“SKAC is valuable because God works through it” – The Catholic Student Centre in Zagreb

By Mirta Fekeža

Almost every student and young person in Zagreb knows about SKAC because it is a place where they can get involved, help those in need, and meet new people. Thanks to that holistic approach of the different programs offered, SKAC prepares young men and women to respond effectively to life’s challenges. The programs help them not only to work at rebuilding Croatian society but also to come closer to God. They learn to search for God and find Him in everything.

The Student Catholic Centre (Studentski katolički centar Palma - SKAC) is located in the very heart of Zagreb. Founded by a Jesuit priest, Fr. Luka Rađa, SKAC has been changing the lives of young people for 20 years. Applying Jesuit spirituality to everyday life, the centre offers all-inclusive formation through relationship building, spiritual programs, educational courses, volunteering, and creative workshops. As the sign at the entrance says, SKAC is a place of encounter, and sometimes the people who meet there start a family together! The story of Marta and Matija is a story of that kind of encounter. They met each other through SKAC, but they also met friends and priests there, people who have been important for their lives, and for whom they are very grateful.


Marta and Matija came to SKAC by separate paths. Marta was a member of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, where SKAC is located, but her initial encounter with SKAC happened during her first year of college. She developed a passion for the religious education of young people, and that is what brought her to SKAC. Matija, for his part, got to know SKAC through the “Modrave” summer camps, which are attended every year by hundreds of young people as a type of spiritual vacation. “Modrave” is the name of the rural village where the camps are held.

As the years went by, Marta and Matija became involved in various SKAC programs, such as 3-D formation, the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, and the Modrave camps. For both youths, this involvement changed their lives. Though they had often met in SKAC’s various programs, it was Modrave that really brought them together: three years ago, in that summer programme, they fell in love and started their shared history.

As they reflect on their involvement in SKAC, Marta and Matija stress that the things that make SKAC unique are its collaborators and the programs it offers young people to help them encounter God. SKAC offers experiences in which the young people’s relationship with God changes and develops. Matija explained: “What I know is that SKAC is valuable because God works through it; for me, that’s what’s most important. What is special about SKAC is that it brings young people together and helps them deepen their relationship with God, and then it sends them into society to spread God’s light wherever He places them.” Not only does SKAC offer young people the opportunity to meet God and other people, and to act and live in the present moment, but it also teaches them important values and practical things for their future lives, whether they have a religious or a marital vocation. The leaders of SKAC agree with this assessment; they can see the fruits of their programs today in family and marital life.


Among other things, the camp at Modrave teaches the city youth about the reality of life in the countryside today. “Modrave taught me about the simplicity of life. I am always well aware of how little one needs” says Marta. “It is not so much a matter of knowledge but of a lived experience, both the experience of God and our relationship with Him and of the experience of the beauties of life.” Matija adds that Modrave made him aware of how much he loves working with his hands and how little it takes to be happy. Summing up, they both agree that the beauty of SKAC lies precisely in these little things, in the people one meets, and in the fellowship that is grounded in God.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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