On Sunday, October 24, 2021, the Sv. Vida [St. Vitus] Friary and Church in Videm pri Ptuju, Slovenia, conducted its principal celebration for Mission Day in Slovenia. The event was sponsored by the Slovenian Missionary Center.
The celebration began at 3:00 p.m. with an hour of prayer, followed at 4:00 by Mass with the Most Reverend Alojzij CVIKL, Archbishop of Maribor, presiding. He was assisted by the Provincial Vicar of the Province of St. Joseph in Slovenia, Friar Slavko STERMŠEK, and by the Director of the Slovenian Missionary Center, Mr. Matjaž KRIŽNAR. Twenty-six priests attended the Mass along with a good number of faithful. The ceremony was broadcast live on local TV (SIP TV).
The Slovenian Episcopal Conference had chosen Videm pri Ptuju as the location to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the death of Friar Mihael (Miha) DREVENŠEK, OFM Conv. (October 29, 2011). Friar Miha, had been a missionary in Zambia and was a native of the parish of Videm pri Ptuju. The Episcopal Conference also chose Friar Miha to be the figurehead for the celebration of the 2021 Mission Sunday in Slovenia. By their decision, the commonly called “Year of Friar Miha” got underway and will continue through the end of next year. Another important commemoration event, that would have made the celebration of Mission Sunday even more solemn, had to be postponed until June of 2022, due to the pandemic. It will take place instead during the municipal feast of Videm pri Ptuju.
In his speech, the archbishop mentioned Friar Miha’s character, stressing his fearless faith and hard work. In addition to preaching the Gospel, Friar Miha was the founder of a publishing house, the editor of a newspaper and the founder of a Catholic radio station. Most importantly, he was a man whose heart was dedicated to the least and the poor. His smiling face in photographs shows that he joyfully lived what he believed in. Moreover, he passed this on, through his preaching and his songs on the guitar. In this way, he put into practice the words of Peter and John in the Acts of the Apostles: “It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Pope Francis chose this particular passage to be the title of this year’s message for World Mission Day.
At the end of the Mass, the archbishop blessed one thousand of the so-called “green hats of Friar Miha,” which were donated to the Missionary Center of Slovenia by the Municipality of Videm. The Mayor of Vedem, Branko MARINIČ, personally delivered a hat to each priest present. The rest of the hats will be available to anyone who wishes to make a donation. The proceeds will be used to support missionaries from Slovenia around the world.
On this occasion, the Missionary Center of Slovenia published a new book about Friar Miha DREVENŠEK, entitled: “Daleč naprej je tekel” (He Ran Far Ahead). The book was written by Friar Janez ŠAMPERL. Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to missionary projects.
Friar Danilo HOLC, Provincial Secretary