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CZECH REPUBLIC - ČESKÁ REPUBLIKA

Blessed Pope John Paul II was a pilgrim to the Czech Republic three times: in 1990, 1995 & 1997. Papa Benedict XVI followed in his footsteps in 2009

Here below are responses for Totus2us podcasts given by Czechs
- many thanks to you all    ♥

You can download the free mp3 audio recordings individually by right / double clicking where you see this diamond  
Zde si můžete stáhnout zdarma mp3 audio nahrávky jednotlivě pravým / dvojitým kliknutím, kde uvidíte tento diamant 

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Barbora      

"I used to pray the rosary for a long time but in the past when I prayed the rosary I felt that the prayer was quite empty. But one day I really wanted to change it and I said to Mary, ‘Mary, please, please, please, I want to have a relationship with you.’ And since this moment, everything changed for me and this prayer to pray the rosary became very full for me and very alive."

Barbora gives her něco o Marii in English & Czech.

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Petr       

"Our Lady means for me Divine Mother."

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Tomas       

"What Saint Mary means to me - mainly the protector of health and my family, as I've experienced every time I pray."

Tomas gives his something about Mary in English & Czech. 

If you'd be up for giving Our Lady a metaphorical bunch of flowers by saying your something about Mary, please do get in touch with the Totus2us team.

- as well as hopefully bringing you joy,
you'd be really helping Totus2us   ♥

Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt.
Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria.

"I am totally yours and all that I have is yours.
I accept you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart.” - St Louis Marie de Montfort

Blessed John Paul II took his motto Totus Tuus from this quote.

Benedict XVI's words about his apostolic visit to the Czech Republic
General Audience, Wednesday 30 September 2009, St Peter's Square - in Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish + video

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In accordance with the custom after international apostolic journeys, I take the opportunity of today's General Audience to speak of the pilgrimage I made a few days ago to the Czech Republic. I do so first of all as an act of thanksgiving to God who granted me to make this visit and abundantly blessed it. It was a real pilgrimage and, at the same time, a mission to the heart of Europe: a pilgrimage, because for more than a millennium Bohemia and Moravia have been lands of faith and holiness; and a mission, because Europe needs to rediscover in God and in his love its firm foundation of hope. It is not by chance that the holy evangelizers of those peoples, Cyril and Methodius, are Patrons of Europe together with St Benedict. "The love of Christ is our strength": this was the motto of the journey, an affirmation which re-echoes the faith of so many heroic witnesses of the remote and recent past I am thinking in particular of the last century but which, above all, aims to interpret the certainty of Christians today. Yes, our strength is the love of Christ! It is a strength that inspires and gives life to true revolutions, peaceful and liberating, and that sustains us in moments of crisis, permitting us to straighten up when freedom, recovered with great effort, risks losing itself, its own truth.

I met with a warm welcome. The President of the Republic, to whom I renew the expression of my gratitude, wanted to be present at various events and received me, together with my collaborators, with great cordiality at his residence, the capital's historic Castle. The entire Bishops' Conference, and in particular the Cardinal Archbishop of Prague and the Bishop of Brno, made me feel with great warmth the deep bond that binds the Czech Catholic community to the Successor of St Peter. I thank them too for having carefully prepared the liturgical celebrations. I am also grateful to all the civil and military Authorities and to all those who in various ways contributed to the success of my visit.

The love of Christ first revealed itself in the face of a Child. In fact, on my arrival in Prague I made my first stop at the Church of Our Lady of Victory where the Infant Jesus, known precisely as the "Infant of Prague", is venerated. This image refers to the mystery of God made man, to the "close God", the foundation of our hope. Before the "Infant of Prague", I prayed for all children, for parents and for the future of the family. The true "victory" for which we ask Mary today is the victory of love and life in the family and in society!

Prague Castle, extraordinary from the historical and architectural viewpoints, suggests a further, more general reflection: its vast layout includes many monuments, scenes and institutions, almost as if it represented a polis in which the Cathedral and Palace, square and park, harmoniously coexist. Thus, in this same context, my visit touched on the civil and the religious environments that are not in opposition but in harmony, while retaining their distinctiveness. Thus, addressing the Political and Civil Authorities and the Diplomatic Corps I chose to recall the indissoluble bond that must always exist between freedom and truth. One must not fear truth, because it is a friend of man and of his freedom; indeed, only in the sincere search for the true, the good and the beautiful is it really possible to offer a future to today's young people and to the generations to come. Moreover, what is it that attracts so many people to Prague if not its beauty, a beauty that is not only aesthetic but also historical and religious in the broadest human sense? Those who exercise responsibility in the political and educational fields must be able to find light in that truth which is a reflection of the Creator's eternal Wisdom; and they are personally called to bear witness to it with their lives. Only a serious commitment of intellectual and moral rectitude is worthy of the sacrifice of all those who paid the price of freedom so dearly!

A symbol of this synthesis between truth and beauty is Prague's splendid Cathedral, called after Sts Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert, where the celebration of Vespers was held with the priests, religious, seminarians and lay representatives of the associations and ecclesial movements. For the Central and Eastern European communities it is a difficult period: in addition to the consequences of the long winter of atheistic totalitarianism are the harmful effects of a certain Western secularism and consumerism. I therefore encouraged all to draw ever new energy from the Risen Lord, to be able to be a Gospel leaven in society and to involve themselves, as is already happening, in charitable activities and, especially, in the educational and scholastic fields.

I extended this message of hope founded on faith in Christ to the entire People of God during two great Eucharistic Celebrations that took place respectively in Brno, the capital of Moravia, and in Stará Boleslav, the place where St Wenceslaus, the nation's principal Patron, was martyred. Moravia immediately calls to mind Sts Cyril and Methodius, the evangelizers of the Slav peoples, and hence the inexorable power of the Gospel, flowing through history and the continents, carrying life everywhere, like a river of healing waters. Christ's words: "Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Mt 11: 28) are engraved above the portal of the Cathedral of Brno. These very words rang out last Sunday in the liturgy, re-echoing the perennial voice of the Saviour, hope of the peoples, yesterday, today and forever. An eloquent sign of Christ's lordship and of his mercy is the existence of the holy Patrons of the different Christian nations, such as, precisely, Wenceslaus, a young king of Bohemia in the 10th century who was distinguished for his exemplary Christian witness and was assassinated by his brother. Wenceslaus put the Kingdom of Heaven before the fascination of earthly power and has lived on for ever in the heart of the Czech people as an example and protector in the alternating vicissitudes of history. To the numerous young people present at the Mass for St Wenceslaus, who also came from neighbouring countries, I extended the invitation to recognize Christ as the truest friend who satisfies the deepest aspirations of the human heart.

Lastly, among others, I must mention two meetings: the ecumenical gathering and the encounter with the academic community. The former, held in the Archbishop's Residence in Prague, gathered the representatives of the various Christian communities in the Czech Republic and the leader of the Jewish Community. In thinking of the history of this country, which unfortunately experienced harsh conflicts among Christians, it was a cause of deep gratitude to God to be meeting together as disciples of the one Lord to share the joy of faith and historical responsibility in the face of today's challenges. The effort to progress towards an ever fuller and more visible unity amongst us, believers in Christ, makes our common commitment to rediscovering the Christian roots of Europe stronger and more effective. The latter aspect, which my beloved Predecessor John Paul II had very much at heart, also emerged at the meeting with university rectors and representatives of the teaching body and of the students, as well as with other important figures of the cultural world. In this context I wanted to insist upon the role of the university institution, one of the fundamental structures of Europe, of which Prague Athenaeum is one of the oldest and most prestigious on the continent: Charles University, called after the Emperor Charles IV who founded it, together with Pope Clement VI. The university is a vital environment for society, a guarantee of freedom and development, as is shown by the fact that the so-called "Velvet Revolution" came into being precisely in university circles. Twenty years after that historic event, I proposed the idea anew of an integral human formation rooted in truth, to oppose a new dictatorship, that of relativism combined with the domination of technology. The humanistic and scientific cultures cannot be separated; on the contrary, they are the two sides of the same coin: we are once again reminded of this by the Czech Republic, the homeland of great writers such as Kafka and of the Abbot Mendel, a pioneer of modern genetics.

Dear friends, I thank the Lord because with this visit he has granted me to meet a people and a Church with profoundly historical and religious roots and which this year is commemorating various events of lofty spiritual and social value. I renew a message of hope to my brothers and sisters in the Czech Republic and an invitation to have the courage of goodness in order to build the present and future of Europe. I entrust the fruits of my pastoral visit to the intercession of Mary Most Holy and of all the Saints of Bohemia and Moravia. Thank you."

© Copyright 2009 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

John Paul II's reflection on his 1997 pilgrimage to the Czech Republic
General Audience, Wednesday, 30 April 1997 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. “St Adalbert, our patron, protector of our land, pray for us!”. These words and the melody to which they are sung have accompanied me during my visit to the Czech Republic to mark the millennium of St Adalbert’s death.

St Adalbert, a descendant of the princely family of the Slavníks, was born in 956 in Libice, today part of the Diocese of Hradec Králové. He became a Bishop at an early age and was the first Czech to occupy the episcopal see of Prague. However, his pastoral ministry proved so difficult that after a short time he was obliged to leave the city. He came to Rome and became a Benedictine here on the Aventine. The Bishop-monk, obedient to the Apostolic See, declared he was always ready to return to Prague should the Pope ask him. When the situation in Prague had somewhat improved the Successor of Peter asked him to return to his homeland. He obeyed. But it was a temporary improvement. Bishop Adallbert was once again expelled. He then left as a missionary to proclaim Christ to peoples who did not yet know him.

He first spent a time on the plains of Pannonia, today part of Hungary; then, at the invitation of King Boleslaw the Brave, he stayed at his court. Through the Gate of Moravia he went to Gniezno, not only to take advantage of the king’s hospitality, but to undertake further missionary work. This time the mission took him to the coasts of the Baltic Sea, with the prospect of proclaiming Christ to pagan Prussia. And it was precisely on the Baltic that he met his death by martyrdom, as John Canaparius emphasizes in the office of his liturgical memorial. King Boleslaw the Brave ransomed the martyr’s body at a high price and brought his relics to Gniezno.

At that time, in the Christian Middle Ages, the relics of martyrs were highly valued by the civil community as well. And so it was for St Adalbert. Thanks to his relics, in 1000 the first Polish metropolitan see was established in Gniezno, and the Poland of the Piasts entered the family of nations and European states. St Adalbert’s martyrdom became the foundation of Church and State in the Piast lands. Today, in addition to Gniezno, the relics of this holy martyr are found in Prague in the cathedral of Sts Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert.

2. It was right that, before accepting my invitation from the Polish Bishops to go to Gniezno, I went to the Czech Republic. “St Adalbert, our patron, protector of our homeland, pray for us!”.

Without doubt St Adalbert’s first homeland is Bohemia, especially the town of Libice, where he was born and where the family seat of the Slavník princes still stands. St Adalbert's first homeland, his native land and the place where he received Baptism from his parents was, as is logical, the first destination of my Pastoral Visit to mark the millennium. It can be said that Poland was his second homeland, the land where he received his second baptism, martyrdom, by which he was born into the heavenly homeland, the destination of his heroic pilgrimage during the 41 years of his earthly life. He became a Bishop at a young age, and at a young age he was ready for the kingdom of heaven.

After 1,000 years, his personal journey, the way of a martyr, patron of Bohemia and Poland, also has great importance for us believers and for all humanity, who are pilgrims on earth. Through St Adalbert’s earthly itinerarium, through his martyrdom, we can reread the spiritual history of the whole European continent and in particular of Central Europe. This is the purpose of the millennium celebrations, which have gathered Bishops representing every European nation, all aware of St Adalbert’s significance in Europe's spiritual history.

Once again I warmly thank the State authorities and the Bishops of the Czech Republic for their invitation to take part in the celebrations for St Adalbert’s millennium. I thank President Václav Havel for his words, which have clearly interpreted the significance of the great Bishop’s mission. I thank Cardinal Miloslav Vlk and all the Bishops of the Czech Republic for organizing the celebrations for the millennium.

At this point, how can I fail to remember the late Cardinal František Tomášek, whose tomb I was able to visit in the cathedral of Prague? Indeed, he was responsible for the “Decade of Spiritual Renewal” for the millennium of St Adalbert’s death. I would also like to thank Bishop Karel Otèenášek, dean of the Czech Episcopacy, who organized the celebrations in his Diocese, Hradec Králové, where St Adalbert was born. How appropriate it was that the young people of Bohemia and Moravia and the neighbouring countries, in a certain sense representing the youth of all Europe, gathered for Mass precisely in the place associated with the saint’s youth.

The meeting with religious, together with the sick, in Prague’s historic Benedictine Archabbey of Bøevnov, which owes its foundation to St Adalbert, was equally rich in meaning. After the long harsh trial of communist dictatorship, consecrated life is now enjoying a springtime, most eloquently expressed by the presence of young vocations side by side with the elderly men and women religious. Bøeznov Abbey, and especially the very well known Archabbot Anastasius, continue their work in the tradition of the great Benedictine family, rich in merits throughout Europe, not only with regard to liturgical and religious life, but also for national culture.

On Sunday, 27 April, a great multitude of the faithful gathered in Prague for Mass, in the same place where seven years ago, immediately after the fall of communism, I was able to celebrate the Eucharist for the first time in the Czech land. The last meeting took place in the afternoon, the ecumenical prayer service in the cathedral, followed by a visit to the relics of St Adalbert which rest there next to those of St Wenceslaus. The cathedral is the great national shrine of all Bohemia. The Christian denominations living in the Czech land took part in the ecumenical prayer service. Together with the Pope, they all felt the urgent need for Christian unity, which St Adalbert convincingly and energetically championed. I thank God for that meeting and for the words spoken by Dr Smetana, President of the Council of Churches of the Czech Republic and the representative of the tradition of the Bohemian Brethen.

When President Václav Havel welcomed me at Prague Airport in 1990, he spoke these memorable words: “I do not know what a miracle is, but the fact of being able to receive the Pope here today is certainly a miracle”. He was speaking of miracle in the moral sense, alluding to the collapse of the communist totalitarian system which for a long time had oppressed various nations of Eastern Europe. It can be said that this visit of mine, linked to the millennium of St Adalbert, was a sequel as it were to that moral miracle. I therefore say to the Lord with the psalmist: “I will thank you for ever, because you have done it” (Ps 52 [51]:9)."