Monday, September 28, 2009

The Pope's Visit

Yesterday was absolutely amazing. Pope Benedict XVI gave an open-air mass at the airport for over 120,000 people. This was the first ever papal visit to the Brno Diocese since its founding in 1777. Now I can say I witnessed a part of Brno's history.

The Czech Republic is a very secular country but lots of people came from Slovakia, Poland, Austria and Hungary. There were even people at the airport when it opened at 4 AM. Way too early for me!
Claudia, a German friend from work, met Janelle and I in town at 6:30 AM and we left with others from church. The city had free buses that ran from the main station out to the airport. And we got to the airport around 7:30.

Father Josef got us great tickets!!! We were in A2, right behind the VIPs. Click the picture of the map to see where we were.

"At times one cannot help noticing, with a certain nostalgia, that the pace of modern life tends to diminish some elements of a rich heritage of faith. Yet it is important not to lose sight of the ideal expressed by traditional customs," the pope said, "and above all to maintain the spiritual patrimony inherited from your forebears, to guard it and to make it answer to the needs of the present day."

The Pope also made reference during his homily to Sister Marie Restituta Kafkova, a Brno-born candidate for sainthood who was executed by the Nazis in 1943.

Everything was incrediby well-organized. Mass started at 10 AM and lasted for about 2 hours - including welcome speeches, service in Latin & Czech, and communion for over 100,000 people. Wow!
I haven't told my grandmother yet but I got her a blessed rosary. She will flip out when she gets it in the mail. Now I just have to figure out the Czech post office.

Lots more pics and better video are already posted on Flickr.

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