Celebrations of St. Agnes' Year Culminate

The weekend of November 11-12, 2011, was marked by the peak of the Year of St. Agnes of Bohemia’s celebrations, as the Papal Legate Cardinal Meisner conducted a divine service to commemorate the 8th centenary of the saint’s birth in the Prague Ss. Wenceslas, Vitus and Adalbert Cathedral. The year has brought many state, municipal, ecclesiastic, educational and private initiatives.
Published: 18. 11. 2011 14:06

On November 12, 2011, the Czech Catholic Church celebrated the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Agnes of Bohemia with a telecasted solemn divine service at 10 a.m. from Ss. Wenceslas, Vitus and Adalbert Cathedral in Prague. The Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner presided over the service, concelebrated by Czech and Moravian bishops and the Apostolic Nuncio to the Czech Republic, as a Papal Legate who represents the Pope himself. The service marked the culmination of the national celebrations that took different forms during 2011, the Year of St. Agnes of Bohemia.

Canonized 22 years ago on November 12, 1989, the Czech Princess St. Agnes of Bohemia is one of the most important saints of both the early and contemporary history of the Czech Republic. Fulfilling a prophecy of setting the nation free, her canonization marked the end of the communist regime. She was to marry the Holy Roman Emperor in the 13th century but instead, she chose the life of Holy Orders, established a monastery and took care of the sick and poor in her country.

During the mass, Memmorial Medals were bestowed upon distinguished workers of Charitas Czech Republic who follow the saint in the vocation of charitable work. After the mass, the Papal Legate met representatives of Christian media and talked about his relationship to the saint and his experience from her canonization. "As I was walking down the middle of the St. Peter Basilica, there were many bishops and priests on both sides ready to concelebrate in their ornates. I was able to recognize some of those I had ordained secretly who now wore their habits. I stopped by them and asked:'Dear God, what are you doing here? They will arrest you when you come back home!' They answered triuphantly: 'We are not going back in the catacombs. When we come home, we will do it publically as the priests of God. We all know that when Agnes of Bohemia has been canonized, better times will start for our nation.'"

Even 22 years afterwards, the figure of St. Agnes of Bohemia has inspired various activities including nationwide planting of memmorial lime-trees in her honour, numerous expositions and countless lectures on her historical and spiritual significance. In this respect, the Year of St. Agnes of Bohemia is yet to culminate on November 22 - 24, 2011, in an international scientific conference entitled "St. Agnes and Great Women of Her Time," which will take place at the Faculty of Catholic Theology of the Charles University in Prague. The conference will commence at 10 a.m. on November 22 with introductory speeches of the Archbishop of Prague and President of the Czech Bishops' Conference, Dominik Duka OP, the Dean of the Faculty of Catholic Theology Prokop Brož and the Rector of the Charles University, prof. Václav Hampl.