Los Angeles, June 26, 2012
MONSIGNOR FELIX S. DIOMARTICH
Monsignor Felix S. Diomartich was born on November 2nd, 1914 on the golden island of Zlarin in Croatia. His parents, Fortunato-Srećko Diomartić and Marija Šare, had three more children, two of whom, Victoria Beban and Ljubica Krasovec, are still alive and live in San Pedro, California, while their son Bruno in 1945 was killed by the Yugoslav communist police. He was only 25 years old.
Rev. Jere Anić, the pastor of the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady in Zlarin, baptized the little Diomartić boy on December 6th, 1914 in the same church. He was given the name of Fortunato in honor of a martyr that was brought from the Roman catacombs to Zlarin and whose relics are still visible on a side altar of the church. Although his official name according to the the Baptismal records is Fortunato, he is commonly called Srećko or Felix.
Msgr. Diomartich attended the elementary school in Zlarin, and high school in the Seminary of Šibenik. After the graduation from high school he went to the major Seminary in Split and Zagreb where he studied Philosophy and Theology. Msgr. Diomartich received the priestly ordination in his native church of Zlarin on August 8th, 1937 from Bishop of Šibenik Jerolim Mileta. He celebrated his first Mass on the Feast of Our Lady of Assumption on August15th, 1937 in the same church.
The first assignment of the newly ordained Fortunato or Srećko was the parish of Vodice near Šibenik where he stayed a year as Associate Pastor. Soon after he was named Secretary to Bishop Mileta. In 1939 Bishop Mileta sent him to to the Pontifical College of St. Jerome in Rome, where he attended the Gregorian University and earned two doctorates: in theology and in the church law. He also attended several courses at the Sacra Romana Rota (the Church high tribunal) and achieved the title of the lawyer of the Sacra Romana Rota.
In 1947 Msgr. Diomartich left Rome and flew to the United States where he joined his father.
He remained in New York three years where he served as Associate Pastor in three parishes of the Archdiocese of New York. Then in1950 the new Archbishop of Los Angeles James Francis McIntyre, whom Msgr. Diomartich knew in New York while he was the chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York, invited Msgr. Diomartich to come to Los Angeles and assigned him to St. Anthony Croatian Church after the transfer of Father Stanislav Jureko.
Msgr. Diomartich served at St. Anthony Croatian Church for 36 years, 1950-1986, first as administrator and later as pastor when the Archdiocese of Los Angeles gave St. Anthony's Church the canonical status as a parish. During these 36 years of his administration of St. Anthony Croatian Church, Msgr. Diomartich highly supported the existing organizations of the parish, especially very active ladies of „ St. Ann's Altar Society“ and men's „Holy Name Society“. He also founded two new societies, namely a group of American born young adults called „Anthonians“ as well a group of mostly American born ladies „St. Anthony Women's Guild“ who played a prominent part in the religious and social life in the parish. Helas, the time has done its toll, and all these societies are non existing any more. Msgr. Diomartich also initiated very successful St. Anthony's Annual Picnic-Festival assuring the financial background for the new parish center. He built the new rectory, remodeled and expanded the original parish hall. And the most important for the parish life is the fact that Msgr. Diomartich succeded in connecting the old timers and their children born in America with new immigrants and Croatian refugees. St. Anthony's Croatian parish and its parishioners are deeply grateful to Msgr. Diomartich for his spiritual guidance as well as for securing the financial stability of the parish.
In addition to his parish duties, Msgr. Diomartich held very high positions in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He was „defensor vinculi“ at the Archdiocesan Marriage Tribunal, counselor for the newly ordained priests, Vicar for multi-lingual ministry, member of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. Msgr. Diomartich remained on these services for several years. In 1978 Pope Paul VI named Msgr. Diomartich as his honorary prelate with the title of Monsignor. In 2008 he Croatian National Association and Foundation gave him Lifetime Achievement Award. The parish duties did not prevent Msgr. Diomartich to live a very deep spiritual priestly life, including daily holy hour.
Msgr.. Diomartich retired from the administration of St. Anthony Croatian Parish on August 1st, 1986 but continued to reside at St. Anthony's parish helping with Mases and confessions his successor Msgr. John Janko Segarić. On October 12th, 2008 Msgr. Diomartich celebrated his farewell Mass at St. Anthony's Croatian Church and moved to the Nazareth House, a home for retired and sick priests, where he is still residing. AD MULTOS ANNOS!
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