On Thursday, 24th June 2021, in the early evening, a devastating tornado hit South Moravia. Four villages and a part of the town of Hodonín were most affected by its rage. 6 people died and hundreds were injured, the damage to property was immeasurable. During the tornado, the parish priest Marián Kalina celebrated Mass in the church of Saint James in Moravská Nová Ves. At quarter to eight in the evening, he noticed the vibration of the iron window structures, the breaking of the windowpanes, and the subsequent collapse of the church vault. The parish priest and 25 parishioners present hid under the tower and none of them were injured. However, the church was damaged.
The tornado caused a huge wave of solidarity throughout the Czech Republic. Thousands of volunteers come to the scene to help clear the damage. The diocesan charity Brno announced a collection to help all those affected, and hundreds of millions of Czech koruna were raised during the week. Diocesan Bishop of Brno Mons. Vojtěch Cikrle announced a collection in all the churches of the diocese on Sunday 27th June. Similar events were carried out by charitable organizations of other churches, especially the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, the Czechoslovak Hussite Church and ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) Czech Republic. Help also came from Slovakia, Austria, Poland, Hungary and Croatia.
The next day, the affected villages were visited by the Bishop of Brno Mons. Vojtěch Cikrle. He handed over a personal financial gift and material assistance. Auxiliary Bishop of Brno, Member of the Church Law Society, Mons. Pavel Konzbul, celebrated Mass in the ruined church of Saint James in Moravská Nová Ves on Sunday, 4th July. Seminarians from the Brno diocese are among the volunteers who help with the restoration of the affected villages on the spot.
This year’s national pilgrimage, which, as every year, takes place on the state and ecclesiastical feast of Saints Cyril and Methodius on 5th July at the pilgrimage basilica of Velehrad in South Moravia, a symbol of the capital of the ancient Great Moravian Empire, was marked by prayer and material assistance for the affected area. More than 15 000 believers took part in the pilgrimage. The main celebrant of the pilgrimage Mass was Cardinal Dominik Duka, Primate of Bohemia, from Prague.
This was followed by the usual session of the Czech Bishopsʼ Conference, which convenes bishops from all over the Czech Republic that day.
Jan Beránek, Jiří Rajmund Tretera, Záboj Horák