Monday, 22 May 2017

Cardinal Duka and Prague Festival


Cardinal Duka led the celebrations for the feast of St John Nepomuk, Patron Saint of Prague, last week.  A splendid Mass in the packed Cathedral celebrated by the Cardinal, who was joined by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza (3rd from the left) with about forty priests in attendance, many seminarians, members of the Order and Chaplain General from Great Britain, Fr Simon Henry as well. (1st on the left). In the morning before the Mass, Cardnal Duka received Fr Simon in his office in the Archbishops Palace for a short meeting.

 Members of the Order preparing for the Procession.





Before Mass began, the cardinal blessed a team of horses from Moravia from the balcony of his palace.


As Mass concluded, the clergy and people processed from the Cathedral with the relic of St John. The elaborate canopy to the rear hangs over his magnificent shrine, where the relic is kept.




The celebration goes back a long way, flourishing in the Baroque period, but was in abeyance for many years under the years of Communist rule. However, in recent years Cardinal Duka has re-established it as a huge public festival, with a procession through he streets and over the Charles Bridge, concluding with a spectacular fireworks display on the river, complete with full orchestra and a huge party on a river boat for the great and the good of Prague. Used very much as a way to put the Church back at the centre of the city's cultural life. (The Church suffered greatly in the former Czechoslovakia and the present day Czech Republic has only about 10% of the population declaring themselves as Catholics.)


An open topped carriage is gifted to the Cardinal for the day, which means that he can ride for most of the procession, rather than walk (lucky him, it takes quite while).

The relic on the Charles Bridge, where prayers and litanies at his statue were said at the site marked as the place of martyrdom, where he was thrown into the river in 1393.




The fireworks were something to behold and great fun in concert with the music.


The following day Fr Simon Henry and Chev. Petr Řehoř, along with others from the Order held a useful meeting to discuss various issues relating to common approaches the Order to various issues.


There are many more photographs

HERE

and HERE on the Archdiocesan site.



A news report here - in Czech, if anyone is clever enough to speak it!


The splendid fireworks.



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