Throwing herself to the ground before the lord

Throwing herself to the ground before the lord

Msgr. Markus Bosbach © Jelen (Archdiocese of Cologne)

On 23. In June 1995, the Cologne Cathedral Chaplain and Deputy Vicar General Monsignor Markus Bosbach was ordained to the priesthood. To this day, his silver jubilee as a priest, he does not regret having chosen this path.

Interviewer: How was it with you at that time, how do you remember your ordination to the priesthood??

Monsignor Markus Bosbach (Cologne cathedral chaplain and deputy vicar general): It was all like a big dream. A very special moment that lasted for several days. There is not only the ordination to the priesthood, but also the Primiz.

Every day when I get up, I always see the cover of the church newspaper of that time before me. This is what the photographer Robert Boecker has given us. It hangs framed next to my certificate of consecration. This is a frontal shot of the interior of the cathedral, where we are lying on the floor in front. There were 18 of us, which is quite a number. Behind it you can see the crowded high choir, which is quite different from what is possible now in Corona times.

But it was simply great to experience how many people rejoiced with me, how many stood by my side and said: We stand beside and behind you and think what you are doing is great.

Interviewer: Lying on the floor in front of the altar, that is already the moment when one realizes: Now it is getting serious!

Bosbach: Exactly, because that's the moment, also symbolically, when you make yourself available, practically give up everything else and throw yourself completely on the ground before the Lord, so to speak. This then becomes very physically tangible. At that moment, you can feel how everyone together cries out again and again during the Holy Litany: "Please, please for us". And you really feel such a wave of prayer and being carried along with others.

Interviewer: What motivated you at that time to become a priest and to make this special choice of profession quite consciously, and thus, of course, to consciously renounce your family??

Bosbach: With me, that wasn't somehow a special voice that I heard or an inner vision that I had. Soberly: It was simply circumstances that came together until my home parish priest asked me the question: Don't you want to become a priest?? I asked myself why not and what speaks for it. Is there something in your heart where you just feel drawn too?

At that time I lived with the church and loved it and the liturgy and actually wanted to go in the direction of church music. But then this question worked in me until I said, yes, I'm going down this path.

This certainty has become more and more solidified in the seven years of training up to ordination. I am also grateful after 25 years, or if you will, after the 32 years when I made the first decision. There hasn't been a day since then when I've regretted it.

Yes, you do without the fulfillment of life, even in the dedication to another, concrete person. That is not always easy, that is clear. But on the other hand, this way of life also gives you a lot – especially many friendships. You get to know a lot of people, you can live in a lot of great references and relationships that carry you through life.

Interviewer: In the Archdiocese of Cologne, you are head of the Department of Pastoral Care and deputy vicar general. That is also a steep career. Did it come about that way, or was it already a goal back then to take on as much responsibility as possible??

Bosbach: My goal was first of all to go where I was put. At that time, that was the perspective that I had always seen as the right one for me. I was a chaplain and pastor for 17 years, and I always enjoyed it. Every change was always a challenge.

That was also a struggle with the bishop at that time, when he called me to Cologne. He had to work a little hard for that, because what you might think of from the outside as a career upward is not necessarily so. Because the direct work at the grassroots, which is really a joy, where you realize, yes, that's what you became it for, that falls away.

Of course, the work at the cathedral is also very beautiful. That is also a priestly task. Also the deputy vicar general must be a priest, because the vicar general must be a priest in our ecclesiastical catching.

Interviewer: But you miss the work as a pastor a bit?

Bosbach: Yes, here and there, thank God, I can do it. But I also miss it a lot and I sometimes sit at my desk and think, this may sound strange now, oh, now a funeral would be nice again too. Something where you simply have to deal directly with people. That can also be a wedding or baptism.

Interviewer: Last Friday, seven men were ordained priests here in the archdiocese. What do you give them today from your experience of the 25 years on the way?

Bosbach: In any case, it is important to maintain this inner spirit of availability and readiness. Then it is very important to maintain friendships well.

Especially when you live celibate in this world, you have to see that you are not only bound to your work and not only to the people in your concrete community, but that you also have relationships with your family, but also friendships beyond that, which are then also sustainable. That you have people who can really hold up a mirror to you, who leave aside any role definition, so to speak, and say: Now come back down to earth again.

That's also an important corrective, that you know people and are friends with them, who help you to put your head above the parapet of church life once again.

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