Budapest, August 30 (MTI) – Cardinal Peter Erdo, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, dedicated the Our Lady of Hungary Chapel in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on Saturday.
Laszlo Kover, the speaker of Hungary’s parliament, presented the banner of Saint Stephen to the basilica.
In his homily at the dedication, Cardinal Erdo expressed hope that the chapel would serve as a link between Hungarian-American communities, between Hungarian-Americans and their country of origin, and between Hungary and the United States.
“Today, in the most important cities of Western Europe and America, a new kind of Hungarian presence can be seen. Hungarians come to work and study in no small number, often with the intention of returning home to Hungary after a few years. Many long for the Hungarian language and the Hungarian community. This can be a challenge and a refreshment for Hungarians who have long lived here, and a strengthening of the faith and communal life of those who have recently arrived,” the cardinal said.
Kover also said the chapel established a new link between two parts of the Hungarian nation that had been separated from each other.
“Those who are here can pray in a chapel that reminds them of Saint Stephen, the founder of our state, and the Hungarian saints, while we can contribute to putting a vestige of Hungary in America’s national basilica, next to a number of other national chapels. This is a link on the spiritual and symbolic level,” he said.
Kover noted that about one and a half million Americans are from Hungary or claim Hungarian ancestry.
Cardinal Erdo asked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2006, on the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, to establish a chapel in the basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Hungary and Saint Stephen. A coordinator for the project was named in 2007, and planning started in 2009. The outfitting of the chapel started in April of this year and wound up in August.
The chapel was established with the support of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops Conference, the State of Hungary and Hungarian-Americans.