Status: 02.10.2023, 09:00 a.m.
By: Magnus Reitinger
"We are redeemed people, that is the good news": Christian Lang (40), who will be ordained a deacon on October 7, in an interview with Tagblatt editor Magnus Reitinger. © Oar
Two men will be ordained deacons in the Diocese of Augsburg this year, one of the two is a Weilheimer – and will soon be working in his home parish. Christian Lang is full of anticipation for his new role.
Weilheim – What drives Christian Lang as a Christian is already in the name of his future office: deacon literally means "servant". And to be "serving", i.e. to be there for people in their worries and needs, is, according to him, also the essential task of the church. In order to participate even more decisively and energetically in the future, the man from Weilheim began training for the diaconate in 2019 - this is the first stage of the sacrament of Holy Orders in the Catholic Church (the other two are the priesthood and the episcopal ministry). Married men can also become deacons, but not women to date. Deacons, for example, may preach and perform baptisms and funerals, but may not celebrate the Eucharist as rectors.
Important decisions after pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago
Christian Lang had this desire to work for the church from an early age. As a child, he was an altar boy in the parish of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Weilheim, then a youth leader, as such he helped organize the annual tent camp, among other things, and at the age of 18 he was elected to the parish council. After his civilian service in the youth center Klösterl am Walchensee, he studied theology and social work in Benediktbeuern from 2003. But it was clear that it would not be a priestly career when he met his current wife Margret in 2008 – at an action of the Catholic Young Community (KjG). "The call to the priestly vocation," the now 40-year-old looks back, he "never heard". But the vocation to marriage and the diaconate does: the decision for both was made after a three-month pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago lasting several weeks.
Next Saturday, October 7, Lang will be ordained a deacon by Bishop Bertram Meier in Augsburg Cathedral, together with Thomas Becherer from Entraching. The latter is also well known in the region: as a church musician in Andechs, pastoral assistant in the parish community of Lechrain - and also as director of the Wielenbacher choir "Wielamusica". The part-time training of the two as deacons lasted four years; In addition to courses on one or two weekends a month, these included internships in parishes and social institutions, regular retreats and spiritual accompaniment.
He is also the prevention officer of the Benediktbeuern Monastery
After the ordination, Christian Lang will work as a "deacon in the civil profession", i.e. in addition to his actual professional activity. Since 2012, he has been working as an education officer at the Salesians of Don Bosco's Action Centre in Benediktbeuern, where he accompanies young people on orientation days, confirmation weekends or youth leader training. In addition, he is the prevention officer of the monastery – and thus an expert on the topic that church employees are always and everywhere asked about today: the cases of abuse in the church. "I know that the Church has made big mistakes in dealing with allegations," says the 40-year-old, but these are increasingly and honestly being dealt with. There are now good structures for this, which are continuously expanded and reviewed again and again.
"I am sure that the church has a future"
Despite the profound crises, it is clear to Lang "that the church has a future". It could "open heaven to us," he was firmly convinced: "We are redeemed people, Christ has opened this up to us, that is the good news, the gospel." Passing on this message, the hope and his own good experiences, that is ultimately the motivation for Christian Lang, who also participates as a singer and guitarist in various choirs and bands. As a deacon, he could "be even more deeply active" in the future.
In addition to his full-time position in Benediktbeuern, he will work six hours a week in the parish community of Weilheim from the time of ordination – where he will be welcomed as a deacon by the congregation next Sunday. "I am particularly pleased to accompany people at the turning points of life," says Lang, "be it at baptisms, weddings or funerals." His motto – it comes from the Salesians of Don Bosco, who also support the Benediktbeuern monastery – sounds simple and yet encompasses everything that matters: "... so that life succeeds!".
The consecration service
begins on Saturday, October 7, at 9:30 a.m. in Augsburg Cathedral – musically performed by Weilheim's church choir of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Other interested parties can travel on the bus (departure from 6.15 a.m. in Weilheim, lunch after the fair in Augsburg, return around 15.30 p.m.). Information and registration at the parish office, telephone 0881/924 533 411. On Sunday, 8 October,
Christian Lang will take part in the divine service in Weilheim for the first time as a deacon: at 9.30 a.m. in the parish church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Afterwards, all parishioners are invited to a meeting with a white sausage breakfast in the parish hall Miteinander.