ceremony of consecration of the church followed: signing of the charter, prayer of the litany, consecration prayer, installing the powers in the altar, anointing of the altar and four smaller crosses in four places in the church with confirmation oil and burning of incense in five places of the altar.
Towards the end of the Eucharist, rev. Anušić thanked those present for coming, especially the socio-political representatives from Mrkonjić Grad, Jajce and Banja Luka, as well as members of the diplomatic corps. He especially thanked the donors who wove their humanitarian work into the construction of the church destroyed in the war.
The Holy Mass celebration was animated by the parish choir from Glamoč under the leadership of sister Simplicija.
The Holy Mass was followed by folk celebration.
Parish of St. Elijah the Prophet in Liskovica was created by the separation from Mrkonjić Grad. It was established as an independent chaplaincy in 1880, and in 1884 it was declared a parish. The church was built at the end of the 19th century, in 1897 to be exact, and was burned for the first time in 1942 during the Second World War. After the massacre on New Year's Day 1942, the parish was displaced, but most of the faithful returned to their homes after the end of the war. The parish church was rebuilt in 1958.
Almost half a century later, in 1992 to be exact, Serbian extremists burned it and completely demolished it and expelled all the Catholics.
The villages of Liskovica Donja and Gornja and Vlasinje belong to the parish. Today there are a dozen believers, during the whole year there are about 50, and in the summer even more. Holy Masses are celebrated according to the agreement with the parishioners, usually once a month.