Germany & Low Countries Pilgrimage Report #3: Cologne

October 07, 2018
Source: District of the USA
A happy reunion during the pilgrimage: Frs. Johannes Grun, Wegner and Wolfgang Gottler

Father Jurgen Wegner shares information about his pilgrimage with more than three dozen faithful. On the feast of St. Therese, they visited Cologne, Germany:

During the morning drive into Cologne to see the Cathedral, Fr. Wegner related a brief history of the structure. The cornerstone was laid in 1248, and today it is the tallest Gothic cathedral in Europe. Valued at $10 billion, it is also the most valuable building in Germany.

“Medieval tradesmen dedicated one to two years of their lives to God by serving in the cathedral’s construction,” Father said. “These builders worked without recognition for the love of God-they wanted to do something great for Him.”

In medieval times, Cologne was home to one of the three great universities, along with Bologna and Paris. The most celebrated doctor of Cologne University was the Dominican, St. Albert the Great, who was regarded as the most learned man in the world. It was Albert who discovered the great talents of his student, St. Thomas Aquinas, whom the great doctor dubbed “The Silent Ox.”

Cologne Cathedral was built to house the relics of the Three Magi: Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar. Their gold-crowned skulls are kept in an ornate gilded sarcophagus that was fashioned around 1200. Adorned with images of the Apostles and the Old Testament prophets and at seven feet in length, the reliquary is the largest in the western world.

The Church of St. Andrew was closed, so the pilgrim group adjusted their schedule to visit, first, the site of the main office of the American troops during World War II at Petersburg before going to the Church of St. Ursula. Normally, this would not have been possible during a single day, but October 3rd is a civic holiday commemorating the anniversary of German reunification in 1990, so the traffic was very light.

After the Petersburg visit, the pilgrims returned to Cologne to see the Church of St. Ursula. Within its walls, are the relics of St. Ursula and 11,000 virgins who were martyred by the Hun Barbarians. The Order of Ursulines, founded in 535 by St. Angela de Merici, took St. Ursula as their namesake.

The pilgrims left Cologne and returned to the SSPX Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels for evening mass. In his sermon, Fr. Wegner drew the connection between the saint in whose honor the Mass was offered (St. Therese of the Child Jesus) and the relics of the Three Kings in Cologne Cathedral, who undertook great journeys to see the Divine Child Jesus. “In the humility of simplicity,” Father said, “draw near to the Holy Infant.”

Afterwards one of the local parishioners, Christine, spoke happily with the pilgrims. “It makes me so happy to see you,” she said with a great smile. “All of you come here from so many places to my home for the Mass, and it is the same Mass for all of us.” the pilgrims were humbled to realize that by making their personal journeys, they had brought a touch of joy to the strangers they had visited.

Cologne Cathedral