Where is Oberammergau and why am I planning to lead a pilgrimage there in September 2022?
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”
The year 2020 was supposed to be the 42nd play year for performances. It was postponed to 2022 because of the pandemic. 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 in my rectory chapel and I have prayed and trusted that if I was meant to go to see this Passion Play, it would somehow happen.
Well, things are progressing once again and my trip is now re-scheduled for September 2 to 12, 2022. The pilgrimage will 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 by 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. People from my last parish assignment had already signed up for the postponed trip and they now plan once again to go on the rescheduled trip in 2022. While some may procrastinate thinking that next September is still too far away, the time will fly and this 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.).
For more information on this trip, contact the parish office and our staff will provide a detailed itinerary or will direct your questions and concerns to me.
Fr. Ed Namiotka
Passion Play Open-Air Theater