Now more than halfway through the Pilgrimage to Koln (Cologne) for World Youth Day 2005, I thought it might be a good idea to reflect a little on the happenings and developments of my journey so far.
Trip to the German Countryside
The seminarians from Kenrick-Glennon had a day planned (the 16th, to be precise) during which we were going to visit a castle (Neuschweinstein I think), tour the countryside on train and visit the wood-carving town of Oberammagau (I think I spelled it wrong). Unfortunately, we did not have much luck doing most of what we had originally planned on doing. It was raining steadily for most of the day, and, after an eight hour train and bus ride, we found that we wouldn't be able to go inside the castle because of the amount of people in line.
Instead, a few of us walked up to the castle and looked out into the dense fog over the mountainside. It provided a few good pictures, but other than that, there wasn't much to see. We next went to a very ornate church, the Weis church in a beautiful mountain valley, but that didn't work so well because we only were allowed about ten minutes to look around. Finally, we travelled to the city of Oberammagau, which is known for its wood carvings. All in all, the day was very nice, but it would've been much more interesting if the weather and time were in our favor.
De Lingua Latina (Concerning the Latin language)
The next day (the 17th), all the seminarians who wished attended the 'International Gathering of Seminarians' at St. Panteleon church (which contains the remains of St. Bruno!). One of the greatest memories I will take away from that event was the use of the Latin language in a few of the songs we sang. It is truly wonderful that the Catholic Church has such a durable and universal language as its own! The church echoed and shook to the singing of the Regina Coeli and Pater Noster, which every seminarian present memorized and sang to the best of his ability.
More and more clearly, I recognize the importance of a revitilization of the Latin Language in our Church. Without such a unifying language, our liturgies won't have as much in common, and our Church will seem a bit less 'universal.' I hope that more and more pastors and liturgical planners will incorporate more Latin songs and words in various parts of the Mass. I wish I had learned the Pater Noster, Ave Maria and other Latin prayers at a younger age, for they are beautiful when sung with the ancient hymns and pipe organs prevalent in these old European church buildings.
I hope to write more before leaving for the states, but that will depend on many factors!