University Pastoral Centre of St. Joseph Freinademetz in Bratislava is a success story of the Slovak province. Established in 1997, the Centre has prepared the young generation with responsibilities in transforming society.
Every day there is a Eucharist celebration in the Centre at 9.30 p.m., attended by nearly 250 students. On Sundays, over 1000 college students participate in the Eucharist celebration. Personal guidance and counselling go on daily from afternoon onwards till the Eucharist celebration.
It is heartening to see the young college students take a lot of initiatives to attend to the various needs of the centre. The enthusiasm of the volunteers is amazing and they work for the spiritual as well as other needs of the students with zeal and with positive energy. Approaches and activities in the Centre are holistic but the main accent is on the spiritual development of the individual. At the same time the communitarian aspect of life also is stressed. The vibrant life of the community of young university students is visible. Each year approximately 30 young adults seek baptism or other sacraments in the University pastoral centre. Another 600 pairs of engaged couples attend the courses for marriage preparation in the Centre. Among them some are also persons of other faiths. The programmes and other activities in the Centre has also influenced religious vocations, out of these University students some have joined priestly or religious life.
In Europe, it is hard to find young people in the churches, they are slowly drifting away from the church community, but here, a wonderful ministry to the youth is being carried out and the young students show thirst for the Word of God and true Christian life.
Jan Kusnir SVD, Mission Secretary