You can meet Father Csaba Böjte on the 6th of September at the Hungexpo, where the Franciscan friar is going to present his pastoral work he has been doing among children. “Christ’s faith – our faith” as he titled his lecture on hope.
The Congress events are held throughout the days from Monday to Friday at the Hungexpo Congress and Exhibition Centre. Program attendance is subject to registration and ticket purchase. Weekly, 3-day and one day tickets are available at a discounted price until June 30, 2021. These packages include admission to the programs, lunch, and a free public transport pass in Budapest. On weekdays, during the Congress period public buses to the Hungexpo venues will run more frequently. Please consult our website for program registration!
Ten things you may have not known about Brother Csaba!
1. Prior to engaging himself in the service of God he trained to be a car mechanic and worked also as a miner.
2. He applied –in secret- to the Franciscan Order under the Ceausescu dictatorship, was doing his priestly studies both in Alba Iulia, Romania and in Esztergom, Hungary as well. He was ordained priest in 1989.
3. The year of 2022 will be the 30 years anniversary that Brother Csaba was posted to Deva, Romania. That was a turning point in his life. Then and there he started his outstanding mission for supporting children.
4. The first resident of the Deva children’s home was a little girl found and rescued from a train station, where she was freezing with her homeless mom. The mother promised to return for her upon finding an apartment. Indeed, the mother appeared a decade later. Brother Csaba’s and his team’s second protégée was of 8 months old only.
5. For about six years the constantly growing Deva home was operating unlawfully, as there was no legislation in force to regulate the operational framework of the institution. Surely it had its risks, since the police repeatedly ordered Father Böjte to leave the place and take the kids out of the parish, but he consistently refused to put anyone on the street or send them away.
6. During his visit to Romania Pope John Paul II asked the State of Romania to return 3 properties to the Church, including the Franciscan Monastery in Deva. The friars were expelled from their Deva monastery by the communist regime in 1948, and the property was nationalised. In 1992, the Franciscans recaptured the abandoned building, though it was not officially returned by the state until five years later.
7. For the two thousand years anniversary of Christ’s birth, neither the Franciscan friars nor Csaba Böjte were dreaming of erecting a commemorating statue, but to ensure home, food and moral guidance to far more children in need. They also submitted an application for the renovation of the monastery in Orastie, Romania, and won the tender. That was the birth of the St. Elisabeth Children’s Home. The Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference launched a campaign “Share your bread with the hungry!”, and a fundraising was organised for the Transylvanian orphans. The incoming donations served to purchase the children’s home in Sovata, Romania. Upon the 1 % tax donations a further home was established. Fundraising tours were organised overseas, and as a result the donations covered the purchase of two additional properties in Romania, one in Lazarea, due to the Australian tour, while the United States’ one enabled to buy the building in Tusnad.
8. An advice: Keep it simple and don’t complicate things you don’t have to. “If a flower withers, water it! If in the chilly weather a small bird knocks on your window, give him food! If someone is in trouble, lend a helping hand, tell him a joke at least, make him laugh and wipe the tears! If something is not clear, explain it!”
“Let us dare not only to give gifts, but to become God’s gift and blessing.”
9. How to consider our lives and situation? “The last Eucharistic Congress was all about the crisis of religion, reminding us that back in the 1938 Congress so many young people attended! But afterwards, in 1939-40 all these young people jumped at each other’s throat so drastically that not even a single stone was left intact in Europe. Well, nowadays there might be less young church goers, however, no way they could be persuaded to launch an armed attack against another country. The world is clearing up, I guess. Maybe the well-known formal religiosity is less, still if someone treats his dogs and cats the shockingly cruel way as it was done with people some time ago, nowadays they get far more slaps on the wrist. I do believe that our world is getting more and more beautiful, it nicely unfolds itself and is developing.”
10. What does poverty mean for Father Böjte? “Whenever I go out without a child, it’s as if I were a skint. I just feel poor.”