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Town Day and the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The celebration of the Town Day and the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, the protector of the town, is held on 8 September every year and includes a wide range of religious, entertainment and sports events as well as a traditional fair.

Note about the Town Day and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrations in 2011

Pilgrims swarmed along the Jadro River on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on 8 September to thank the Blessed Virgin Mary for her advocacy and to pray for their loved ones. The holy procession around the shrine with the statue of Virgin Mary and the central Eucharistic celebration in front of the Church of Our Lady of Otok were led by the Split and Makarska Archbishop, Marin Barišić. Other clergy members were also there as co-celebrants including the retired Archbishop Anto Jurić and pastor Vinko Sanader. In his sermon, the Archbishop spoke of the importance of the little things that make up our daily lives, but he also referred to the modern and enduring urge for greatness and power.

The Archbishop dedicated the end of his sermon to Gospin Otok, stressing its importance for faith among the Croatian people. "Cleansed by the pure waters of the Jadro River centuries ago and reborn through christening by the force of the Holy Spirit, we have become members of the great family of the Catholic Church. This is when we also became part of the circle of the European Christian Community where the individual - according to Jesus Christ - has been placed in the centre of culture and civilization. We should also be reminded of this Christian identity during Croatia's current steps towards the accession to the European Union," Archbishop Barišić said. In light of this, he also reminded us that the first Croatian church, built in this very shrine and only foundations of which now remain, was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Given the fact that the construction of a new church has been talked about for decades now, and that this is a necessity more than ever because the present condition cannot even satisfy the needs of the parish of Our Lady of the Island, he announced that a smaller church than planned would be built, but it would still be the most important church for the Archdiocese of Split and Makarska at the moment.

In accordance with the ancient tradition, multiple pilgrims took part in the sacrament of reconciliation and Holy Communion, and the Eucharistic celebration, accompanied by the appropriate words of Father Ante Mateljan. It ended with the singing of the Croatian national anthem and Zdravo Djevo (Hail Mary, Queen of Croats), a religious song dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Notable persons who attended the mass included the mayor of Solin, Blaženko Boban, county prefect of the Split-Dalmatia County, Ante Sanader, multiple (city) mayors, Church and public institution representatives and prominent cultural representatives. The singing was led by the Queen Jelena Choir, which comprises parish choirs from Solin, Vranjic, Klis, Kučine, Mravince and the Veli Varoš of Split under the direction of Professor Mirko Jankov. The inhabitants of Solin prepared for the celebrations of Solin Town Day and the 100th anniversary of the Parish of Our Lady of the Island with a three-day prayer session led by Tomislav Ivančić. The celebration ended with holy mass held on Gospin Otok and led by Bishop Juraj Jezerinac.

Those who helped to make the celebration so beautiful were finally thanked by the Bishop and the principal of the shrine of Our Lady of the Island, Father Vinko Sanader. Wishing everyone a happy Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Solin Town Day and the 100th anniversary of the parish, he said: "Our Lady, the Queen of Croats, has always been and shall always be a spiritual magnet for Croats, our guidance and advocate, regardless of what people say and do to divert us from Her or Her son Jesus".

Source: Split-Dalmatia Archdiocese.