After we visit Oldenzaal we went back to the north part of the Netherlands it is a journey from nearly 175 Km In the morning we take the route via Germany and the way back we drive over Dutch roads.
During Christ Mass we visit the church in Delfzijl. We went to the night Mass. As usual the church was being full of people. We were lucky that we were able to go in our own place. We have one Father and he have to serve three places. From Delfzijl out both places stay 15 and 17 km away. You can understand that the father had a busy Evening Night. It was Christ mass eve rather could. Temperature stays just above zero. No snow on the roads.
The Father is new in our parish. The previous father became very ill and has to stop.
The Father before the father who became ill was many years father in our church more than 25 years. And he was born in Yes you knows it or not? Well I will tell you In Ootmarsum.
My wife knows the Father and his family very well. When my wife left the primary school, she likes to become a nurse at that time she was too young for the nursery school that she visit first the school of domestic science During that period the girls who visit that school had to work one day per week in a private home. My wife came in the house of the parents of our Father. Not knowing that many years later we would live in the same place with the name Delfzijl. And that he would baptize our both sons. Now back to the church I told you that in Delfzijl most of the people are protestant and only 2% is catholic. Delfzijl is a very old place and harbor. The first time that people are spoken about Delfzijl was around 1650-1675. The first Catholic Church was built around 1800. Around 1900 the population were growing very fast due too that the harbor became lager and more important. A lot of sailing vessel discharge her cargo in our port fertilizer from chili, tobacco from the United States and timber from Sweden, Finland and Norway were imported.
Export products were Bricks, Peat, cartons, paper and machinery. Years’ later we also export salt, livestock. The church became too small and the Bishop of Groningen gives permission to bought land from the city of Delfzijl and built a new Church including the presbytery. In 1915 the new church were ready and became the name (Sint Jozef Kerk in Dutch) In English SAINT JOSEPH CHURCH. Mr. Wu knows now were his name come from. The Old church was sold to a Protestants religion. When the church was ready many people ask them self why the Catholic Church has such a big garden and presbytery. At that time nobody would know that nearly 95 years later is was good that the church had so much ground that they were able to sell a part of the garden to the city council who mentioned that the town hall became too small and need urgently an extension. To sell a couple of square meters for a very high price was the rescue of the Saint Joseph church.
When the church were opens up it was a beautiful church. Not with a lot of luxury but it has everything like 3 big bells in the bell tower and a beautiful organ. Other presbytery became jealous that a place as Delfzijl had such a big church. And has everything in it like in the capital city Groningen where the Bishop has his residence. Till 1970 the church were proper maintained and a lot of volunteers spent really days and days week in week out month in month out to kept the church in a good condition. From around 1985 it goes backwards with the Church les people came in to the church and a lot of people leaving Delfzijl due that their became less work and for the young people there was not much future so they moved away. She same things happened in surrounded places, like Appingedam and more of those places. Another problem arise that we getting les priest who were leaving from the seminar. Fathers and bishops became more and more work actual they became too much work.
I remember that our father from Ootmarsum making working days from 16 hours. And never one day off there was any reliever. In 2003 and 2004 some Catholic churches were closed down due to the condition of the church and lack of money not sufficient members and or Priest and Fathers.
The church of Delfzijl had still a positive account that became even much better by selling the land. On Christmas eve the father told us that in the beginning 0f 2009 the Church getting a big restore the hole roof will be renewed windows will be repaired all electricity wire will be renewed the organ can send To Germany for repairing .The bells will be repaired
They hope to finish in 15 month after they starts with it. I promise you that during my holidays I will take some pictures from the restore and will put them in your magazine so you can follow the works I hope that you are interested in it
In my next article I will inform you how we celebrate Eastern in the Netherlands.
For now I wish everybody a good time good health.
May God BLESS YOU’RE ALL.
Kind regards Evert.