Czech Out Our Family!

Pastoral Care of Pallotti’s Little Ones in Slovakia & the Czech Republic

24 January • Slovakia/Czech Republic

With the school year well underway, our Pallottine Fathers from Poland’s Christ the King Province have been working full time in the Society’s parishes of Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Here, we wish to invite you to our pastoral mission virtually, so you many also accompany us throughout the year!

Upon our school community beginning again in September, we have a Holy Mass with the children and teachers, during which all educational-related items are blessed. When bringing all of the grades together, it represents formation at every  level; both for the students, and the parishioners whose children have since grown.

As the first month of a new academic year always flies quickly, we look to October with even greater joy: as it is for Mary and the Rosary. Reflecting always upon the mysteries of the life of Jesus, there is always an activity for the children related to our Heavenly Mother; even kite flying! Where they set their gaze to the Mantle, and together with their family at home make a kite to fly for a competition.

Come November, we remember our Saints and those who have passed. The young ones dress up as one of our heavenly guides, acting out their lives and heroic virtues that raised them to glorious heights!

As Christmas fast approaches, and the snow coats our towns, we carry forth our ritual masses, which are celebrated in the early morning hours at either 6:00 or 6:30. Every year, there is a topic chosen in accordance with what is happening in the Church. These Masses are held only by candlelight, emphasizing that- like wise virgins and good servants- we wait for the arrival of Our Lord. For this we cast our eyes to Mary, our model, and the mothers of our Parish bake cookies as we celebrate the Advent season, and decorate the tree.

So, too, do the little ones praise in sound! Christmas caroling for a missionary country that they wish to financially support. Likewise do we all fast; which helps us get closer to one another, noticing our needs, what we have, and what we can share. For example, in Slovakia there is "Pôstna krabička pre Afriku" - a fast box for Africa - whereby whole families and their children renounce various things, so that they can support this missionary  project.

The children have formed such sensitivity to those their same age in developing countries, that some classes have even adopted a friend from the “Adoption of the Heart” project. In this moment of self-giving and sacrificing what we are able to, we are especially prepared for the Way of the Cross.

As the snow melts and we see the splendour of green again, our great event is the solemnity of First Holy Communion. It’s the celebration of a pure heart and Jesus in Eucharist, where throughout the week families celebrate by inviting others over to thank them for the gift of faith. The children attend Holy Mass in solemn white robes for the entire week, where they take part in the ceremony of Christ’s Body and Blood. During the procession, through the streets of the city, they pass flowers before the Blessed Sacrament.

The great event is the solemnity of the first Holy Communion, along with the previous first confession. It is the celebration of the pure heart and the takeover of Jesus in the Eucharist that celebrates the whole week by inviting someone from another family whom they want to thank for the gift of faith. They attend the Holy Mass in solemn white robes for a whole week. In these white robes, they once again take part in the ceremony of Christ's body and blood, where during the procession, through the streets of the city, flowers prepared for themselves before the Blessed Sacrament.

In all of these seasons, we celebrate life through the eyes of the children; who remind us that often the most precious marvels are the most little. May we all catch what is beautiful and pass it on to the next generation, so that we may always remember the innocence the Babe of Bethlehem through a child’s smile.

JulesJacob Pallotti