Impressions of St. Joseph

I took the chance to snap some photos of the interior of the cathedral today, having some extra time to spend in the afternoon. Here’s a small impression:

The sanctuary with an open tabernacle. My friend Inge had to snap some photos for a brochure about the sacrality of the church, to be handed out when there are concerts.
The great crucifix over the sanctuary
In the choir loft someone plays the organ for an otherwise empty church.
One of the many stained glass windows in the cathedral. This one shows Christ as the good shepherd.
The coats of arms of the current and previous bishops of the diocese. Johannes Knijff (1559-1576), Petrus Nierman (1956-1969), Johann Möller (1969-1999), Wim Eijk (1999-2008) and Gerard de Korte (2008-)

Tomorrow: conference with Christian student clubs

Tomorrow I’ll be attending a ‘conference meeting’ of the various Christian student and study organisations here in Groningen, organised by the GSP. I’ll do so representing the student parish, together with Father Wagenaar, Guido, Inge and Maurits. Initially I tagged along out of interest: this conference sounds like a great opportunity to do some networking and establish some contacts, which would hopefully lead to us reaching more people. But yesterday I found I also have to hold a short introductory speech…

Well, I volunteered, to be honest, since there was no time for lengthy discussions about who would do it and what would be said. Reading the program, though, makes me wonder if this was smart: they’re talking about sharp questions and ‘pushing people hard’… Uh-oh.

But the conference sounds interesting. There’ll be a speech from the rector magnificus of the university, a lecture on ‘open communication’ and an opportunity to discuss things with other groups.

I’m curious to see what it’s all like and hopeful that we can further the ‘fame’ of the student parish.

Some extra information, in Dutch, here.

Support the archbishop

Yesterday I received a request from Father Roderick, a friend and priest in the Archdiocese of Utrecht, to show some support for his archbishop, Msgr. Wim Eijk. As I’ve reported earlier, and as other Dutch Catholic blogs and media are reporting, he is being attacked for the decisions he makes from left, right and center. While he keeps his feelings and private responses to himself, I am assured that this is not an easy time for him.

After the request I sat down and wrote a one-page email of support to him. This morning I received a reply from the secretary of the diocese, thanking me for the email and assuring me that it will be sent on to the archbishop. Inge send him a card with similar sentiments yesterday afternoon.

Reading the blog of the lawyer of one of the archbishop’s attackers once again made me angry. She manages to accuse him of making personal attacks. That is simply more evidence that she lives in a world of anger and frustration of her own making, which has little to do with the real world where ethical behaviour and civilised discussion should be the norm. Sadly, that is true for a fair number of other people too, bloggers and non-bloggers alike.

So, in light of that and of the fact that supporters of the archbishop are simply less vocal than the attackers, I’d like to ask the Dutch readers of my blog to take a few minutes and write a short note or a card of support to Msgr. Eijk. It can be a simple assurance of you remembering him in prayer or appreciation for his work.

Bishops are our shepherds, ordained and consecrated to lead us on the path of Holy Mother Church, especially when we’ve strayed, as so many in the Dutch Church province have done in the past. Shepherding people and the institutes that come with a diocese is not necessary great fun, despite its pastoral image. For the good of the flock, hard decisions are sometimes required, because the soft approach takes too much time or is just not effective.

E-mails may be sent to the secretariat of the archdiocese, which can be found here.