Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, The Netherlands

Poland: the bishops on the family and the media During the plenary of March 12-13 the archbishop of Przemysl, president of the Polish Bishops’ Conference (KEP) Msgr. Jozef Michalik, will pass on the post (held for two consecutive mandates) to his successor who will be elected by the assembly. KEP spokesperson, father Jozef Kloch, pointed out that the debate will develop in the framework of “Evangelii gaudium”, focusing on “the implementation of Pope Francis’ message” conveyed to the bishops during their recent Ad Limina visitation. “Appropriate preparation for assuming the decision to have a family is another item on the agenda”, said Fr Kloch, who added that prelates will focus on the situation of families according to the survey drawn up with a view to the next Synod and will speak of young people who are preparing for the World Youth Day planned for 2016 in Krakow. Finally, the bishops will devote special reflections on the relations with the media. “We need to develop knowledge of the media, since we often are called to respond to their expectations”, pointed out KEP Secretary General Jozef Polak. Slovakia: Internet portal for Christian art A new Internet portal for the promotion of Christian art was recently launched on the initiative of some professional painters of different Christian denominations. “The purpose of the project is to present and promote the work of creative artists who depict religious themes”, said painter Lubo Michalko, one of the promoters, stressing that these original works of art differ significantly from devotional mass production. “Quality graphic art and painting is hard to find on the Internet”, Michalko added. “With our project we intend to make up for the lack of these works of art”. Currently, the portal features works of art by fourteen artists from Slovakia, including the well-known illustrator Martin Kellenberger and painter Darina Gladisová. The www.krestum.sk website, the address of which is formed by the words “Christian art” in Slovak, is an open space for all the artists who meet the conditions for registration and are interested in this form of presentation and dissemination of Christian values through their works of art. Czech Republic: theology, faculty of the year The Faculty of Theology of the University of Southern Bohemia of Ceske Budejovice was nominated “Faculty of the Year” through its affiliate in the Czech Republic, thereby confirming the primate it attained last year. “We are very pleased that students and alumni from all over the Country have supported us with their votes. We consider it a success and a token of appreciation of our commitment”, said the vice dean of the faculty winner, Rudolf Svoboda. The voting procedures were conducted between November 2013 and January 2014, organized for the third time by the union of the Czech students. The Faculty of Theology of Ceske Budejovice, with close to 1,000 active students, received 377 points, which was sufficient to make it the best Faculty of Theology of the Czech Republic, as well as the best ranked among all faculties and schools of southern Bohemia. In addition to theology, the faculty offers training in the field of social work and charity, in philosophy, in religion and in the pedagogy of leisure activities. The Netherlands: card. Eijk, “old people should not be left alone” “According to estimates, as many as 200 thousand old people in The Netherlands lead a lonely life. Loneliness is a very widespread disease”. The cry of alarm was launched by the Cardinal of Utrecht, Willem Eijk, in his Lenten letter to the diocese, published on the website of the Bishops’ Conference. Eijk wrote: “In a state of loneliness old people loose all connections with life, they often spend entire days without speaking with anyone. It may happen that an old person dies alone in his home without nobody knowing it, as has recently happened”. His Eminence thus called upon the faithful “to devote more time to see the desert experienced by people who are near us” and “provide an oasis of care in the desert of old people”. It is important that “the elderly in the Netherlands are not alone neither during Lent nor in the other 325 days of the year”. The cardinal expressed admiration for the Lenten initiative of the Dutch Bishops’ Conference, Vastenaktie, whose fund-raising activity for charity projects has been ongoing since 1961.

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