Pilgrims in Velehrad said “Yes” to God and Our Lady
Photo: Člověk a víra
People had the opportunity to celebrate this significant anniversary also by venerating the relic of St. Ludmila, Czech patron saint and grandmother of St. Wenceslaus, in the basilica. The precious item was later transferred to the main altar for the mass. Those present at its celebration, among them representatives of the Ecumenical Council of Churches in the Czech Republic and the Slovak Bishops’ Conference, were addressed by the main celebrant, Cardinal Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague. He underlined that Velehrad is linked not only to the Apostles of Slavs, but also to the above-mentioned St. Ludmila, who had been baptized here by St. Methodius. “To receive baptism means to receive cross, a sign of our Christian civilization,” he added.
In his homily, Archbishop Jan Graubner of Olomouc mentioned several anniversaries from the national history: independence of Czechoslovakia in 1918, communist coup d’état in 1948, Prague Spring and soviet occupation in 1968 or separation of the Czech and Slovak Republics in 1993. While looking back, it is necessary to be grateful and at the same time critical, he said. “We are responsible for the realities that frighten not only by increasing political influence of the descendants of communist dictators,” he stressed and warned against the “new face of the Marxist ideology” that “deprives of freedom, subverts the order and creates hatred,” while casting doubt upon the right to life from conception to natural death, difference between man and woman or right of children to a secure environment based upon faithful marriage of parents.
„Our short-sightedness prevents us from accepting the global warming and taking the actions of responsibility for nature,” he went on and stressed that solutions of all problems lie in searching for the real wisdom, as the one brought to our nation by Sts. Cyril and Methodius. It is from accepting this wisdom and transferring the Gospel to the life that the best fruits for the nation, for families as well as the entire Europe is born, the archbishop added.
Referring to another anniversary, the consecration of the Czech nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1993, Archbishop Graubner said that consecration means entrusting oneself to God through Our Lady and at the same time being at God’s disposal; consecration of all people then means that they are willing to live not only for themselves, but also for Jesus among them to bear witness of him to the world. “This may be the most precious gift for our society that would then cease to be a society without God, but gets a new opportunity to discover God’s wisdom, beauty of the Christian culture and peace full of hope,” concluded Archbishop Graubner his homily.
Following was an act of consecration to Our Lady. “Do you want to live according to the Word of God and transform it to your deeds, as Mary did? Do you want to contribute to elevating our culture by respecting every person?” Cardinal Duka asked the gathering and people answered to each question by their “Yes”. The celebrant then consecrated the Czech nation to Our Lady and through her to God, so that “in us as well as through us, He could build his kingdom of truth, justice, love and peace.”
During the solemn liturgy in front of the Velehrad basilica, several people were awarded by the Czech Bishops’ Conference for the testimony they give to Christ with their lives. The “Order of Sts. Cyril and Methodius” was awarded to painter Bedřiška Znojemská. The “Certificate of Gratitude of the Czech Bishops’ Conference” was awarded to Sister Česlava Talafantová, OP, and to Father Angelik Zdeněk Mička, OP. And the “Commemorative Medals” were awarded to diplomat Pavel Vošalík, to publicists Luděk Navara and Miroslav Kasáček, to Eva and Josef Jelínek for pro-life activities, and to Father Petr Šikula, former rector of the Pontifical College Nepomucenum in Rome.
(Transl.: Jiří Gračka)