Apostolic Visit to the Czech Republic

Author: Pope Benedict XVI

Apostolic Visit to the Czech Republic, 26-28 September 2009

Pope Benedict XVI

Welcoming Ceremony, Stará Ruzyně International Airport, Prague
On Saturday, 26 September, the Holy Father was met at Stará Ruzyně International Airport by Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic; Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, archbishop of Prague, and Archbishop Jan Graubner of Olomouc, president of the Czech Bishops' Conference. In his address, the Pope recalled the influence of Sts. Cyril and Methodius on Slavic culture.

Visit to the Holy Infant of Prague, Church of Our Lady Victorious
At noon on 26 September, the Holy Father visited the church housing the famous image of the Infant Jesus of Prague, to whose care and protection the Pope confided the families of those present and all the families of the world.

Meeting with the Civil and Political Authorities and the Diplomatic Corps, Presidential Palace of Prague
In the afternoon of 26 September, the Holy Father met with the President, then with the Prime Minister, and with various other political, civil, and cultural authorities, at the Presidential Palace, where the Pope recalled that his visit coincided with the twentieth anniversary of the restoration of democracy to the nation.

Vespers with Priests, Religious, Seminarians and Lay Movements, Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wencelaus, Adalbert, Prague
In the evening of 26 September, the Holy Father presided at Vespers at the Prague Cathedral, where he warned of seduction by "the modern mentality of hedonistic consumerism amid a dangerous crisis of human and religious values and a growing drift towards ethical and cultural relativism."

Holy Mass at Tuřany Airport, Brno
In the morning of 27 September, the Holy Father flew to Brno, where he celebrated Mass on the esplanade, near the city airport. In his homily, the Pope spoke of the failure of "merely human projects," and affirmed that "only Christ can be our certain hope."

Angelus Domini at Tuřany Airport, Brno
Before the Angelus, following Mass, the Holy Father spoke of the number of Marian shrines in the region of Brno, invoking the Virgin to keep alive the "flame of faith" in their hearts.

Ecumenical Meeting, Throne Hall of the Archbishop's House of Prague
In the afternoon of 27 September, at the Archbishop's Palace, the Holy Father met with members of the Ecumenical Council of Churches of the Czech Republic. In his address, the Pope said that the Church has much to offer society on the practical and ethical level, but more, the salvation that comes from God.

Meeting with Academic Community, Vladislav Hall in the Prague Castle
In the evening of 27 September, the Holy Father met with rectors of Czech universities, staff and student representatives, and members of State and Church cultural institutions. The Pope spoke of the yearning for freedom and truth, which can not be suppressed by materialist ideologies.

Holy Mass on the Liturgical Memorial of Saint Wenceslaus, Patron of the Czech Republic
In the morning of 28 September the Holy Father celebrated Mass at the Church of St. Wenceslaus, on the site of the Saint's martyrdom. The Pope spoke of the universal call to holiness, calling people to carry out their duties with fidelity, looking to the common good. 

Message to the Young People at the Esplanade on the Way to Melnik in Stará Boleslav
Following Mass, the Holy Father addressed the 10,000 young pilgrims gathered on the esplanade of Melnik near the church. He spoke of their desire for happiness and of the major choices they must make, setting them on courses for good or for ill, and of Christ knocking on the doors of their hearts.

Farewell Ceremony, Stará Ruzyně International Airport, Prague
In the early evening of 28 September, the Holy Father bid farewell to the Czech people, thanking them for their hospitality. In a land that suffered much during the Thirty Years' War, the Pope was reminded of the importance of ecumenical dialogue, and he urged the academic community to help in an uncompromising search for truth.