Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Beatification of Georg Häfner OCDS in Würzburg

Würzburg‐Germany,  May  16,  2011  (Communicationes).‐  A  beatification  has  taken  place  for the  first  [time] in  the  1,300  years  of  Würzburg’s  history,  and  it  was  that  of  the  priest  martyr  of Dachau, Georg Häfner OCDS. 

He was born in Würzburg in 1900. From the time he was an altar boy, he was very close to the Würzburg Carmelite nuns, where he joined Secular Carmel, taking the name of Aloysius of the Most Blessed Sacrament.  He sang  his first Mass on  21st April 1924, having been ordained  on the 13th April of the same year. 

After  having  carried  out  pastoral  work  in  various  parishes,  on  12th  November  1934  he  was appointed Pastor of the Oberschwarzach parish, at the same time as Hitler came to power. 

He  soon  came  into  conflict  with  Hitler’s  agents,  since  he  would  never  use  the  typical  Hitler salute, and always defended the doctrine and rights of the Church. 

He  was  arrested  on  31st  October  1941  and  taken  to  the  Dachau  concentration  camp  on  12th December, the same year. There, as a faithful priest, he was exposed to all types of torture and injustice,  yet  always  bearing  up  with  a  heroic  attitude  before  each  humiliation  and maltreatment. 

His letters from Dachau show his deep faith and his capacity to pardon his executioners.  One of  his  last  phrases  from  the  concentration  was:  “I  do  not  want  to  curse  anybody,  nor  take vengeance, I want to be good towards everyone.” Finally, exhausted by illness and, above all, by hunger, he died on 20th August 1942. 

On May 15, Cardinal Angelo Amato, the Pope’s delegate, beatified Georg Häfner OCDS, setting 20th August as his memorial day. 

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