Love for Pope remains intact, says Czech cardinal on eve of Benedict XVI’s visit

.- On  the eve of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the Czech Republic this weekend, the Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, said Catholics there have been preparing for the important event in faith, hope and love and that day by day the expectations for the visit have been growing.
In an article published by L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal recalled the visit of John Paul II in 1990 after the fall of Communism, and said that the love for the Pope “has remained intact to this day in many of the faithful.”
He went on to explain that the Czech faithful have been preparing for Benedict XVI’s visit “based on three pillars of our faith: faith itself, hope and charity. Each one of us bishops has written pastoral letters that have been read at Sunday Masses. The main themes have also been the subject of reflection by priests in their daily homilies.”
In all of the dioceses, the cardinal continued, the faithful are joining in prayer that the visit will bring grace and abundant fruit to Czech society.  In many places in society, relations with the Church are somewhat distant and negative, he said.
“The Pope’s visit takes on great significance for us.  Ours is a small country and from an ecclesial point of view numerically it is not significant. Up to now the Pope has visited countries that in this respect are very significant. This is another reason to make his visit to our nation, to our small Church, a visit of great value. At his side, our small flock will discover itself and we will sense we are an integral part of the universal Church,” he said.
“We want to welcome the Pope as Christ himself, who said to the Apostles: ‘He who hears you hears me,’ and ‘He who welcomes him who sent me, welcomes me.’ The Pope comes with the strength of the word of Christ who said to Peter: ‘And you, confirm your brethren,’” Cardinal Vlk said.

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