Czech deacons tour Archdiocese and find the ‘openness’ of Texas faith, support for vocations
September 26, 2023
Three transitional deacons from the Czech Republic visited the Archdiocese during the summer and received chalices from the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus from Galveston-Houston on Saturday, Aug. 26 at St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church. Pictured in the front row, from left to right, are Father Paul Chovanec, pastor of St. Justin Martyr, and deacons Daniel Martinek, Vojtěch Razima and Jan Pecháček. (Photo By Catherine Viola/Herald)
HOUSTON — Three transitional deacons from the Czech Republic visited Texas, taking in both the local culture and Liturgies during the summer season.
Deacons Daniel Martinek of the Diocese of Brno, Jan Pechácek of the Diocese of Hradec Králové and Vojtech Razima of the Diocese of Ceské Budeovice came to visit the Archdiocese.
Every year, Father Stephen Nesrsta, pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church of Corn Hill in the Diocese of Austin, invites new deacons from the Czech Republic to come to Texas. They visit different places and experience Texas hospitality in local families with Czech ancestors. They also spent part of the trip with father Paul Chovanec, pastor of St. Justin Martyr Church, who helped facilitate their visit to Galveston-Houston.
While in the Archdiocese, the deacons visited Space Center Houston and the newly restored St. Mary Cathedral Basilica in Galveston. They also took a short walk on the beach in Galveston, where Deacon Martinek said, “The big surprise was that when we got our feet wet, the water was much warmer than on the other side of the ocean!”
As is tradition, the Czech deacons received chalices from the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus from Galveston-Houston on Saturday, Aug. 26, at St. Justin Martyr.
The deacons said the Archdiocese and the Czech Republic are similar in the way they celebrate and experience the Liturgy.
“We were pleasantly surprised that the local churches always fill up several times for Sunday Masses,” Deacon Pechácek said. “We experienced several pilgrimage festivals — whether on weekdays or Sundays — and we must say that you know how to celebrate nicely! It was also evident that you remember more to pray for vocations and generously support your seminarians.”
Their major takeaway from this trip was to have an openness to everyone and have the ability to “spend” a lot of time with others
“It’s no problem for most of them (Texas priests) to spend a whole day with you to show you everything, even if they have enough work of their own to do,” Deacon Razima said. “Really, any visit to a foreign country is very rewarding. You learn that things can be done differently and maybe even better. And this openness to do things differently — in a good way — is something we would like to bring home.”