Rebuilding

The 1950s witnessed a new generation of leadership focused on preserving our culture rather than political divisions. In 1951, a door-to-door financial drive spearheaded by several young members (Mark Leš, Mike Bradica, Joe Lončarich, Steve Eleyonich, Bob Kuchan, George Juranich, among others) resulted in 63 individual $100 donations and pledges from members and non-members. Funds were also raised through weekly summer picnics. The Dom celebrated a grand re-opening on December 8, 1951.

 

Many new, younger members enrolled into the organization. Along with expanding the folklore group, these new members also established the CNH 5 pin Bowling League, which is today, the longest running bowling league in Hamilton. By the late fifties, these members organized cultural exchanges with our Croatian-American neighbours, specifically from Pennsylvania and Ohio.

 

The rejuvenated spirit of the CNH reflected a similar trend within the Croatian community in Hamilton. Postwar immigration resulted in a significant increase in population and fuelled the momentum toward establishing an ethnic Croatian parish, first through Rev. Rudolf Hrašćanec and later Monsignor Stjepan Šprajc. This was a goal which the CNH wholeheartedly supported.

 

In 1956, meetings were held at the CNH and the Croatian community overwhelmingly demonstrated their support for an ethnic Croatian parish. The CNH provided its facilities free of charge for church fundraising efforts. Various CNH members including Steve Eleyonich, Stjepan Bradica, Joe Povrženić, Anton Krčel and John Lončarić Jr., among others, assisted Monsignor Stjepan Šprajc in soliciting funds for the new parish. CNH records indicate that advice from community members was solicited regarding the location of the church. While some preferred a location close to the heart of the community on Beach Road, others saw that the community was migrating eastward and therefore chose a location to reflect this shift. Thus, Holy Cross Church was built on King Street and Rosedale Avenue in 1959 to serve the spiritual needs of a growing Croatian community.

 

 

 

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