Posted by Dr. Martin Albl
I’ve just returned from a couple of weeks in Germany and Austria. The symbols of the faith are evident everywhere—most obviously the great cathedrals. We visited the great churches in Freiburg, Mainz, and Salzburg. The beauty of the cathedrals is truly awe-inspiring; I was reminded of the work and care that went into the construction of St. Joseph’s in Sioux Falls. In Europe, though, the scale of the centuries is much greater—the different parts of the cathedrals often date centuries apart. They witness to our unimaginably rich Christian heritage.
Yet the visits to the cathedrals saddened me too. Although masses are still offered, they seem to be regarded more as monuments to the faith of centuries past rather than as living communities of worship for today’s Catholics. One sees a few people kneeling in prayer surrounded by the hordes of tourists with their cameras. One wonders how we can once again tap into that great source of our Catholic heritage in order to renew our faith life today.