Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mass celebrated in the Vatican for late president Havel

A Requiem mass for the former Czechoslovak and Czech president Vaclav Havel, who died on December 18 aged 75, was celebrated by Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, in St Peter's Basilica Friday.
Sodano commemorated his personal meetings with Havel in the Czech Republic during the visits of the late Pope John Paul II and during Havel's visit to the Vatican.

Sodano pronounced one sentence in Czech. He recalled the statement of Havel, a playwright, dissident and politician, about the history of the Czech nation being firmly connected with Christianity.

The ceremony was concelebrated by Jan Mraz, rector of the Czech Nepomucenum College, and Giovanni Coppa, the first Apostolic Nuncio to the Czech Republic.

Cardinal Sodano also quoted from the letter that Pope Benedict XVI sent to Czech President Vaclav Klaus after Havel's death.

The 45-minute mass was held 30 days after Havel's death according to the Catholic tradition and it was attended by about 100 guests, Czech ambassador to Vatican Pavel Vosalik told CTK.

The participants were representatives of Czech compatriots, Italy's representatives as well as diplomats from other countries, including Britain, Canada, France, Honduras, Poland, Serbia and Slovakia.

Close relatives and friends did not take part in the ceremony.

Havel's office said formerly widow Dagmar would not arrive over her work schedule.

A Requiem mass for Havel, last Czechoslovak and first Czech president (1998-2003) was held in St Vitus's Cathedral at Prague Castle on December 23.