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We joined the project The night of churches on the 25th of May.
About 300 visitors and supporters took part in this event. The evening program started with the holy mass.
As the time advanced, the dark and silence settled, what was perfect for The String Quartet ZOE and their chamber concert.
Between the walls of the church, we could hear the well-known pieces, as f. e. Four Seasons from Antonio Vivaldi and other pieces from J. S. Bach.
The program was concluded with a night tourist visit through the Saint Catherine´s church, monastery and its surroundings.
Before the program started, there was an opportunity for tourists to enter the church tower and go on the top. Throughout the program, the visitors could help themselves with tea and snack.
Sunday 8th April 2018, it is the 19th time that pilgrims and visitors came to the St. Catherine monastery on Octave of Easter. More than 200 people were on the road through the Little-Carpathian woods. They fare forth from the Buková railway station and were awaited by other 300 visitors at Katarínka. There was the bishop Jozef Haľko (from Bratislava archdiocese) who joined the pilgrimage as well.
The newly reestablished Octave of Easter pilgrimage is the traditional event that always takes place one week after the Easter. From 2000, the volunteers out of Katarínka NGO reestablished this tradition after more than 200 years of its inactivity.
The pilgrimage started on with the train arrival to the Buková station and with the organizer’s introduction. The 12km long journey enriched by cast ups filled with the spiritual program, historical facts about the former pilgrimages (that were attended by some thousands of pilgrims) to St. Catherine monastery. The whole journey was held on the beautiful sunshiny day. The climax of the program was the ceremonial Mass that was held in the ruins of the church near Dechtice village. The Mass was attended by more than 500 people. Monsignor Jozef Haľko addressed himself to listeners that they should not be ashamed of their belief and of the belief to Jesus Christ. “Even the most modern-living person longs for nothing more than the love which is spread and given, which comes from within and which makes sense for the whole life.” Altogether with the assistant bishop there were some priests that are enthusiasts for the goal of OZ Katarínka project. The Mass was celebrated by Ondrej Chrvala, Miroslav Kováč, Ľudovít Kubán, Jeusit Martin Halčák, Dominicans Bartolomej Vladimír Hurňanský, Matej Juraj Šulík and Franciscan Zenius Félix-Mária Žiška.
After the Mass the volunteers offered to the visitors the tour with the presentation of historical facts. The outstanding interest was put to the climbing on the tower of the church. Regarding the fact that the tower has its limit the 16 visitor per one visit not all the visitor could see the look-out. The period with every day tour starts at the end of June and will be till September. Until that time, the tower will be opened occasionally on weekends.
Many visitors enjoyed their time together with their kids and families and prepared their lunch by roasting food.
On Wednesday, 22 November 2017, a few days before the Feast of St. Catherine, Katarínka Feast took place in the Franciscan monastery in Bratislava. The feast started with a holy mass, whose main celebrant was Branislav (Beren) Popelka, parish priest in Piešťany. The festive preacher was Ondrej (Chesed) Chrvala, secretary for youth of the Slovak Bishops’ Conference. Following the Gospel reading, he invited the participants to have courage to develop the gifts they have been given by God, because God looks more at one‘s effort that at results. He presented an interesting reflection that a servant who incorrectly invests his pound and loses it, would be in better position before his master that the one who fearfully hides his pound.
The holy mass was accompanied by music and songs of the choir consisting of Katarínka volunteers. Shortly before the end of the mass, the lights went off due to electric short circuit. Thanks to this, people in the church could experience the night atmosphere of Katarínka.
The holy mass was followed by a gathering with space for conversations, food (bread slices with pork fat and onion). Participants could also see an exhibition about Katarínka, photos from this year, or support this volunteer project by paying for some souvenirs, for example postcards, pens, pencils, fridge magnets.
The Night of castles and ruins at Katarínka turned out well, despite unfavourable weather forecast. Katarínka again took part this year in the Slovak countrywide event Night of castles and ruins, which is under the auspices of civic association Zachráňme hrady.
Parson Branislav Popelka from Piešťany and Miroslav Kováč from Dechtice served the Holy Mass in the area of the church.
Since it did not rain and the wind calmed down, approximately 150 visitors were able to enjoy both the superb atmosphere and an impressive concert of baroque virtuosi. It is interesting that a large part of the pieces was composed by Pantaleón Roškovský, who was a Franciscan that used to act around Katarínka. Not only his compositions, but also pieces of other baroque authors were performed by artists Adam Štefunko (electric organ) and Michal Klas (baroque violin, vocals).
Subtle illumination of the ruins was very impressive, as well as night tours, which were accompanied by traditional monastic dish – water and bread with butter and onions. Even before the start of the event, it was possible to visit the reconstructed 30-meter high tower, where the visitors could enjoy a moving view and listen to a detailed commentary given by guides.
We are very satisfied with both the attendance and the atmospere of the event, because we did not expect so many visitors with such weather conditions. However, many came and they obtained a reward in the form of a splendid evening at Katarínka.
Wednesday 5 July 2017 was the day of the biggest event of the year at Katarínka. The program of doors open day at Katarínka attracted more than 1,000 visitors from all parts of Slovakia. The focus was on the sightseeing tower which the volunteers from will Katarínka will open to public from 6 July.
The first people came to enjoy the peace and natural scenery even before the official beginning of the program. The main program started with a holy mass in the ruins of the church. The mass was celebrated by Franciscan Felix Mária (ThLic. Zdenko Žiška) and parish priest from Dechtice Miroslav Kováč. It was followed by a theater performance that described the interesting history of Church and Monastery of St. Catherine of Alexandria. Afterwards, visitors could enjoy the food prepared by the volunteers from Katarínka. The program continued with guided tours and various creative workshops for children.
After years of active volunteering activities, mainly in summer months, we are announcing opening of the sightseeing tower for general public, starting from 6 July. During doors open day, the tower was festively blessed, with presence of the invited guests. Entrance to the tower is possible only during good weather for max. 16 visitors and together with 2 guides. No special authorization is needed in advance; the tower will be (with a few exceptions) open during whole summer between 8:00 and 17:00.
Founder of Katarínka project, Peter Herceg: “We are very pleased that we can share this success with others. After years of hard work, when hundreds of volunteers were taking turns here, we can open the sightseeing tower for public. Visitors can get to the top of a 30-meter high tower and enjoy the view of surroundings – Little Carpathians. We ask visitors for their patience, because we do not know how big will be the demand. A situation can occur when more visitors come and not everyone will be allowed to enter the tower. These limitations are related mainly to security measurements. We also in advance would like to point out that visitors should be careful when going up or down the tower, because the stairs are rather steep. We are looking forward to all visitors and believe that the sightseeing will be worth it.”