by Parish Staff
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May the Peace of the Risen Christ be with you!
Pope Francis on March 22, 2019, received in audience a delegation of members of parliament of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, on the occasion of the 1150th anniversary of the death of Saint Cyril. The following is the Pope’s greeting to those present during the meeting:
“I am pleased to welcome you on the 1150th anniversary of the death of Saint Cyril, whose mission, jointly with that of Saint Methodius, left an indelible mark on the history, the art and all the culture of your countries. This meaningful anniversary constitutes a propitious occasion to deepen the spiritual and cultural riches inherited from the two brothers of Thessalonica: they are a moral patrimony to cherish and value ever more. Your story teaches that Christianity has always been the source of hope and the strength of recovery, especially in the darkest and most difficult periods.
“The translation of the Bible into the old Slavonic language was a gift both for religious life and for the cultural development of your lands. Saints Cyril and Methodius, in addition to direct access to the Holy Scriptures in the local idiom, also brought the so-called Slavic alphabet. Therefore the biblical-Christian message favored the birth of the juridical state both in your countries and in the neighboring states. In Christianity, announced through the preaching and celebration of the liturgy, the epochal turning point of your society was realized.
“The vast work of evangelization, carried out with apostolic ardor by Saint Cyril and by his brother saint in your lands, constitutes a model of inculturation that is still valid in its essential elements. Indeed, the Gospel does not weaken what is authentic in the various local cultures but helps people and communities to recognize and realize goodness, truth, and beauty. Therefore, as representatives of the people in the institutions, you are called to rediscover the intrinsic bond that exists between the Gospel and your cultural identity, re-evaluating your Christian roots to build a society in which mutual acceptance and reciprocal solidarity may be achieved. Saint Cyril knew how to establish relations of knowledge and cordiality among the peoples, thus becoming a link between different cultures and ecclesial traditions.
“I hope that such a significant spiritual and cultural heritage will inspire in all your fellow citizens the desire for encounter and openness to others. It is about knowing how to live in diversity, through dialogue, sharing, building bridges and breaking down the barriers of mistrust and prejudice. With these attitudes, we become witnesses of solidarity and peacemakers. I hope that every day, through your important public function, you may be protagonists of fraternity, clear and irreproachable promoters of the common good, to offer hope to those who have elected you to a task of such great responsibility.
“May the Virgin Mary, so venerated in your land, assist you with her motherly protection. I ask you to pray for me, and I cordially invoke the blessing of the Lord on your countries and on all your intentions for good and progress.
I wanted to share this with you since Ss. Cyril and Methodius are our patron saints. The message that the Holy Father gave to the members of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic is a message from which you and I can learn. It is really a message of hope as well as one that challenges us to put into practice the same love and desire to do the will of the Lord that these two saints had. With great sacrifice they served the people of these two great republics by helping them to make the Word of God a real part of their lives.
The message from Pope Francis is also a message that can help us on our Lenten journey. For the past two weeks we have been listening the Word of God telling us that we need to put the Gospel into practice in our daily lives. We are challenged to serve each other in the Body of Christ and not to think so much about the “me”. Each day is an opportunity for us to fall more in love with the Lord Jesus, to take the love that He has for us to heart and let it be the motivating source for everything that we we say and do.
The more we live in His love the more we will discover the need to repent, to turn away from our old ways and to make more room in our hearts for Him. Doing this will be a true source of joy for us. As we continue our Lenten journey, let us daily turn His love for us into action towards our brothers and sisters.
I love you,