Fr. Anton Perkovic

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Fr. Anton Perkovic, age 92, passed away on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, in Covington, Louisiana. Fr. Anton Perkovic was born and baptized on January 7, 1922 in what is now known as the country of Croatia. He was the former Pastor and founder of St. Martha's Catholic Church in Harvey, La. Since his retirement in 1994, he lived in Mandeville, La. and often concelebrated Mass at Our Lady of the Lake Church. He was the son of Ivan Perkovic and Marija Puh. He was baptized in his parish church of "S'vetvincet." This church was important to Fr. Anton in his spiritual development as it was in this church he made his First Communion, Confirmation and where on September 22, 1946 he was ordained to the Priesthood. Fr. Anton went to the inter-diocesan minor seminary in 1936 at the age of 14 as this was then the classic preparation to enter the major seminary. These were very difficult years for him because these years coincided with the World War in Europe and the civil war in what was then Yugoslavia. He was able to complete his seminary studies up to the first year of the major seminary but because of the civil war and the partisan fighting, the seminary was closed. During this time, one of Fr's brothers was killed in Dachau, concentration camp. He had to return home and he completed his studies on his own, under the direction of his parish priest, the Rev. Miroslav Pules, who after the war, was later executed by the communists and was beatified in Pula, Croatia on September 26, 2013. After WWII, Fr. Anton was able to return to the seminary for one year of study and he was then ordained a Priest in 1946. After ordination, he was assigned to administer three country parishes. Fortunately, all three parishes were along a highway and he was able to reach them by bicycle. His residence was in the middle parish. All three parishes were named after Apostles; St. Peter, the first parish was in the center; St. Phillip, the second parish, was to the North and the St. Bartholomew was to the South. The government of Yugoslavia was then ruled by the Communists under Marshal Tito and the persecution of the Church was in full force. Priests, especially young priests, were considered the greatest enemy of the State. There were intimidations, arrests, forced drafts into the army and the murder of priests. It was at this time that Fr's childhood mentor and teacher, Rev. Miroslav Pules, was murdered and after serious threats to Fr. Anton's life he was forced to immigrate and become a refugee in Italy. Fr. Anton lived for three years in Italy waiting for an opening at the Pontifical Gregorian University to attend a course in Dogmatic Theology. He then completed a two year course to obtain a degree (Licentiate) in Sacred Theology. Still a refugee and a man without a country, he was informed that some American Bishops were willing to sponsor refugee priests. He applied to Archbishop Rummel and was accepted. Fr. Anton recalled that the Archbishop was a real gentleman to him. He then travelled to the U.S. on an International Red Cross passport and arrived in the port of New Orleans aboard the ship "Samuel Sturgis" on a Sabbath Day. Fr. Anton proudly recalled that since many of the passengers were Jewish refugees, all the passengers voted not to land until Sunday January 12, 1952. Fr. Anton's first assignment was to Our Lady of Good Counsel Church on Louisiana Ave as the third assistant Priest. He could not speak English at the time, so all the priests spoke to him in Latin. He was 30 years old and now had to begin serious parish work and like many immigrants he had to learn the English language. He became an American citizen in 1955. After eight years at Good Counsel, he was assigned to St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Metairie, at the time a very busy parish, with three priests in residence. After five years he was assigned to Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, on St. Roch Ave to assist a retiring priest. After two years at Star of the Sea, Fr. Anton was named pastor of St. Anslem's Church in Madisonville. After Four years as pastor at St. Anselm's, he was named pastor of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Westwego. After two years at our Lady of Good Counsel, he was given the greater challenge to be the founding pastor of St. Martha's Church in Woodland West, Harvey, La. Fr. Anton remained there as pastor until he retired in 1994 and move to Mandeville until his death. Visitation will be held on Saturday, July 26, 2014, from 9:30am until 10:30am at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, 395 Laffitte Street, in Mandeville, Louisiana. A Funeral Mass will begin at 10:30am. Burial will be in St. Joseph Abbey Cemetery in Covington. Please visit www.honakerforestlawn.com to sign guestbook. Arrangements by Honaker Funeral Home, Inc., Slidell, LA.
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Honaker Funeral Home - Slidell
1751 Gause Blvd. West P.O. BOX 6087
Slidell, LA 70469
(985) 641-1900
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Published in TheNewOrleansAdvocate.com from July 23 to July 26, 2014
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