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Parish Trip to Rhade, Germany

Story by Niamh McCallum
Photography by Liam Caddell

You may or may not know, but on Thursday the 9th September until the 13th September, some people from our parish went on a trip to our twin Parish Rhade near Dorsten in Germany. Rhade has shown a lot of hospitality to our parish, as when Saint Bernard�s Church was burned down, they came over for the opening of the new church and donated a candle with the Dorsten key on it (look for it in the church!)

The bunch was a mix of musicians, Irish dancers, youth representatives, parishioners and clergy like Fr.Ciaran who unfortunately left us , but he came anyway , he also brought his two friends Davie and Niall who were brilliant musicians , like Fr.Ciaran. Fr.Dan came as well and kept our group very close together and made sure everyone was ok. Bishop McKeown came on Friday and came in very handy as he is fluent in German, which helped a lot .

The trip started with an early flight to London Stansted, for a 5 hour wait! The shops were good, but soon we all got bored, then the musicians decided to take out there instruments , it was very enjoyable and a lot of people waiting for planes were probably happy for the entertainment. We arrived in Dusseldorf airport in Germany at about 3 o�clock and we met some hosts .We then split up in groups for roughly an hour and a half drive to Rhade. I can�t   really describe the scenery on the way, as we slept through the most of it.

We arrived to a meal of soup, bread and free coke, fanta and beer! We then met our hosts, everyone got a lovely family and received a warm welcome. The musicians again played !We then went home with our families and got a good night sleep , some people were very fortunate and their hosts spoke English , some people weren�t so fortunate and got non-English speaking families, but that was a good experience for most .

On the Friday we went to Cologne, a little town. We visited a cathedral in Cologne, which was massive. It had many art works and it took over 500 years to complete! We had a tour and everyone was interested. Then we were given some spare time, but most people , mainly the youth climbed the cathedrals 500 spiral stairs , to get a view of all of the town.

    

Then we were taken to a restaurant and given an authentic German meal, the adults seemed to like it but the youth just put it in to the �no thank-you �category . It was time to go, some people were hungry and were tempted by the big yellow M of McDonalds, but didn�t have time. Afterwards we went up a mountain on tram to the ruins of a castle with a legend of a dragon and a princess. The view was brilliant  (see left) and there was a small shop for some energy .We came home, had time to freshen up and had a lovely barbecue, followed by even more music !

On the Saturday, we went to Dorsten on the train, we met the mayor of Dorsten, then we had lots of time to shop and get a McDonald. We got home from Dorsten and spent a couple of hours in our houses to get ready for mass. The mass was nearly an hour and a half , but that was our fault mainly , as they needed to translate everything for us .We were shocked of the amount of Alter servers , there were 21 !After mass we had an �Irish night� Irish stew , beer (Guinness) music , dancing , Irish coffee made by some of our parishioners! The night was a complete success, everyone enjoyed it a lot!

On the final day Sunday there was a service for Catholics and Protestants, with singing and readings, not like over here, again it was about an hour and 15 minutes! Then there was a fair, with games, entertainment of dancing, drama and martial arts. Our musicians played and our dancers danced.

 

The day faded away , and we were given a �surprise� We all walked a couple of miles,  playing instruments to a youth hostel , with food !We played more music and had a soccer match Germany V Ireland , Ireland won naturally because we had Bishop McKeown. We had to leave by about 10, for an early start the next morning.

On Monday we woke early to get back into cars and minibuses to the airport. We quickly went and got to Stansted.  Not for a long wait this time though,  just enough time for breakfast .We got to Belfast and it was our last goodbyes , we�d hopefully see each other again soon .

Everyone I think had a good time and all came back safely , with lots of fond memories. We thank Fr.Dan for the chance to go to Radah and with the help of God , they�ll come to us soon as we


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