I attended my first Bergmesse (Mass held in the mountains) this past Sunday, high in the Alps overlooking our valley. Susi and I, along with hundreds of local folk and guests from many surrounding villages made the trek up to this site to spend this Sunday…a gorgeous cloudless warm breezy day…. high in the Tannheim mountains that overlook Pinswang and a host of other nearby villages and towns. We hike as much as possible into this lovely Alpine range; many trails course up and along the mountain, each bringing new sights and experiences. On this day we wandered up the steep path to the Musauer Alm…a lovely high altitude verdant rolling meadow surrounded by the yet higher peaks and deep rich forests.
Cows grazed nearby, bells on leather straps about their ‘necks’ providing a faint lilting sound in the whispering Summer winds.
Father (Pfarrer) Bader set up a small table in front of a beautiful old Wegkreuz…a large wooden handcarved Crucifix permanently affixed into the earth on a hill overlooking a natural grassy amphitheater. At 1100, all gathered fore the Cross and altar…the Mass began. The surrounding trees were our flying buttresses and the higher peaks our spires.
For our music, we all sang the Deutschemesse by Franz Schubert; the splendid village band (Musikkapelle) from Musau providing the orchestral guidance. Herr Pfarrer lead the Mass under these crisp neon blue Heavens. The sounds of his voice and the music we all made wafted midst these rolling hills.
With the Ite Missa Est, we slowly made our way to the nearby Musauer Huette….the venerable Inn that has been serving wanderers and hikers in the mountains for many years. The remainder of the day was spent there, enjoying the folk melodies played by the Musikkapelle from Musau and our village, Pinswang, feasting on fresh bratwurst, potato salad, rich home-baked cakes, beer and schnapps, and moving from table to table to chat with friends, old and new.
Yet, the true highlight of the day was it’s beginning..when, exhausted from our long trek up the mountain, we sat together on that rolling green mountain meadow, listening to the liturgy or Our Lord in a place just a tiny bit closer to Heaven itself.