Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Skylstad in Cologne

He was spotted by a pilgrim attending Mass.

"a number of the US bishops (many of whom are staying at the same hotel) were headed out for a midday mass, including Skylstad (Spokane), Sheridan (Colorado Springs), and Zurek (San Antonio auxiliary). We hiked down to a small church called St. Mary Major, which had a shocking display of photographs from during the war, when it had been bombed literally to the ground. The church is run by a community of nuns, the New Community of Jerusalem, apparently with its base in Paris. A wonderful community, very young and dynamic. We celebrated mass down in the crypt church, which was barren, carved out of rock and devoid of any ornamentation. Monastic in style, with a rock altar standing in the middle. Bishop Skylstad presided. For those who know him, he is rather shy and retiring, but he is also very open and transparent in all the best ways. He did take me a little off guard during the great Amen, when he led his unsuspecting congregation (all three of us) in a rousing chorus of the African-american spiritual version ('Aaaaaaaymen! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaymen! . . .). "

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