100 years since the arrival of the Redemptorists in Slovakia

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With the presence of Father Pedro Lopez, General Consultor, the celebrations of this Redemptorist Jubilee took place: 100 years since their arrival in Slovakia and the foundation of their first monastery in Stropkov. The three-day celebrations were organised by both Redemptorist Units present in the country – the Province of Bratislava-Praha and the Vice-Province of Michalovce.

It was in Stropkov that the main celebrations of the significant jubilee took place. On Friday evening, the feast was opened with the Divine Liturgy, celebrated by Vice-Provincial Father Metod Marcel Lukačik CSsR, followed by the prayer of praise for one hundred years of Redemptorist presence in Slovakia. The prayer was conducted by Fr. Jozef Kišak and the young people of the parish, and then Fr. Viceprovincial Metod gave a presentation on 100 years of Redemptorists in Slovakia.

On Saturday morning, in the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius, fr. Martin Macko talked about the missions and the presence of the Redemptorists in Slovakia before 1921. Then, Fr. Atanáz Mandzák presented the circumstances of the Redemptorist’s arrival and its apostolate work in Slovakia. Fr. Ruslan Pikh from the Province of Lviv, but now working in Belgium, presented the contribution and collaboration of the Lviv Province and Vice-Province Michalovce in history. Finally, the diocesan priest, Fr. Gabriel Brendza, presented the person of Bishop Augustin Fisher-Colbrie from Košice, who invited Redemptorists and offered him the monastery in Stropkov and the parish of Stropkov, to collaborate with the Redemptorists at the moment of their arrival. In the end, Fr. Gabriel Brendza gave a beautiful testimony about how they remembered the Redemptorists in his family and how he experienced them in his life.

At 5 p.m., they celebrated Holy Mass in the old Redemptorist church. With the Archbishop and Metropolitan of Košice, Bernard Bober also concelebrated Byzantine religious – Archbishop Cyril Vasiľ, Bishop Milan Chautur and Bishop Marian Andrej Pacak, all two Redemptorist bishops in Slovakia and other confreres from both Units. In his homily, Archbishop Bernard Bober presented the history and vocation of the Redemptorists, how they bring the good news to the most abandoned. In the end, the Provincial of Bratislava – Prague, Fr. Václav Hypius, spoke about the importance of this history of one hundred years and the living presence of Redemptorists in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
With the presence of Father Pedro Lopez, General Consultor, the celebrations of this Redemptorist Jubilee took place: 100 years since their arrival in Slovakia and the foundation of their first monastery in Stropkov. The three-day celebrations were organised by both Redemptorist Units present in the country – the Province of Bratislava-Praha and the Vice-Province of Michalovce.

It was in Stropkov that the main celebrations of the significant jubilee took place. On Friday evening, the feast was opened with the Divine Liturgy, celebrated by Vice-Provincial Father Metod Marcel Lukačik CSsR, followed by the prayer of praise for one hundred years of Redemptorist presence in Slovakia. The prayer was led by Fr. Jozef Kišak and the young people of the parish, then Fr. Viceprovincial Metod made the presentation on 100 years of Redemptorists in Slovakia.

On Saturday morning, in the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius, a talk was given on the history of the Redemptorists in Slovakia. Fr. Martin Macko poke about the missions and the presence of the Redemptorists in Slovakia before 1921. Fr. Atanáz Mandzák presented the arrival, the reasons and the first apostolate of the Redemptorists. Fr. Ruslan Pikh from the Province of Lviv, but now working in Belgium, presented the contribution and collaboration of the Province of Lviv Province and Vice-Province Michalovce in history. Finally, the diocesan priest, Fr. Gabriel Brendza, presented the person of Bishop Augustin Fisher-Colbrie from Košice, who invited Redemptorists and offered him the monastery in Stropkov and the parish of Stropkov, to collaborate with the Redemptorists at the moment of their arrival. In the end, Fr. Gabriel Brendza gave a beautiful testimony about how they remembered the Redemptorists in his family and how he experienced them in his life.

At 5 p.m., the Archbishop and Metropolitan of Košice, Bernard Bober, presided over the Holy Mass in the old Redemptorist church. Among the concelebrants were Byzantine religious – Archbishop Cyril Vasiľ, Bishop Milan Chautur and Bishop Marian Andrej Pacak, all two Redemptorist bishops in Slovakia and others confreres from both Units. In his homily, Archbishop Bernard Bober presented the history and vocation of the Redemptorists, how they bring the good news to the most abandoned. In the end, the Provincial of Bratislava – Prague, Fr. Václav Hypius, spoke about the importance of this history of one hundred years and the living presence of Redemptorists in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

On Sunday, the Divine Liturgy at 10.00 a.m. was celebrated in the Redemptorist Church of St. Cyril and Methodius by the three Greek Catholic bishops: Vladyka Marian Andrej Pacák, Vladyka Milan Chautur and Vladyka Peter Rusnák, Bishop of Bratislava, together with other priests and confreres. Redemptorist Bishop Milan Chautur said in his homily that the Redemptorists proclaimed plentiful redemption. They were focused on the essential, saving one’s soul, today; one can say building one’s life with Christ and in Christ, dedicating oneself totally to Him, the Saviour of man.

For this celebration of the Redemptorists in Slovakia, many guests and confreres arrived, from Ukraine Fr. Provincial Andrij Rak, Prefect of Students, Fr. Mykola Turkot, with six students and deacons from Lviv. Also from Poland came Fr. Provincial Janusz Sok and the Rector of the Redemptorist Seminary in Tuchow, Fr. Maciej Sadowski. Also present were the three contemplative Redemptorist Sisters from Vranov and the three missionary Redemptorists from Lviv. There were also many religious priests and lay people from Slovakia who were in contact with the Redemptorists.

During the festive lunch, there was an opportunity to express gratitude for the Redemptorists’ service and wish them well for many years to come.

Currently, the Redemptorist Congregation operates in two separate units: the Province of Bratislava-Prague and the Vice-Province of Michalovce. The Roman Catholic Redemptorists work in Bohemia in Svatá Hora, Frýdek-Místek and Tasovice, and in Slovakia in Bratislava, Kostolná, Banská Bystrica-Radvaň, Podolínec, Gaboltov and in Lithuania in Kaunas. The Province has 53 members, including one archbishop, 42 priests, one permanent deacon, four religious brothers, three students with vows and two novices. The vice-province of Michalovská has 31 members, two bishops, 26 priests, one permanent deacon and two religious brothers. In Slovakia, the Greek-Catholic Redemptorists work in three communities: Michalovce, Stropkov and Stará Ľubovňa, in Ukraine in the Transcarpathian region: Korolevo and Uzhhorod.

On 23 March 2021, the Michalovce vice-province also celebrated the commemoration of the promulgation of the vice-province, which took place in Michalovce on 23 March 1946. Blessed Fr. Metod Trčka was named the first superior of the vice-province. In this jubilee year, the Greek-Catholic Redemptorists commemorate other significant anniversaries: the 110th anniversary of the birth of the servant of God Fr. Ján Ivan Mastiliak CSsR, whose remains are preserved in the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius in Stropkov.

Fr. Metod Lukačik, C.Ss.R.

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