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"In the town of Bethlehem, Mary's Son is born - a King."
Translation of Byzantine Christmas Carol (see image on left) sung by Bl. Trcka in prison and overheard by a guard resulting in the priest being sentenced to solitary confinement.(5)
On the night of 13-14 April, 1950, all religious communities were suppressed by the Czech government. Fr. Dominick was arrested, tortured and condemned to twelve years imprisonment. Details of his torture and endurance is found in (2). Fellow prisoners said that to protect his confreres Dominick would take the blame and calmly endure torture.(3) He was put in solitary confinement for singing a Christmas carol, and in those harsh conditions, he contracted tuberculosis. He died 23 March, 1959.(4) Father Dominick was declared a martyr by Pope John Paul II on 24 April 2001 and beatified by the same pope on 4 November 2001.(1)
Eastern Rite Catholics were often overlooked in number and importance, not only by Orthodox believers but also by Roman Catholic Christians even though both groups are in communion with the Bishop of Rome. Trcka worked tirelessly to redress the situation and one of his most significant achievements was organising the establishment, in Michalovce, of a monastery for Eastern Rite Redemptorists.(1) He was nominated first Vice-Provincial of the Greek Catholic vice-province of Michalovce in 1946.
Reference: (1) Catholic On-line - Bl. Dominik Trcka, <http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=7533>; (2) In the Monastery Prison: <http://www.trcka.nfo.sk/ezivot11.htm>; (3) Vatican news services: <http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/documents/ns_lit_doc_20011104_beat-trcka_en.html> (4) Redemptorist Spirituality.net: <http://www.redemptoristspirituality.net/eng2/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=67:august-25-blessed-methodius-dominic-trcka-martyr&catid=32:cssr-liturgical-texts&Itemid=100>; (5) The Redemptorists of the London Province: <http://redemptorists.co.uk/who-we-are-2/redemptorist-saints/17-blessed-dominc-methodius-trcka.html>
(1886 - 1959; Feast Day: August 25)
Methodius Dominick Trcka was born on 6 July 1886 in the small town of Frydlant nad Ostravici in the present day Czech Republic. Dominick entered the Redemptorist novitiate in Bilsko, Poland when he was only 17 years of age, although this was nothing unusual in that era. After making his first profession on 25 August 1904, he returned to Obořiště in his homeland so that he could pursue the required studies in philosophy and theology. After ordination in 1910, he spent the early years of his ministry as a parish missioner. After spending some years engaged in the traditional Redemptorist ministry of conducting parish missions, Father Dominick was sent to serve the Greek Catholics in Halič in what is now the Banská Bystrica Region of Slovakia.