Praised be Jesus Christ! Have you ever heard of the Passion Play of Oberammergau? Every ten years this little Bavarian village of about 5,000 inhabitants puts on an unforgettable version of the Passion of the Christ. And nearly a half million pilgrims from all around the world come to one of the 100 performances that take place between May and October. They’ve been doing this in Oberammergau since 1633 when a plague raged in most of Europe. The people of Oberammergau promised to put on the Passion Play every ten years if only the plague would stop. Their prayers were answered and the people have been keeping their end of the bargain ever since. The next performances are scheduled for 2020 and maybe some of you would like to go. Although it is still a ways off, we’re beginning to make tentative plans to travel with Mater Dei again and this time it would include Germany, Austria, a wee bit of Slovakia, and of course the aforementioned Passion Play of Oberammergau. Tentative dates are August 17-28th, 2020 and the approximate cost would be well over $4,000.00 per person (the Passion Play brings in income that must sustain the village for a decade, so it’s not inexpensive). I mention this now because some must ask for days off a long time in advance, and I wanted you to know all about this in the event that you’ll have to start saving your pennies. Juan Landa, the owner of Mater Dei, told me you can call 1-800-515-2632 to get on the list to receive a free brochure once it is ready. Other features will be seeing some of the best wood carver’s shops in the world, as well as Neuschwanstein Castle (the template used by Walt Disney for his castles at Disney World). An extensive visit to Munich (and the Hofbrauhaus) is a must before heading south to beautiful Salzburg, Austria. As you might already know, Salzburg is where the musical “The Sound of Music” was filmed and we’ll get both the Hollywood tour and then the tour based on the actual historical events that happened to the Von Trapp family. A few short stops in Austria and then we’ll end in Vienna, a city that is steeped in history and culture. If any of this sounds like something you’d like to do, please call the number listed above. Now getting a brochure does not mean you’re on the trip – that cannot be secured until all the details are finalized and a down payment is sent in. In the past we’ve tried to open these trips first to our parishioners (i.e. Christ the King and Saint John the Baptist), and when our people have had a week or two to decide, then we open to the general public. We have the enviable problem of sometimes having more interest than space! A trip like this intrigues me because I have not visited many of the places on the itinerary. But more than that, the high altars at Saint John’s were built by the Hackners who came from this part of Germany – I hope to see if some of their skills are still being passed on in the shops that we’re certain to visit. After all, their legacy is one that has stood the test of time and might stand for another century or two. We live during a very different time, one in which I wonder if anything we leave behind will last very long (just think of how quickly phones wear out or become obsolete). Without digressing further, allow me to end with a quote from Saint Augustine: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read but one page.”
May God help us to keep our eyes wide open during our earthly pilgrimage, that we may see Him in His children!
Your friend in Christ, Father Martin