79th plenary meeting of Czech bishops ended
Prague: On the eve of the plenary – Jan 18, memory of Mary Mother of Christian Unity and beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, bishops took part in the ecumenical service in the St Thomas' church in Prague. The event was presided by Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague; President of the Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic Joel Ruml delivered a homily.
The first meeting of the Czech Bishops' Conference in 2010 took place on Jan 19-20 at the Capuchin convent in Loreta, Prague. It was opened by a meditation by Bishop Pavel Posad, auxiliary of Ceske Budejovice. He dwelt on the topic of Mary Mother of Unity in the context of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. "The Church calls us today to take into heart and strive for unity among brothers from different Christian churches. This is necessary to fulfill the task given to us by our Lord. (…) Mary is a Mother of Unity, because she is in the midst of the praying people that come to meet Jesus," said Bishop Posad.
Bishop Dominik Duka of Hradec Kralove briefly informed bishops about the situation of the Church in today's society. He again mentioned the papal visit to the Czech Republic and its appreciation by the Holy Father during his 2009 evaluation.
Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Diego Causero came to address bishops at the beginning of their meeting with his wise and father-like words.
During their session, bishops approved a pastoral preparation to 2013, the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Ss Cyril and Methodius to Great Moravia. This year will be dedicated to the Word of God, following years subsequently to Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
For the Lenten time, beginning on the Ash Wednesday, Feb 17, bishops gave their support to the project of the Caritas Czech Republic – Lenten Alms, greatly appreciated last year in the Archdiocese of Olomouc and the Diocese of Brno. The alms strengthen us in resolution to give up something and help the needy with an appropriate amount. In every parish, the project is realized with regard to a specific aim.
Ms Kvetoslava Jakubalova, since Jan 1, 2010 chief chaplain of the Prison Pastoral Care, presented the current situation and plans for development.
Bishops agreed that Dr Petr Hach, head of the Institute of Histology and Embryology at the First Faculty of Medicine of the Charles University in Prague, represent the Czech Bishops' Conference in the expert group on bioethics, established by the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE).
The plenary meeting got acquainted with activities of 6 commissions and 17 councils in 2009.
Closing the first meeting day, bishops celebrated the Mass in the St Wenceslaus' chapel of the Prague cathedral for victims of the Haiti earthquake. Presiding over the celebration was Archbishop Jan Graubner, who expressed his thanks to all who "opened their hearts and wallets" to help the people of Haiti. He also underlined the importance of prayer. In his homily, Bishop Jiri Padour of Ceske Budejovice mentioned some natural disasters in the Bible and their significance. He said the substantial thing was compassion and as long as we can feel it, our civilization is not so bad. He also mentioned that the answer for the question of many – why does God allow such a suffering – is hidden in the cross of Jesus.
President of the Czech Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Jan Graubner of Olomouc, and Bishop Dominik Duka of Hradec Kralove met President of the Senate Premysl Sobotka and President of the Chamber of Deputies Miloslav Vlcek. It was an opportunity to meet at the beginning of a new year. "We spoke about the significance of family for the society and the necessity to support this society's healthy foundation. We also expressed our thanks to both politicians for their help during the papal visit to our country," said Archbishop Graubner. The bishops gave to politicians a book with photos and Holy Father's speeches in the Czech Republic and also the "White Book of the Church" about the situation of the Church in the last 20 years, written by Bishop Dominik Duka and Father Milan Badal.