NUREMBERG, Germany (CNS) — In the wake of the terrorist attack on the Berlin Christmas market, Catholics across Germany were uniting to support the Christian community.
The attack has provoked strong emotions among many people, especially given that Christmas is traditionally one of Germany’s most beloved and important holidays.
Bishop Gebhard Furst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart held a prayer service Dec. 20, during which he called the attack a “deed of horror.”
“The past night has struck us and shaken us deeply,” Bishop Furst told attendees at Rottenburg’s Cathedral of St. Martin.
He called for Christians to interrupt their daily routines with prayer services “in order to hold onto, and pray for, and think of what has happened, especially of the victims, the injured, the severely wounded, of those people who were struck and affected by this misfortune, this deed of horror.”
The bishop also called for prayers for the victims’ relatives and members of the security services. He ended the address by lighting a single candle on the stone altar to symbolize Germany’s “hope and courage toward the future.”
On Dec. 19, the day of the attack, the German bishops’ conference called for parishes across Germany to observe a “Day of Prayer for Harassed and Persecuted Christians,” scheduled for Dec. 26. The bishops chose the day to coincide with the feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising also held a midday prayer service Dec. 20 in Munich’s Cathedral of Our Lady to pray for victims and their relatives.
Similar to an attack with a truck that took place in July in Nice, France, a tractor-trailer veered into the crowded Breitscheidplatz Christmas market in Berlin and plowed through bystanders, killing 12 people and wounding nearly 50.
In a Dec. 20 telegram sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, to Archbishop Heiner Koch of Berlin, Pope Francis prayed for the families of the dead and the wounded, “assuring his closeness in their pain.”
“Pope Francis joins all people of good will who are working so that the homicidal madness of terrorism does not find any more room in our world,” Cardinal Parolin wrote.
Meanwhile, police security increased around the Nuremberg Christmas Market, one of German’s oldest Christmas markets. Police vehicles and personnel were stationed around the Catholic churches within the medieval old town and other heavily crowded areas throughout the main square.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it without youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: