Fr Markus Hau SAC
"I'm kind of a Bridge..."
Take the bucket
Know you carry yourself
to the thirsty
Know that you are not the water
you only carry the bucket
In 2004 I chose these lines by Hilde Domin as my first day motto. Together with John 4 of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. In it lies the vital question, how can He really become a source of living water in me and in us?
Perhaps this longing has always drawn me. I was born in Rheinbach in 1974 and grew up in Merzbach, a small village in the uplands of the Eifel. I did not attend Pallottikolleg, nor a boarding school. I made my way through Secondary School and municipal grammar school without Pallottines at first. But I knew the Pallottines from the parish – in Merzbach and in Rheinbach they had become familiar with me.
After military service and a study of law in Bonn, which I started and quickly abandoned, I did not know what to do. And at exactly that point God contacted me very strongly and I knew that I had to try out a life with Him. In 1995 I entered the novitiate in Untermerzbach. Followed by studies in Vallendar from 1997 to 2003, interrupted by a year of study at the Gregorian University in Rome.
A year of youth work in Olpe followed and the pastoral year in St. Jakob in Friedberg in 2004, the year I was ordained priest in Vallendar. I was chaplain in Vallendar for three years and became pastor in St. Jakob in Friedberg in January 2008. What followed were 10 intensive years in a dynamic parish, which is very much characterized by women and men who are the driving force behind this great community in the parish and in faith. I loved this collaboration very much and to this day it remains an image to me of how I imagine Pallotti’s “collaborazione”. This being on the way together is something very enriching for me. The year 2015 with the many Syrian refugees who came to Friedberg left its mark on me. In the parish and the city, we quickly organized help and accompaniment. Suddenly the world with its burning questions had reached me.
The world with its burning questions
So, the Provincial’s question if I would like to become Missionary Secretary, came at the right time. A time to go out into the world. It was appealing not as a tourist, but to get to know the many Pallottine countries with the people and their questions and needs.
This is what I have been doing as Mission Secretary for four years now. I am kind of a bridge from our province to India, Nigeria, Malawi, Cameroon, and South Africa. I am often on the road to support and accompany the aid projects of our confreres. To see where we can win friends and benefactors for this. The many schools in India, which are financially supported by the German Province, stand for this as well as soup kitchens, homes for the elderly and HIV centers. Encountering the people there is a gift.
Together: Encountering, building, building
In addition, it is my task to build up the new units of the Pallottines in Nigeria and Malawi. And that means building in the truest sense of the word. Now, we are building a seminary for the formation of the confreres in Malawi. A place of pilgrimage in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, from where the pastoral work of the confreres will grow out into the country. And a large youth center in Nigeria with the necessary buildings for the future of the confreres there. I cannot do this alone, but only together with confreres on the ground, with experts who are at my side. And it is only possible if we are supported and carried by many sponsors, without whom such a great departure would be impossible.
For a new togetherness in the world
As a member Provincial Council, for me, there are many threads coming together: Africa and the university in Vallendar are our great challenges as a Province. The great vitality that is given to us from Africa with many young confreres and the very current question of how we can make the university a place of learning for interculturality. The great task of how we as the great wide world, as people, society, and the church, but also simply as confreres, can learn to understand each other in a better way. Learning to deal with the strange and to be less afraid of it.
A vision that for me is Pallottine. It has something to do with the thirst of our time – for a new togetherness in the world, a different world and economic order. It means the Kingdom of God towards which we are moving.
Images: Josef Eberhard
Translation: Steffi Ettenberger