Commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation of the Western Catholic Church, the guest presenter held a memorial service on October 29th, at the Norridge United Church of Christ, and later in the afternoon, a memorial sermon was held with the Baptist congregation. The sermon was attended by leaders of both the Baptist and reformed church, the Holy Communion was held together in the spirit of ecumenism.
Father Mike Pál, greeted all attendees regardless of denomination. During all of his presentations and services he highlighted the importance of renewal and reformation of the church; it is just as important as keeping the communities strong and united, and in order to have strong communities they need to cherish their roots.
On October 29th, the Hungarian Community of Chicago also held a memorial remembering the heroes of the 1956 revolution. After the sermon they revealed the work of Csaba Kur sculptor to be placed in the church’s courtyard, commemorating the fallen of the revolution.
Before the revealing of the statue, a speech was held by Dr. Zita Bencsik, Consul General, in which she mentioned the revolutionary times and the period followed by the Russian intervention. During these times it was forbidden to even mention 1956. Practicing religion was also a taboo. This looming threat however, did not stop the people from expressing their views and showing their love and desire for freedom, their ultimate source of the courage was their faith. After the revolution was crushed by Soviet forces, tens of thousands of people were forced to flee the country to avoid retaliation, many of those found their new home in the United States, but they never for an instant, ceased to forget their homeland.
“61 years after 1956 we can finally declare the truth; American Hungarians, Hungarians living in the Carpathian Basin or anywhere outside of Hungary, share one joint path and can celebrate, remember, pray together as one.
Let us remember, that as we rise to sing the National Anthem as the final prayer of our todays worship, we sing it as our national prayer, and we are doing so as one community, stipulated at constitutional level, we are strengthening our Christian beliefs and traditions which represent all Hungarians” – said Zita Bencsik, Consul General
Mátyás Gera, president of the Hungarian Society Organization has shared some of his personal experiences during the 1956 revolution. He also remembered that the statue that was being revealed, originally stood in the courtyard of the Lorántffy Nursing Home in Akron, and has been ordered by the Akron Hungarian Reformed Church initiated by its Bishop, late Tibor Dömötör. The monument has been created by Csaba Kur in 1982, the sculptor’s artistic legacy has been also appreciated by Mr. Gera who drew a parallel between the desire for spiritual renewal of the reformation movement and the utmost hope for reforms throughout the events of 1956.
Construction of the new memorial site of the 1956 revolution, including the logistics, such as the cost of moving an reinstalling of the statue, was supported by the Consulate General of Hungary Chicago and by the means of the Bethlen Gábor Fund governed by the State Secretariat Responsible for Diaspora.
Photo: Gábor Mózsi