This article is available only in Slovak language.
On Friday, 29th of May, the imaginary gates of the monastery of St. Catherine of Alexandria have opened for guests within the frame of the nation-wide event Noc kostolov. This year‘s motto was quotation of the Psalm 139,12: “Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”
The program was opened by charming melodies of the young cabinet composition „Guitar Duo Jókaiová Hnat“ by the songs of well-known representatives, such as K. Mertz, Antonio Soler, Radamés Gnattali and others.
After the concert, a moderated prayer took place by means of the volunteers, to whom the evening prayer is a part of each day spent at Katarínka.
After the prayer, there was a refreshment in form of greasy bread with onion and a hot tea.
The guided commentary about history, surveys, works and life of the volunteers was offered to the guests and it all accompanied by the light of the moon and kerosene lamp.
The event was ended by non-traditional lighting of the external walls of the church and monastery, which exuded mysterious atmosphere of the 17th century.
We estimate the total number of guests to 200 from Trnava, Bratislava and also from the Nitra region.
This article is available only in Slovak language.
On the feast of St. Cyril and Methodius (5th July 2014), the Open Doors Day was held at Katarinka just like every year. Since the start of the project of the preservation of the church’s and monastery’s ruins, it has been the 13th event of this kind organised by volunteers from the organisation “Katarinka”. Despite the changeable weather, it was greeted again by large numbers of interested visitors coming from the near villages as well as by tourists and others.
The Open Doors Day at Katarinka was opened by a solemn mass celebrated by Viliam Arbet from the village of Naháč, by the franciscan Félix Mária from Bratislava, whom we know as “Zenius”, and also by Branislav “Beren” Popelka from Majcichov, who is also the spiritual father of Katarinka. At noon, the programme continued with a summary of the 20-year history of the project “Katarinka” and a presentation of the plans for the upcoming season by Peter “Benignus” Herceg, founder of the project.
Afterwards, the programme continued with an unusual historical play, despite the rainfall.
This was followed by refreshments for the visitors, namely freshly cooked goulash and garlic soup.
Many visitors, mostly young families with children, were interested in the several creative workshops.
There were also guided tours along the ruins of the church and the monastery with an explanation of the history connected with this pilgrimage site. Apart from the civic association Katarinka and the Association of Christian youth communities, the villages of Naháč and Dechtice were involved in the organisation of the programme too. The event was eventually attended by about 1,000 supporters and tourists, mostly families with children, but also other age categories.
The end of the event was described in the following words of Benignus: “Since this day, we celebrate the start of the jubilee 20th season of our voluntary work. It is this evening that the first 40 volunteers will come to work here for 2 weeks in order to continue with the preservation of St. Catherine’s church and monastery, with the repair of the tower with the aim of building up an observation tower, with the archaeological research and other activities. All camp dates are already almost full, except for the 5th group, where there are free places for guys from 17 years of age.”
On Friday 23rd May, we joined the project “The Night of the Churches” by attending the programme which we organised at Katarinka.
The programme consisted in prayers and a play telling the history of the place. Then, the guided tours of the church and monastery ruins continued, lit by lanterns and explaining the 400-year history of the ruins, the goals of the project Katarinka and its voluntary activities.
This year, about 150 visitors and supporters arrived to enjoy Katarinka in the late evening hours, coming not only from the near villages and towns, but also from further ones, such as Nitra, Nové Zámky or Lučenec. The importance of was emphasized by one of our volunteers: “Young volunteers from all over Slovakia save the ruins of St. Catherine’s monastery and church not only for themselves, but for all the people who come here to look for peace, good and rest. The project the Night of the Churches is an extraordinary occasion on which we can make the atmosphere and the message of the ruins available for visitors from afar and, by means of the programme, hand over not only a lovely experience, but also the values, hope and faith of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Catherine of Alexandria.“
Video in Lux TV (Slovak only):
The last April Sunday (27/04/2014) was dedicated to “Bielonedeľná púť”, the traditional one-day pilgrimage to Katarínka on the first Saturday after Easter. The pilgrimage was attended by approximately 140 pilgrims, and about 280 people took part in the following Holy Mass. This day’s mass turned out to be a celebration of both the canonization of John XXIII. and John Paul II. as well as the feast of the Divine Mercy Sunday, which is also called the “White Sunday”, of which the name of the pilgrimage is derived.
The track of the pilgrimage started traditionally at the railway station Buková, from where it continued across Raková and up the forest trail straight to Katarínka.
The pilgrimage was accompanied by short stops with reflections which recalled the meaning of the pilgrimage. The sunny weather, which lasted until the very end, created an agreeable atmosphere throughout the journey.
The Sunday Mass in the ruins of St. Catherine’s Church was celebrated by Branislav “Beren” Popelka, the administrator of the parish of Majcichov. The sermon was delivered by Vladimír Bartolomej Hurňanský (in the picture, distributing the holy communion), a dominican priest and administrator of UPC Zvolen. After the mass, an opportunity arose to have a barbecue, to show the visitors the results of the work and the plans of the volunteers that help here over the summer. Some people were also interested in a guided tour telling the history of this place.
It was the 15th pilgrimage from the time of its modern dating. We were pleased by the biggest turnout so far – probably also thanks to the favourable weather, although it is generally hard to predict weather in April.