On Sunday, 9 June 2013, Msgr. Stanislav Zvolenský, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bratislava, opened the diocesan phase of the process of beatification of Jan Havlik, a seminarian of the Congregation of the Mission, who was captured and tortured for being a seminarian and for studying theology clandestinely.
In a solemn ceremony in the parish church of Skalica (a city in the west of Slovakia), the Vice- Postulator of the above-mentioned process, Augustin Slaninka, CM, presented to the Archbishop the request to begin the process. The Chancellor of the Archdiocesan Curia, Msgr. Tibor Hajdu, read the consent of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and the Decree opening the process promoted by the Archbishop, with which the cause of beatification was accepted and opened.
In the above-mentioned ceremony, Jozef Noga, Visitor of Slovakia; confreres; Daughters of Charity; the pastor of Skalica, Roman Stachovic; and the coadjutor of the town of Dubovce, where Jan Havlik was born in 1928, took part.
Information on Jan Havlik’s life:
Jan Havlik was born in 1928 in a town called Dubovce. He was the firstborn son of Carlos and Justina Havlik. In those times, he lived in material poverty but in an environment of spiritual wealth and the deep faith of his parents and other relatives, especially of his Aunt Angela – Sister Modesta, DC.
In 1943, he went to Banska Bystica and began as a student in the apostolic school (minor seminary) sponsored by the Vincentian confreres. In August 1944, sedition against the German troops began and the pupils had to return to their homes. At the end of the Second World War, he returned to Banska Bystica and continued his studies, completing his baccalaureate in May 1949. At that time, the Com- munist government decided to terminate and liquidate religion and Catholic education. This would also affect Jan’s life.
Jan entered the Internal Seminary on the night of 3-4 May 1950. The police came and took the semi- narians into forced labor in the construction of an artificial lake. Their intention was to break the wills of the prisoners. This ended in August and Jan wanted to continue theological studies clandestinely, in order to be ordained a priest. The Vincentian confreres used a factory to form him clandestinely. In October 1951, the police captured him together with six others. In 1953, after 15 months of investigation and torture, he was condemned to ten years for the crime of high treason for studying theology. He was sent to serve his sentence in a uranium mine. In 1958, they accused him a second time: of missionary activity among his fellow prisoners. He was condemned to an additional year. He was tortured physically and psychologically to the point of being sent to a hospital in 1962 (without the possibility of freeing him in an amnesty) with his health broken. Jan Havlik died on 27 December 1965 at the age of 37.
His example of life calls all of us to be faithful to our missionary vocation in spite of any opposition and to live our faith honestly and firmly. Jan Havlik suffered very much for his conviction and for his missionary vocation. We ask God to elevate him as soon as possible to the glory of the altar and reward him for the total sacrifice of his life. Pray, confreres, for this intention, that the process of beatification of our confrere, Jan Havlik, may move forward.
At the end of June, the young persons of JMV organized in Dubovce a day called Johnyfest to spread veneration and devotion to him.