Budapest, 5th November 2016
St Stephen’s Basilica
St Stephen’s Basilica of Budapest is one of the most beautiful and significant churches and touristic attractions of the country. This is partly due to its historical heritage, of being dedicated to the holy king St Stephen who was also the founder of the Hungarian state, and partly to the architectural and artistic value of the building itself. A campaign to raise funds for the construction of the church commenced in the 1810-es, however, construction works did not start until August 14, 1851. From 1875, the Hellenistic forms and Classicist style were replaced by Neo-Renaissance elements and works continued until the long-last dedication of the church in 1905.
In 1971 the Holy Right Hand of St Stephen is placed in the Basilica to be guarded there.
In 1993 the Pope raises the basilica to the rank of co-cathedral of the Archbishopric and in August 2001 the government transfers the title to the basilica to the Church in connection with the conclusion of the millennium.
The Sanctuary of John Paul II
On 27 May this year was held at the Shrine dedicated to St. John Paul II in Krakow, the second date of the European tour of The Great Mystery. The gospel of the school of humanity family for our times, promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Family and maestro Andrea Bocelli.
The evening was introduced by H. Exc. Mons. Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who recalled the sense of this project, all aimed at making enjoy and learn about the apostolic exhortation themes Amoris Laetitia. In the central part of the evening, the Maestro Marcello Rota and Andrea Bocelli performed a rich repertoire that have prepared, accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra of Prague and choir of the University John Paul II in Krakow.
The choice of songs was set up as a symbolic route that touches the main topics nell'Amoris Laetitia. The Hallelujah Handel recalls, for example, the theme of the wedding symbolism present in the Apocalypse, as well as the use of profane arias to sing sacred texts symbolically expresses the closeness of God and of Mary to the many situations of human love, with his achievements or his wounds. It is so for the Agnus of Bizet or for Sancta Maria by Mascagni. The event was enriched by the presence of young and prodigious violinist Anastasiya Petryshak. Unforgettable is her interpretation of Meditation for violin and orchestra from the opera Thaïs by J.Massenet. The subject in this passage is the discernment, key to every existential and fundamental change policy to understand the spirit and the claims of the "Amoris Laetitia".
The undisputed talent of Maestro Bocelli has been the leitmotif of many songs. Again this generous and original "family ambassador", as he put it Mgr Paglia, has made possible the miracle that music can accomplish: to unite in the name of beauty, the human reflection of divine glory, the hearts of men and women of every culture and social condition.
The event continued with a speech by His Eminence. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, and a moment of prayer. At the end The prayer performed by Andrea Bocelli has sealed the event, leaving a sense of gratitude and authentic joy.
Sanctuary of John Paul II
The Sanctuary of John Paul II in Cracow is an part of the “Be not afraid!” John Paul II Center. Although the newest in Poland, the Sanctuary already attracts over a million pilgrims a year.
The John Paul II Sanctuary is the first church in Cracow to be devoted to the Polish Pope, built to honour his person and pontificate. Its center is a two-level church with multitude of chapels, ever more beautifully decorated. The wall with the high altar and the sidewalls are decorated with mosaics that feature a very rich iconographic programme and profound theological message. It was designed by a Jesuist, Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, an artist recognized all over the world.
The church of the Relics occupies a central area of the lower church built also on the plane of an octagon. There, the blood of the Pope has been placed in a glass strongbox visible from afar, built into the marble antependium of the altar. The Church of the Relics is surrounded by a double ring of chapels divided by a corridor running around it.
The largest of the lower church chapels is the Priest Chapel, modeled on the Crypt of St Leonard in Wawel where the newly ordained Father Karol Wojtyła was celebrated the first mass on all Souls Day in 1946. It was here that the slab from the first tomb of John Paul II, originally situated in the Vatican Grottos was relocated, and a reliquary, in the shape of an open gospel book with an ampoule containing blood of the saint, placed on it.
On 13 May 2015, a touching relic – the cassock that Saint wore on the day of the attempt on his life, profusely stained with blood – became one of the central points of Sanctuary.
Lisbon, 28th October 2016 - Cancelled
Church of the Monastery of Jeronimos