Posted by: Nazausgraben | July 11, 2010


I found myself not long ago in Brixen in the South Tirol where, in the beautiful Cathedral (Dom), a grand celebration for the ordination of two Priests and Deacons was taking place. The massive choir of bells high in their Gothic tower rang in exultation as the Bishop and an entourage of Priests, Deacons, Altar boys and other faithful..all gorgeously bedecked for this special day…processed into this majestic ancient building. A huge crowd filled the Cathedral to overflowing and extended into the arches at the main entrance. The huge wood and metal doors were left open for those of us outside to enjoy the solemn spectacle within.

Across the large square and in contrast to the transcendent beauty within the Cathedral, one could see that every Cafe had umbrella covered white tables filling the brick and stone paved way. Flat wide screen televisions were mounted outside and were showing the World Cup football (soccer) match between Germany and England. World Cup spectators…oblivious to the Mass going on across the square…ate, drank and basked in the afternoon sun…the match narrative disturbed only by the ringing of the bells before Mass, during consecration of the Host and after Mass. At the medieval entrance to the Dom, ‘midst the prayers of the High Choral Mass, one could on occasion hear from behind us the loud celebratory cries of the German and Austrian football faithful, announcing yet another goal (Torrrr!!!!!).

There, in the midst of the still South Tirolean afternoon heat on that azure skied Sunday afternoon, surrounded on all sides by the transcendent sacred and the impassioned secular…all of this made for a fascinating and rather wonderful cultural counterpoint.

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