with Fr. Zlatko Sudac
Zlatko Sudac (pronounced "Sue-dots") was born on January
24, 1971. He is from the town of Vrbnik, on Krk island,
in Croatia. He began studying for the priesthood in 1993,
after completing his mandatory military service in the Yugoslav
army. He was ordained a priest on June 29, 1998 and is
a diocesan priest for the diocese of Krk, Croatia. Both
of his parents are still alive. He has one sister, who
is married and has three children.
Sudac received the cross on his forehead in May 1999, on the
Friday after the beatification of Padre Pio. After he
received the cross, he was sent to the Gemelli Clinic in Rome
to be investigated. The exhaustive investigation concluded
that Fr. Sudac's cross was not of human origin, i.e. that it
was formed in a way that medical science could not explain.
Fr. Sudac received the stigmata on his wrists, feet and side
on October 4, 2000, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi,
who was the first person in the history of the Church to receive
currently works at the Bethany Retreat Center, which is located
in the tiny village called Cunski (pronounced "Choon-skee"),
on the island of Mali Losinj (pronounced "Molly Lawsheen").
This island is located in the northern Adriatic, just south
of the port city of Rijeka, Croatia. This island was once
part of the island Cres. In Roman times the two islands
were separated at the isthmus city of Osor when a canal was
dug. North and east of Losinj and Cres is the island of
Krk, which gives its name to the local diocese. Mali Losinj
has a population of about 6500. It dates back to at least
the 12th century when about a dozen Croatian families went there
from Hungary, taking refuge from the attacking Mongols.
Today, Losinj is a very popular tourist site due to its beautiful
island scenery, the pristine Adriatic sea, and its beautiful
primary messages are very simple ones: that love has to be the
foundation of everything that we do, and if we live in love,
then we live in God; that we must be open to the gifts of the
Holy Spirit and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives so
that we can live the fullness of what God wants to give us;
that we must die to ourselves completely so that God can fill
us with Himself; that we must be completely normal people, who
have our feet firmly planted on the ground, but ever aware that
while we live in this world, we are not of it. This is
just some of what Fr. Sudac's primary messages are. Fr.
Sudac twice visited St. Jerome Parish (October 1999; January
and February, 2001) What follows is his message in his
Q: Why did you decide to become a priest?
years I thought about the way in which to actualize myself to
the fullest as a person. I finished high school for mechanical
engineering. Then I started to study philosophy and psychology.
I decided to switch to the theological seminary to become a
candidate for the priesthood for my diocese. To speak about
my life's call means to dive a little deeper into my being,
into my heart. Every person asks himself which is the way to
most fully actualize himself. In the same way I thought about
how I could surrender myself completely. Spirituality always
excited me. I always read spiritual books. Then I simply decided
and it was the final step towards trust in God. I saw that work
with people, with the sick, with the marginalized makes me happy,
and that if I live in that way, I would never be alone. The
one who lives for people receives a great deal from people.
These are the things of value which are eternal. One of the
main reasons for our existence on earth is to be people who
love and who live for other people. Today, this is very necessary.
I am young. In front of me is life and my future, and I pray
to God for the grace to have a heart for every human being,
especially for those who are far away - far away from other
people, from God, and from themselves.
Q: Did you grow up with Catholic parents? Were they allowed to
practice their faith and did the communist idea of no God affect
you? How did you come to know God under communism?
is a traditional Catholic family. And precisely that tradition
is for many people a barrier to the experience of living. I
would come to church comforting myself that I knew and loved
God. Then I understood that that was not love but a habit. Then
I asked myself if I would want to be a person who was loved
(by others) out of habit. How does God feel when we love Him
out of habit? Then I understood that love for God is something
that is alive and original, something so deeply rooted in the
depths of our being, something which changes our life, and which
gives us the power to bear witness to other people. To love
God in the present moment. To be alive now, not tomorrow or
in the past. To live every step with God. It means to be God's
messenger. That is something which has always awakened within
me a certain adventure for God. God is the Father of all people
who wish to proclaim Jesus Christ. One needs to have a great
depth of spirit to live for everyone, because God died for everyone.
Q: How old were you when you went to the priesthood?
Q: How old were he when you were ordained?
old. That was a year ago on June 29, 1998, on the feast of St.
Peter and Paul .
Q: Are you part of the Charismatic Movement?
At the Second
Vatican Council, our Church defined the Church as being institutional
and charismatic. The problem is that many charismatics live
outside the institutional church. We live in a time when our
union with our bishops and the pope will be the only guarantee
of true and correct actions of both priests and the laity. If
God gave me a specific mission, then I don't have to be concerned
about that mission. If God desires it, then He will do it through
the Church and the Church’s leaders - He will make it possible
that I live my charism for the good of the Church and all peoples.
I am just one piece in the mosaic. And it would be better for
me not to have been born if I were to draw attention to myself
and not to Jesus Christ. Truly this is the only true way to
serve God in the next millenium.
Q: You were in the seminary for 4 or 5 years?
Q: How many brothers and sisters do you have?
I have one
sister. She is married and has 2 children.
Q: What kind of prayer meeting were you leading when God gave you
how the newspapers wrote it. But in fact it wasn't a prayer
meeting. It was a friendly get-together in one family's home.
When I speak about all of those events which took place then,
I speak with a tremendous fear of the Lord because I myself
experienced how it all surpasses my very self. Many people have
asked me what I think of all of this, and I tell them that they
want to know something which I myself do not know. Jesus Christ
said that by their fruits you will recognize them. If people
come to my Masses and seminars and experience God there and
change their lives, if many sick people are healed, if those
in conflict with one another reconcile, if people throw out
all of their filth before God and seek peace with God, if those
in sorrow find hope returning, then that is the fruit to which
we have to turn our attention, and not myself (i.e. do not turn
your attention to me). I constantly announce at the seminars
that if you have come there because of me, then you have made
a mistake, but if you came because of Jesus Christ then stay.
We must look at the giver, not the gift. I experience myself
as sandals which God puts on and which he will tread upon so
that through them (the sandals) He may come to those people
whom He intends to reach. May God give me the strength so that
with my life I may faithfully serve Him, to His honor.
Q: Do you have pain in your forehead?
hurt me, except when I am in prayer, and then I feel it pulsing.
On first Fridays and at certain times, it's known to bleed and
leak as though it is crying.
Q: Are you an Order priest?
No, I belong
to the diocese of Krk, in Croatia.
Q: Are you close to the Blessed Mother?
She is my beloved mother. All evil forces fall before her. One
can pray to her only with a pure heart, and I will be grateful
for her protection until the end of my life. Personally I have
consecrated myself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The mother
is truly the gentler side of our spirituality. In this technical
and rough society, we are missing the mother of gentleness.
Q: Did you dedicate yourself to Mary as a child?
A year ago.
Q: Were you close to Mary as a little boy?
an interesting story about my mother. When she was a young girl,
she wanted to be a nun with the Missionaries of Charity. But
at that time, it was required that the family give a certain
amount of money so that the girl could join the convent. My
grandmother, that is, the mother of my mother, was very poor,
and she was not able to do it. That is when my mother vowed
to Mary, our heavenly Mother, that if she was not able to do
it (i.e. become a nun), if God gave her a son, she would consecrate
him to God. My mother acknowledged this to me only at the point
when I told her that I wanted to be a priest. I never knew anything
about this vow of hers. At that time, through tears, she told
me about this vow she made. Through this I can see that the
intercession of the Mother of God protected me.
Q: Is your father alive and where do they live?
live on the island, Krk, the same place from which the archbishop
of Zagreb comes. My mother went to school with the archbishop
of Zagreb. In my diocese there are about 70 priests. It is one
of the smallest dioceses in all of Croatia.
Q: Have you been to Medjugorje?
Those were unforgettable experiences. It is a holy place of
prayer, silence and conversion of heart.
Q: Were you a priest when you first went to Medjugorje?
I was very
young, a young boy the first time.
Q: Have you been there since you became a priest?
Q: What is the most important thing you found in Medjugorje?
To be a lover of truth. Today truth provokes. It seeks the whole
person. And Mary cannot but to ask for my entire self. Giving
myself to Mary and to God, I do not lose myself, but I find
myself. That is what I carry from Medjugorje. The message I
received - especially have trust in God.
people attended Fr. Sudac's Retreat in Tinley Park, ILL, Feb.
Q: Have Jesus or Mary ever spoken to you?
No, I have
never had a vision or an apparition, but I have a conversation
of the heart. It is a gift of being able to diagnose or read
people's hearts. That gift is manifested with me when I am in
spiritual conversations or hearing confessions. It is always
given as a help to the person so that he can express himself
and fall in love with God.
Q: Did that gift of reading souls come after the stigmata?
phenomenon of stigmatization, I had gifts like the gift of tongues,
the gift of healing, the gift of counsel, and slowly the gift
of knowledge came also. After the stigmatization, I received
many other gifts. Some of these gifts overwhelmed me very much.
And so I needed some time to get accustomed to what was happening.
By this I refer specifically to the gifts of levitation, bilocation,
illumination, and the knowledge of upcoming events - the knowledge
about the near future, especially about future dangers.
Q: Are you allowed to speak of those?
like to wait until a certain time passes. I am in cooperation
with some experts - the top experts in the world. I would like
the whole thing, from their side to be well observed. And until
the official Church makes an announcement regarding these certain
phenomenon, in my heart I am not sure whether it is good to
speak about these things. I want to draw attention to Jesus
Christ, and I am afraid that with these things, I may be drawing
attention to myself. I am a sinful man. Since the stigmatization,
I have a tremendous need for the Sacrament of Confession. For
me it is the same as for everyone else to walk this earth, to
be little and in that way I will belong to God.
Q: You spoke of the gift of languages, is it a gift of tongues
or is it a gift of multiple languages?
gift of tongues have two or three groupings. One is that a person
has never studied a known language but is able to speak that
language. The second is that a person can speak old forgotten
Hebrew, Aramaic or other old Semitic languages. And the third
gift is the so-called babbling - when a person through the grace
of God can speak the so-called angelic language. This gift is
mentioned in Holy Scripture. We have to be very careful with
this gift because evil spirits can also use this gift of tongues.
Once there was a séance where people were praying in tongues,
and these gifts of tongues were tape-recorded. A person who
had the gift of understanding tongues, understood that those
were all cursing, blasphemies and profane language against God.
At Pentecost when the apostles spoke in various tongues, then
one spoke and everyone understood. With us at our prayer meetings,
it so often happens that everyone speaks (in tongues) and no
one understands. My experience is this - the one who has the
gift of tongues and feels purity in their heart and the need
to praise God with this (gift), he should begin to pray out
loud. But if in that moment, a person with the gift of understanding
tongues does not come forward, then that gift, in that moment
is not given for the building up of the community, but for the
individual building up of that person. Then I recommend that
that person pray quietly to himself. Every gift which we have
is not given for the individual person but for others, for the
community. I am at the service of the will of God.
Q: Can you tell us about your bilocation?
It's a very
interesting gift, which is manifested only at the point when
other people bear witness to it. The person (with this gift)
up until the last moment is not certain what is happening with
him. You have the feeling that you are at one place, but your
heart and imagination wants to be somewhere else. This happens
when the person is forbidden from being with God, with prayer,
with the Blessed Sacrament. After a similar prohibition which
I experienced, the bilocation manifested itself.
Q: They would not let you close to God so when you bilocated you
went close to God?
I was with
God at one place and the other, but the other place I experienced
more in my heart and imagination than in my body. It's interesting
that I knew everything that was happening there. I would have
ascribed this all to my imagination had some people not come
forward and confirmed it all - six people who saw me physically
there. With one of these people I even shook hands.
Q: This was at home in your diocese?
At the same
time I was with some young people praying and meditating. (Fr.
Jozo's additional commentary) "and they knew he was there
- he was praying with them. At the second place it was a church
and some people saw him in front of the church and they shook
his hand so they knew he was there."
Q: Father Sudac, you said at the beginning of the interview that
this has given you (tremendous) fear of the Lord.
feel it very much. God is something which surpasses any and
all thoughts about Him. He surpasses our feelings, and even
the state of our souls. It is impossible to speak about Him.
The only way to communicate with God is to love God. We have
to sink into God so that I no longer exist but God does. When
I do this I don't lose myself, but find myself in God. This
can be understood only by those people who love God with all
their heart, all their soul, and all their strength. If anyone
sins, the only cause for all sins is the lack of love towards
God and the lack of love for mankind and ourselves, that is
the cause of all evils. If this wounded humanity would discover
the formula of love, unconditional love, this life would be
heaven on earth.
the Mass at St. Jerome's in Chicago