The catholics in the wurzburg diocese have learned to appreciate them in the meantime: the church service commissioners who celebrate a liturgy with the faithful in the village churches on most sundays. The reason for this is the constantly growing shortage of priests. Where there is no priest to celebrate the eucharist, men and women volunteers have been proclaiming the word of god to the faithful for 25 years.
Volunteers are becoming increasingly important
in his festive sermon, domkapitular helmut gabel looked back on the history of the service commissioners. As early as the mid-1960s, the II. The bishops at the second vatican council have been thinking about such new forms of worship, says gabel. Bishop josef stangl then cleared the way for sunday church services in the wurzburg diocese in 1978. "25 years ago, 21 people from the old district of bad bruckenau were trained for this new task of the church service commissioner", told by domkapitular gabel. "These women and men had recognized the signs of the times. They took their mission as christians to proclaim the good news seriously and understood their task as service to god and service to people", gabel praised the honorary commitment of the first worship commissioners. With a view to the future, the domkapitular emphasized that in view of the rough pastoral space, the volunteers in the parishes are becoming increasingly important.
Pioneering work as worship commissioners
at the following reception at the "rhonhof" in oberleichtersbach celebrated the jubilarians together with their families and departures from the parishes. Bernhard hopf, advisor for liturgy and liturgical education in the diocese of wurzburg, congratulated the women and men present who had done pioneering work 25 years ago as worship commissioners. "Nine women and twelve men from mitgenfeld, schondra, oberbach, modlos, breitenbach, riedenberg, wildflecken, weibenbach, bad bruckenau, and from dreistelz let themselves be inspired for this new pastoral service", hopf looked back on the first days of training. The course participants were between 18 and 60 years old. The then oldest worship commissioner, mia ziegler from oberbach, was now 85 years old and had already retired from active liturgical service years ago due to her age. Others have had to give up their service to the word of god for health reasons or professional obligations.
Some are still active today
some of those appointed 25 years ago are still active today and regularly celebrate liturgies in their home parishes: oliver kirchner (oberbach), bruno weigand (riedenberg), siegfried klug (modlos), alois heil (breitenbach) and stefan helfrich from weibenbach. Hopf also commemorated the three pastoral ministers who have since passed away: lydia kleinhenz from wildflecken, gertrud rebstock from bad bruckenau and richard jorg from mitgenfeld.
Bernhard hopf thanked the worship commissioners for their special service: "i thank you for your efforts to ensure that the church is still alive in our time. That you were there when services were to be celebrated and had to be celebrated in the smallest communities and churches."
New challenges and forms of worship
in the meantime, new challenges are coming up for worship leaders, emphasizes bernhard hopf as a member of the liturgy department in the wurzburg diocese. New forms of worship were developed and tried out, such as the "other worship service" in the parish community oberleichtersbach-schondra. The first course for honorary funeral directors had been successfully completed in the last few weeks.
Bernhard hopf expressed his special thanks to alois heil from breitenbach, who had been in charge of the church service for many years. He had helped organize the anniversary celebration and compiled newspaper articles from the last 25 years into an exhibition. "At the time, that was something completely new for the people in the town, reports alois heil about the first word services in breitenbach. "The faithful had to get used to the fact that a priest could not be present every sunday. In the beginning, many people had difficulties with the liturgy and the worship commissioners." siegfried klug from modlos also remembers: "the then pastor winfried kaiser personally encouraged us to serve as ministers. He knew the growing priest shortage would bring massive changes. Even then, pastor kaiser had prophesied: there will be times when one pastor will be responsible for the entire old county of bad bruckenau."
Ballpoint pen with light LED presented to alligators
in view of the upcoming structural changes in the wurzburg diocese, bernhard hopf wished the jubilarians god’s blessing and the recognition of the faithful for their important ministry: "i wish you that your ministry will be more and more accepted and appreciated by the people in the respective areas of life – as pastors." as a gift, he gave the worship commissioners a ballpoint pen with a light LED, in keeping with the feast of maria lichtmess: "with this, your thoughts can become written word and this can shine into your congregations"."