The Pentecost Pilgrimage of Șumuleu Ciuc (Csíksomlyó, Schomlenberg) is the largest religious event for Hungarian Christians and Catholics in the Carpathian Basin, an event in the area around the local Franciscan monastery. The history of the Csíksomlyó pilgrimage goes back to a history of hundreds of years. Each year at Pentecost, tens of thousands of pilgrims flood the center of the Csík Basin, an inter-mountain basin at an altitude of 600-700m in the Eastern Carpathians, in Romania, in Harghita County and the roads that lead to Csíksomlyó inhabited by the Hungarian minority.
Erik Urbán, the Provincial of the Franciscan Order of Transylvania, exhorted the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims gathered on the Csíksomlyó hilltop and the faithful who followed the Holy Mass remotely via live-streaming, to a values-driven, conscious Christian life on Saturday. Referring to the motto of this year’s feast – the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi “Hail, who being a virgin, hast become a temple” – the leader of the Transylvanian Franciscans pointed out that during the feast, the mountain range between Kis and Nagysomlyó is transformed into a temple, where the pilgrims’ assembled crowds show the pulsating living reality of the Church.
The place of worship in Şumuleu Ciuc (Csíksomlyó), Photo: Facebook/Csíksomlyó – kegyhely
“A mother’s joy is to have the family together, the big family together, at the table of her Holy Son,” the speaker stated. He stressed that man, living in the consumer society of the 21st century, needs to awaken his conscience and build his value system on solid foundations, he needs to possess a range of values that can align his life with that of man and community.
In order to do this, one must learn to distinguish between need and passion, between desire and craving, “let us call it wisdom,” explained Urbán, and then exhorted his listeners to respect other values such as appreciation, awareness, humanity, and fraternity.
“Today’s world needs unarmed prophets who warn of the inhumanity of war, pointing to the need for a right relationship between God and man, between man and groups of men, for a state of harmony characterized by non-violence and non-anxiety, including man’s health, well-being, and freedom from distress – let us call it peace,” the speaker continued.
Among the core values, he named
the family of one man, one woman, a community of love and life, a family that sees children as a hope and a challenge, a family that cares for them, and a community that is historically shaped by a common language, a territory, thousands of years of values, a distinctive culture, that is called a nation.
“We must learn that there is a community built on a rock, in which there is a place for everyone, a way of service, a strength of the joy of Christ, a life-giver of the Holy Spirit, a goal of eternity: this is the Church,” the Franciscan Superior concluded.
Referring to the rules of the eight century-old monastic order, he warned his listeners not to fear the “rules,” they are not limits: they are for the well-being of the whole community through the individual, because “we need a cord that keeps us together and holds us together.”
The scale of values must be nothing other than wisdom, appreciation, patience, awareness, humanity, fraternity, peace, family, nation, church. To serve and not to rule, to produce and not merely to consume, to give and not merely to expect, to admire and not to exploit, to protect and not to destroy,”
the speaker at the pilgrimage of Csíksomlyó said, listing his exhortations.
The open-air mass, celebrated by Archbishop Gergely Kovács of Gyulafehérvár, ended with the singing of the papal anthem and the Hungarian and Szekler hymns in the presence of hundreds of thousands of the faithful. Among the pilgrims were Hungarian Head of State Katalin Novák, her predecessor János Áder, former President of the Hungarian Parliament, Zsolt Semjén of Hungary, and Hunor Kelemen, Deputy Prime Minister of Romania.
Hundreds of thousands of faithful in Csíksomlyó, Photo: MTI/Nándor Veres
Since the 1990s, due to the increase in the number of pilgrims, the Holy Mass is no longer held in the church, but at the Hármashalom open-air altar designed by Imre Makovecz. Hundreds of thousands of Szeklers and Hungarians from all over the world gather on the day of the pilgrimage, many of them dressed in folk costumes, waving Szekler and Hungarian flags, singing and praying, participating in the festive Holy Mass.