We should have celebrated the 200th Anniversary of the Death of St Clement Maria Hofbauer on the weekend of 15th March. For about a year the Austrian Redemptorists had been planning various events, and as Fr Martin Leitgöb, one of the organizers of the Vienna celebrations noted “we have really felt a growing interest from many parts of the Local Church.”
Then came the Corona-Crisis. The second week of March will be unforgettable. “On Monday 9th March in the House of the Vienna Bakers, we had baked the special Clement bread with School Children. Immediately afterwards there was a well-attended Press Conference, where we presented the Jubilee program to the many Journalists.” One day later, ÖRF (The Austrian State Broadcaster) was in our Church to film a piece about St Clement. As the shoot began, we heard the news from the Prime Minister’s office, that all gatherings of more than 100 people would no longer be allowed. “At this moment, it was clear that the Clement Jubilee couldn’t take place as planned.”
After some quick discussion we decided to cancel all of the big celebrations, but as Fr Martin Leitgöb stressed “We didn’t cancell the Jubilee! – rather it didn’t happen quite as planned. Perhaps in this extraordinary and challenging situation is the meaning of St Clement and his message clearer than it might have been with lots of celebrations. ”
Will the Celebrations be held another time? Fr Martin is reserved in his answer. “Let’s wait and see how the situation develops.” He is no fan of “cut and paste” and thinks that we need some new thinking. So, there will be a Clement Jubilee 2.0, and but it will find a different focus and form.
After the Celebrations were cancelled, Fr Martin wrote this prayer:
St Clement, you suffered many setbacks in your life and were not been able to realize many projects. But nothing stopped you from trusting in God’s assistance.
That’s why we bring our prayers to you 200 years after your death.
Help us with your intercession with the Triune God!
Fr Martin Leitgöb CSsR