In September LCI had the distinct honor of hosting over twenty-four priests and bishops from Central and Eastern Europe as a part of the Bishops’ English Language Course. We would like to thank in a particular way all of the student participants, volunteers, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for making this course a reality. All of us here at the LCI look forward to hosting the Bishops’ Course again next year.
The Course consisted of two, two-week sessions with students from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine. The daily schedule included: daily Mass at 7:30, English language classes from 9:00-11:50, lunch at 12:00, classes/activities from 2:00-4:00, Rosary & Eucharistic Adoration at 5:30, dinner at 6:00, and seminar/activities from 7:00-8:30. Our student priests and bishops were very busy and had this special opportunity to improve their English language skills.
One amazing aspect of the LCI Bishops’ Course was being able to meet with and interact with the priests and bishops from all across Central & Eastern Europe.
Two stories have remained firmly in my consciousness, that of Fr. Vladimir Fekete, SDB, the Apostolic Administrator in Baku, Azerbaijan, and that of Dr. Jan Kail, Esq., from the Czech Republic.
Fr. Vladimir was born and raised in Slovakia during the time of Communism and when he felt the vocation to the priesthood, he had to study at the Seminary in secret and could not even tell his own mother when he became a priest until six-years after his ordination.
Dr. Jan also has an interesting story as he works for the Catholic Church in the Czech Republic as legal aide in reclaiming properties which were repossessed by the government which once belonged to the Church. An integral part of this process is making agreements with the Czech government to return the properties while at the same time annually decreasing the amount which the government pays towards priests’ salaries (a carryover from Communist times).
I hope that you can, like myself, find inspiration in these stories. Thank you for your continued support of the LCI which makes all of this possible!
Daniel Davis is from Keene, NH, and helped with programming, tutoring, and various tasks during the Bishops’ Course.