(Austria) A pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Clement Hofbauer took place from 26th to 30th August. St. Clement is a Redemptorist who is often called the “Second Founder” of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, which was founded by St. Alphonsus de Liguori in Italy. That is why he was called the “second”, because he took the Congregation outside the Alps.
Altogether 26 members took part in the pilgrimage, mainly clerical brothers, together with several educators and formators. The participants were from the provinces of Warsaw, Vietnam, London, Madrid, Lviv and Bratislava-Prague.
It was an extremely busy schedule. During our travels, we had the opportunity to pray in different languages and rites, get to know each other, learn a little about our provinces and formation structures. We have heard stories of Redemptorist working in other parts of Europe and the world. Therefore, it was an interesting time together which enriched everyone.
Day 1 (Monday)
On the first day, after breakfast, we set off with our brothers from Ukraine by bus from Tuchów towards Bratislava. We arrived in the Slovak capital late in the afternoon, where we met the rest of the confreres taking part in the pilgrimage. In the evening, a Holy Mass was celebrated in the Slovak language. During the mass, Father Vaclav Hypius CSsR, provincial of the Bratislava-Prague Province, preached the homily. Apart from the kindness and hospitality of the Slovak confreres, we were also sad to hear about the death of the former vice-provincial of the Bratislava Vice-Province, Father Jan Janok CSsR. We prayed for the departed soul of Fr. Jan during the Holy Mass. In the evening, we could visit the beautiful city.
Early in the morning, we went to Vienna, a place related to the work of St. Clement Hofbauer. In the beginning, we came to Maria am Gestade, where the Redemptorists live and work now. We were all welcomed in a spirit of brotherhood and hospitality. We celebrated a Holy Mass at the shrine where the relics of St. Clement kept. Father Dominik O’Toole CSsR, the local priest of English-speaking group and vicar of the rector, celebrated the Mass and gave the homily. We visited the local museum and climbed the top of the church tower, and thus we could see the beautiful scenery of the City of Austria. Going out to the city, we could see places related to St. Clement. It was: the old Town Hall, the chapel of the Holy Savior, the Czech parliament, the cathedral of St. Szczepan. The old university, where Clement did his studies. The bakery near Żelazna Grusza, where he worked. The church of St. Ursula, the Franciscan church, the house of the maids of Mauhl, which allowed Clement to fulfil his dream of becoming a priest, and the church of Minorites, in which St. Clement celebrated his last mass before his death. In the afternoon we returned to Bratislava. We had a lovely walk around the city in the evening.
Day 3 (Wednesday)
On Wednesday, we went to the Czech Republic to visit the birthplace of St. Clement called Tasovice. At the place of his family home, there is a church now, where we celebrated the Holy Mass in the Czech language. Father Jan Sokólski CSsR, the parish priest was the main celebrant who also gave a short homily during the Mass. Then we went to nearby Znojmo, where St. Clement worked in a bakery and learned the trade. We also visited the Norbertine Monastery where St. Clement learnt the Latin language. This charming town was one of the most beautiful places during our visit.
Then after dinner, we went to Krakow. After our arrival, the brothers welcomed us with an open heart. In the evening we went on foot to visit Krakow, the former capital of Poland.
Day 4 (Thursday)
The two most important points on the fourth day of our pilgrimage were Warsaw, the church of St. Benon, where St. Clement worked, and Jasna Góra, the polish national sanctuary. We left early in the morning for St. Benon. We celebrated the Holy Mass in polish language, in the church where St. Clement ministered. Father Dariusz Paszyński CSsR, the vice-provincial of the Warsaw Province of Redemptorists, celebrated the mass and preached for us. Later, we heard about the history of the church of St. Benon and a short visit to Warsaw. Then we set off towards Jasna Góra to visit the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa. Our community took part in the Jasna Góra appeal and had the opportunity to meet with Archbishop Wacław Depo, metropolitan of Częstochowa, who conferred on God’s blessing on us as pilgrims. Then we returned to Krakow late at night.
It was the last day of our pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Clement Hofbauer. It was officially concluded with a Holy Mass in the Greek rite prepared by our confreres from Ukraine. Father Taras Kchik CSsR, the prefect of the students of the Lviv Province, was the main celebrant.
In the end, we took a group photo and thanked each other for the time together.
We thank God for the life and example of St. Clement Hofbauer, who teaches us not only how to be a committed Redemptorist, but also to be a holy Redemptorist.
Br. Marcin Wojdan CSsR.
Translation from the Polish language by Br. Norbert Żukliński CSsR.