Visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Czech Republic - Praha - Brno - Stará BoleslavVisit of Pope Benedict XVI to the Czech Republic - Praha - Brno - Stará Boleslav

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27.09.2009, author: Aleš Pištora, kategorie: News

Celebration of the Vesper with the Holy Father

The evening prayer of the Church in the St. Vitus Cathedral
Celebration of the Vesper with the Holy Father

With the cathedral bells ringing, Benedict XVI entered the cathedral of Ss. Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert through the Golden Gate, accompanied by cardinals Vlk and Bertone. The Pope was welcomed by the provost of the Metropolitan Chapter at St. Vitus and the parish priest of the cathedral. An extraordinary atmosphere was created by the combining forces of gathering, prayer, the splendor of the place and the sublimity of Gregorian chant.

The first steps of the Holy Father in the cathedral led to the St. Wenceslaus Chapel where he bowed to the relics of St. Wenceslaus. From there, he moved to the altar while the words of Christ to the apostle Peter, "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church..." were sung. The archbishop, cardinal Miloslav Vlk welcomed the Holy Father and remarked that the Czech faithful gather in the cathedral to join in communion with the saints whose relics are kept there. He also introduced the gathering of priests, deacons, monks and nuns and seminarists to the Pope.

After a short reading from the Scripture, the Holy Father delivered his homily. As usually, his first words were in Czech. He thanked for the warm welcome and said that the "splendor of the cathedral" reminded him of the martyrs of our history Ss. Wenceslaus, Adalbert and John of Nepomuk. However, he also called the recent "heroes of the communist persecution" cardinals Beran and Tomášek as the pillars of the Czech history. It is in the society that "continues to suffer from the wounds caused by atheist ideology, and it is often seduced by the modern mentality of hedonistic consumerism" who needs the witnesses to the faith, as they remind that only through a "profound bond with Christ is it possible to draw the spiritual vitality needed to live the Christian vocation to the full."

After this commemoration of the twentieth aniversary of the fall of communism which was adumbrated by the cannonization of St. Agnes, the hymn "Saint Wenceslaus" resounded in the cathedral. The Pope Benedict XVI said goodbye to the assembly and left for the Prague Nunciature.

The expression for the evening praises, vesper means "evening" in latin. It is a liturgical prayer of the Church recited or sung in the evening to give thanks for everything given to us during the day. Together with the morning praises, it constitutes the main prayers of the Church which is the second most important liturgy after the mass. Both the mass and the vesper were to be sung and this liturgical chant has efloresced into the Gregorian chant by the end of the first millenium.

Full text of the Pope's speech can be found here, the speech of cardinal Vlk can be downloaded below.

Download: Greeting by Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, Archbishop of Prague, 45 kB

26.09.2009 18:00

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