Last month John Paul II celebrated Mass in Slovakia and beatified Bishop Vasil' Hokpo (1904-1976) and Sister Zdenka Cecilia Schelingova (1915-1955), witnesses of the faith in the 20th century. Attending the Eucharistic celebration were the president of the republic, numerous civil and military authorities, as well as thousands of faithful not only from Slovakia but also from other bordering countries.
In his homily which occurred on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Pope invites everyone “to look upon the Cross, a 'privileged place' where the love of God is revealed and shown to us. Bishop Vasil' Hopko and Sister Zdenka Schelingova, whom I have had the joy of enrolling today among the Blessed, looked at the Cross with unshakeable faith.”
“On the Cross human misery and divine mercy meet. The adoration of this unlimited mercy is for man the only way to open himself to the mystery which the Cross reveals. … By means of the Cross of Christ, the Evil One has been defeated, death is overcome, life is given to us, hope is restored, light is imparted. O Crux, ave spes unica!”
The Pope emphasized that “it was meditation on this great and wonderful mystery that sustained” the new blesseds “in their choice of the consecrated life and especially in the sufferings endured during their terrible imprisonment.”
“Both shine before us,” he added, “as radiant examples of faithfulness in times of harsh and ruthless religious persecution. Bishop Vasil' never repudiated his attachment to the Catholic Church and to the Pope. Sister Zdenka did not hesitate to risk her life so as to assist God's ministers. Both faced up to an unjust trial and an ignoble condemnation, to torture, humiliation, solitude, death. And so the Cross became for them the way that led them to life, a source of fortitude and hope, a proof of love for God and man.”
In concluding the Holy Father indicated that in this way, as “in the Garden of Eden, at the foot of the tree, there was a woman, Eve … On Calvary, at the foot of the tree of the cross, there was another woman, Mary. … It is the Virgin Most Sorrowful, whom we will remember tomorrow in the liturgy and whom you, with tender devotion, venerate as your patroness. To her I entrust the present and the future of the Church and nation of Slovakia, so that they will grow at the foot of the Cross of Christ, and will always know how to seek out and accept its message of love and salvation.”
This update courtesy of Vatican Information Service.