In the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
God, our Father. You have been walking with our people for a long time. You remained close to us in times of abundance, comforting and strengthening us in times of hardship and trial. To our ancestors, living on this soil for centuries before us, you placed in their hearts a longing for freedom. They lived it and did everything they could to preserve it. Freedom is not an object we get. It is the life we live. Freedom is the mutual respect we cultivate, and freedom is the solidarity in which we come towards each other. Freedom is accepting the truth, and freedom is forgiving the adversary. In freedom, we give space to all the dead, and in freedom, we welcome the difference of the living. Freedom is when a man becomes a man to a man.
Freedom is also the ability to agree, coordinate and decide together on common issues. The generations before us often did this under a linden tree, growing next to a village church, in a village or town square, a place of meeting and joint decision-making.
That is why we also planted this linden tree 30 years ago, and Archbishop Šuštar blessed it to take its roots deep into our land and spread its branches far under the sky to be solid in the storm and happy in the sun.
And it has indeed gone through storms, survived shifts, listened to truths and lies, experienced celebrations and protests - and it has grown. It is growing before us today to remind us that sometimes we do not grow as fast as we would like, but that cannot ruin our growth. Therefore, we will pray under it as our grandfathers prayed, and then we will bless it.
Almighty God, we bless the linden tree that we planted as a monument to the declaration of independence of our country Slovenia. It has grown with us for thirty years. We bless it again and ask you to be a sign to future generations and us that You bless our homeland, its future and all its inhabitants. Give to those responsible for the common well-being, today and in the future, honesty, wisdom and strength, and to all of us justice and love of our neighbour. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Msgr Stanislav Zore,
Metropolitan Archbishop of Ljubljana and
President of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference