Friday, June 03, 2005

To Cardinal Sterzinsky (The Hansen-Waliszewski family)

Dear Cardinal Sterzinsky, Berlin, May 2005

I was quite disturbed by the English-speaking Catholic Mission’s article "Prayerful Places, Special Places” (May/June 2005).
Again, this article is an example of how little understanding and compassion the Mission and Archdiocese of Berlin have for the All Saints Catholic Community. There are two paragraphs that are particularly disturbing:
1. “We presently have no less than five celebrations of Holy Mass in English in Berlin every Sunday, though with the closure of All Saints in June, that number will be reduced to four. But for those who feel the need to experience the liturgy anew, what better way than to try out one of the other English language Masses.”
Many of us have in fact tried one of the other English language Masses and have returned to All Saints for a variety of reasons. Why attend another English language Mass “to experience the liturgy anew”, when, in fact, we experience the liturgy anew every Sunday at All Saints under Fr. Klein and Fr. Mertes? Obviously, no one from the Archdioceses or the Mission has attended Mass at All Saints.
2. “The closure of All Saints will be a wrench for those whom it has become their preferred place of worship. The deconsecrating of any Catholic church is a moment to mourn. But it also represents an opportunity ‑ the chance for those who favoured that church to become more fully integrated into Berlin’s Catholic life, and to experience anew the tremendous variety and vitality of the city’s Catholic service.”
There is a reason why All Saints is a “preferred place of worship” for many English-speaking Catholics in Berlin. Our members, who come from all corners of the world and socio-economic backgrounds, feel welcomed and accepted at All Saints. Families with young children and older children, particularly girls, are treated as equal participants at Mass.
Sunday Mass at All Saints is an example of the “tremendous variety and vitality of the city’s Catholic services.” If anyone would like to experience the "tremendous variety and vitality” of Berlin’s Catholic services, then they should attend All Saints on Sunday.
The All Saints community is successfully integrated “into Berlin’s Catholic life.” If the Mission really believes that the closure of All Saints is a chance for worshipers "to become more fully integrated into Berlin's Catholic life," then why not just close down the English-speaking Catholic Mission in Berlin?
The closure of All Saints is not only the “deconsecrating of any Catholic church”, but the destruction of a vibrant international Catholic community. And what does the Mission mean by stating that the closure of All Saints “also represents an opportunity?” An opportunity for whom, may I ask?
The arguments the Archdiocese has given to close down All Saints are weak and without substance. The thought of All Saints closure is “a wrench for those for whom it has become their preferred place of worship.” But more wrenching is the thought that All Saints, a growing and integrated multicultural Catholic community, is being sacrificed for political reasons.
Please follow your conscience and save All Saints Catholic Community!


The Hansen-Waliszewski family (Vanessa, Matthias, Niels, Julia and Josephine)
Osthofenerweg 28, 14129 Berlin
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