On Sunday, 9 July, the month of preparation for perpetual vows for the Conference of Europe began in our community of Svatá Hora. Five students are participating in this month of preparation and spiritual renewal: Pavel Hudousek (Province of Bratislava-Prague), Fabrizio Podda and Gianluigi Colucci (Province of Rome), Bohdan Krytovych and Bohdan Khrushch (Province of Lviv). The Course is under the guidance of Br Lukáš Michalovič (Province of Bratislava-Prague).
During this time of spiritual renewal, there are daily lectures given by various confreres from different nations and Provinces, dealing with different topics of spirituality, biblical theology, history of the Congregation, psychology, theology of consecrated life and the Constitutions. Among the brethren giving lectures are Fr. Alfonso Amarante (President of the Alphonsian Academy, and recently named the Rector of the Lateran University), Fr. Johannes Römelt (Coordinator of the CRE), Fr. Jozef Mihok (Provincial of Bratislava-Prague), Fr. Adam Owczarski (Director of the Historical Institute), Fr. Piotr Chyla (Director of the Centre for Spirituality) and Fr. Stanislav Přibyl (Secretary of the Czech Bishops’ Conference). In addition to them, other confreres from the Bratislava-Prague Province also contributed with some lectures: Fr Václav Hypius, Fr Ján Andrejov, Fr Martin Macko, Fr Petr Beneš, Fr Marcel Kovaľ, Fr David Horáček and Fr Milan Haluš. Dr. Jana Bieščad, a psychologist, reflected on some important psychological aspects of consecrated life. Two lay people, Radoslav and Jana, from our parish in Banská Bystrica (Slovakia), reported on their experience of missionary collaboration with the Redemptorists. The brothers also made themselves available to celebrate the Eucharist and preside over the various moments of prayer, which were held alternately in three languages: Czech, Italian and Ukrainian.
The month of preparation is in our Svatá Hora community in Příbram, Bohemia. The Redemptorist community, today composed of four brothers, pastorally cares for this important Marian Shrine, which houses the miraculous statue of Our Lady of the Holy Mountain, which is still much venerated by the Bohemian people. The ancient church, rebuilt and enlarged at the end of the 17th century, formerly held by the Jesuits, was handed over to our Congregation in 1861 and was declared a Basilica by St. Pius X in 1905. In 1914, at the height of the First World War, the Redemptorists of Svatá Hora took charge of the spiritual care and material support of hundreds of Italian refugees who had been forced to take refuge in Bohemia due to the world conflict.
During this time of renewal, in addition to the daily moments of prayer and fraternal life, we had the opportunity to participate in three important moments. First of all, we visited Prague with the student brothers of the Collegio Maggiore of Rome, who had come to the Czech Republic for the pilgrimage in the footsteps of St Clement. Then we visited the birthplace of St John Neumann in Prachatice: here we participated in the Eucharist and visited the House, welcomed with joy by the Sisters of St Charles Borromeo, who look after the structure. Lastly, we saw both the Church of St. Joseph in Obořiště and the Shrine of St. Anne in Planá, which were the sites of two of our communities before they were closed due to the communist regime. This second community was founded by the brethren of the then German-speaking Karlsbad Province for the spiritual care of the numerous German-speaking Catholics living in that region who were expelled from Czechoslovakia after the Second World War. After the fall of communism, a pilgrimage was organised annually on the feast of St Anne, and this year, we had the joy of participating. Thus, we participated in the solemn Holy Mass presided over by Fr František Boldy, Provincial Vicar, and preached by Fr Martin Macko.
Therefore, this month is drawing to a close, and we ask everyone to remember in prayer five confreres from different Units, nations and languages of Europe, who will soon consecrate our lives to the Lord forever in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.
Gianluigi Colucci CSsR