With these brief pieces of news, we would like to bring you up to date on the mission that has been entrusted to the IVE in Germany. As of October 2015, the IVE has been in Holy Family Parish (Heilige Familie) in the city of Rüdersdorf bei Berlin for five years. As we have explained in past chronicles, our parish is comprised of three churches: one in Rüdersdorf, another about 6 km away in Herzfelde, and the third 4 km away in Schöneiche. The three locations have a combined total of 30 thousand inhabitants, of which a thousand are Catholic.
This month we celebrated the parish feast day, during which we celebrated a Mass for all three communities together and gave thanks to God for the harvest. As a gesture of thanksgiving, the first fruits of the harvest were offered together with the bread and wine during Mass. We spent the rest of the day together at the parish patio; we ate together and had some recreational activities for the children. This year, in the afternoon we also had a moment of adoration accompanied by music, as a time for personal prayer.
After initiating the school year, we organized a Saturday for children. It was attended by the children preparing to receive First Communion along with a few others between the ages of 6 and 12. Thanks to a group of mothers that collaborated attentively with the priests, we were able to have this day for the little ones. Since both the children and the mothers really enjoyed this initiative, they have proposed to repeat it a few more times throughout the year. This could be the beginnings of a children’s oratory.
the first weekend of October, which is a long weekend in Germany because of the holiday celebrating the reunification of Germany (the Federal Republic and the Democratic Republic) on October 3rd, Father Harold Bumann preached the Spiritual Exercises for four men. He had already preached them for six women the previous semester.
Together with the beginning of the school year, we started the respective classes preparing for the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation. There are 7 children in the First Communion class and 8 adolescents preparing for Confirmation. As you will notice, these types of groups are rather small in this region. You must keep in mind that this part of Germany was under Russian communism for half a century, and moreover, is “Diaspora,” i.e. a zone where Catholics are the minority. In the northeast of Germany, only 10% of the population is Catholic. Despite all this, the Catholics in general have a reasonably good knowledge of their Faith and try to practice it.
One activity that is particular to the German parish system is the election of the parish council. In these months, the parishioners are organizing a mini electoral campaign among the parish, which proposes a list of the parishioners who are interested in collaborating with the priests, and then on a determined day all of the registered parishioners within the parish jurisdiction can vote. God willing, this will take place at the end of next November. Even if it is something simple, it is important, since the people who offer themselves to participate promise their assistance. Elections are held every four years; last time we could do very little with regards to inviting various parishioners to assist us, since we had just been in the parish for a year and did not know the people or their situations very well. This time will be different and we hope to gather the people that we have been able to meet over these years in such a way that they will be able to work together for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
As our last piece of news, we joyfully announce that in September, two new missionaries arrived: Fr. Martin Villagrán and Fr. William Duraney. These priests have begun to study German so that in the future they will be able to assist us pastorally. We would like to thank all of those who are praying for missionaries and who offer their sacrifices to Our Lord on our behalf, and we commend to your prayers our newly-arrived priests.
In Christ and Mary,
Harold Bumann y Federico Ceriani