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No. 29 • July - December 1999 • Page 276
 •  Initiatives

Cologne, Germany (Priests Meeting of the Ïnternationaler Priesterkreis")

The Thirtieth Meeting of Priests of the Internationaler Priesterkreis of Cologne, an initiative of a number of priests of the Prelature, took place from August 3 to 5 in the Maternushaus, a conference center in the diocese of Cologne. The theme of this year’s meeting was God the Father, which corresponded to the third year of the cycle on the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, in preparation for the Jubilee of the Year 2000.
Taking part, among others, were Professors Harald Wagner of Münster, Herbert Fendrich, of Essen, and Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz, of Dresden. Under the title “The Will of God,” the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace , Archbishop François Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân, gave a personal testimony of what his life had been like under the Communist regime in Vietnam. He was take prisoner in 1975, when he was Auxiliary Bishop of Saigon. During thirteen years in prison, including periods of total isolation, he drew strength from his faith. In a press conference, he stated in connection with the events in Kosovo: “Neither arms nor threats, nor the communication media, but only the charity of Christ can change hearts. Only through dialogue, prayer and forgiveness can the ethnic conflicts be resolved.”

Some one hundred priests and seminarians took part in this annual meeting. They came from various dioceses of Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. The get-togethers and personal exchanges helped to strengthen their own life of faith and their enthusiasm for an intense and optimistic pastoral work.

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