We were the very first group from SNC to ever visit this Norbertine priory in Magdeburg, so we were not exactly sure where it was and we were all a bit skeptical when Hans said the GPS led us to this modest house on a residential street. But as Fr. Jay and Fr. Sal went to knock on the door we all saw the fleur de lis pattern on the fence and what looked like a small church behind the house. Sure enough, they soon came back to tell us we were in the right place!
Fr. Clemens welcomed us to Magdeburg and explained that since the house is so small they had arranged a cookout for us in the garden behind the chapel. Magdeburg is a priory of Hamborn Abbey, and there are currently only three priests living and working there. Fr. Oliver was accompanying a group of local Boy Scouts on an outing, so we only met Fr. Clemens and Fr. Andreas. The three of them are responsible for the church behind their house, which has about 600 parishioners, along with the St. Peter’s Church at the Catholic University in Magdeburg and another parish church in a neighboring village.
Little did we know what a treat we were in for! Fr. Andreas told me that Fr. Clemens is renowned in this region as a great cook, and the apron he is wearing here came from his guest appearance on a cooking show called “Bruzzeln mit Bobzin” hosted by celebrity chef Rene Bobzin. (NOTE: Bruzzeln means “to sizzle” so we know this must be a hot show!)
While Fr. Clemens minded the grill, Fr. Andreas gave us a tour of their small church that was built in the early 1950s to accommodate all the Catholics who came to Magdeburg from the Eastern European countries. There wasn’t much money in those times, so it is very sparse compared to the Romanesque and Gothic churches we have seen in other places. But as Fr. Andreas said, it truly is simple but beautiful.
These door handles representing the bread and the wine were handmade by a local artisan and donated to the church a few years ago.
Ok, I promise after this I won’t torture you with any more food photos!