Feast of St. Catherine in the Franciscan Church in Bratislava (27 November 2019)

On Wednesday, 27 November 2019, the Feast of St. Catherine took place for the 25th time. The project celebrated the feast of patron saint of the church and monastery that is in the center of the Katarínka project.

The feast started with a holy mass in the Franciscan Church in Bratislava. The main celebrant and festive preacher was the auxiliary bishop and vicar general of the Bratislava Archdiocese, father Jozef Haľko. In his sermon, he focused on the figure of St. Catherine of Alexandria and connected her life story with the first Commandment of the Decalogue which is the source for all other Commandments. The liturgy was accompanied by music and songs of Sv. Katerina Choir which consists of young volunteers from the Katarínka project.

The holy mass was followed by a treat in the refectory of the Franciscan monastery with traditional specialties such as bread slices with pork fat and onion, but also various pies and other snacks. Guests could also see the slide show of photos from the summer volunteer project camps, or choose from the wide variety of souvenirs to support the project.

The feast was participated by about 150 volunteers and project enthusiasts and supporters.

Night of Castles and Ruins 2019

On Saturday 16 August 2019 in the evening, about 300 people attended the traditional event Night of Castles and Ruins. 25 years ago, first volunteers came to Katarínka, so also this event was a part of celebration of this anniversary.

The program started with a Holy Mass celebrated by Branislav Popelka („Beren“) and the parish priest from Dechtice Miroslav Kováč. Music during the Holy Mass was performed by the volunteer band s. Katerína. After the Mass, the traditional refreshment was offered to the visitors – bread slices with pork grease and onion, as well as tea.

After a short break, when it got already dark, the program continued with a concert of the ZOE chamber orchestra. The orchestra consisted of 8 musicians with mostly bowed string instruments, but also a harpsichord was present. The orchestra played for almost one hour and the concert consisted mainly from baroque pieces.

After the concert, a surprise was awaiting the visitors. For the first time, visitors could enter the biggest crypt in the church with a trained guide. Until last year, archaeologic research with participation of our volunteers was being carried out in the crypt.

In addition, visitors could enjoy the night atmosphere at Katarínka with special night lightning. Young volunteers guided them around the walls and presented them not only the monastery ruin and its history, but also the work of volunteers and their way of life during summer camps.

The event Night of Churches at Katarinka was a great success, the weather was unexpectedly good and number of visitors high

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.

The most visits of pilgrims during pilgrimage to Katarínka

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.

Feast of St. Catherine 2017 – Report

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.