Where is Oberammergau and why am I leading a pilgrimage there?
According to the website for the Passion Play, which is held in an open-air theater in the Alps of Bavaria, Germany (about one hour from Munich):
It all began with the pledge by the people of Oberammergau to act out the Passion Play once every ten years.
Pastor Daisenberger writes in his village chronicles: “The first decades of the 17th century went by in peaceful calm for the people of Oberammergau. . . . As early as 1631, infectious diseases spread in Swabia as well as in Bavaria. This village was spared by dutiful vigilance until the church festival in 1632, when a man named Kaspar Schisler brought the plague into the village. Faced with the great distress that the terrible illness inflicted upon the population, the leaders of the community came together and pledged to hold a passion tragedy once every ten years. From this day forward, not a single person perished, even though a great number of them still showed signs of the plague”
This year (2020) will be the 42nd play year for performances. This Passion Play has become world-renowned as the entire village takes a part in the production.
When I was a seminarian, I was made aware of this Passion Play after one of my priest-friends had attended a performance there and brought me back a small statue of Our Lady. This statue currently sits on my nightstand and I prayed and trusted that if I was meant to go to see this Passion Play, it would somehow happen.
Well, things are progressing and the trip is scheduled for September 4 to 14, 2020. The eleven day pilgrimage will also include visits to Prague (Czech Republic), Budapest (Hungary), Vienna (Austria) and Munich (Germany). We have the convenience of departing from the Philadelphia airport (PHL).
Since I have no idea what will happen in 2030, the next regularly scheduled performances of this Passion Play, I plan to go this year while I am still young enough and healthy enough to travel. Lord, please just keep my heart ticking!
If anyone is interested in joining us for this special pilgrimage, there are still some spaces available. While some may procrastinate thinking that September is still far away, the time will fly and the opportunity may be lost.
A pilgrimage is a spiritual journey. We will pray, offer daily Mass and attempt to highlight various religious sights (famous churches and cathedrals, etc.). Currently there are two priests travelling and I am encouraging some of my other priest-friends to join us.
For more information on this trip, contact Holy Angels Rectory and our staff will assist you or direct your questions and concerns to me.
Fr. Ed Namiotka
Passion Play Open-Air Theater