September 24, 2018
Prague, Czech Republic—Week 2 Fr. James Donohue, C.R.
Classes started this week in Prague for me and the 36 students who are participating in Mount St. Mary’s study abroad program for the fall semester. We return to the United States on November 17, but until then this is our “home away from home.” One of the dominant buildings in Prague is the Prague Castle.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, occupying an area of almost 70,000 square metres (750,000 square feet), at about 570 metres (1,870 feet) in length and an average of about 130 metres (430 feet) wide. The castle is among the most visited tourist attractions in Prague attracting over 1.8 million visitors annually. The castle dates from the 9th century. It is the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. The castle was a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept within a hidden room inside it.
While in Prague, I organize and monitor the three Czech courses that all students take while here: Czech Language, Czech Life and Culture, and Czech History. In case you are worried for the education of the Mount students, I am not teaching these courses! We have three wonderful Czech teachers who teach each of these courses. I participate in the courses as well, learning while I am here.
I also have my own courses to teach:
Holocaust Through Literature and Film
Old Testament Survey
Belief in Today's World
I celebrate the Eucharist at 1:30 Monday-Thursday for any students who wish to participate. I am also hosting dinners on Sunday evenings at my apartment for 12 students at a time. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to be together outside of the classroom in a more relaxed manner.
It was a bit cooler this week with temperatures at a typical autumn level. It has been sunny and there are still many tourists in Prague. It takes me about 25 minutes to walk to school each day.
For anyone who has a Fit-Bit, you will appreciate the walking we do in Prague. Before I left Emmitsburg, I purchased a Fit-Bit. Without doing any exercise, I found that my average number of steps each day was between 5,000-6,000 steps. Since coming to Prague, I routinely walk over 20,000 steps a day!