It was good to be Hungarian in Tolentino – from prelate Mons. László Németh


The report of László Németh, papal prelate, director of the St. Stephen House in Rome, Hungarian Chief Pastor in Italy about the benediction of the church, which was ruined by an earthquake and restored with the support of the Hungarian State.

Pilgrimage of Hungarians living in Italy to Tolentino

In 2016 in an earthquake - among many others - the Chuch of Sacro Cuore di Gesu (The Sacred Heart of Jesus) was also damaged, and it was renovated within a year with the support of the Hungarian government. The ceremonial benediction of the church took place on 9th December, about which many reports were published already. In all these the participation of Hungarian communities of Italy was mentioned. That is about I want to give a short report.

The generous offering, this expression of solidarity has moved the Hungarian communities of Italy to organize a pilgrimage for the benediction of the church. More than a hundred members came from Padova, Parma, Bologna, Firenze and Rome, not mentioning the local (Marche-Loreto) community. Until now there was no such an encounter among the Hungarian communities living Italy-wide. Upon arrivals the pilgrims could not fit into the church. The watched the ceremony on a screen in a hall next door. It was a great joy for the to meet Minister Zoltán Balog, state secretary Miklós Soltész and also both ambassadors of Hungary, Eduard von Habsburg-Lothringen and Ádám Kovács, along with the members of the delegation of the Hungarian government.

During my greeting words as a token of our gratitude we gave the minister the bound volume of the numbers of our pastoral newsletter Új üzenet (New Message) along with a copy of the biography of St. Nicholas of Tolentino by Luciano Radi in Hungarian. This is a joint publication with the St. Stephen Association, so that as many Hungarians as possible within and outside our borders may learn the biography of the Saint, in whose town the renovation of a church was made possible by the Hungarian government's donation. Among the pilgrims there were three freedom fighters from 1956, who were specially greeted by the delegation. It was a heart-felt meeting, the speeches of the Hungarian delegation were encouraging, and strengthened our Hungarian identity. At the end a group photo was made, which will be a beautiful memory to all participants.

After the benediction we too participated at the concert in honour of the Hungarians, and we were all enchanted by talent of the 15 years old pianist, Jacopo Fulimeni.

Next day, on the second Sunday of Advent at 10 o'clock Lajos Varga, auxiliary bishop of Vác was the main celebrant of the mass for the Hungarian pilgrims, where the delegation of the Hungarian government was also present. The lit candles of the Advent wreath, the Advent songs, our national flags all strengthened the Hungarian roots in those living here. At the end of the mass we all prayed the prayer of the International Eucharistic Congress together, because we all want to participate in it, too and until then help the preparations with our prayers. After the inspirational mass we continued our pilgrimage to Loreto.

The benediction, the encounter with both each other and the members of the Hungarian government, the joint lunches, the talks and in the first place the Hungarian mass is an unforgettable memory to all participants. It was good to be Hungarian in Tolentino! I thank to all, who helped to organize this pilgrimage with their services.

From: Radio Vaticana