Blessed Ivan Merz


(December 16, 1896 Banja Luka, Bosnia – May 10, 1928 Zagreb, Croatia)

Blessed Ivan Merz was born in Banja Luka, Bosnia, on December 16, 1896. Educated in Banja Luka, with a brief military academy, and continued to study Philosophy in Vienna, Austria. He fought on the Italian front of World War I. After the war, he studied again in Vienna and in Paris, and then taught French language and literature at the University of Zagreb, from which he received his doctorate in Philosophy. Though he decided to remain a layman in the world, Ivan took a perpetual vow of chastity, and devoted his free time to the Church. He taught, spoke, and wrote to evangelize young Croatians. He worked for liturgical renewal, and helped institute Catholic Action in Croatia. Ivan Merz died on May 10, 1928 in Zagreb, Croatia. He was 32 years old.

Pope John Paul II beatified Ivan Merz on June 22, 2003, and declared him as the Apostle of the Youth. Pope Benedict XVI recognized the life and holiness of Blessed Ivan Merz by mentioning his name in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation: “Sacramentum Caritatis.” By this solemn papal act, the Holy Father presents Blessed Ivan Merz as model of Eucharistic life and discipleship for all Catholics.

Blessed Ivan is a perfect patron saint for young people, youth ministers, military personnel, dentists, pulmonologists, philosophers, philologists, students, educators, liturgists, theologians, devotees of the Holy Eucharist, and lay faithful engaged in Christian apostolate.

He is a powerful and compassionate intercessor when it comes to Academic or Professional Examinations, Dental and Lung Illnesses, Meningitis, Couples who seek for a Child and HIV and AIDS victims.

Special Dates:

May 10 – FEASTDAY (Day of Death)

December 16 – Birthday

June 22 – Anniversary of Beatification

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