Monday, April 14, 2008

German Catholic Priests anticipate their Bavarian Pope's arrival

With Benedict's scheduled visit to St. Joseph's in Yorkville, Manhattan, German-Catholics are receiving a lot of attention in the press. The Cleveland Plain Dealer takes a look at German Catholic priest's thoughts on the Bavarian pope's arrival:

When Benedict arrives in the United States Tuesday for a six-day visit, [Reverend Joseph] Spolny will be among thousands of Northeast Ohioans of German and Austrian heritage watching with a pride similar to what Polish-Americans experienced with the late Pope John Paul II.

In one sense, welcoming the celebrated Bavarian theologian who is the pastor of a billion-member flock to U.S. soil is a chance for all who share his heritage "to shine by reflected glory," said the Rev. John Wessel, a retired priest living in Westlake.

But for many German immigrants, the visit is a milestone of acceptance. Those who arrived shortly after the World War II remember the anger and prejudice against all things German.

Robert Filippi, 56, the immediate past president of the Donauschwaben Club in Olmsted Township, recalls being picked on in his West Side neighborhood when he emigrated from Germany to Cleveland as a 6-year-old. "The German community went through a lot of aggravation for a long time," he said.

"When Benedict was elected [in 2005], it was a huge, huge shot in the arm. We have an incredible feeling for the pope." ... (Read More)