83rd plenary assembly of the Czech Bishops’ Conference ended
Prague (CZ): On the eve of the 83rd plenary of the Czech Bishops’ Conference on January 24, bishops took part in the ecumenical worship celebration in the church of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in Prague-Vinohrady, which took place within the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.The ecumenical service was led by the representatives of churches united in the Ecumenical Council of Churches (ECC) in the Czech Republic. Prague Archbishop and president of the Czech Bishops´ Conference Mons. Dominik Duka OP delivered a homily.
The first plenary meeting of the Czech Bishops' Conference in 2011 (January 25 – 26) took place in the Augustine monastery at Malá Strana in Prague. Prague auxiliary bishop Karel Herbst opened the assembly by a meditation on the topic "Jesus a demanding teacher". As it has become a good habit at the beginning of the plenary Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Diego Causero came to the meeting to address bishops. In his short speech he thanked bishops for their activities a mentioned society and media reception of the life of church. In the broader context he spoke about the challenges the Church in the Czech Republic awaits. In the context of his words a discussion among bishops about the current situation in the Czech society, the need of reforms of health service, of pension ordering as well as of other areas developed. Bishops formulated their position in the attached statement.
Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka OP then briefly informed bishops about the situation of the Church in today's society. At the beginning he mentioned several important topics for the universal Church which are followed by Holy Father: situation in China and role of this country in the international politics, dialog of the Catholic and Orthodox Church, dialog with Islam or the question of persecution of Christians so burning in the past weeks. In the Czech Republic according to the president of the Czech Bishops´ Conference the atmosphere of openness persists. From the inter-church perspective he considers as important to concentrate on the development of faculties of theology and on the education of catechism at schools. As very positive he regards the interest of the public for the three-year long pastoral preparation for the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Ss Cyril and Methodius to Great Moravia. In its framework further important jubilees are remembered, as for example this year the 800th anniversary of the birth of St Agnes. Archbishop Duka also stated a revival of interest for sacred (church) monuments in the tourism branch.
Bishops were informed about the budget proposal of the Czech Bishops´ Conference for the year 2011 and also about the perspectives connected with negotiations about the property arrangements. They were acquainted with activities of six commissions and of seven council of the Czech Bishops´ Conference in the year 2010.
At the end of the first meeting day, on the feast of Conversion of St Paul, bishops celebrated Holy Mass in the Church of Our Lady of the Snow in Prague. Presiding over the celebration was Archbishop Jan Graubner from Olomouc. Jiří Paďour, bishop of České Budějovice delvered a homily about the Apostle of the Nations. After the Holy Mass bishops had the opportunity to visit an exhibition that commemorates this year 400th anniversary of the martyr´s death of 14 Franciscans
The second day bishops began with a Holy Mass in St Barbara Chapel in the premises of the Augustine monastery. Bishop František Radkovský was the main celebrant, the auxiliary bishop of Olomouc Josef Hrdlička in his homily developed the keynote „The heavenly kingdom approached“, which can be most vividly lived during the Eucharistic celebration. After that bishops continued in their assembly. Beside others they spoke about the pastoral preparation for the year 2013 and their participation together with faithful at the beatification of Pope John Paul II. in Rome on Mai 1, 2011. They also supported the initiative of restoring memory of P. Prof. Alois Musil, important Arabist and Orientalist.