Blessed Bernard Lichtenberg


Bernard Lichtenberg


Blessed Bernard Lichtenberg was born on the 3rd of December, 1875, in Ohlau in the Prussian province of Silesia, near Breslau, where he was ordained in 1899. In 1900, he began his priestly service in Berlin. He was appointed parson of the Sacred Heart parish in the quarter of Charlottenburg in 1913, where he laid the foundation for five parishes and a monastery as a pioneer in the building of Catholic communities in the ever growing metropolis and capital of the German Empire; he also was a member of the local parliament for the German Catholics’ party, called The Centre. In 1931, the first bishop of the newly erected diocese of Berlin, the Most Reverend Dr. Christian Schreiber, made him a member of the Cathedral Chapter and, in 1932, appointed him parson of St. Hedwig’s Cathedral. He became Cathedral Provost of St. Hedwig’s in 1938. Since the excesses against the jews on the 9th of November, 1939, he held evening prayers at St. Hedwig’s - thousand meters from Hitler’s Reich chancellery  - interceding publicly and emphatically for them. Having protested again in August 1941 against the  euthanasia programme of the Nazi government, he was arrested in October due to the denuciation of two visitors of his evening prayers and, on the 22nd of May, 1942, already gravely ill, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, which he endured in Christian patience as a „prisoner in the Lord“. Because the authorities judged Lichtenberg to be „incorrigible“, they ordered his further detention and the transport to the concentration camp of Dachau. On the way there, blessed Bernard collapsed in Hof on the River Saale and gave up his soul to the Lord on the 5th of November, 1943. In April 1965 the process of his beatification was instituted; on the 23rd of June, 1996, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, elevated blessed Bernard to the honour of the altars at a solemn Pontifical Mass in the Olympic stadiumn of Berlin. His tomb is situated in the crypt of St. Hedwig’s Cathedral in Berlin. His Feast is celebrated in the archbishopric of Berlin on the 5th of November as a Memorial..

Prayer to blessed Bernard Lichtenberg

Blessed Bernard!

Thine unshakable faith in God, the Lord over life and death, gave Thee strength and confidence for Thy life. Joy and pain Thou wouldst take from His hand. Thus thou didst endure for His sake illness, persecution and agony in a truly Christian attitude of sacrifice. Following the example of our divine Lord and Redeemer, thou didst defy unjust power and help the needy with prayer and deed. Thou hast strengthened the people of God, that it might resist the diabolic doctrine of hate, and prayed with the faithful for the victims of godless force, disregarding herein the peril of Thine earthly life. Unjustly condemned, Thou wouldst rather die than betray the Saviour, whose sacred Heart loves all men with equal ardour. We pray Thee to be us a friend and patron on the way of our life. Entreat us at the heavenly Throne the grace to be, like Thee, brave fighters and faithful servants of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer without ecclasiastical approbation by the author of these pages, who was present as an acolyte at the beatification of the venerable servant of God Bernard Lichtenberg on the 23rd of June, 1996, by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, in Berlin's Olympic stadium.