Germany’s Catholic Church has had trouble finding new clergy for years now. Again and again, priests from other countries have taken over German parishes. It’s not always easy for them to get on their feet in Germany.
Father Shitjo was sent from a Catholic parish in Kerala, southern India to southern Germany by his bishop as emergency assistance amid Germany’s chronic shortage of priests. German churches are losing members en masse and are also finding it increasingly difficult to recruit young pastors. After an online German course in India, Shijo arrived in his new parish in the Trier diocese and immediately found himself in the thick of it: He had to preach sermons, give spiritual guidance and prepare children for their First Communion. And then there were the typical German customs like waste separation – and the unaccustomed hearty food. A report by Almut Röhrl.
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That’s right it’s for you know a few puppy this is only for paper and that’s for plastic there’s one for everything a priest from India in Germany Are a bit hard in Deutschland there aren’t many priests in Germany which is why I’ve come here Gavin Frankfurt Airport The trio diocese has sent a welcoming committee to meet their new priest father shijou from Kerala South India Here he comes a warm welcome to Germany it’s cold the sun shining now but this morning we had snow on the ground I don’t have a jacket I haven’t been shopping yet but I have to buy a jacket [Laughter] I brought one along for you February just five degrees Celsius in southern Germany a journey into the unknown begins predecessor father Justin brings him to his new Parish on the Moselle River shijo’s got a degree in Theology and 12 years experience as a priest in India will that be enough to help him settle in
Paris priest Herman Joseph look and father Pages another guest priest from India are waiting hello Namaste we say Guten Tag s Germany is struggling with a shortage of priests so the church’s recruiting clergy in India to help out for a few years shizo will be getting his full pay and
An opportunity to learn about another country yeah it’s a big church and I like it very much yeah on the yeah he’s still struggling to find the words now we could go for some ice cream it’s the first day we can get ice cream give him one scoop that’ll do I’ll take lemon
Ade we’re lucky we can do this today thank you now we’re coming to the Moselle do you like the ice cream it makes me a good Harbor it tastes good but in Winter we don’t normally eat ice cream in India ice father shijou’s first evening meal in Germany
Right let’s pray first in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost amen come Lord Jesus Be Our Guest and let thy gifts to us be blessed amenities cook my hair look at this good German bread in India we normally eat with our hands behind
About it but I only eat with knife and fork you can go ahead and eat with their hands it might be easier no problem I can do it you can do it any way you want also tried the sausage of the cheese try anything you like okay whatever you dream during your first
Night in a new house is supposed to come true so I wish you a very good night and pleasant dreams Of Freedom I’m happy and content um because it’s my first day in the parish his first mass is in the chapel of a senior citizen’s home the Indian priest meets his new German flock The name of the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost may the Lord be with you in with your spirit warm welcome to our Mass let us pray God God our Father to bring your peace into our world full of tension and conflict your son came to us and gave his life
He did not live for himself but gave his life for us foreign Foreign He takes German lessons with siglinda Schmidt a member of the congregation so I’d like to practice may I read it aloud house reads from the Gospel of John and his teacher corrects him I have to practice that some more you open yeah once a week he calls his parents in Kerala India session I was just talking to my mother and everything’s fine I miss her yeah um at first there’s some apprehension but then you find out what the culture and the people are like and then it gets easier when we go from Kerala to Bangalore to another state in India the situation is
Always the same Germans speak very freely and they’re very open they speak their minds just it’s good to live with this freedom I always say he eats too little he says he doesn’t want anymore yes I’ve lost a bit of weight it’s a little hard for me to cook I haven’t ever done much cooking um in India the women do all that [Laughter] yeah things are as they should be
Now let’s see how we’ve done is trying German sauerkraut for the first time but if it’s too sour I won’t eat it then Um [Laughter] aside from culinary challenges the shizo has settled into Germany well but have the German parishioners gotten used to him he’s really a great priest he’s learned so much in such a short time it’s amazing all I can say is hats off really let’s see we have to hurry up a bit
But we’ll make it we’re very glad to have shijou here with us we get another perspective on our lives how we are with people and how he is with people it’s very nice yes sure it’s a game for the congregation who would otherwise struggle to find a new
Priest there’s been a shortage in Germany for some time now and no relief in sight seven thousand positions are unfilled in the Catholic church and the situations worsening it’s good to know that there are still people working on behalf of the church why not we’re Multicultural an Indian priest is welcome
And how’s he doing oh it’s fine I’m impressed by him above all he can speak so well now all of them can do that we had someone from Poland and you could barely understand him [Laughter] Father shizo Paul aminani Khal came from Kerala Southern India to Germany because
He sees his calling here and wishes to serve his God On Earth as it is in heaven give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us The body of Christ the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ praise be to you Christ
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