Short information about lastest events in the Czech Church
The Czech Church strives to respond to the call of Pope Francis, go out of churches and open to others. Several large evangelization events were therefore organized: the “Night of Churches” on 29th May 2015 opened more than 1400 churches, chapels, and meeting houses and offered cultural as well as spiritual program to some 450 thousand visitors; the “Days of Faith” on 30th May – 6th June 2015 in Prague, a festival presenting the life of the Church through lectures, concerts, art, personal meetings, prayers etc.; the “Night of Nicodemus”, organized throughout the year in various places to offer people a possibility of encountering Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist; “Days of People of Good Will” on 4th – 5th July 2014, event for people interested in the legacy of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in the place of pilgrimage Velehrad, a series of exhibitions, concerts, workshops, and other activities for all people. On 28th May – 1st June 2014, the 99th Catholic Days (“Katholikentag”) took place in Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany; this time, some Czech dioceses were present with their information stalls. Every year around the Three Kings’ feast (6th January), a large charitable collection takes place throughout the Czech Republic: volunteers dressed as “three kings” go house to house asking for a contribution to people in need; this year, they collected the largest amount so far, 89.2 million Czech crowns (approximately 3.3 million euro).
The Czech Republic has hosted several significant international meetings this year. Tens of thousands of young people from the entire Europe met from 29th December 2014 to 2nd January 2015 at the “Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth”, organized by the Taizé Community. On 4th – 7th June 2015, bishops of eastern Catholic churches met in Prague (CCEE) and on 17th – 20th June 2015, meetings of press spokesmen and of general secretaries of European Catholic bishops’ conferences (partly joint into one meeting) took place in Prague (CCEE).
Msgr. Vlastimil Kročil has become 13th bishop of České Budějovice; he was ordained on 13th June 2015 and is the first Czech bishop appointed by Pope Francis.
National Eucharistic Congress
The Czech Bishops’ Conference decided to organize the first National Eucharistic Congress since the creation of the Czech Republic in 1993. Dioceses and parishes are now preparing for the event that will culminate with the national symposium in Brno on 15th – 17th October 2015.
In May 2015, the Czech Republic celebrated the 20th anniversary of the canonization of Zdislava of Lemberk, main patron saint of the diocese of Litoměřice and protector of families.
The Partial Property Settlement Procedure
Since the beginning of 2014, the Czech Catholic Church has started a new model of financing. Property confiscated by the communist regime after 1948 is being given back and the Church also receives a compensation for the property that cannot be restituted. With this income, the Church begins to finance its activities and even starts new projects (e. g. accommodation for students or people in need); at the same time, the amount given by the State to pay priests and pastoral assistants is being decreased constantly. At the end of the procedure, the churches in the Czech Republic will finance themselves on their own. Consequently, the Church tries to discuss a “cooperative model” with the State in areas such as education, charity, humanitarian help, health and social service.
The 600th Anniversary of the Death of John Hus
In 2015, many events take place to commemorate the 600 years since the death of John Hus, Catholic priest and religious reformer. Christian churches organized ecumenical services in June and July aimed at reconciliation with God and with each other as well as at asking for forgiveness, so that “John Hus and his tragic death never divide us again,” as the representatives of Czech churches wrote in a common letter. On the occasion of the Hus’ anniversary, the Czech delegation was received by Pope Francis on 15th June 215. The Holy Father expressed his sorrow for the cruel death of Czech preacher and mentioned that for the Church, John Hus became a motive to dialog. “In our conscience, there must be present the plea for forgiveness for the history of our family, for every occasion of killing in the name of God,” said Pope Francis during a recent meeting with priests (12th June 2015).
The 70th Anniversary of the End of World War II
The Czech Church commemorated the anniversary of the World War II on various occasions and in various forms, most often by praying for the victims and for the healing of past sorrows as well as giving thanks for 70 years of peace in Europe that followed the war. Bishops of the Czech Republic found inspiration in the program of commemoration in the Archdiocese of Olomouc and appealed to prayers for the above-mentioned intentions, organized commemorative events, and ordered that bells sound.
Rehabilitation of Injustice Done by Communist Regime
In 2013, the beatification process started for a Czech priest Josef Toufar, who was accused to have performed the so-called “Číhošť miracle” and tortured to death by the communist regime. His body was exhumed in 2014 and his identity confirmed; it is thus possible to bury his remains in a dignified way in July 2015 – to honour the memory of Josef Toufar after 65 years in the way he deserves.
(transl.: Jiří Gračka)