National Pilgrimage to Rome 2010

The end of September marked a year since a significant historical event for the Czech Republic – on September 26-28, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI visited our country for the first time. Following a well-established tradition, bishops of the Czech Republic announced that a pilgrimage to Rome as a sign of gratitude will take place on November 9-11, 2010.
Published: 2. 9. 2010 14:45

Prague: The program of the Holy Father in the Czech Republic was very rich and the visit had a far-reaching impact on our society, said Archbishop Dominik Duka, OP of Prague, president of the Czech Bishops’ Conference, during the last plenary meeting in early July at Velehrad, supported in this opinion by all the bishops of Bohemian and Moravian dioceses.

While the whole of European culture has been profoundly shaped by its Christian heritage, this is especially true in the Czech lands, since it was through the missionary labours of Ss Cyril and Methodius in the ninth century that the old Slavonic language first came to be written down. (…) Throughout its history, this territory at the heart of the continent, at a crossroads between north and south, east and west, has been a meeting-point for different peoples, traditions and cultures. Undeniably this has sometimes led to friction, but in the longer term it has proved to be a fruitful encounter. Hence the significant part played by the Czech lands in Europe’s intellectual, cultural and religious history – sometimes as a battleground, more often as a bridge,” said the Holy Father in his first discourse at the Ruzyně Airport on September 26, 2009 upon his arrival. Two days later at the same place, he said: “As I come to bid farewell, I wish to thank you for your generous hospitality during my short stay in this beautiful country.” All speeches as well as other information about the 2009 papal visit can be found at www.navstevapapeze.cz.

All those who wish to express their gratitude to the Pope for his visit will now be able to participate in a pilgrimage to Rome, the heart of the Catholic Church.

The pilgrimage will start on Tuesday, November 9 in the basilica of Saint Mary Major at 3 pm with a rosary and a mass, celebrated by Archbishop Jan Graubner of Olomouc; he will also deliver a homily.

Pilgrims from the Czech Republic will have an opportunity to thank to the Holy Father on November 10, during the Wednesday General Audience at the St Peter’s Square at 10 am. In the afternoon at 3 pm, bishops of the Czech Republic will celebrate a mass in the basilica of St Peter. Presiding over the liturgy will be Archbishop Dominik Duka of Prague, president of the Czech Bishops’ Conference.

On Thursday, November 11, pilgrims will gather at the basilica of St John Lateran for a mass at 10.30 am. The National Pilgrimage will then be closed at 12.30 pm with the Angelus and the Te Deum at the basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem – this church is a titular basilica of Cardinal Miloslav Vlk. He will preside over the morning mass and also lead the recitation of both the Angelus and the Te Deum.

Appointed as the chief coordinator of the pilgrimage is Father Pavel Dokládal from the Diocese of Hradec Králové.

Irena Sargánková, press spokesperson of the Czech Bishops’ Conference

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