The procession was preceded by a Service of the Word at St. Thomas in the Lesser Town of Prague, during which His Eminence Cardinal Dominik Duka blessed the carolers who had gathered there, pointing out that through their participation in the charity collection they were setting an example and a positive challenge for their friends and elders.
The procession proper then made its departure from Josefská Street at 2:00 p.m., to the festive strains of heraldic trumpets. It was headed by the Three Kings, mounted on camels, and dozens of other biblical figures. Four drummers set the pace. Next in procession were the carolers of the Three Kings charity collection, followed by a throng of hundreds of people, in particular families with children.
The procession went across Charles Bridge, down Karlová Street to the squares of Mariánské náměstí and Malé náměstí, and thence to the bandstand on Old Town Square where the kings laid their gifts before the manger. Dominik Duka, Cardinal of Prague, addressed those in attendance, explaining to them the mission of the Three Kings Collection which seeks to help those in need, whether in our home country or in faraway places. He called upon the public to participate through generous donations and gave his blessings to the carolers.
The podium then resounded with the Czech Christmas Mass of Jan Jakub Ryba, performed by a 160-strong mixed choir and orchestra. The performance garnered rapturous applause, before the event culminated in the quintessentially Czech carol „Narodil se Kristus pán“ (Christ the Lord to Us is Born), sung jointly by the choir on stage and by the multitude of listeners in the square.
The Three Kings Collection will last until 14 January. Its proceeds go towards social services operated by the Caritas, with a particular focus on local activities at the place of the donors. The donors thus support shelters for women and children, adult daycare centers, home care and nursing assistance facilities, and also specific vulnerable or disadvantaged families and individuals.