What personal encounters and experiences do you associate with Andechs Monastery?
"Even as a little boy I was allowed to go regularly to Andechs with my parents and grandparents. The happy hours we spent there are unforgettable to me. I was particularly proud of the lederhosen and the traditional hat I was allowed to wear on these visits. I sometimes smile at the photos taken back then, with a giant pretzel around my neck. Grandpa also took a small jug with a tin lid to the holy mountain, from which I was then allowed to drink soda instead of real beer (still). Even as a boy I was aware of one thing: a visit to Andechs is also about saying hello to Jesus and Our Lady in the pilgrimage church."
The oldest pilgrimage in Bavaria has been leading to Andechs for over 850 years. Going on pilgrimage has been "in" again for years. What reasons do you see for this?
"As man has become more and more mobile in his biography, he also discovers himself religiously as a traveller, as a wanderer, as a Christian on the move. Those who go on pilgrimage show that their actual home is not a fixed location on this earth, but that their destination is in heaven."
A general uncertainty and fear of the future of many people as well as mistrust or even disinterest in the church make it increasingly difficult to find open ears for the Good News. How can the Church nevertheless provide support and security, movement and departure?
"The Church does not only convey doctrines of faith or moral rules that we are supposed to adhere to. If we want to "score" as a Church, we need more credibility again. People trust credible Christians and let themselves be inspired by good example to think or even be called to follow Christ."
The actual "birthplace of the church" is the Upper Room. How can we bring this origin closer again today to the many people who visit Andechs?
"As the name suggests, the Upper Room recalls the common table that Jesus shared with the apostles before his suffering and death. If you're heading for the holy mountain in Andechs, you can't miss eating and drinking together. The Andechs snack is proverbial. If more and more Andechs visitors manage to climb a few metres higher from the Bräustüberl and beer garden to the church, then you can guess: The church of today is also founded on the common table that Jesus sets for us to this day - in bread and wine, at the altar, precisely in the pilgrimage church of Andechs."