The hairdresser and the sacred
Jakob Paula experiences many things as a pastor in the city. But not every day, the 52-year-old pastor of the parish of Friedens Christi in Munich-Olympiadorf is asked for "something sacred". In the following article, first published in the magazine "Christ in the Presence", he tells the strange story.
|To start again blessings and appetizers: the hairdressing salon "Fire hair" in Munich Olympiadorf. Photos: private|
Thursday in the rectory. I’m talking to a man about his mother’s upcoming funeral when the doorbell rings. A young man with a braid and a fashionably cut beard is standing outside. Although he makes a neat impression, I’m almost reflexively certain that the guy wants money. My suspicions solidify when he asks if I am the pastor. I confirm it, whereupon he explains to me in good, but not very round, German that he is reopening a hairdressing salon in the shop passage of our Olympic Village in Munich and that “something sacred” should be there. "You mean that your business will be blessed?" I try to correct it a little, but he insists on the word "holy": "I want the new beginning to be holy!"
Vitalij is a little disappointed at the sight of the pastor
|Pastor Jakob Paula was initially surprised,
then felt quite comfortable in the salon.
I ask him to come back later because I have someone else with me, but he thinks it is not necessary. It is enough if I come to the inauguration on Saturday at eleven and do something sacred. He gives me a flyer. When we say goodbye, I carefully note: "You are from another country?" "I was born in Kazakhstan, but have been in Germany for a long time." I promise him that I will come. Later I take a closer look at the flyer: The shop is called "Fire Hair", you can see a large mirror with stylized flames as a frame. The team, two men and two women, can also be seen, and somewhere entirely small the name of the boss: Vitalij. Apparently he was with me.
Saturday morning in front of the "Hair Hair" hair salon: I arrive punctually at eleven o’clock. In front of the shop there are bistro tables with drinks and snacks. You can hear music from the store. When Vitalij sees me, I have the impression that he either doesn’t recognize me or is somehow disappointed. And in fact it is the latter: “I thought you would come as a pastor. We want people to see that the pastor is with us and we want to take pictures. ”I would like to point out that I brought a candle with me that we can light, that I have blessed water and also a stole. Vitalij is not entirely satisfied, but fits in with the situation.
When I serve candles, holy water and the booklet with the blessings on a table in the salon, there is still a woman in the room who I ask if she is part of the team. No, she says, she is from "Sexy hair", a company that sells cosmetics for hairdressers, and she shows me her range of products on the opposite wall on the shelf. In bold red and with letters 30 centimeters in size, the lettering shouts there: "Sexy hair". I don’t show anything, although I’m beginning to wonder if I’m in the right place here. I console myself with Pope Francis, who urges us to go to the periphery and not be shy.
Of course, no music is played during the blessing
|Vitalij – here with his wife and daughter – has
started a new life in Germany.
Vitalij comes in for a moment. When I saw him on it hints, the fact that he has to tell the DJ that there is no music during the blessing is almost offended. That was already agreed: we would all go out and then there would be music to move in and then silence and blessing and only then music again. He had already considered that. He already knew what should be.
That touches me and I say on my part that I am in five minutes back there with the pastor’s robe. Vitalij is happy. The church is less than 300 meters away and I get an alb from the sacristy.
When I come back maybe 15 people are gathered, almost only young people, some bizarrely styled, tattooed and pierced. The owners and staff of the neighboring shops are also invited to come over. But because there is a lot going on Saturday mornings, they stop in the doors of their shops and watch the scenery.
The man from the stationery shop looks solid; I would like to know what he thinks when he sees the priest in the middle of this strange new neighborhood. I have to think of Zacchaeus. Vitalij is even braver than Zacchaeus and maybe it must be because the church – myself at least – is more fearful than Jesus in Jericho: Vitaly wanted to come to his house, which Vitalij wanted, and Jesus confirms this to Zacchaeus.
Then the time has come: A red ribbon is stretched across the front door and cut through by Vitalij; everyone claps and the pastor has to move in – the others after. The music is pathetic: “Conquest of paradise” by Vangelis. Where the sacred is supposed to have a place, paradise is not far away.
A calming word of trust for all hairdressers
|Pope Francis demands to go to the periphery –
it can also be a hair salon.
I light the candle and slowly the music fades out. Everyone is almost devoutly silent. First I express my amazement at the request for the blessing for this reopening and also my joy to be welcomed as a pastor in such an atmosphere. Then I speak of the fears and worries that one can have when starting a new business, and I say that Jesus, especially for hairdressers, has a calming word of trust: every hair on a person’s head is known to the creator. They could always remember that at work.
When I then begin the actual blessing with the sign of the cross, if I see it correctly, two of them make the sign of the cross, but almost everyone imitates me when I pray the prayer of blessing with outstretched hands. After the blessing there is a toast and everyone is in good spirits. I ask Vitalij to tell me about his life: childhood in Kazakhstan, some time in Russia, then in Germany again to make up the hairdressing apprenticeship and master, laboriously learn the language, build a new life, get married and have a daughter baptized. He doesn’t go to church, he says, but he belongs to God.
Somehow, like Zacchaeus.
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