St. Martin (316-2016)
Letter of the CCEE Presidency to the Episcopate of Hungary
On the occasion of the closing of the commemorative year for the 17th centenary of the birth of St. Martin (316-2016) of which the Church celebrates the liturgical memory on November 11, the CCEE Presidency sent a letter to the episcopate and the people of Hungary, addressed to the President of the Hungarian Bishops' conference, the Bishop of Györ, Msgr. András Veres, and the Primate of Hungary, Cardinal Péter Erdő, former president of CCEE. The letter follows:
St. Gallen, 10 novembre 2016
To His Lordship Mgr András Veres, President of the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference,
To His Eminence Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Budapest and Primate of Hungary,
To the whole Bishops of the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference
On the day the Church celebrates the liturgical memory of Saint Martin, which this year marks the closure of the celebratory year for the 17th centenary of his birth, we would like to unite ourself with the Bishops and all the faithful of Hungary, the native land of this great Saint, in giving thanks to God for the human and spiritual contribution which Saint Martin has given to the continent.
A few days away from the end of the Jubilee of Mercy, we cannot but note the happy coincidence with the memory of one of the saints who knew best how to incarnate in his time the merciful face of Christ. The life of Saint Martin tells us that in the encounter with the cold beggar the saint discovered Jesus Christ, was converted and changed his life, putting it no longer at the service of a worldly power but of God. Through this encounter, Christ made Saint Martin capable of living and loving. Obeying the divine call, Saint Martin undertook a path of Christian life which brought him to take care of the poor and the oppressed, to spread the Gospel with courage, to combat the errors of his time, to build church communities with the spirit of a pastor, with the sentiments of Christ and the ability to see the world through God’s eyes.
Saint John Paul II said that Saint Martin was one of the founders of Western monasticism; he also belongs to that multitude of men who are at the foundations of European culture and civilisation, a reality which is not just a memory, but also a project to build with trust and conviction. The figure and the ministry of Saint Martin testify to the immense human, cultural and spiritual contribution which Christianity has offered to Europe. The continent is heir of Saint Martin, of those men and women, like him, who are at the foundation of European humanism.
In our time, too, it is essential to remember that the Christian life unites the profundity of prayer, community life, the proclamation of the Gospel, attention and dedication to the poor and to those who suffer.
We thank God for the radiant witness of Saint Martin, who contributed to keeping alight the flame of the Christian faith in the world.
Uniting with the Hungarian Bishops, CCEE asks the Lord for the grace to raise up new European saints who might live out Mercy and witness to it in their personal and community lives.
Today Europe and the world have a need of “a Church rich in witnesses”. Only in this way, the Church “will be able to bring back the pure water of the Gospel to the roots of Europe.” (Pope Francis, Address on the Conferral of the Charlemagne Prize, 6 May 2016)
Following the example of Saint Martin, may we, too, desire to proclaim joyfully that Christ is our life and the everlasting foundation of civilisation and culture.
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa - President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference and CCEE President
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster - President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and Vice-President of CCEE
H.E. Mgrs. Stanisław Gądecki, Archbishop of Poznań - President of the Bishops’ Conference of Poland and Vice-President of CCEE
Mons. Duarte da Cunha, Secretary General of CCEE
The Hungarian news release is available here