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Dr. Reinhard Lettmann, bishopof Münster, with a picture ofAnna Katharina Emmerick.

Christian Role Modelfrom the Bishopric of Münster

Beatification ofA. K. Emmerick

Münster. A new example of Christian life comes from the Bishopric of Münster: On 3. October 2004 Anna Katharina Emmerick (1774–1824) is to be beatified by Pope John Paul II. . The liturgies in Rome in September are to be preceded by celebrations in the Westphalian town of Dülmen, the place where she lived and died, as well as a week of festivities on the occasion of her two-hundred and thirtieth birthday in her birthplace in Coesfeld. Christians from the bishopric of Münster who wish to take part in the events surrounding the 3. October in the Eternal City are offered many flights and two coach trips by the diocese’s pilgrim office Emmaus Reisen.

The pilgrim office expects around 1.000 pilgrims from the diocese to attend the beatification in Rome. The ceremonies are to start with a vigil celebration on Saturday (2. October) in a Roman Basilica. On Sunday at 9.00 o’clock on the square in front of St. Peter’s the gathered faithful will hear a presentation of the life of Anna Katharina Emmerick as well as that of the four other Blessed from Austria, Argentina, Italy and Canada. The biographical texts are to be accompanied by the music of the country of origin of the Christians who are later also revered by the world church.

In the roughly two-hour church service starting at 10.00 a.m., Pope John Paul II will beatify these Christians. During the service, gigantic portraits of them will be symbolically uncovered on St. Peter’s cathedral, thus revealing their spiritual personalities to Christendom. To conclude the celebrations, on Monday (4. October) Bishop Dr. Reinhard Lettmann will invite the pilgrims to a service of thanksgiving in a Roman Basilica. A subsequent celebration for the faithful in their local diocese is planned for All Saints Day on 1.November in the St.-Paulus-Dom in Münster.

When presenting the programme, suffragan  bishop Voß stressed that the exemplary Christian from Westphalia is not being beatified because of her stigmata and visions – that is, not because of the "miracles" which make it difficult for many people today to approach her. He said that Emmerick’s life was a message for the church today. He stressed the Augustinian’s relevance to us today. She was not the pious, silent sufferer she was thought to be for 150 years. Voß drew a picture of an emancipated woman who spoke out against conventions and authority, and who gave “Jesus a human face” within the confines of the church.

That is why, added the cathedral capitulary Martin Hülskamp, the Emmerick portrait which is to be revealed in Rome only shows the traditional wound bandages and the signs of suffering to a limited extent. The beatification is intended to open new perspectives on the nun from Westphalia.

Text: Kerstin Heil, September 2004

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