On 15 May 2016, the famous Münster-Basilica in the city centre of Bonn had a very special Eucharistic celebration for the feast of Pentecost. The theme of the celebration was ‘“Together with Mary the mother of Jesus“ – International Pentecost Service in Bonn’. The Dean of the Basilica Monsignor Wilfried Schumacher presided and was joined by 3 Redemptorists Fr Jürgen Langer of the Collegium Josephinum in Bonn, Fr Jack Umbu (Indonesia) now ministering in Bonn and Fr Juventius Andrade (India) serving on the General Council in Rome.
Monsignor Schumacher introduced the Solemn Eucharist in the German, English, Italian and French languages. While the homily was printed in German, Fr Andrade preached in English as there were people of different nationalities. In his homily, Fr. Andrade used the leitmotif of the door…speaking of the Closed Door behind which the disciples hid in John 20; the opened Door of the Upper Room in Acts 2 from which the Apostles emerged to preach the Good News in varied languages. He also drew attention to the Holy Door which the Basilica is privileged to have in this Holy Year of Mercy. Drawing on the Byzantine tradition, he referred to the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help as a Door through which we enter into a mystery and contemplate the presence and the action of God and the role of the Blessed Mother.
The Holy Spirit creates a global and universal church. The Spirit enables doors to be opened, walls to be broken down and barriers to be overcome. The Spirit calls us, just as Jesus’ disciples were, to come out of the closed doors of our existence, our fears and anxieties and to spread the good news through word and action. Because the Holy Spirit always brings freshness, it ensures that the church does not become fossilized.
The Basilica has had for many years, a prominent Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the celebrants together with the people went in procession to the icon which is located at the entrance to the Basilica. Fr Jürgen Langer led the people in a Novena prayer to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Special prayer cards with the picture of the icon were distributed and then taken home by the people as a souvenir.
Similarly, a special Eucharistic celebration was held also that evening in the Redemptorist Church in Bonn which also included Fr. Cyril Binsasi. It concluded here too, with a special devotional prayer to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. After the Eucharist, there was an opportunity to mingle with a cross section of the people, old and young, who came for the celebration.
On 13 May, Friday night Father Andrade met former Youth volunteers as well as those who have committed themselves for the coming year. These Volunteers had served in various countries – Indonesia, Argentina, USA, Ireland, UK, etc. He also met confrères and some teachers of the Collegium Josephinum for a delicious barbecue, enjoying their good company and exchanging thoughts and experiences with them.
Fr Jürgen Langer CSsR (Sanctus Clemens Province)