Cardinal Duka’s First Official Mass in New Position
Prague: Leading political representatives, such as the Chairwoman of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament, Miroslava Němcová; the Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peak; the Minister of Defence, Alexandr Vondra; representatives of the Office of the President of the Czech Republic; members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of other Christian denominations were present at the first official solemn divine service celebrated by the new Cardinal, Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka OP. The service was introduced by a short address of the Archbishop Emeritus of Prague, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk.
In his homily, Cardinal Duka first thanked Pope Benedict XVI for the advancement into cardinalate. "Being appointed as a cardinal is a joyful and binding moment of my life. I am grateful for every minute of my life as I have got it in its entirety from God who guides me and brings me up." He added that his appointment does not only concern him alone but, of course, the whole Czech Church Province, the country and the whole society.
Next, he talked about the tasks that lie ahead of him in the new position: "I shall lead our diocese so that the Church fulfills its tasks both inwardly and outwardly. I have expressed my decision symbolically through my present to the Holy Father when I brought him the Holy Infant of Prague fashioned out of Czech glass in a modern design. I surely did so to make a remembrance of his visit to Prague, but yet more because of what this little statue represents. It tells us that the Saviour entered this world as a little defenceless child." The second great task Cardinal Duka commits himself to is New Evangelization. As he remarked, it is not a new essence but a new approach, as nowadays, evangelizers speak not only to heathens, but also to those who seek strong anchorage, are wearied, disappointed and skeptical.
He also reminded that February 25 is a commemoration of the onset anniversary of the totalitarian regime which in the Czech Republic assaulted not only the whole society, but also the Gospel as the "opium of the people".
In conclusion, Cardinal Duka said: "I would like us to be inspired by the times that left Prague with its great signs of Christianity: this cathedral, the Charles University and the Charles Bridge, which connected the two Prague towns and replaced an uncertain ford crossing. I would like to contribute to bridging over discords, and solving serious social problems professionally and reasonably, so that we may overcome even this crisis, strong in faith, hope and love, just as our spiritual and national history teaches us."
Apart from Zdeněk Pololáník’s Mass, music by Jiří Strejc, Josef Kšica, Jaroslav Křička, Fr. Josef Olejník and Antonín Dvořák were heard, performed by the Lumír Choir of Brno, Mátl’s Academical Choir Brno, Virtuosi di Mikulov, North-Bohemian Philharmonic Choir of Česká Lípa – Liberec, the Cathdral Choir of Cantores Gradecenses, the Prague Cathedral Choir and the Philharmonic of Hradec Králové. The organ was played by Josef Kšica, the Prague Ss. Vitu Cathedral Choir conductor. Conducted by: Josef Zadina, Hradec Králové Holy Ghost Cathedral conductor.
In conclusion of the service, short greetings were given by the Apostolic Nuncio to the Czech Republic, Msgr. Giuseppe Leanza, the Chairwoman of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament, Miroslava Němcová, and the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Prague, Msgr. Michal Slavík.