Bishops Held and Assembly in Prachatice

On June 16 – 17 2011, the 85th plenary assembly of the Czech Bishops’ Conference (CBC) took place, this time in the South Bohemian town of Prachatice. The bishops accepted the invitation of the Bishop of Budweis, Jiří Paďour, and joined their assembly with the celebration of 200th birth anniversary of St. John Nepomucene Neumann. For the first time, the new Bishop of Hradec Králové, Jan Vokál, was present.
Published: 18. 6. 2011 2:00

Prachatice: The mayor of Prachatice Martin Malý welcomed a special guest, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Cardinal Justin Rigali, who was appointed the Papal Legate for the occasion of St. John Nepomucene Neumann’s birth anniversary celebration, and all the Czech and Moravian bishops at the Prachatice townhall shortly after their arrival. In the afternoon, the bishops opened the first day of the assembly by a spiritual contemplation of the Secretary General of CBC, Ladislav Hučko, the apostolic exarch. The Archbishop of Prague, Dominik Duka, chairman of ČBK, then shortly described the Church’s situation in the Czech society, mentioning the preparations for the jubilee of 1150 years since arrival of the Slavonic missionaries Ss. Cyril and Methodius which is to be celebrated in 2013. He also informed about the Courtyard of the Gentiles, a project by the Holy Father that is to take place in several European countries. In autumn 2012, it will also take place in the Czech Republic in cooperation with the Minister of Culture. The project aims to promote dialogue between believers and non-believers. The Archbishop stressed the importance of good preparation for this event and the necessity to offer to the general public a wide range of topics which could bring about discussions. He also spoke about the relationship between Christianity and Islam and about his meeting with ambassadors of Islamic countries to the Czech Republic which took place in response to the persecution of Christians in these countries.

Next, the election of a new Secretary General of the CBC. Mons. Tomáš Holub, former Vicar General of the Diocese of Hradec Králové, was elected in the ballot. Mons Holub is to take over at the beginning of July 2011, replacing the current Secretary General, Mons. Ladislav Hučko.

Next, Fr. Vít Zatloukal, the head of Youth Section, informed the bishops about the state of affairs in preparations for the World Youth Day in Madrid (WYD). Approximately two thousand youth have registered for the Days in Dioceses, a week’s stay before the beginning of the Madrid program, and more than three thousand are attending the WYD on 16 – 21 August. Then, Mons. Martin Holík reported about the activities of Christian media, Radio Proglas and Noe TV, and their future plans. After the first day session, the bishops left for the Marian place of pilgrimage Lomec u Vodňan where they celebrated a Marian divine service. The chief celebrant was Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia and homily was delivered by Mons. František Radkovský, the Bishop of Plzeň.

On the second day, the bishops continued in the set program with Archbishop Duka’s briefing on the Christion Police Academy, an oecumenical civil society of Christians who work in Police of the Czech Republic and other security units. He also informed the assembly about the activities of the CBC Media Commission, whose chairman he is, stressing the importance of media in carrying out New Evangelization. Then, the Bishop of Brno, Vojtěch Cikrle, presented the activities of CBC Liturgical Commission, the intentions of apostolate of prayer for 2012 and the liturgical veneration of Bd. John Paul II., including the oration to the blessed. The bishops agreed on issuing a children’s lectionary and re-issuing the benedictional. The bishops also warranted the intention to send a request to Vatican for the dessignation of a non-commital commemoration of Bd. John Paul II and Bd. Theresa of Calcuta as well as for highlighting the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China along with Benedikt XVI.’s prayer to Our Lady of She-Shan in the liturgical calendar.

In the next part of the meeting, the Bishop of Plzeň, Msgr. František Radkovský, provided information on the economy of institutions that fall under the sponsorship of CBC. The increase of selling price of the Catholic Weekly (Katolický týdeník) was discussed in view of the increased production costs due to the change of VAT. The bishops decided by vote to increase the selling price as of January 1, 2012 proportionally so as to cover the the increased production costs. In the afternoon, the bishops went to the graveyard of Old Prachatice to lay a bunch of flowers on the grave of St. John Nepomucene Neumann’s parents, Anežka and Filip Neumann, and honour their memory with a short prayer. In the next time segment, the economist of the Prague Archepiscopacy and chair of the Church Expert Commision for the attonement negotiations offered a report on the government proposal of atonement and the possibilities of Church restitutions. In the close of the second day of the plenary assembly, the bishops celebrated a divine service in the chapel of the birth house of St. John Nepomucene Neumann in Prachatice. The service was lead by Cardinal Rigali, the Bishop of Budweis, Jiří Paďour gave a homily.

On Saturday, June 18, 2011 the bishops celebrated a solemn divine service of the National Pilgrimage in Honour of St. John Nepomucene Neumann, which was presided over by the saint’s successor in office, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali, Papal Legate for the celebration.

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