Sunday, June 30—Cologne, Dusseldorf, Neuss
We had our last visit to a Benedictine monastery today. Greeted by oblates and sisters, we were welcomed with Mass, a true “unity in diversity” experience singing together in Latin, German and English, and an unexpected lunch and ice cream social afterward.HERE.
Quite a difference to follow up with a visit to the Cathedral of Cologne. Cologne Cathedral is in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is a renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1996. It is so magnificent that it is hard to take it all in. I had been anxious to visit this Cathedral since meeting the Bishop of Wurzburg on pilgrimage 5 years ago. He had asked where we were visiting. When I had listed the many sites we would see, he responded, “If you do not go to Cologne, you have not seen Germany!”
In one afternoon, we went from the infamous Cathedral of Cologne to strolling the famous promenade of Düsseldorf and drinking an “altbier” at the world’s longest bar along the Rhine. Altbier is a style of beer brewed in the historical region of Westphalia and around the city of Düsseldorf, Germany. Its name comes from it being top-fermented, an older method than the bottom fermentation of other laagered beers.
Fritz Minhard, and Fr. Volker, have been on many pilgrimages together. Fr. Volker would not consider planning another pilgrimage without Fritz as our guide—a testimony to how much he feels for Fritz as a professional and as a friend, as do the many pilgrims who have grown to love him as well. Fr. Volker has maintained this will be his last pilgrimage, so the goodbyes brought tears for many.