Clement Maria Hofbauer – 100 Years as the Patron Saint of Vienna

The jubilee year 2014 (Clement Maria Hofbauer: 100 years as the patron saint of Vienna) was inaugurated with a solemn Mass in St. Stephen’s Cathedral on 23rd of January.

A number of Redemptorists from several Provinces took part in the celebration. At the end of the Mass the Provincial Fr. Lorenz Voith thanked all for joining in, and for their close contact with the Province and to this great saint.

Among the guests from different Provinces where: The Coordinator of Europe Fr. Jacek Zdrzalek (Rome), Provincial Fr. Hipp (Munich), Provincial Fr. Hypius (Bratislava), Vice-Provincial Fr. Peter (Warsaw), and Vice-Provincial Fr. George (Liguori, India). There were also delegates from Bangalore (India), St. Clement (Germany), Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine etc. There were also many Oblates of the Congregation, as well as Sisters and members of other Congregations who had come for this great celebration in the cathedral church of St. Stephen.

Since 2001, a large statue of the patron of Vienna has been situated in the middle of the cathedral church.

Clement Hofbauer:  Courage for New Initiatives

St. Clement Maria Hofbauer has “radically transformed” the spiritual face of Vienna city through his work and would be regarded as a reformer with a similar focus to the present Pope Francis. With these words Cardinal Christoph Schönborn in a solemn Mass in St. Stephen’s cathedral on Thursday on 23rd, January 2014, paid tribute to the work of the “apostle of Vienna”, and called the faithful to take him as a role model.

Pastoral Care for the people of the city

Clement stands as a new type of pastor who perfectly understood and responded to the needs of the people of a metropolitan city. For Schönborn it is his courage to take initiatives which were explicitly shown in Clement. That is the most important message for the work of the church today.

Clement Maria Hofbauer (1751-1820) was canonized in 1909, and on 14th January 1914 – 100 years ago – he was declared as the patron saint of Vienna by Pope Pius X. This Jubilee celebration is an occasion for a wide range of events to commemorate the Redemptorists. In the church Maria am Gestade, situated in the heart of the city and run by the Redemptorists, a new museum of Clement can be visited for the first time on the weekend of 25th and 26th of January.

Direct Contact with the Faithful 

His significance as a religious reformer, Clement, as pointed out by Cardinal Schönborn had the same focus as the present Pope Frances. Many of the things that would particularly distinguish this – the direct contact with the faithful or the ability to inspire people to grow in faith – would have applied also to Clement, said the archbishop. Even in their theological outlook they seem to have similarities. The social structure was as important for Clement as the spiritual.

The example of the patron saint of Vienna should encourage us to reconsider our pastoral involvement, to continue it today, and to adapt to the needs of the times. Clement has touched the lives of people through his love for Christ. This power should be the secret of every renewal in the church, emphasised Schönborn.

After the Mass in St. Stephen’s Cathedral the traditional Clement loaves were distributed. Clement Maria Hofbauer is also the patron saint of bakers.

On Sunday, 26th January at 9.30 AM, there was another solemn celebration in the Redemptorist church, Maria am Gestade with the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Peter Stephan Zurbriggen.

New Museum of Clement Hofbauer

On 24th January, in Maria am Gestade church a new Clement museum was inaugurated. Over 100 invited guests attended.

The museum depicts among other things, the personal items of Clement Maria Hofbauer (including the confessional, his chasuble, a chalice, a dining table, as well as books and manuscripts, etc.).

In a separate room, the Blessed and Saints of the Redemptorists (and numerous relics) are presented. A corner is devoted to Fr. Wilhelm Janauschek, the Servant of God (whose beatification process is in the final stage).

In the third room the founder of the Congregation and the works of the Redemptorists worldwide are described. Besides the relics of Alphonsus and St. Gerard a splendid monstrance is also displayed. The famous “Perger Altar” from the year 1520 is also found in this room.

The museum was financed mainly through sponsors and donations. In the future it will be open to the public and staffed by volunteer members of St. Clement Hofbauer Committee.

 Fr. Lorenz Voith

Provincial, Vienna

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