(Bratislava) “A precious gift to strengthen our faith. A gift that conceals an example of courage, determination and willingness to serve our neighbour” – this is how the Slovak Bishops describe the forthcoming beatification of Salesian priest and martyr Fr. Titus Zeman. In a Pastoral letter, the Bishops’ Conference of Slovakia invites all the faithful to the ceremony due to take place on 30 September in Bratislava. When communists closed the seminaries and persecuted women and men religious, Titus Zeman came up with the idea of helping seminarians finish their studies in Turin and become priests. He knew the risk associated with illegally crossing the border from communism to freedom, but the noble objective – of saving priestly vocations – gave him the strength to implement the plan. He secretly led two groups of seminarians and priests to Italy to help them fulfill their spiritual vocation. During his third attempt to cross the border, he was arrested and gradually tortured to death. “Today, we live in freedom for which many people paid with their lives. But the time that we live in is marked by the crisis of decision-making”, reads the letter. “Fr. Titus Zeman shines with his light of courage, faithfulness and willingness to face the gravest risk. He represents a challenge for all those who just lie on the couch, an invitation for them to step on their feet and find the courage to reach out for higher goals”, conclude the Bishops.