The ecological and moral crisis in Europe today.
The “green” pilgrimage in the heart of Europe of those responsible for safeguarding creation in Europe.
Hungary – Slovakia – Austria, 1-5 September 2010.
Bishops and delegates from the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe with responsibility for protecting Creation aim to present to Europe the Church’s outlook on the gifts of creation and strengthen the exchange and network of national delegates by means of a “green” pilgrimage from Esztergom (Hungary) to the Marian shrine of Mariazell (Austria), passing through Bratislava (Slovakia). From 1-5 September, with five stages, the European pilgrims will reflect on the theme chosen by Benedict XVI for the 2010 World Day of Peace: “If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation”.
“We thought of a pilgrimage in the heart of Europe because it seemed to us the means most in accordance with our aims”, explained Fr Duarte da Cunha, General Secretary of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) which is promoting the initiative. “By its nature”, he went on “a pilgrimage is above all a spiritual journey, a journey of conversion which begins by leaving one’s own environment in order to reach a particular goal indicated by divine intervention. It presupposes an openness to listening and to meditation, to recollection and prayer. The ecological “crisis”, understood as the irrational and irresponsible use of the gifts of creation, which we are experiencing in Europe today, is not divorced from the continent’s current moral crisis, in fact one influences the other. The Holy Father himself has reminded us that real concern about the ecology of the planet cannot exclude a serious reflection on human ecology, a spiritual conversion and a change in life styles. Often the theme of safeguarding creation is focussed on scientific, political and ethical issues. We think that is also important to remember the spiritual, theological and anthropolgical vision which is at the basis of real concern for creation and is not tied to mere political and / or economic aims. We cannot continue to tackle the issue in segments. The human person is whole!”
The pilgrimage will begin in Esztergom on 1 September following the celebration of Mass and the blessing of the pilgrimage by Cardinal Peter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and CCEE President. Subsequently (2 September), the waters of the longest river in the European Union, the Danube, will take the pilgrims to Bratislava. This will be an opportunity to reflect on the theme of water and energy (there will be a visit to the biodiesel plant at Komarom). On their arrival in Bratislava, the pilgrims will be welcomed by the city’s Archbishop, His Grace Mgr Stanislav Zvolenský, and the Mayor of Bratislava, Mr. Andrej Durkovský. Friday 3 September will see a reflection on formation in the protection of creation, with a round table discussion at which Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Ján Figel, Slovakian Minister for Public Works, will participate. After transfer by bus to St. Pölten, in Austria, there will be an ecumenical celebration in the Cathedral. During the celebration, at which representatives from the Christian churches and local and international ecumenical bodies will participate, there will be the recitation of the “Bridge prayer”, recited at the same time by participants in the 14th Renovabis International Congress on “Being responsible for creation – ecological challenges in Central-Eastern Europe” taking place in Munich (Germany) from 2-4 September 2010. On Saturday 4 September, the pilgrims will continue by train from St. Pölten to Bürgeralpe where the Archbishop of Malines-Brussels and President of the Belgian Bishops’ Conference, His Grace Mgr André-Joseph Léonard, will preside at Mass. The final kilometers of the pilgrimage will then be on foot to Mariazell. The pilgrimage will end on Sunday 5 September with the celebration of Mass presided over by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna and President of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference, at the end of which the participants’ Final Message will be made public.
As spokespeople for the delegates’ reflections, 10 journalists from different European countries will accompany the delegates.
Enclosed is the full programme for the meeting. Further information is available on the meeting website with documentation in English, Italian, Slovakian, German and Hungarian.
Information about news conferences on the various stages of the pilgrimage will be communicated in due course.
For further information:
Thierry Bonaventura, (Italian, English, French and German)
CCEE Media Officer
Tel: +41/ 71/227 6040 - Fax: +41/71/227 6041
Mobile: +41/ 78/ 851 6040- thierry.bonaventuraccee.ch
Mrs. Viktória Török (Hungarian, English)
Media Officer of the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference
Tel: ++36 / 1 / 321 09 45
Mobile: +36 / 3 0 / 730 66 55 - torokkatolikus.hu
Fr. Jozef Kováčik (Slovakian, Italian)
Spokesperson for the Slovakian Bishops’ Conference
Tel. & Mobile: +421 / 910 / 955 970
Dr. Paul Wuthe (German, English)
Director of Kathpress
Tel: ++43 / 1 / 516 113 495
The Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) gathers the Presidents of the current 33 European Bishops’ Conferences of this Continent, represented by their Presidents, and the Archbishops of Luxembourg and of the Principality of Monaco, as well as the Bishop of Chişinău (Moldavia) and the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus. The President is Cardinal Péter Erdö, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Primate of Hungary; the Vice-Presidents are Cardinal Josip Bosanic, Archbishop of Zagreb, and Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, Archbishop of Bordeaux. The General Secretary of CCEE is Fr Duarte da Cunha. The headquarters of the Secretariat is in St Gallen (Switzerland).