Matej from the Czech Republic
About Matej from the Czech Republic
Matej is not only the youngest in age in this year’s group, but also the youngest in the Church. Just four years ago, at age 15, Matej decided to join the Catholic Church. The Czech Republic is notably one of the most atheistic countries in Europe (with some pockets of the Church flourishing and growing) and Matej’s family was no exception. He describes his family as being loving and supportive, but having no personal faith whatsoever. This extends as far back as his grandparents and even great-grandparents. So how does a 15-year-old kid with no faith for generations end up being Baptized? Matej laughs and says simply, “Well, I don’t know. God works in many ways. At first, I just wanted to go [into the local Catholic church] just to look at it. Eventually I began staying for Mass. There I found many good people, many kind people, and a great atmosphere. There weren’t many young people, but I made friends with people who are older than me who also share my faith.”
Matej received a year and a half of solid preparation from his priest, and read much from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other documents. But here in Gaming he desires to learn more English and to expand his knowledge of catechism and theology. He desires to share this with other young people in his home place.
His impression of life here is a bit overwhelming: “This is a very beautiful place for me. At home, maybe 10 young people will be at Mass. Here, every day there are 200 [LCI and Franciscan University students combined]. I am surprised and amazed at the belief of so many young people, and especially their openness in communicating it!” Matej still has his university years ahead of him, but is grateful for this year to live in Catholic community and to grow in English language skills, which will be helpful in whatever field of study he chooses to go into.