Bratislava, 18 March (KBS, 18 March) The European Catholic Social Days, which take place from Thursday to Sunday in Bratislava, continued with the second day. Friday's programme began with a Holy Mass at the Church of St. John of Matha in Bratislava.
The main celebrant and preacher was Cardinal Michael Czerny, Interim Prefect of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development and Special Envoy of the Holy Father to Ukraine. In his homily, he stressed the "perspective of the cross" as "engaging in radical fraternity," drawing on the story in the Book of Genesis telling how Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers (Gen 37) and on Jesus' parable of the wicked men in vineyard in Matthew's Gospel (Mt 21).
The FULL TRANSCRIPT of the homily is HERE
This was followed by a welcome by the organisers (the full text of the addresses can be found at www.tkkbs.sk and catholicsocialdays.eu). The message of the Holy Father Francis was also read. The guests were welcomed by the President of the Slovak Republic, Zuzana Čaputová. The full text of the speeches can be found on the Slovak Bishops' Conference YouTube channel.
The welcome was followed by an analysis of the social challenges in Europe today and an outline of a possible path for renewal. The socio-economic aspect of this analysis was presented by Professor Cécile Renouard from Paris and the theological-anthropological aspect by Prof. Miloš Lichner from the Faculty of Theology of the University of Trnava, based in Bratislava.
The afternoon was devoted to the issue of demographic changes and family life. Keynote speech was delivered via video by Croatian politician Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Democracy and Demography, and by Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic Milan Krajniak. A panel debate and workshops followed.
The programme ended with an ecumenical prayer for peace led by the Sant'Egidio Community in St. Martin's Cathedral in Bratislava. It was also attended by the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, Eduard Heger. The programme of the European Catholic Social Days continues on Saturday. It will culminate on Sunday with a closing summary and a Holy Mass in St Martin's Cathedral.