00 9/18/2009 2:18 PM

Sorry to insert these items from the BENEDICT NEWS thread belatedly. I did not realize I failed to cross-post on 9/13/09, when these wre originally posted.

Pre-visit news about the Holy Father's coming visit to the Czech Republic has been really few and far between. The official site dedicated to it by the Czech bishops' conference is multilingual, but the translations from Czech always lag.

So it falls to Fr. Lombardi of the Vatican Press Office to prime us for the visit, which takes place in two weeks, in his editorial today for Octavo Dies, the weekly CTV news roundup:

Benedict XVI's trip
to the heart of Europe

by Federico Lombardi, SJ
Translated from
the Italian service of

Sept. 12, 2009

Before long, the Pope will be travelling once more for a brief but intense visit - to the Czech Republic from Sept. 26-28.

He will be going to the heart of Europe, to a country with an ancient and great cultural tradition to which Christianity made an essential contribution. A country that these days is marking the 20th anniversary of the end of the postwar Communist regime and the peaceful rebirth of democracy. A country where secularization is so widespread that the practice of religion has been reduced to a minority.

There are many strong messages that the Holy Father could address to believers and men of good will in that country. Certainly, to encourage a Church to be lively and courageous in its testimony to the faith, that can diffuse hope and fraternal love around it, particularly to the younger generations.

There will be an appeal to sincere ecumenism that can give credibility and depth to what believers can contribute to building the future in a secularized society.

This is a prospect of great cultural and moral significance, in order that the process of European unification may not be limited to material and economic aspects, but carry with it the wealth of shared values that are necessary to guarantee the dignity of the human being.

The Czech Republic's national day - which is the reason for the choice of the dates for the Pope's trip - is dedicated to the martyr St. Wenceslas. There can be no more effective way to recall that Christianity has given and can continue to render heartfelt and invaluable service to the most profound core and hopes of the Czech people, of every people.

From the papal visit site:

Bishops of Bohemia and Moravia
to present the Holy Father
with a unique rosary

Sept. 2 - The Bishops of Bohemia and Moravia had a unique rosary made as a gift for the Holy Father. The present will be handed over to him at the close of his visit. The rosary is made of pure gold and Bohemian garnets.

The rosary cross is a variation on the crosses from the period of Cyril and Methodius found by archaeologists in Moravia and bears two inscriptions in Glagolic letters.

The front side holds a verse from the Prologue to the Gospel of St. John: The Word became flesh, and the other side says: Christ has risen from the dead. Both quotations relate to the beginning and end of the earthly life of Christ.

The foot of the cross, where saints in adoration are usually depicted, also holds the initials of both brothers from Salonika, K and M, in Glagolic letters.

The cross and the large rosary beads, which are made of gold according to decorative buttons from the same period, serve as a commemoration of the Moravian part of the papal visit. The cross is the work of goldsmith and metal chaser Jan Kazda.

The front side bears a picture of the Madonna and the Child, based upon a late Gothic relief in the town of Stará Boleslav which was declared the Palladium of the Bohemian Lands 400 years ago, in 1609. The picture is accompanied by the names of the main themes of the visit in Latin: Fides, Spes, Caritas (Faith, Hope, Love). This part of the rosary was made by sculptor and world-famous medalist Milan Knobloch.

The back side of the round connecting rosette holds a portrait of St. Wenceslaus based on the Gothic statue of the saint by Petr Parléř in the St. Wenceslaus chapel in the Prague Cathedral and the Bohemian and Moravian land emblems, complemented by the motto of the papal visit: "The Love of Christ is Our Strength."

The rosary will be made by the company Triga-K, the producer of medals for Czech state decorations.

Based on the rosary rosette, the following unique medals will be issued:

•300 numbered pieces in pure silver, weighing 28 g each;
•150 numbered pieces in pure gold, weighing 1/2 of troy ounce, i.e. 15.55 g each;
•90 numbered pieces in pure gold, weighing 1 troy ounce, i.e. 31.1035 g each.

Relevant numbered certificates will be issued to all the medals sold. The yield of the sale will be used to finance the activities of the Czech Catholic Charity.

I must say the Czechs really know how to make souvenirs literally worth their weight in gold! Short of being in the Czech Republic for the visit, the rosary rosette and the official medal for the visit (shown in the banner)make quite an attractive souvenir set cum investment.

Place reservations closed for papal Masses
but anyone can obtain a place ticket
at the Mass location itself

Place reservations for papal masses were closed on Aug. 31, 2009 and no more applications are being accepted; neither it is possible for priests to ask for concelebrating. Registration forms are now being processed and place tickets are being printed.

However, there is enough space for all pilgrims in Brno as well as in Stará Boleslav, hence it is possible just to come for the Mass and get a ticket at the entry. Obviously, only places far from the altar will be available.

Pilgrims can come on Sunday, Sept. 27, to the Brno-Tuřany Airport and get a place ticket at the entrance. However, only sectors far from the podium will be available. It is suggested to arrive as early as possible, preferably at 5 am.

Pilgrims can come on Monday, Sept. 28, to the "Proboštská louka" in Stará Boleslav and get a place ticket at the entrance. However, only sectors far from the podium will be available. It is suggested to arrive as early possible. The area will be opened starting at 4 am.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 9/18/2009 2:19 PM]