Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fr. Blottcher and the Church of Arnsberg

I must allot the day of 8 - 9 Sept for Fr. Blottcher and to the Christian faithful of his parish in Arnsberg. The town has a large catholic and a good number of protestant population. Barbara and Rudolf trained me and Julia in the morning as to how and what I must speak in the church, and the translation will be done etc. In the afternoon, I spent some time in updating my blog. When I and Julia reached the presbytery at 6.00 p.m. Fr. Blottcher was sitting with a group of people discussing about marriage ceremony of a boy and girl. The people looked like Indians. And soon I realized that they are all Sri Lankan refugees who got spread into many European countries in mid-eighties and later during the Tamil - Sinhalese problem. They were happy to see me, a Tamil by birth talking to them in a language that they can understand. I was pleasantly surprised to know how they were still trying to integrate some of the cultural elements within and outside wedding mass to make it "closer to Tamil culture"!

Fr. Blottcher is a very warm person. He welcomed me with an embrace and enquired about my health, stay, etc. We began the mass at 6.30 p.m. I had carried my cassock from here. Well, at the mass he introduced me to the people. Instead of the normal homily I was asked to speak to the people, with Julia translating. My speech was heard with apt attention and pin-drop silence. At the end of it people clapped! By the time the mass was over I could understand that Fr. Blottcher mentioned my name several times and he was speaking to the people, or he was praying for me. After the mass, few people remained back to meet me and other family members of Julia. Julia told me that Fr. Blottcher had changed his mind! I found then that although Fr. Blottcher had told me that he would do a church collection for my work later on at another week, but after hearing my speech, told the people contribute at that time itself. He also invited me to speak at the first mass on 9 Sept. Sunday. Both the collections were kept aside for our work in India. (I gave it all to Sebastian so that they can send it to me later.)

On 9th, the Parish Feast (7 th Sept Nativity of Mary) was celebrated with much fanfare, a small fete and a large crowd filling the church. I had breakfast with Fr. Blottcher, Fr. George and others at the Parish. I must thank Fr. Blottcher for his wonderful gesture. (I did that on 10th morning.) The afternoon was spent in little marketing for my journey back home with Julia. We had planned to travel to Mohnesse lake for a boat ride. But due to other works and few other guests in the family, we could not leave.

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