Former Provincial of Vienna appointed as Episcopal Vicar for Religious

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In the future, Fr. Lorenz Voith C.Ss.R will be responsible for strengthening and promoting the Orders and their members in Burgenland – appointed by the diocesan Bishop as a sign of great appreciation to the religious congregations. Bishop Zsifkovics: “Fr. Voith is an appropriate person to accompany and encourage the religious”.
Eisenstadt (Pentecost Monday, 25. 5.) – In a surprise move, the diocesan bishop read out to listening audience by the cathedral feast: At the end of the festive Eucharistic celebration, in line with the declaration of this year as the year of consecrated life by the Pope Francis, he appointed the Redemptorist Lorenz Voith as the Episcopal Vicar for orders and religious congregations in the diocese of Eisenstadt. With the appointment of a vicar for the Religious, through which he has the episcopal administrative powers with respect to certain areas according to the canon law, Bishop Zsifkovics underlines the promotion of religious life in the diocese of Eisenstadt, which he has already started in the previous year.
Zsifkovics “special gift” to the religious congregations and to the whole diocese “I have a special gift for you on this special day of thanksgiving for your service in the church” said the Eisenstadt Bishop to the gathered religious on the feast of Martin’s Cathedral when he introduced the Redemptorist priest Lorenz Voith as the new Episcopal Vicar and presented to him the decree of appointment amidst great applause. Then he requested Fr. Voith to pay special attention to the male and female religious congregations and in their ministry in the diocese “to stand aside, to accompany, encourage and stand up for their concerns”.

Experienced religious, Provincial, Founder and initiator

Fr. Voith is no stranger to the religious circles in Austria. Born in Carinthia, he joined the Redemptorists in 1987 after a successful career as a manager and has in the subsequent years held many important ecclesiastical functions and offices within and outside of his religious community. He was superior in the Redemptorist communities of Innsbruck and Vienna (Maria am Gestade), a long-time member of the Provincial Council of the Redemptorists and from 2005 to 2015 and Provincial of the Vienna Province of the Congregation. As a member of clerical and pastoral councils of various dioceses, Voith has gained practical experience in dealing with diocesan structures. As the founder and project manager of the “Gesprächsoase” in Innsbruck and the “Gesprächsinsel” in Vienna, he made a name for himself in the pastoral field, and nationally as the deputy Chairman of the Austrian Priests Councils (until 2006), as secretary-general of the European priests Council (until 2007) as well as President of the Austrian Superior Conference of Religious Congregations for men (until 2015).

Associated with Eisenstadt diocese for years

With the Diocese of Eisenstadt, where he will have a greater focus now, Fr. Voith already had contact since 2008 through his function as the Chairman of the Conference of Religious of Vienna-Eisenstadt and his involvement as a spiritual director for the annual retreat of the diocesan priests. As a long-time provincial he was also responsible for the communities of Redemptorists in Oberpullendorf and of late, in the pastoral area of Pöttsching-Bad Sauerbrunn-Neudörfl-Krensdorf. The new task as Episcopal Vicar for Religious will be of great asset greatly from his various life and professional experiences as a Redemptorist but also through his education in pastoral psychology and in the field of life and social advisor.

Redemptorists in the Diocese of Eisenstadt
Two communities of Redemptorists are working in the diocese of Eisenstadt: in Oberpullendorf three fathers from the Warsaw Province; in northern Burgenland two fathers from the Province of Liguori, India (in consultation with the Province of Vienna) take care of a group of parishes and the pastoral care in the Klemens Maria Hofbauer-Gymnasium.

Spiritual accompaniment for priests and deacons
Fr. Lorenz Voith, in addition to his office as superior in Vienna-Hernals (Marian parish), will take over the function of spiritual guidance and accompaniment for the priests and deacons of the diocese of Eisenstadt in autumn 2015. A tradition that goes back to the founder of the order, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and it is one of the main activities of the congregation.

Eisenstadt is Austria’s easternmost diocese with about 250,000 Catholics (near Vienna).

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