Farewell to everyone...
Photo: Dominik David / Člověk a víra
Presiding over the Requiem mass was Cardinal Dominik Duka OP, Archbishop of Prague; Bishop František Radkovský, Emeritus of Plzeň, delivered a homily, and Archbishop Jan Graubner of Olomouc led the funeral ceremony.
In his opening words, Cardinal Duka recalled the efforts of Cardinal Vlk in renewing the Church after the Velvet Revolution of 1989 as well as his work in building the archbishop's curia, promoting the interreligious dialogue, opening church schools and laying the foundations of the archdiocesan Charity. "We bid farewell to the archbishop of Prague, successor of Cardinal Tomášek, who was assigned with the mission of construction the building of the Church in the free, sovereign and democratic state," underlined Dominik Duka.
Bishop Radkovský spoke in his homily about the life of the deceased cardinal under the communist oppression and about "it may be called a mystery" of his lifelong decision for God and his desire to become a priests that had guided him "again and again" until his death. It also meant that Cardinal Vlk had relentlessly strived to seek and fulfill God's will, said Bishop Radkovský.
Archbishop Graubner focused in his speech during the funeral ceremony on the moments of sadness, inviting people to thank Miloslav Vlk silently for everything that was important for them and not forgetting the hope that overcomes death.
Some four thousand people attended the ceremony, among them all the diocesan bishops from the Czech Republic, several auxiliary bishops, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza and representatives of religious orders and church movements.
Bishops' conferences of neighboring countries and the Work of Mary - Focolare Movement were represented by Archbishop Stanislav Zvolenský of Bratislava, Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Emeritus of Cologne, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, Emeritus of Krakow, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn OP, Emeritus of Vienna, Cardinal Josip Bozanić of Zagreb, and Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg. Among the guests were also president of the Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic Daniel Fajfr, Czech ministers Pavel Bělobrádek, Daniel Herman, Marian Jurečka and Karla Šlechtová, representatives of the Army of the Czech Republic - chief of the general staff Josef Bečvář and main chaplain Father Jaroslav Knichal, and rector emeritus of the Charles University of Prague Ivan Wilhelm.
"I bid farewell to everyone and look forward to meet you again," wrote Cardinal Miloslav Vlk in his last will. He died on 18th March 2017, aged 84.
(Transl.: Jiří Gračka)