Places in Czech Republic

Pilgrimage to Kladruby

In September I posted a few photos from our brief stop at the premises of the Benedictine monastery at Kladruby. About three weeks ago a diocesan pilgrimage took place there and I decided to go, together with my younger son. He wanted to go and I thought it was a good opportunity both for him and me to spend a nice day and enjoy the atmosphere of the place.

Buses were provided for participants in several towns and we went with the nearest one. It was quite a change not to go by car for once, it added to the atmosphere of the pilgrimage. The pilgrimage… I’m not sure about the word though the gathering is titled this way. People come to the place to pray and attend a mass, perhaps to meet a few fellow Christians or buy a Christian focused book, but the idea of a pilgrimage is tied in my mind firmly to a picture of pilgrims walking long distances, not of “tourists” going by bus. Well, times have changed…

There was a special program prepared for children. They had a back yard reserved for them so that they weren’t disturbed by all the adults going here and there. On arrival, their parents could have them registered at the entrance to the back yard. They got labels with their names on their sweaters and jackets so that the people taking care of them didn’t have to ask every child about their names again and again. Around their necks they got cards for collecting points in various tasks. Then the fun started.

There was even a local TV station broadcasting the mass, it was quite interesting to see all the equipment inside and outside the church. I’ve been inside the church for the first time and didn’t see much as it was crowded but it’s huge. You anticipate it from the outside view but it’s still surprising when you’re inside.

I just kept moving from the yard where my son was participating to the church and back, watching people and enjoying the atmosphere. I’m not into these mass activities and usually avoid crowds but from time to time it’s not bad to become a part of something bigger.

We also attended a guided tour of the adjoining castle, I’ve never been inside either. I was impressed by its library with plenty of old volumes. Also two boards caught my attention which were displaying a collection of photographs of statues of Saint John of Nepomuk, each photo stating the name of the town where the statue stands. All of them together looked impressive.

Some of the buildings are in a very bad condition, neglected and crying for restoration. Hopefully effort will be made to save them.

Fortunately, the weather was fine though dramatic clouds started to accumulate above us in the afternoon and it started to rain just before we sat into our busses and left for home. I didn’t expect much and spent quite a nice and unusual day. It’s good to do something unexpected from time to time, isn’t it?