End of the Jesuit community in Linz

 Religious order: Jesuits withdraw from Linz

Dissolution of the location unavoidable according to the order's leadership due to the sharp decline in vocations - Jesuits have been active in Linz since 1600 and want to continue to set up activities from Vienna

The Jesuits will withdraw from Linz in the summer of 2023. This was announced by the order on Friday. Specifically, the dissolution of the Jesuit community at the Old Cathedral will take place on the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola on 31 July. After extensive consultations, the leadership of the order came to the conclusion that the dissolution of the site was unavoidable due to the sharp decline in vocations, said Provincial Superior Fr Bernhard Bürgler (centre below) in a statement.

Experts only in the management of post-Conciliar failure and decline

Bishop Manfred Scheuer of Linz regretted the departure of the Jesuits: "The decision of the Jesuit Order to dissolve the community in Linz this summer came as a surprise to us. We very much regret this departure," said a statement published by the Bishop together with the Episcopal Vicar for Religious Communities, Adi Trawöger.

"The Jesuits have helped shape pastoral care in the city in many facets over the past centuries," Scheuer said. Until the end, the community in Domgasse, for example, had been a "spiritual hub" of the Catholic Church in the city, "which we will now sorely miss". At the same time, they were grateful for the many years "in which the Jesuits' testimony of faith and their pastoral work were a blessing for the people in the city and for the diocese".

Provincial Bürgler greatly regretted the Jesuits' withdrawal from the city. At the same time, he said, the withdrawal from the pastoral areas should be organised in close coordination with the diocese so that as many offers as possible can be continued. "The cooperation with the Diocese of Linz has always been characterised by great appreciation and support for our work. We are very grateful to the diocesan leadership for this," says Fr Bürgler.

The first Jesuits came to Linz in 1600; for preaching in the Minorite Church and teaching in a Latin school. In 1679, the Ignatius Church was consecrated. After the abolition of the order in 1773, the church became the cathedral church of the Diocese of Linz, which was established in 1785. In view of the construction of the New Cathedral, the Old Cathedral was returned to the Jesuits in 1909 and subsequently became a preaching and confessional church. In 1837 Archduke Maximilian had also appointed Jesuits to the Freinberg, where the Kollegium Aloisianum was established as a school. Jesuits are still active here today, the school continues to be run in an Ignatian orientation and in association with the European Jesuit schools.

At present, the Jesuits are still active as church rectors at the Old Cathedral and the Maximilian Church, in the pastoral care of priests in the diocese, in the pastoral care of schools at the Aloisianum, in the pastoral care of hospitals at the Order Hospital of the Elisabethinen and in the apostolate of music. After the dissolution of the community, two elderly confreres will remain in residence at the Haus Rudigier retirement and nursing home and will be assigned to the community in Vienna. Fr Klaus Schweiggl will also continue his work as a priest chaplain in the diocese. The Jesuits will also remain present in the Aloisianum College with pastoral services from Vienna. The other Fathers are currently in discussion with the Provincial about their future tasks, it was said. The building in which the community is housed will be retained by the Order and its further use will be discussed in the coming months.


The Jesuits in Linz. Commentary in English.



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