The week of 19-23 April was a busy week for the rector of the Pontifical Athenaeum, Rev. Fr. Bernhard A. Eckerstorfer. On Monday, the community celebrated the “octave” of his 50th birthday with a special morning Mass and a festive lunch complete with music and a big cake.
As Fr. Mauritius Wilde, the Prior of the Collegio, said at the lunch:
“Dear residents, dearest Fr. Rector Bernhard,
“Today we celebrate 50 years of your life. We are grateful that God and your parents gave you life. We are grateful that you have chosen the monastic and priestly path. And we are grateful that you have agreed to leave the beautiful Kremsmuenster abbey to be the rector of our prestigious Athenaeum. We thank you for your faithful service.
“The number 50 is a round number, it is in fact the number of fulfillment. We wish you the power to do many good things in this year and in the years to come.
“In the Old Testament, the fiftieth year is the year of jubilation. We wish you years of joy.
“And after 50 days God poured out his Holy Spirit. We wish for you, most of all, that the Holy Spirit inspires you, accompanies you and protects you!”
Then, on Wednesday, the community celebrated the Solemnity of Sant’Anselmo, which is traditionally a celebration of the Pontifical Athenaeum. Hence, Rector Fr. Bernhard celebrated the Solemn Mass, delivered the homily and hosted the festive lunch afterward. This is what he had to say:
“Like some of you, I too was quarantined last week. A quarantine is an opportunity to understand the importance of a community like ours.
“Two years ago, the feast of the Grand Chancellor was unified with this feast. As we belong to the Benedictine Confederation, I take this opportunity to remind you that the Pontifical Athenaeum is entrusted to the Benedictines. Thus all of us, Benedictine teachers and students, are responsible for our university, so that external professors and students find the Benedictine and Anselmian spirit here.
“In this context I would like to thank the College, the Fr. Prior and the officers for their good collaboration. Together we celebrate this feast of Sant’Anselmo. Good wishes and buon appetito.”
We congratulate the “Rettore Magnifico” on his celebrations and thank him for his efforts to manage a unique time for the Athenaeum. You may click this link to find his homily: