The archdiocesan seminary in Prague is one of just two seminars in the Czech Republic. Currently there are 15 young men here, from five different dioceses, training for the priesthood. Their future task as priests will be no easy one, since with 34% professing no religious denomination and a further 44% giving no indication of any religious affiliation, the Czech Republic is one of the most atheistic countries in Europe. Just 10.4% of the population are Catholics, while another 11% belong to other Christian denominations. Nevertheless, where people have found their way to faith, there are many living communities with young families. Consequently, priests are urgently needed.
These future priests have already had an opportunity during the coronavirus pandemic to give witness of their Catholic faith to the people of their country. For they have been visiting the hospitals, offering a quite exceptional service to the sick, and additionally helping by making protective face masks for people to wear. The Czech Republic is one of the countries most severely affected by the pandemic, both within Europe and more recently even in the world. According to official figures, by mid-March 2021 some 1.45 million people had been infected out of a population of 10.6 million – in other words almost one person in every seven. The Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Dominic Duka has actually awarded the Prague seminary the Gold Medal of Saint Adallbert, in recognition of its seminarians‘ courageous and selfless acts of service.
ACN is supporting these priests for their formation in the Prague seminary, as we do regularly. This year we are giving 4500 Euros.