Bishops: We feel that solidarity is urgently needed

Reflection on current situation in the society, evaluation of past events, and presentation of planned activities: these were the crucial parts of the plenary meeting, attended by the members of the Czech Bishops’ Conference (CBC) in Velehrad on 3rd–4th July 2015. Bishops also celebrated the mass in a new church in Staré Město, presented a statement of the CBC and the leaders of the ecumenical council of churches on migrants, and introduced a new website that helps people to find a mass.
Published: 5. 7. 2015 3:28

Velehrad: Cardinal Dominik Duka, president of the CBC, presented the current situation in the Church and in the world. He offered an especially positive evaluation of the “Days of Faith” that had taken place on 30th May – 6th June in Prague. “However, this event cannot be reduced to the capital only, as many people from all over the country and abroad study and work in the city and many tourists can be met here as well,” said Cardinal Duka and pointed out that unlike the preceding “Night of Churches”, the “Days of Faith” required the organizers to go out of churches and address people in the streets. The effort to provide opportunities for meeting with priests and the lay faithful was the main intention of the event. “Some 350 programs were offered to some 350 thousand participants,” said Cardinal Duka and added that bishops would like to organize a similar event on a national level.

Archbishop Jan Graubner, vice-president of the bishops’ conference, presented plans for the Jubilee Year of Mercy that will be celebrated worldwide from 8th December 2015 to 20th November 2016. “Among other activities, we plan a national pilgrimage to Cracow, to the shrine of the divine mercy. Throughout the year, the stress will be laid on reconciliation in long-lasting conflicts of personal life,” said the archbishop of Olomouc. Bishops also plan to issue a common pastoral letter for the jubilee year and include the theme “Mercy and the Sacrament of Penance” in the program of priests’ days.

The World Youth Day to be celebrated in July 2016 in Cracow and a national youth day planned to be held in summer 2017 in Olomouc were also presented during the plenary. “The meeting in Cracow could be attended by five to eight thousand young people from the Czech Republic next year,” said Msgr. Tomáš Holub, secretary general of the Czech Bishops’ Conference. He also called attention to two prepared books: the Czech translation of the latest encyclical of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, will be published in September 2015 in the Paulínky publishing house; on Easter 2016, the “Martyrology of the Czech Catholic Church in the Twentieth Century” will be published by the Czech Christian Academy.

On 4th July, a new internet application bohosluzby.cirkev.cz (b.cirkev.cz) was presented to the public as a beta version; it allows people to find the place and time of the nearest mass within the Czech Republic and can be of a great use in the beginning of a holiday season.

During the plenary, a common statement of the Czech Bishops’ Conference and the Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic on migration was also released. “We feel that solidarity is urgently needed with victims of war and religious hatred, but at the same time we see fears of our society from receiving migrants in Europe,” representatives of both institutions state and appeal on the Czech government to take a firm stand on the issue. At the same time, the churches are ready to follow the governmental decision with actively offered help and within the cooperative relations with the State, they would call on parishes and congregations to “receive families of Christian migrants after the agreement with local authorities and with the help of local charity and diakonia facilities.” By offering an active help, the churches wish to create a space for enrichment of our society. “However, the first step must be done by the government,” said secretary general Msgr. Holub. (Full text of the statement is here)

Author:
František Jemelka

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