Pittsburgh in Cologne
The group from St. Bernard in Mount Lebanon and Our Lady of Grace in Scott finally made their way on a web of trains and trolleys and for several miles on foot to reach the Mass.
"Are you from Pittsburgh?" yelled a woman who ran out of a barbershop to greet them on the way.
Jill Bruning Haak, 40, had lived in Mount Lebanon until she moved to Germany 10 years ago. She was amazed to see the group with black-and-gold "Steel City Catholic" T-shirts pass by carrying a Steelers pennant as a flag. She was even more amazed to discover that the group was mostly from her hometown....Although radio stations broadcast the [opening] Mass in several languages, English was not to be found on the dial. So the group understood little or nothing of the preaching by Meissner, who is a close friend of the pope. His homily was closely tied to the theme of world youth day, which is itself closely tied to Cologne's most famous relic....
"World Youth Day in Cologne is not just a purely Catholic event, it concerns the whole world," Meissner continued, as those who could understand him cheered and waved their flags.
"Christ is not a Christian property agent -- he is Lord of the whole world. Ant this week, we will be searching for Christ not just for our own benefit, but especially for that of our other brothers and sisters so that they may experience the joy of faith in Christ."
Though they couldn't understand him, the South Hills group seemed to sense the spirit of his message.
"It's so great seeing everyone from all of these countries all together with so much enthusiasm. There are people doing the wave. I didn't feel tired any more when I saw that," said Alyssa Patton, 17, a senior at Mount Lebanon High School.