Anniversaries of important personalities

Anniversaries of important personalities

On Saturday, April 6, 2024, it was exactly 50 years since the death of the great Salesian witness of faith, Cardinal Štěpán Trochta SDB, who died as a result of the last of his many interrogations at the StB. This prisoner of Nazism and Communism was a personal friend of the future Pope John Paul II. His native people from Francova Lhota in the czech region Wallachia, cherishing the legacy of his life, initiated the celebration of the Holy Mass on the anniversary of his death in all the places where he lived and worked - and therefore also in Rome. They asked P. Jaromír Zádrapa, a native of neighbouring village Lidečko, to do so. He decided to celebrate it in the chapel of our Pilgrimage House, which is a "piece of Czech land" in Rome, of which he is the former director. We were very happy to remember the great bishop together with him.
At the end of April, on 23rd April, Velehrad commemorated the 100th anniversary of the birth of P. Vojtěch Hrubý SDB, a confrere of Cardinal Trochta and a great figure of the Velehrad Pilgrimage House. He selflessly served the pilgrims for several decades and imprinted himself in the hearts of many of them. He is also the co-author of a publication about Rome in the Czech language, which has not been surpassed so far. In gratitude for his legacy, the sisters visited his grave in Guidonia, near Rome.
The 55th anniversary of the death of Cardinal Joseph Beran, the founder of the Pilgrimage House and the Association Velehrad, falling on May 17, 2024, has given rise to a little more spectacular celebrations here in Rome. A colloquium was held at the Pontifical College Nepomucenum, where he died, on May 15. Contributors included, among others, Cardinal Semeraro, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, and Beran's former secretary, Prof. Karel Skalicky, one of the founding members of the Association Velehrad. Velehrad was very happy to welcome Prof. Skalicky for a short visit the next day.
In connection with the anniversary of the eminent native, representatives of the Pilsen Region visited Rome with Bishop Tomas Holub, who also contributed to the colloquium. On the morning of 16 May, they also came to see the Pilgrimage House Velehrad. Bishop Holub was then the main celebrant of the memorial Holy Mass for Cardinal Beran in Vatican at the tomb of Apostle Peter on 17 May. Just a few steps away, Cardinal Beran was buried until his remains were transferred to Prague in 2018... Both this Mass and the stimulating colloquium in Nepomucenum were held on the initiative and cooperation of the aforementioned College with the Embassy of the Czech Republic to the Holy See and the Pilsen Region - and representatives of the current team of the Pilgrimage House Velehrad were not absent, that rightly considers Cardinal Beran as its spiritual father.

Tasting of blessed beer

Tasting of blessed beer

Pope Leo XIII had beer brought from Pilsen for health reasons at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Following this tradition, the Pilsen brewery sends a special batch of lager to the Holy Father every year around Easter. The beer was blessed by the Bishop of Pilsen, Mons. Tomáš Holub, before the journey. Diplomats working at the Holy See and other guests, at the invitation of the Czech ambassador to the Holy See, Mr. Václav Kolaja, had the opportunity to taste the beer on 9th April 2024. This social event, which is also a kind of presentation of Czech culture every year, has already been held several times on the terrace of our pilgrimage house. The beer was tapped by the emeritus chief brewer of Pilsen, Mr. Václav Berka. Among the guests was present also the cardinal with Czech roots, Michael Czerny.

Easter 2024

Easter 2024

Unlike most of the spring months, the Easter holidays - from Palm Sunday onwards - in Velehrad belonged to families, small groups and individuals. Together with them, we also cellebrated the rites of the Easter Triduum in our chapel - with quite a lot of participation, in a modest, collected atmosphere. Some of our guests had the honor of experiencing one of the cellebrations in the St. Peter's Basilica with Pope Francis, many took the opportunity to celebrate the Holly mass  on Easter Sunday directly on St. Peter's Square with pilgrims from all over the world and then receive the Urbi et Orbi blessing. Pilgrims then take home the precious moments they have experienced…

Christmas time at Velehrad

Christmas time at Velehrad

Christmas time has an unrepeatable charm, thanks to the hope brought by the newborn Child in Bethlehem. This year, this hope was especially needed - after the tragic events in Prague close to Christmas. The team of the Centre Velehrad in Rome joined the prayers and the day of national mourning by making a penitential pilgrimage to Poggio Bustone, where St Francis experienced the forgiveness of his sins from his youth, and to Cascia to St Rita, the patroness in hopeless situations. Even over the "Valle santa" - the Sacred Valley around Rieti - the bell rang, commemorating the victims of the Prague shooting.

The Christmas season also brought with it many beautiful things: as every year, the Slovak carolers sang us some carols. They came not only to cheer their compatriots in Rome and to support the mission in Africa with the proceeds, but also to meet the Holy Father Francis at the New Year's Mass. On the last night of the old year, they also joined in a prayer of thanksgiving  which the guests of the house were invited to. The traditional blessing of the house took place in the evening of the Three Kings' Day, with the powerful singing of carols, ending with a short prayer together in the chapel. Throughout, the atmosphere of the house was enhanced by the simple but eloquent Christmas decorations.

General Meeting 2023

General Meeting 2023

In the week from October 16, 2023, the annual meeting of the ČNS Velehrad General Assembly took place in the premises of the Pilgrimage House. Opening Holy mass was presided over by Prague Auxiliary Bishop Zdenek Wasserbauer, who was participating in the Synod about Synodality in the Vatican for the whole month as a delegate of the Czech Bishops' Conference. The Pilgrimage House Velehrad was happy to provide him with a background in this mission, as well as Mrs. Monica Klimentová, ČBK press secretary.

About twenty members of the ČNS, both from Rome and those living in the Czech Republic or abroad, gathered for the general meeting, others joined online. Together they looked back at the events of the past year, reflected on it, looked to the future and looked for how the Pilgrimage House could fulfill its mission even better. Last but not least, there was space for nice friendly meetings, especially during the Thursday trip to Greccio and Fonte Colombo. Both are places associated with St. Francis of Assisi and this year's 800th anniversary of his first Nativity scene in Greccio and the writing of the Rule in Fonte Colombo. There was also a traditional stop in Frascati. The community of travelers or pilgrims was also enriched by their friends who came to Rome with them.

55 years of Velehrad

55 years of Velehrad

On the day of the celebration of St. Wenceslas, the Velehrad Pilgrimage House celebrated 55 years of its existence. For his half-round birthday, it received as a gift a pilgrimage from the parish of Ostrava-Zábřeh (organized by CK Křížek), which was intensively devoted by the sisters during the entire "birthday" week. The people of Ostrava accompanied their bishop Martin David to the celebration of the pontifical Holy mass  on the occasion of the celebration of the Czech national patron in the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican. This Holy Mass is one of the traditional opportunities for Czech pilgrims and compatriots to meet and is annually sponsored and organized by the Embassy of the Czech Republic at the Holy See in the person of Mr. Ambassador Václav Kolaja. He also invited all present Czech pilgrims to the terrace of our Pilgrimage House for a mini-concert by the Ondrášek Choir from Nový Jičín, which had previously accompanied the Holy Mass, and there was plenty of refreshments. In addition to about a hundred pilgrims from Ostrava, the meeting in a beautiful friendly atmosphere was attended by their Bishop David, the invitation was also accepted by the former nuncio in Prague, Archbishop Leanza, and many of the compatriots living in Rome.

Almost a month later, following the mentioned anniversary of the house, the embassy used the space of the hall at the reception to acquaint family members of diplomats working at the Holy See with the life of the founder of the Pilgrimage House and the great Czech witness of the faith, Cardinal Josef Beran, a candidate for beatification.

June visits

June visits

In the last days of June, the Pilgrimage House welcomed some honoured guests: first, on the 28th June it had the honor to host at the lunch superiorsof all the Czech and Slovak priestly seminaries, who had during these days in Rome a meeting with colleagues from other seminaries and also visited the relevant authorities and the Dicastery.

The following day, the Ex- Apostolic Nuncio in the Czech Republic, currently in Australia, Mons. Charles D. Balvo, accepted an invitation to a friendly dinner.

Tasting of blessed beer

Tasting of blessed beer

A pleasant meeting at the annual tasting of blessed Pilsner beer on the terrace of the Velehrad Pilgrimage House is becoming a lovely tradition. This year, the Embassy of the Czech Republic at the Holy See organized it in the afternoon of April 11. It was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, people in the Vatican services, former nuncio to the Czech Republic, Msgr. Leanza and representatives of the Czech community in Rome. The opening speech and the symbolic tapping of the wooden barrel were done by Mr. Ambassador Václav Kolaj with the help of the most qualified expert, emeritus chief brewer Mr. Berka. The atmosphere in the sunny weather was more than friendly.

Easter in Velehrad

Easter in Velehrad

The Easter triduum, through which we make present and relive the central mystery of faith, i.e. the redemptive suffering, death and resurrection of Christ, had a unique atmosphere in our house this year. A group of Slovak pilgrims led by Msgr. Spišák from the Archdiocese of Košice although was not staying in our house, she celebrated this liturgy here and with us. On Good Friday, the flock of present people was able tohonor the triumph of the cross, on Holy Saturday evening, during the renewal of baptismal vows, the light of the candles lit up the entire reception hall, which was transformed into a chapel, and Easter Alleluia! resounded the whole house... On the Easter feast, most of those present went to the papal Holly mass and the subsequent Urbi et Orbi blessing on the St. Peters-Square.

Early spring in Rome

Early spring in Rome

Already since the beginning of February, nature in Rome begins to bloom slowly, and with it the pilgrimage traffic in our house and in the whole Eternal City is also "blooming". At the beginning of the month, a parish- group from Šumperk traveled with their parish priest Father Slawomir, one of the participants was Mrs. Borisa, the oldest pilgrim in our house (90), who managed the demanding program with amirabile ease. Half of February traditionally belongs to the celebration of the Slavic apostles St. Cyril and Methodius, who are in the Roman Church on the calendar 14.2. This year's solemn Holy mass at the grave of St. Cyril in the Basilica of St. Kliment was organized by the Pontifical Colledge Nepomucenum in the cooperation with the czech ambasador to The Holy See Mr. Kolaja, the main celebrant was the administrator of the Olomouc Archdiocese, Bishop Nuzík. On the last weekend of February, Velehrad made a rare experience - young Dominican sisters from various congregations from all over Europe came together and experienced their formation meeting in the reception hall in the form of a conference with workshops. In March, several school and parish groups from various parts of the Czech and Slovak Republics, eastern and western rites took turns at Velehrad. Spring vacation time brought whole families to us, even grandmothers with grandchildren…