Cathedral Chaplain
Martin Emge

The Franz Reinisch Forum invited all interested individuals to the Pilgrims’ House and to the Pallotti Church in Schoenstatt to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the execution of Father Franz Reinisch on Saturday, August 20.
He is the only Catholic priest who refused to take the oath of allegiance to Hitler. The members of the Limburg Cathedral Choir, conducted by Christoph Kipping, opened the first part of the ceremony.

Through the different insights, from which various experts illuminated Reinisch’s decision-making journey, his life came alive for the audience: Struggles of faith and vocation, with a man like a “granite boulder” over which the tides break on land like a fast-flowing mountain stream.

Father Reinisch was a priest who found in the Schoenstatt Movement a way to carry out the apostolate of all women and men, not only of the clergy.

Trier Auxiliary Bishop Jörg Peters

It was in the Schoenstatt Shrine that he made the final decision to reject the oath of loyalty to Hitler. There he received the courage to take this difficult path.

Renditions by the cathedral choir gave the participants the opportunity to take in and absorb all the things they had just heard over and over again. Church musician Frank Sittel led the way from one point of the program to the next with his delicate organ interpretation.

At the memorial Mass before Franz Reinisch’s grave, presided over by Trier Auxiliary Bishop Jörg Peters, Father Niederschlag recalled in a short speech that Reinisch also supported his decision biblically with the incident of the 12-year-old Jesus in the temple, who stayed there without informing his parents.

He demonstrated that a person who has grown up in the faith has not only the right, but also the duty to make his decisions independently: “Did you not know that I must remain in that which is my Father’s?” The call of the Father can lead to violent conflicts, even with those who are very close.

With the “Concert of Silence,” a dramatic dialogue between Reinisch and his ex-girlfriend about the reasons for his decision, Reinisch’s memorial day came to a striking conclusion.