Velehrad Heard Prayers of Six Hundred Priests. They Met There after 28 Years

18. 4. 2013

Hundreds of priests, bishops and deacons from the whole country attended the national pilgrimage. "It is an extraordinary event," stated Fr. Petr Bulvas from the Archbishopric of Olomouc. On Tuesday, there were six hundreds of them at a festive holy mass, which was celebrated by the Archbishop of Olomouc, Jan Graubner. Cardinal Dominik Duka said the homily.

"We do not meet all together. Some of us do attend the Cyrillo-Methodian pilgrimage but most of us are seeing one another after many years," Bulvas explained the event. This time, the extraordinary event picked up the threads of the traditional days of priests, which are organized at Velehrad every year but which are attended regularly only by Moravian priests.

This year's pilgrimage precedes the spectacular celebrations of the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius to Moravia. These will take place at Velehrad, as usual, at the beginning of July. Priests from the whole Czech Republic began to stream into Velehrad on Tuesday, and they will gradually leave the place of pilgrimage on Wednesday. In 1985, the pilgrimage preceded a mass gathering.

The basilica and its surroundings have a great importance for the clergy. For the last time, they met at that place twenty eight years ago - thus, during the totalitarian regime. Precisely, it was on Wednesday April 10th, to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of Saint Methodius' death. "Even though the pilgrimage took place on a weekday, it was attended by more than ten thousand people," Bulvas pointed out. At that time, Cardinal František Tomášek read the message of Pope John Paul II. He asked priests not to succumb to fear and helplessness, to follow the example of Methodius and to refuse any engagement in activities against the regime.

"This pilgrimage preceded a mass pilgrimage in summer of that year," Bulvas reminded of the importance of Velehrad as a place of pilgrimage. This time, priests commemorated also another significant personality, Cardinal Tomáš Špidlík. The most important Czech theologian living abroad. He died in Rome three years ago and is buried in the Velehrad basilica. That is why the priests could also listen to a lecture delivered by Mark Rupnik, Director of the Roman Alleti Center, because Cardinal Špidlík was a member of the center as well.

The three-day program for priests offered a number of lectures dealing with e.g. liturgy, ethical issues often encountered by priests, as well as topical themes like, for example, restitutions. However, the priests did not spend their unique meeting only discussing. They also viewed a play performed by a theatre from Brno, they listened to an organ concert in the basilica and viewed a movie.


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  • Here are our roots.

    (Blessed John Paul II, 22nd April 1990, Velehrad)

    They wanted to become part of those nations and to share their destiny in everything. Here, in this place, at Velehrad, in Moravia, we can feel the historical legacy of the kingdom in a peculiar way – we can feel even those who became its keepers and guardians.

    (Blessed John Paul II)

  • For us, people of the present age, their apostolate contains even the elocution of the ecumenical appeal, i.e. to build unity again, in a peaceful reconciliation, which later after their deaths was heavily damaged, and in the first place the unity between the East and the West.

    (Blessed John Paul II)

  • Their work is also a very important contribution to the growth of the common Christian roots of Europe, which by their firmness and viability create one of the main contact points, which must be respected by every serious attempt at reunification of our continent in a new and topical way.

    (Blessed John Paul II)

  • The story of both brothers, Cyril and Methodius, is a distinct example of unity.

    Saints Cyril and Methodius contributed, to a great extent, to the building of Europe, not only regarding its Christian religious community but also concerning its civil and cultural unity.

    (Blessed John Paul II)

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