“This is something very special”

What do cathedral vicars and master of ceremonies actually do at Cologne Cathedral?? Father Jorg Stockem will be solemnly inaugurated into his new office during Sunday's pontifical Mass and reports on his future tasks.

Interviewer: Now it is time for you to say goodbye to Bornheim. How do you feel?

Father Jorg Stockem (new cathedral vicar and master of ceremonies at Cologne Cathedral): Yes, it's been a few weeks since I left. I left at the beginning of September, but the move is still to come. I started this week in Cologne, that is, I am in transition. That is of course a special situation.

Interviewer: At the request of Cardinal Woelki, you will now be the cathedral vicar at Cologne Cathedral. What are your tasks there?

Stockem: At some point, the tasks will also consist of the ceremonial service. That is, one prepares important services and then conducts them. However, the cathedral vicar Hopmann will first take over this task and slowly introduce me to it. I will focus on the second important field, first of all on the pastoral care of the cathedral.

The cathedral is not a parish church like a normal parish church, but the cathedral is entrusted to the pastoral care of the cathedral chapter, so it is taken out of the normal pastoral care. And since the cathedral chapter consists of confreres who also have other jobs, there is the vicar general in it, there are the suffragan bishops in it and so on, there is the cathedral pastoral care, in which I now then cooperate.

And yes, in this cathedral chaplaincy there are a lot of things that you know from the parish as well. There is a first communion preparation, a confirmation, the normal liturgy. But of course there are also many things that run en passant, because if it's not just Corona lockdown, then up to 20 people are running.000 people in the cathedral. There is also a lot of confession in the cathedral. The cathedral is a pilgrimage church. That is something different from what I have come to know as a parish priest.

Interviewer: What experience can you draw on for your new tasks, then, or what is new for you then?

Stockem: I think that the classic catechesis, first communion, confirmation, the liturgy, the altar servers, which also exist in the cathedral, these are things that one knows, that one can also do. As a chaplain and pastor, I have already done quite a bit, I have been a priest for 15 years.

What is new, I think, is that which is connected with the function of the cathedral church, also the pilgrimage church, i.e. the Three Kings, to whom the great cathedral pilgrimage in September always leads. And also the special environment of the cathedral. Because the cathedral is not just a church like all the others, but is something like the center of Cologne, the center of the Rhineland.

Many people also identify with the cathedral, feel at home there. Your heart will swell when you see the silhouette from afar. That is also great for a priest. You know that you have been consecrated there. It is already something very special to be allowed to work at the cathedral.

Interviewer: You will also be the master of ceremonies. Not yet immediately, but then introduced. What do you have to take care of in your function?

Stockem: It is a matter of preparing important masses and high masses, especially with Cardinal Woelki, who as archbishop will of course also celebrate important masses. That means I get the procedures on my desk, have to approve them, perhaps also have to consult with the cardinal, would you like it this way or that, have to coordinate with the cathedral music. What is sung where? Which choir pieces will be inserted and how then?

Then there are procedure books, which have to be proofread. That is the whole preparation. Arrangements also with the sextons, with the altar servers and so on. And then you also have to stand in the cathedral and make sure that what has been prepared goes well. Well, you stand in the middle in this typical outfit of the cathedral vicars, with this black mozetta with the red buttons, and in case of doubt you have to wave to the people, give signals and tell them what's happening now and what's next.

Interviewer: In the future there will also be a connection to the cathedral music.

Stockem: Yes, the Dommusik is an institution of the Cologne Cathedral. There are quite a few choirs. However I heard now in the first discussion that the Domdechant Kleine there first of all the connections to takes over. But of course they will always meet and have to deal with each other. That is already correct.

Interviewer: Her inauguration will take place solemnly with a pontifical mass in Cologne Cathedral, of course under Corona conditions. How will you celebrate this day?

Stockem It is only possible in a very limited way, because the reception, which was supposed to be afterwards, unfortunately had to be canceled. And I've planned at least one more meeting with my parents afterwards, that we'll have lunch together. Unfortunately, that is all we can do at the moment. So I had to cancel all the relatives and friends and said, we'll do it when Corona is through.

The interview was conducted by Katharina Geiger.

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