Ljubljana archbishop urges mutual respect on Assumption Day

Brezje – Marking Assumption of Mary, Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore called for open-mindedness, acceptance and mutual respect as he said mass at Brezje on Sunday. The government described Assumption of Mary as a holiday of hope and faith in the fullness of life, wishing everyone peace on this day.

Celebrating Assumption Mass outside the Mary Help of Christians Cathedral at Brezje, Zore said that faith in eternal life lay at the heart of today’s holiday. “Without this faith this holiday would be hollow. It would be a mirage, an illusion.”

The Ljubljana archbishop said that recently, the Catholic Church had not been spared opposition and attempts to strip it of “everything which the Church gives life to in this world”, hence urging open-mindedness, acceptance and mutual respect.

He noted every individual or group faced a choice of whether to see differences as a threat and try to eliminate them or to see them “as an invitation to dialogue” and opportunity to create something good or better.

Religious ceremonies are held across the country to mark Assumption of Mary. Celebrating mass at the Ptujska Gora village near Ptuj in the north-east, Archbishop of Maribor Alojzij Cvikl said that Slovenians needed to learn what it meant to join forces in light of the epidemic.

He added there was always a choice between cooperation and putting one’s interests front and centre with the latter leading to rivalry and exclusion, urging listening to experts and “not those that sow distrust and always seek political points”.

Vaccination-wise, Cvikl said he had had his own reservations at the start, but later realised that protection of public health was the best method of showing love for a fellow man.

Also marking Assumption of Mary, Koper Bishop Jurij Bizjak highlighted the greatness of humility at the Sveta Gora village near Nova Gorica in the west.

Archbishop of Ljubljana Zore also urged people to get vaccinated with pilgrims to Brezje having a chance to get a jab on the spot. The Kočevje mobile vaccination unit has been at the cathedral since 8am at the initiative of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). Until noon some 20 people had been jabbed.

Brezje, Slovenia’s most popular pilgrimage site, is expected to attract thousands of pilgrims throughout the day, however today’s mass was attended by a smaller number of people than usual due to Covid-19.

According to the head of the Brezje Pilgrimage Office Andreja Eržen Firšt, a few hundred people gathered for the mass, which was held outdoors.