Monday, 22 May 2017

Navalis Festival, Prague

I had a wonderful time at the celebrations for the feast of St John Nepomuk, Patron Saint of Prague, last week. Staying with a priest friend in the diocese there enabled me to take a full part in the festivities. A splendid Mass in the packed Cathedral celebrated by Cardinal Dominik Duka, who was joined by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza (3rd from the left) with about forty priests in attendance and many seminarians as well. 

Before Mass began, the cardinal blessed a team of horses from Moravia from the balcony of his palace.

As Mass concluded, we processed from the Cathedral with the relic of St John. The elaborate canopy to the rear hangs over his magnificent shrine, where the relic is kept.

The celebration goes back a long way, flourishing in the Baroque period, but was in abeyance for many years under the years of Communist rule. However, in recent years Cardinal Duka has re-established it as a huge public festival, with a procession through he streets and over the Charles Bridge, concluding with a spectacular fireworks display on the river, complete with full orchestra and a huge party on a river boat for the great and the good of Prague. Used very much as a way to put the Church back at the centre of the city's cultural life. (The Church suffered greatly in the former Czechoslovakia and the present day Czcech Republic has only about 10% of the population declaring themselves as Catholics.)

An open topped carriage is gifted to the Cardinal for the day, which means that he can ride for most of the procession, rather than walk (lucky him, it takes quite while).

The relic on the Charles Bridge, where we stopped for prayers and litanies at his statue and the site marked as the place of martyrdom, where he was thrown into the river in 1393.

It's not misty in this photograph - just that the thrurible was giving off a LOT of smoke!

A new feature was a salute by a parachutist, who descended from the skies and manoeuvred his parachute under the arches of the Charles Bridge, hence everyone looking heavenwards.

The fireworks were something to behold and great fun in concert with the music.

I visited the Chapel in the Archiepiscopal Palace earlier int the day, after a meeting with Cardinal Duka (he is the Chaplain General for the Order of St Lazarus). Our Lady of Fatima was still crowned after her recent feast day.

There are many more photographs 

A news report here - in Czech, if anyone is clever enough to speak it!
(You have to be quick to get a glimpse of yours truly once or twice!)

The splendid fireworks.

1 comment:

Marko Ivančičević said...

The first video, the report, is in my language, Croatian.