Thousands celebrated Czech national patron saint Wenceslaus

29. 09. 2017
During the mass that took place in Stará Boleslav, where St. Wenceslaus had been killed in the 10th century, thousands of pilgrims celebrated on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, the feast of this saint, venerated as a patron saint of the Czech nation. In the end of the liturgy, three awards of Pope Francis and one of the Czech Bishops’ Conference were conferred.

The mass was attended by several bishops of the Czech Republic and Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza as well as by several representatives of the political sphere. Presiding over the liturgy was Bishop František Václav Lobkowicz, O.Praem. of Ostrava-Opava, and Cardinal Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague, delivered a homily.

He stressed that the tradition of St. Wenceslaus is important not only for the Church but for the society as well. “In the ancient hymn to Saint Wenceslaus we sing of the nation, not only of the Catholics,” said Cardinal Duka and continued: “We Catholics are a part of the nation, of the society. (…) It is our duty to be heard, to assess critically and to participate in the life of this country.

The archbishop of Prague then called upon the faithful to take an active part in the elections. “Our hope is that the elections help to support the silenced majority. (…) It is high time that we start acting responsibly, although we still would be confronted with bad laws and irresponsibility,” he stated and stressed the necessity of courage to be responsible.

Saint Wenceslaus (…) loved our country, our continent, the old Europe. Men and women who loved their country, their nation, established the identity of our continent that lives with the richness of many nations, languages and cultures united by common values, and they were willing to offer their lives for these values. (…) The ideals of truth, love and respect for the neighbour can be fulfilled only in freedom. Let’s defend it!” said Cardinal Duka closing his homily.

At the end of the mass, three people received awards of honour conferred to them by Pope Francis and the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy of St. Borromeo received the Commemorative Medal of the Czech Bishops’ Conference.

Karel Štícha, property management director at the Archdiocese of Prague and Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great, has been promoted by Pope Francis to the grade of Knight Commander of the order. It is a sign of gratitude for his selfless personal effort and great merit in the area of the material welfare of the Church.

Miloš Blažek, university teacher, Scout and former prisoner of the communist regime, has been appointed by Pope Francis as Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great for his personal efforts, bravery and long-time merit in the education of young people in the ideals of the Scout movement. Mr. Blažek organized meetings of his Scout troop secretly under the communist regime, when all such activities were prohibited, and was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for that.

Radim Ucháč, president of the “Hnutí pro život” – a Czech pro-life movement – and father of six, has been appointed by Pope Francis as Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Sylvester for his selfless personal efforts and bravery in the struggle for the protection of the traditional family and of the life from conception to natural death.

The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy of St. Borromeo has been awarded the Commemorative Medal of the Czech Bishops’ Conference as a sign of gratitude for the 180 years of their unselfish service of mercy to all people in need. The sisters came to Prague from France on Sept. 28, 1837, to witness of the mercy of God and to bring hope to people through their service. Today there are 132 Borromeo sisters in the Czech Republic and they take care of the sick in their hospital in Prague, they established two homes for the elderly in Prague and in Moravské Budějovice and are also active in Město Albrechtice, Frýdek-Místek, Ostrava and Prachatice, in Nitra (Slovakia) and in Rome.

Author: Jiří Gračka