On Sunday, November 2, Monsignor Felix Diomartich celebrated his 100th Birthday and the 77th Anniversary of his Priesthood Ordination with a special Mass at St. Anthony's Croatian Parish in Los Angeles.
I could find no other Archdiocesan priest in the history of our Archdiocese who reached the age of 100 years.
Monsignor Diomartich is a native of Croatia where he studied theology and was ordained a priest. He subsequently was sent to Rome where he obtained doctorates in both theology and in canon law. Because of World War II he was impeded from returning to Croatia, and found himself in New York city where he worked as a young priest.
Then then Archbishop James Francis McIntyre was transferred to Los Angeles, he invited then Father Diomartich to come to Los Angeles to serve the Croatian Catholics living there. He became an official member of the presbyterate of Los Angeles in 1963.
Over the years he served the Croatian community both in Los Angeles and in San Pedro. He was pastor of St. Anthony's Parish for several decades, and greatly loved by all the people.
He also helped begin the ethnic ministry of the Archdiocese under Cardinal Timothy Manning, and served in the Tribunal and in other leadership roles.
He is retired at Nazareth House where he enjoys his sunset years with many brother priests.
In 2015, Monsignor Richard Murray, pastor emeritus of St. Bernardine of Siena Parish in Woodland Hills, will celebrate his 100th birthday. Then a year later in 2016, Monsignor John Fosselman, pastor emeritus of Assumption Parish in East Los Angeles, will celebrate his 100th birthday.
Incredible: three priest centenarians in the space of three years!
May the spirit and example of these wonderful priests inspire us all, and especially, young men who are listening carefully to the call of Jesus Christ to serve as a priest.