Czech Republic

Honour, joy, silence and solemnity. The atmosphere of this year's ordinations of deacons, mediated by the health measures resulting from the pandemic, breathed these essential sentiments. A few days before, the ordinands had already sensed it in the words of one of them: "The pandemic has made everything that has to do with the celebration of the ordination slimmed down and perhaps allowed us to focus on the essential". And so the Provincial had asked: "On this occasion, I ask you to focus on the essentials. Grateful that God continues to call people to this Society". Despite the limited attendance in person, health protocols, and the fact that many people could only attend via online streaming, the ordinands felt the presence and support of those who wanted to accompany them, united with them in God through prayer. The ceremony was held in the parish of St Francis Borgia and St Aloysius Gonzaga on Saturday 6 February. Thirteen Jesuits were ordained, seven of them Spanish - Alberto Cano Arenas SJ; Andrés Cándido González González SJ; Carlos Maza Serguenet SJ; Francisco de Borja Miró Madariaga SJ; Iñigo Merello Terry SJ; Jaime Espiniella García SJ and Manuel Santamaría Belda SJ. The other six belonged to the Province of Bohemia (Czech Republic), the Province of West Africa, the Province of East Timor (ETR), and three of them to the Province of Southern Europe (EUM). In this way, the ordination also represented the universality and diversity of the Society of Jesus, which was also reflected in the community formed by the more than 1.100 people who followed the live broadcast on You Tube from so many places in Spain and from other countries: Italy, Mexico, Philippines, Benin. All the symbols of the ceremony - promise, litanies, laying on of hands, putting on the diaconal stole and the dalmatic and the handing over of the Gospel - helped to understand the meaning of the mission of the new deacons, the generous dedication of their lives and the solemnity of the moment. The final words of thanksgiving were given by Andrés González on behalf of all the new deacons, who pointed out the markedly different character of this celebration after a year in which suffering and death have come close, and hence the greater importance of thanksgiving. You can watch the recorded ceremony on the Society of Jesus channel:
Prague. The beatification process of the Czech Jesuit Adolf Kajpr, which began in September 2019, was concluded at the diocesan level and will continue in Rome. On Monday, January 4, 2021 in the church of St. Ignatius the diocesan tribunal of the beatification process met for the last time and the collected acts were sealed. This was followed by a solemn Eucharistic celebration presided by the Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Dominik Duka OP. Due to anti-pandemic measures, only a limited number of people could participate, but it was broadcast by the Internet streaming and NOE Christian television. At the end of it, Cardinal Duka declared the diocesan investigation into the life of A. Kajpra to be over. Procedural acts of a closed diocesan inquiry are now traveling to Rome to be forwarded to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Father Adolf Kajpr (1902–1959) was a Czech Jesuit, active in the apostolate of the word as a famous preacher, writer and journalist. In his time, he encouraged Catholics to enter into the dialogue with the modern secularised society and to be able to fight from the position of Christian humanism for freedom of the people from any kind of totalitarianism. He was imprisoned both by the Nazis and the Communists. He is considered a martyr ex aerumnis carceris – he died in prison due to the hardships of incarceration. If Adolf Kajpr is declared blessed, he will be the first Czech Jesuit in history to be raised to the altar.
Brno. On Saturday, August 15, a new statue of the Jesuit Martin Středa (Martinus Stredonius) was unveiled as part of the titular celebration of the Jesuit church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The statue, blessed by the diocesan bishop Vojtěch Cikrle, is located near the entrance to the church and was created as part of the project, by which the city wants to commemorate its important personalities. Fr. Martin Středa (1587-1649) was a great spiritual authority of his time, twice he led the Czech Jesuit province as its provincial, twice he was the rector of Klementinum in Prague, twice the rector of the collegium in Brno, where he also died. During the siege of the city by the Swedes at the end of the Thirty Years' War, he was the spiritual support of the city's defenders. He is revered as venerable. His remains are stored in the crypt of the Jesuit church in Brno.
On Saturday, May 23, in the Prague Church of St. Ignatius, Jiri Hebron was ordained deacon by auxiliary bishop of Prague Mons. Vaclav Maly. Because of emergency measures given by the Czech government in this time of the Coronavirus crisis, the celebration took place in a much more familiar atmosphere. Beside of Jesuits from Prague and also from other Czech Jesuit communities, members of Jiri´s family took part together with his closest friends and some parishioners, no more than 60 people. Despite the limitations, the celebration did not lose its joyful atmosphere given also the fact, that it was the first ordination in the Czech province since ten years. The friendly atmosphere was also contributed by the speech of bishop Maly, who in his homily relied on a reading from the St. Paul´s letter to the Philippians about Christ, who renounced himself, and on the Gospel passage with the meeting of Mary Magdalene with the risen Jesus. He encouraged the new deacon so that, like Christ, he could set himself aside so that the Heavenly Father could work in him. He pointed out that this is the mission of all Christians: "Humility is not to hinder God in his way into our lives and the lives of our neighbours." Like Mary Magdalene, we are surprised when God addresses us. Mary passed on this joy quite simply, which is an example for our testimony as well. "The deacon is to be a personified testimony and to tell others: I have seen the Lord!" said bishop Maly. The new deacon Jiri Hebron SJ joined the Society of Jesus in 2009, he did Philosophy studies in Munich and Theology studies in Rome. Now he is member of the Jesuit community in Prague. Photo copyright: Tomas Jezek
On February 3 – 5, Jesuits from the Czech Republic and Slovakia met at their historically first common meeting, at the pilgrimage site in Velehrad (Moravia, Czech Rep.). This meeting of seventy Jesuits from both countries was the first visible step in the process of convergence of the two provinces, which should join together in the future. During the three days, the Czech and Slovak Jesuits had the opportunity to get to know each other and to deepen the consciousness of their common Jesuit identity, which unites them. On the afternoon of the first day, they presented the life and apostolic activity of their communities in both countries. They learned they each other more personally in twelve small groups. The whole second day of their meeting was dedicated to a spiritual dynamic, accompanied by invited guests from the Jesuit Conference of European Provinces (JCEP) Fr. Franck Janin, current President of JCEP, and his socius Fr. José de Pablo. For this purpose, they chose a text from Matthew's Gospel, "You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world." The participants of the meeting had to think about this part of the Gospel both in relation to themselves and in relation to the future of both provinces – what God is calling them to do if they are to continue to be salt and light for others. Therefore, in the morning and afternoon, they devoted an entire hour to a personal meditation over the Gospel text, the next hour was intended to share the fruits of their prayer in small groups and then share it in plenary. This spiritual process, using elements of the Ignatian spirituality, was intended to help strengthening the unity of the hearts, which only could ensure real cooperation and greater convergence in the future. The meeting culminated on the last day with the Eucharistic celebration in Czech, held in the Basilica of Velehrad, presided by the Czech Provincial Fr. Petr Pradka and in which Fr. Viliam Karla did the homily in Slovak. The scholastics of both provinces also renewed their religious vows at this Mass. Currently, the Czech Jesuits have 47 members, the Slovak 86. The cooperation between the two provinces so far concerns mainly formation. Since 2002, a joint novitiate has been operating in Ruzomberok, Slovakia. Czech and Slovak Jesuits in formation (scholastics) meet regularly; usually they also study together at various places abroad. Superiors of local communities and members of provincial consult of both provinces meet annually. Czech and Slovak Jesuits also organize spiritual exercises for their members. Three Slovak Jesuits are working in the Czech Republic, one Czech in Slovakia. Already in the past, there was a common Czechoslovak Jesuit province since 1919. It was divided in 1938, when the Czech province and the independent Slovak vice-province were established. It became a province in 1983. In these years of ongoing process of restructuring in the Society of Jesus, a voting poll was held in both the Czech and Slovak provinces in 2017, in which the majority of the members expressed their views in favor of the future joining of both provinces.
Prague. On Sunday September 22 a festive Eucharist was held in the Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius presided by the Archbishop of Prague Cardinal Dominik Duka, during which the remains of Fr. Adolf Kajpr SJ (+1959) were deposited in one of the lateral chapels of the Church and the diocesan phase of his beatification process was started. Among the concelebrants were the Postulator General of the Society of Jesus Fr. Pascual Cebollada SJ, the Slovak Jesuit Provincial Fr. Rudolf Uher, a representative of the Austrian Jesuit Province Fr. Gerwin Komma SJ and the Czech Jesuit Provincial Fr. Petr Přádka SJ. Fr. Adolf Kajpr SJ (1902–1959) was a Czech Jesuit, active in the apostolate of the word as a famous preacher, writer and journalist. In his time, he encouraged Catholics to enter into the dialogue with the modern secularised society and to be able to fight from the position of Christian humanism for freedom of human person from any kind of totalitarianism. He was imprisoned both by the Nazis (Theresienstadt, Mauthausen, Dachau in the years 1941 – 1945) and the Communists (Mírov, Valdice, Leopoldov in the years 1950–1959). He is considered a martyr ex aerumnis carceris – he died in Leopoldov due to the hardships of incarceration. Preparation of his beatification process started in 2017 with the consent of Father General Arturo Sosa SJ. As vice-postulator of the process was appointed prof. Vojtěch Novotný, Dean of the Catholic Theological Faculty of the Charles University in Prague.