OF NORTHWEST INDIANA “Mothers Against Hunger”
“He that hath mercy on the poor,
lendeth to the Lord: and he will repay him”
On Sunday, October 7, 2007 the Four Circles of Serbian Sisters of Northwest Indiana held their 15th annual humanitarian banquet to benefit their cause “Serbian Mothers against Hunger”. The Circle of Serbian Sisters of St. George the Great Martyr in Schererville, Indiana hosted this year’s banquet.
In order to make this year’s banquet a bigger success the presidents of each Circle began meeting during the summer months. Participating members were Sandy Sinovic from the St. Sava parish, Ljubina Rakonjac from the St. George parish and Mara Kostur, the vice president from the St. Elijah parish together with the president of the Circle of Sisters at the St. George parish in Schererville, Anka Ozegovic, who, as the host Circle, chaired the meetings. The host clergy V. Rev. Dragoljub Popovic and the other sisters met during these meetings in preparation for the fifteenth annual event.
If we are to judge by the number attendees (approximately 300 parishioners) at this banquet and the amount collected than we would have to say that the Sisters succeeded this year as well since approximately $20,000 was raised at the banquet.
The Holy Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the filled St. George the Great Marty Church in Schererville was officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher, assisted by the host priest Fr. Dragoljub Popovic and Protodeacon Dr. Stanimir Spasovic. The Stefan Lastavica Church Choir made the liturgy truly divine in all things with their skillful and God pleasing singing.
After the liturgy the people went to the new church hall where parishioners from the other four parishes, together with their priests, were slowly arriving (St. George Schererville, St. George East Chicago, St. Sava and St. Elijah from Merrillville).
The guests were greeted by V. Rev. Dragoljub Popovic who, during his address, gave a report on his humanitarian mission in Republika Srpska this fall, where he, together with his Protinica Milena and in behalf of the four Circle of Serbian Sisters, distributed $12,000 in a number of centers in Banja Luke, Republika Srpska, which care for orphans, mentally retarded children or children that have problems with hearing or speaking. This report was carefully listened to and even brought some to tears. Prota Dragoljub said that there is still great need for this sort of work and pastorally beseeched that the work in humanitarian aid of the Circle of Serbian Sisters continues. Prota Jovan Todorovic’s report was read by Fr. Marko Matic in which he also distributed $12,000 in Serbia last summer. It was also carefully listened to and Prota Jovan also appealed to the Sisters and the Serbian Mothers that they absolutely continue their humanitarian program.
Mrs. Suzana Nikitovic, a nurse and a representative of the “Cardio Start” organization from Chicago. Mrs. Nikitovic spoke at length of her recent visit to Republika Srpska and the health problems that they face especially those in her cardio-vascular branch. She leads a humanitarian movement in collecting the means for attaining medical equipment which are used in healing patients in this state. Mrs. Nikitovic also spend much time with the children of Serbia of whom a large number are sick without any health care and therefore she appealed to those in attendance that they learn more about this issue. She praised the work of the Serbian sisters and mentioned that they were worthy of emulation and esteem.
His Eminence Metropolitan Christopher gave special praise to the sisters and thanked them for their humanitarian work, beseeching them to continue their good work to the unfortunate. His Eminence reminded all of the work of the IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) and the need to work closely with this organization.
Unable to attend this banquet were His Grace Bishop of New Gracanica and the General Consul of Republika Srpska His Excellency Desko Nikitovic. Their greetings were read by Fr. Aleksandar Savic.
In the past fourteen years the sisters of these four Circle of Serbian Sisters collected and delivered to the hands of those most needy in Republika Srpska Krajina, Republika Srpska, Republika of Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija a little over $428,207. The hard working sisters collected another $20,000 which is yet to be distributed.
The writer of these lines once again expressed his sincerest thanks to the Circle of Serbian Sisters and all those of good will who have in any which way helped during this banquet that it be a success. Special recognition goes to sister Mara Dobrijevic, one of the founders and leaders of this program.
Once again on this occasion, just as many times before, we can apply the beautiful words of our Serbian proverb: “Everything was beautiful and pleasant and acceptable to gracious God.”
V. Rev. Dragoljub Popovic