Sunday, August 30, 2009

9:30 ; Hochamt für die Pfarrgemeinde

[ 9:30 - Mass for the Parish ]

Sunday morning I woke up rather early, and normally the Weber family utilizes their Sundays to catch up on rest, so I knew that I had a few hours to myself. It was a little past 7:30 [ I am kind of intrigued that Germans have name for this time of the hour - 7:35 translates to fünf nach halb acht - five after half to eight... you can become a bit twisted when you start having to think about it in quick translation]. I checked my e-mails, had a bit of breakfast, took a shower, and didn't know what to do. I went over my mental checklist of things I want to do in the city - I wonder what time church is?

I got online, and within a bit of searching I found 9:30 ; Hochamt für die Pfarrgemeinde which was the perfect amount of time to walk over and find the church. It was a perfect morning for the stroll through town and it was kind of exciting going by myself.

Now, being a Sunday here in Germany, the city is deserted, especially this early on a Sunday morning. The shops are all closed with the exception of a few bakeries and many people are probably resting from long weeks, or even longer Saturday nights out. I don't want to cast a negative immage on my host nation here, but it was kind of ironic walking to church of all things, and sharing the streets with only a few winos and three women hanging out a window wooing with hallo mein lieblings, mein Schatz! [hello my favorite, my little deary...] - I guess for me it was early Sunday morning, but for some it was still late Saturday night. I actually think one guy that seemed to have quite the difficult Saturday night said to me in German, from what I think I understood as - sunny day, isn't it - in a grand slur. I guess it was, Danke.

With those humorous crossings asside, my brisk morning walk was quite enjoyable hearing church bells in the distance which was quite cool to hear and definitely gave me a sense of location being in such a typical town in Europe.

Walking into the church, I slipped pasted the main door, trying not to make a loud noise. I was one of the youngest people there, and possibly the youngest visitor there solo. The mass had just begun and I slid into a pew. I was instantly welcomed with the nostalgic incense of the thurible, and the sunlight from all the glass windows beaming through the newly rising haze. The mass was very reminiscent of growing up and going to the Polish church, Our Lady of Częstochowa, back in Michigan with my family as a child. Very traditional, and whereas I didn't understand what was spoken around me, I still understood everything going on. I think that is the beauty of the Roman Catholic Mass around the world, and I can assume the same could be said for other religions and denominations as well.

I was able to pick out the important words, and I surprised myself how much I understood [ giving credit, however, to my expectations of what was going to be said in the prayers ]. The elaborate church made the experience very unique, and the organ music that filled the church was very beautiful as well. One thing that was a little comical to me, but maybe only a practice at this church, I can't solidify the statement just yet, is that during communion, especially ironic here in the land of Ordnung, there was no order to get up for the communion procession. Once the communion was ready, people stood up and just walked from where they were, and from there a line was collaborated amoungst a lot of traffic. It was funny seeing the little Omas and Opas wedging their way to get into the communion line - I gladly waited until the end.

The mass seemed to stick to the basics, since it only lasted a little more than an hour, but it was very nice. I would like to attend church as often as I can [to which I know my Catholic readers are nodding as if it is a given ;) ] and hopefully see as many different churches as I can, because it is a great experience, and definitly a very meditative time ( especially when I don't understand every word spoken around me). Even so, I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to reflect upon.

During the walk home, I fortunately encountered a lot more people up and about. Many people on morning jogs, or riding their bikes, but also people heading to the polls. Today is the day for local Bundesland [state] elections in Germany.


  1. Hey Chris!
    Everything looks great! Looks like you're having so much fun. Be safe and I can't wait until I see you again!

  2. You nailed it...Catholic literally means the cadence and the procession of the Mass is the same anywhere in the world...the only variation would be the length of the homily, which as you know depends on the priest :) Don't think the same can be said about other denominations, mainly because other denoms do not have a Magisterium which is the teaching authority of Catholic church in communion with the Pope and bishops. Kind of sad that the church was so empty of young people...considering that World Youth Day was just held in Cologne Germany in 2005 :(

    Isn't it weird that elections are held on a Sunday? Are elections on Sunday so people do not have to miss work? Won't see that in America, that is one of the top execuses to miss work in America :)

    Maria K.