Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Benedict XVI to Tell Czechs: Christ Is Our Strength

Spokesman Says He Will Encourage Church in Secularized Society

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 22, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's trip to the Czech Republic this weekend will "encourage the Church to offer a contribution of vitality, hope and charity to the secularized society in which it finds itself," according to a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi affirmed this today during a meeting with journalists to give details on the Pope's Saturday through Monday trip, which has the theme "The Love of Christ Is Our Strength." This is the 13th time the Holy Father will make an apostolic journey outside of Italy.

According to Father Lombardi, this trip, during which the Pontiff will celebrate the nation's patron, St. Wenceslaus, is framed in the historical context of the 20th anniversary of the fall of Communism. It will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of the canonization of St. Agnes of Prague.

The spokesman recalled that when John Paul II traveled to this country in 1990, he was visiting a nation of the former Communist bloc for the first time after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The Polish Pope went on to visit the Czech Republic twice more, in 1995 and 1997.

Benedict XVI's first stop in the nation will be to pay a visit to the image of the Infant Jesus of Prague. Over the course of the three-day trip, he will also meet with priests and religious, academics, youth and officials from the government. There will also be an ecumenical gathering.


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