Czech archbishop is visiting Baltimore


Archbishop Frantisek Vanak of Moravia in Czechoslovakia will lead a service at 7 p.m. tomorrow at St. Wenceslaus Roman Catholic Church in East Baltimore.

Vanak is touring the United States to thank the American people for their support of the democratic uprising in Eastern Europe and to help raise money for Catholic seminaries in Czechoslovakia, says Richard Lidinsky, a church member who led the efforts to bring the archbishop to St. Wenceslaus.

"When [Czech president] Vaclav Havel was in the U.S. recently, my son and I attended a reception at the Czech embassy in Washington. We met a Czech clergyman and struck up a friendship with him. He happened to be the escort for Archbishop Vanak on his American tour. So we arranged to have him visit our church, where a lot of the members are of Eastern European descent," says Lidinsky, who is deputy comptroller for the city.

At the service tomorrow, the church choir will sing hymns in Czech, the Czech flag will be unfurled and statues of St. Wenceslaus will be placed throughout the sanctuary. A reception for the archbishop will be held in the church hall after the service.

On Sunday, the church will stage its annual Feast of St. Wenceslaus, the martyr whose feast day falls on Sept. 28.

"It's too bad the archbishop couldn't be in town for our celebration on Sunday, but that's the way his schedule worked out," Lidinsky says. "We're just glad to have him when we can."

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