"With my God I overcome walls"
For his first profession, Frater Patrick Stortz designed the appropriate candle
A colorful bird flies over a gray wall. This motif was designed by Pallottine Father Patrick Stortz himself on his profession candle. It fits the motto “With my God overcome walls”, which the man from the Black Forest chose for his first profession in Friedberg, Bavaria; after the novitiate. And it suits him because the musical, trained geriatric nurse is colorful bird himself somehow. He is also one who values community. So, he created the candle from donated wax remnants together with artist Isolde Heumann and Mission Secretary Fr. Markus Hau. As he did during his novitiate in Friedberg, fr. Stortz welcomed the visitors to the service at the church door – this time to a Mass at which he himself was the center of attention.
Many Pallottines formed a large circle around their young confrere as he promised to consecrate his life to God and to live with the Pallottines. Vice-Provincial Fr. Michael Pfenning received him into the community, placed a collar with a cross around his neck and lit the candle.
Beforehand, Pfenning took up the motto of this first profession in his homily. To be able to make great leaps, he said, requires not only strength but also training and the right technique. fr. Patrick has now completed his first training camp with the novitiate, first in Constance and then in Friedberg. For the future, Fr. Pfenning wished him
sure-footedness. He called Jesus as a model to go ways, to initiate movement. But that is no walk in the park. People tend to tread safe and comfortable paths. But in doing so, they fall far behind their own possibilities. In the path chosen by fr. Patrick, Pfenning sees the chance for expansion and new impetus: “You trust that God – that life wants to give you more than you can imagine. More than would correspond to your planning, your horizon.”
For the Vice-Provincial, it’s not a given that men will want to join the community. Pfenning predicted, “There will be us Pallottines in the future, if we are willing to change, to evolve. Yesterday’s answers no longer fit. We Pallottines, of all people, could be a positive thorn in such a tired, over-organized and bland church. It needs spiritual renewal.” The Vice-Provincial did not promise a comfortable future for his community. “But that’s not why we became Pallottines.” The goal, he said, is to be seekers.
Patrick Stortz also has a path ahead of him involving many opportunities for development. “After the first profession, the inner process continues and never ends,” Pfenning said. His wish for fr. Stortz was, “May you overcome the walls that keep getting in the way in life.” The Pallottine friar’s next place of work is the St. Lambert House of Studies (Rhineland-Palatinate), where he has started studying theology.
Beforehand, in Friedberg, he and his profession witnesses, his sister Anna-Maria Stortz and his friend Johannes Krämer, clapped along enthusiastically and relaxed. At the end of the mass, the music group “Cantare Pallotti” sang “My Sweet Lord”.
About the person
Patrick Stortz (born in 1992) was born in Lahr/ Black Forest and grew up in Oberschopfheim. He completed the postulancy at the Pallottine community of Constance (2019 to 2020). He did the novitiate in the first year in Constance, and in the second year in the Friedberg community (2020 to 2021). By profession, he is a geriatric nurse. He has now started his studies in theology.
Read the sermon
The task now is to gratefully and resolutely explore with one another where God wants to lead us as people and as a community. This can sure become very exciting and requires an enormous broadening of our thinking and our consciousness. There will be us Pallottines in the future, if we are willing to change, to evolve. Yesterday’s answers no longer fit. We Pallottines, of all people, could be a positive thorn in such a tired, over-organized and bland Church.
Spiritual renewal is needed. Spirituality means widening, widening, widening. And that gives us the encouragement to become scouts of life and let life flow. May the Holy Spirit dislocate us, awaken us, and make us set out anew. Let us be on the way with people who do not necessarily come from our stable, but who share with us the longing for life and who are looking for God.
Report & Images: Andreas Schmidt
Translation: Steffi Ettenberger