Convert a Building into a Monastery in the Czech Republic
Will you give to help complete the work to convert a building into a monastery in the Czech Republic, helping to bring faith back to this formerly communist country? Thank you for any help you can give.
On May 17, 2017, Cardinal Miloslav Kardinal Vlk, the
former Archbishop of Prague, would have celebrated his 85th birthday. He died
just two months earlier, and just a few hours before his death, he whispered
the words "Most beautiful King." When asked what he meant by this, he
replied, "Jesus on the Cross." Those were his last words.
Embracing the Cross, and with it the Crucified One,
were no empty words in his case. For many long years of his life, throughout
the years of the communist persecution of the Church, he had to wait for the
privilege of even being allowed to attend university, since as a young man he
had refused to join the communist youth groups.
For 17 long years, after completing his secondary
schooling, he had to wait for ordination to the priesthood, without ever
knowing for sure if this day would ever arrive. Even after his ordination, and
after serving as a parish priest and secretary to his bishop, he was banned for
11 years by the state from working as a priest.
During this time he earned his living as a window
cleaner and as an archivist while practicing his priesthood in secret. Again
and again he recalled how hard it had been for him to make this sacrifice. Yet,
he was also able to say, afterwards, "I discovered that this cross did
more for my salvation and that of others than if I had continued as the
bishop's secretary during those years… that time as a window cleaner was the
most blessed time of my life, and I understood that I was living my priesthood
in all its fullness."
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty
hand of God, so that at the proper time He may exalt you" (1 Peter 5:6).
These words stayed with Miloslav Vlk like a leitmotiv in his life. He heard
them first as a young man, when he felt the call to the priesthood, yet saw no
possibility of achieving this goal. Then in 1994, when he was made a cardinal,
he was shaken to hear these words once again in the letter of Saint Peter and
realized how they had literally come true in his life.
On March 25, 2017, he was finally laid to rest in
Prague Cathedral. Hundreds of bishops and priests from all over the world, and
thousands of people from Prague and all over the Czech Republic were there to
pay him their last respects. He was buried in the most important church in the
Czech Republic, the place where the Bohemian kings had been crowned and also
buried. But his only King was Christ the Crucified.
As his coffin was lowered into his tomb in the stone
floor, the ancient hymn rang out in the packed cathedral: Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat ("Christ
conquers, Christ reigns, Christ rules"). This is the King he saw when he
whispered his last words, the King who allowed him throughout his life to share
in his sufferings and his abandonment and who will now exalt him at the proper
The greatest wish of the Cardinal was to reawaken the
love of Christ in the hearts of his people. After the years of communism this
was a huge challenge. Cardinal Vlk was a lifelong friend of ACN, and the help
our charity was able to give him in rebuilding the Church in his Archdiocese of
Prague was repaid by him "in a different currency – that of prayer,"
as he again and again repeated to ACN.
There is still a great deal to do for the Church in
his country today. Even now, many of the confiscated Church buildings have
still not been returned by the state, and many of them are in a pitiful
condition. Above all, it is the souls of the people that need to be rebuilt, for
the Czech Republic is one of the most atheistic countries in Europe today.
The good news, however, is that wherever people see
the Catholic Faith truly being lived, many young people soon rediscover this
Faith and seek baptism. New and living communities are being formed, with young
families bringing their children up in the Faith and so laying the foundations
for the Church of the future.
In Tuchomerice, a small town not far from
Prague, the new Catholic community Chemin
Neuf has set up a monastic center. It is a very active community and
organizes meetings for young people, young adults and married couples, offers
retreats, prayer groups and a Bible school. Every day Holy Mass is celebrated
in the community, together with the Morning Prayer of the Divine Office. There
is also a regular Eucharistic adoration. The center is also intended to be
available to visiting groups, so that not only local people but also Catholics
from other parts of the Archdiocese can take advantage of the facilities it
Thanks to help from ACN they have already
been able to complete the chapel and the refectory, plus more recently an
additional 16 guestrooms. But the work is still far from finished. We are
planning to help with $27,200.
Will you give to help complete the work to
convert a building into a monastery in the Czech Republic, helping to bring
faith back to this formerly communist country?
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