This September saw a unique occasion in the history of their main church, a double jubilee and a final vow, thus altogether four reasons to celebrate for the Hungarian Jesuits. It was on the 7th day of the month that the province became independent 110 years ago. On the holy mass celebrated by P. Elemér Vízi SJ for the occasion, the provincial recalled the ancestors of the present day Jesuits and praised them for their persistence throughout the hard times of the 20th century and onwards.
Another roundly anniversary was the martyrdom of three Catholic priests – two Jesuits and one former Jesuit student – 400 years ago. The “martyrs of Kassa”, as they are widely known, are the patron saints of the Hungarian province (Kassa referring to their town now belonging to Slovakia and called Kosice). They sacrificed their life for their Catholic faith when in the 17th century war of religions each of them refused to convert to Protestantism. Since today the various denominations live peacefully in the Carpathian Basin, the three martyrs presently are not so much remembered as outstanding figures of resistance in an era full religious tensions, but rather as examples of adherence and fidelity.
The two jubilees were celebrated in the church of the Hungarian Jesuits dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Budapest. The building has gone through an extensive renovation inside and outside, its organ was restored and its altar from the 1970s was replaced by a modern, cubic one, more representing the sacrificial aspect of the holy mass. It was at the foot of this new altar where P. Tibor Bartók SJ took his final vow in the Society of Jesus. P. Bartók is a professor of theology, currently based in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University.