Day 7: Köln day 2
Today I got up and went over to Mass, being the ninth day of a Novena to the Three Kings, it was also the day that I was celebrating Mass at the Cathedral for my and the many well thought out intentions of my parishioners. When I went into the sacristy, I was warmly greeted and then asked for my celebrate (a card that shows you are legit), chatting with the sacristan he has been there for quite some and they are very efficient, go figure Germans efficient! I had a nice Mass in German in one of the altars, stopping for a prayer and to leave some of the prayers at the Three Kings shrine, may they guide us by that light that never fails.
This Cathedral is a special place for me, and for millions today and throughout many centuries. There is something that just grabs you in this place just like the rest of the city. The Gothic ceiling, symbolizing all creation grasping up to heaven, with its tall walls that need the flying buttresses to hold them up, I always enjoy coming here.
After this I just took a nice stroll up and down the River Rhine. The sun was shining and many people were out and about. Here I passed an area called the Fischmart, or of course Fishmarket, where in the past people wandered about selling and buying their catch of the day. Today this is a nice place with a lot of restaurants and cafés.
While walking you see the many boats, both commercial and leisure going up. It really is and has been the main lifeblood for this famous city. Köln or Cologne from the roman times was one of the most important places in the northern part of the Roman Empire. Then too in the Holy Roman Empire, as an ecclesial city, hence why at one point the important relics of the Three Kings were given to this city and thus an important place of pilgrimage. The architecture in Germany and really all of Europe was built with a purpose. These cities were meant to give us hope, and life. Therefore even still today, the center of every European city is built around a Church and then a Platz or a square where people come together, to pray, to socialize, to love, to protest and to love. If you are not surprised how life has twists and turns and is never as black and white as some people would want it to be, then you are not living your life like a pilgrim.
Pilgrims in their best sense in the sense of the word are on a journey of self understanding. When you start the walk you are excited and ready to go, then the journey sets in and it gets difficult and you begin to hurt. Yet, hopefully on the way you come in contact with others, those you would never have wanted or thought of being placed in your midst. There is friction because they are on a journey for possibly very different reasons than you. Along the way though they should teach you something, the famous Canterbury Tales was controversial because it was not a book that just talked about the greatness of the pilgrim road. Yet this book lasts and has something to say to us even still today because we are all pilgrims on the way and if a new and unexpected surprise comes our way. Take it in! You can figure it out along the way but if you get off the road then you are really lost even if it seems a little bit more comfortable.
Later in the day I went to the FC Köln and FSV Mainz Bundesliga game. It was really interesting and fun to watch and hear the fans so excited about the game, their city and their team. Cologne is not a very good team but the place was packed and the enthusiasm was felt in every inch of the city. It was a great game and Cologne won 1-0. Just like the national game it was a great experience and I would love to make another Bundesliga game again sometime.
In the evening I set out, not all that hungry and I just decided to head to the Cathedral just to see what was going on. One of the coolest, things was going on. It is called Night Fever, and it is an evening of prayer by young people, there were a lot of people there too. Really cool to see this going on and especially the choir that was gently playing it really something to see and experience. After that I just decided to grab a small snack and I came back for at least one quite evening. Not sure what I am going to do tomorrow, other than Concelebrating the Sunday Pontifical Mass at the Cathedral for an anniversary of Kardinal Meisner. I might stay another day, I might go to the black forest, I might go to the city where my ancestors came from. One of the nice things of vacation, you can do whatever you want. Gute Nacht