CCEE’s “green” pilgrimage is about to begin.
Hungary – Slovakia – Austria, 1-5 September 2010.
The pilgrimage of bishops and the national delegates with responsibility for protecting creation in Europe is to begin tomorrow with the celebration of Mass at 1700 in Esztergom Basilica and the blessing of pilgrims by Cardinal Peter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and CCEE President. The pilgrimage is scheduled to end on Sunday 5 September and will pass through three countries (Hungary – Slovakia – Austria) at the heart of the continent, reflecting on the theme chosen by Pope Benedict XVI for the 2010 World Day of Peace: “If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation”.
Six years after the end of the consultations organised by CCEE on the theme of the environment and responsibility for creation, which led to the establishment of a European network of national delegates from Europe’s Bishops’ Conferences (documentation from the six consultations from 1999-2004 and a collection of news and documents from the Bishops’ Conferences are available on the website of the CEFE (Catholic Ecology Forum Europe - www.cefe.ch), CCEE aims to re-launch and strengthen the exchange and network between the national deleagtes and present to Europe the Church’s outlook on the gifts of creation.
“Concern for creation has always been part of CCEE’s work”, explained Fr Duarte da Cunha, the General Secretary of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), “as is shown by the work done by the CCEE and CEC at the Third European Ecumenical Assembly at Sibiu in 2007. This daily concern stems from an awareness that the ecological issue has often been tackled in almost “apocalyptic” terms and sometimes in a dialectical manner seeing the human person as an enemy of nature. Instead, we, as the Holy Father has often invited us, want to base our reflection and our work for the environment simply on the fact that safeguarding creation, repect for nature, is at the basis of “the quest for authentic world-wide solidarity inspired by the values of charity, justice and the common good” (Benedict XVI, If you want to cultivate peace…, 10).”
Tomorrow, the Secretary of State for Environment of the Hungarian Government, Mr Zoltán Illés, will attend the opening of the meeting at St. Adalbert Centre in Esztergom. On 2 September the participants will head for Bratislava along the longest river in the European Union, the Danube. This will provide an opportunity to reflect on the themes of water and energy (there is a scheduled visit to the biodiesel plant at Komarom). On Friday 3 September there will be reflection on safeguarding creation with a round table discussion which will include Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Ján Figel, former European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth and currently Slovakian Minister for Public Works, Post and Telecommunications. In the afternoon, the participants will be tranferred by bus to the Austrian city of St. Pölten, where there is to be an ecumenical celebration in the cathedral. In the course of 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 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.
A film crew from Telepace will acompany the participants in order to prepare a short piece on the event, which will then be shown to the CCEE Plenary Assembly on 30 September.
Three clips on the themes of Water, Energy and Human Ecology realised in collaboration with the TV agency H2onews will introduce the respective plenary sessions on those themes during the meeting.
Further information (texts available under embargo) will be accessible on the pilgrim website (www.ccee.ch/umwelt/index.html).
- From this afternoon a pilgrim’s guide will be available on the pilgrimage website (www.ccee.ch/umwelt/index.html): it is collection of texts taken from the teachings of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI on the theme of Creation, along with some information about the places to be visited by the pilgrims.
- On Wednesday 1 September from 1600 - 1700, Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and CCEE President, will be avilable for interviews. Hungarian journalists are kindly requested to contact the Media Officer of the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference, Viktoria Török, while other journalists are requested to contact the CCEE Media Officer, Thierry Bonaventura. Interviews will be possible in Italian, German and Hungarian.
- The Round Table discusion on Friday 3 September (0930 – 1130) is open to the public. At the end of the discussion at 1145 there will be a News Conference with the speakers. There will be translation into Italian, German, English and Slovak.
- The final message form the participants will be published at the end of Mass on Sunday 5 September, and at the appropriate time will be sent to accredited journalists under embargo.
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 for the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference
Tel: ++36 / 1 / 321 09 45
Mobile: +36 / 3 0 / 730 66 55 - torokkatolikus.hu
Fr. Jozef Kováčik (Slovak, Italian)
Spokesman for the Slovakian Bishops’ Conference
Tel. & Mobile: +421 / 910 / 955 970
Dr. Paul Wuthe (German, English)
Director of Kathpress
Tel: ++43 / 1 / 5125283
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).