Fr. Johannes Römelt C.SS.R. was laid to rest in Bonn, Germany


Redemptorists, relatives and friends bid farewell to Fr. Johannes, Coordinator of the Conference of Redemptorists of Europe, who died unexpectedly on 9 March this year. The funeral ceremonies took place on March 21-22 in Bonn, Germany.

Bonn was where Fr. Johannes grew up and took his first steps towards being a Redemptorist. On March 21, a vesper for the deceased was held in the monastery church. The liturgy was led by Father Jack Umbu Warata C.SS.R, provincial of Indonesia Province. He expressed his gratitude for the fact that Father Römelt, as then provincial of St. Clement, initiated cooperation between the two provinces.

On March 22, the requiem mass took place in the St. Aegidius parish church, where Fr. Römelt celebrated his first mass after his priestly ordination. The mass was presided by Father Jan Hafmans C.SS.R., superior of St. Clement Province, assisted by Father General Rogério Gomes C.SS.R. and the General’s vicar, Fr Francis Stanula C.SS.R. Many confreres from all over Europe concelebrated and expressed in this way their condolences and solidarity. There were present the superiors of neighbouring European provinces; one confrere from the Vice-province of Matadi who represented COREAM (Conference of Redemptorists of Africa and Madagascar); Fr Jack mentioned already represented the Asia-Oceania Conference. Many people also joined the prayer online.

In his homily, Father Hafmans reflected on the gospel of the Emmaus Disciples. He described Father Johannes Römelt as a witness to faith in the Risen Lord, who accompanies us on all our paths.

Father General Rogério Gomes C.SS.R. addressed a farewell word on behalf of the General Government and the entire Congregation. He expressed his belief that every human heart finds its destiny in the all-embracing heart of God. He said:

Fr. Johannes finds himself in God. His life on this earth was short. Now, we will all hand him over to God as a gift, and there will be consolation and strength for us to continue living despite missing him. From heaven, he continues to accompany us with his characteristic smile. I thank God for his life, consecration, and service to the people of God in the Congregation.

These were powerful words of hope and faith for the many people present: for Johannes’ brothers (including Joseph, also redemptorist) and family members, for the confreres and partners in the mission of the Province of St.
Clement and the Conference of Europe, and for many friends of Father Johannes as well.

Three hundred people filled the church and finally escorted Father Johannes’ body to the monastery cemetery. After this, they could share their feelings in the Bonn monastery, where the local redemptorist community offered much hospitality.

Eric Corsius

Below, find the links to view the entire speech of Rogerio Gomes, CSsR., Superior General, Homily of Jan Hafmans, Provincial St. Clemens, and the link to the video broadcast of the celebration.

Message on the Occasion of the Funeral of Fr. Johannes Römelt, Coordinator of the Conference of Europe

Dear Confreres of the Province of St Clement, and everyone present to celebrate the Resurrection of Fr. Johannes Römelt,

On behalf of the General Government and the entire Congregation, I want to express my deepest condolences to Fr. Josef Römelt, the brother of Fr. Johannes, the family, relatives, friends of Fr. Johannes and to the Province of St. Clement for the loss of our dear confrere, Fr. Johannes Römelt.

Prudente Nery, a Brazilian Franciscan and theologian, wrote:

“When winter comes in the northern hemisphere, without anyone instructing them, birds spontaneously take to the skies on an incredible adventure. Guided by a mysterious legacy of their kind, following only the magnetic pulses of the earth, they fly thousands of kilometres, night and day, along the paths of the sun, seeking only to stay alive. So, it will be with us too, when the cold of winter falls upon us in the twilight of every autumn. Then, carried by the fascinating destiny of our species, we will fly, following only the beckoning of eternity, towards the abode of light, the heart of God. And there we will know what we now only intuit and, listening to Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, we believe: There are not two kingdoms, the kingdom of the dead and the kingdom of the living, the kingdom of earth and the kingdom of heaven, but only the Kingdom of God, who wanted us to be eternal” (Fr. Prudente Nery, OFM Cap).

We are those birds that fly towards eternity to seek the heart of God. Johannes found the heart of God with his vita brevis, his short life. Perhaps for those of us who are left behind, many questions remain. All that we have is silence, mystery and faith in Jesus’ Resurrection.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus presents us with great consolation: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (Jn 14:1-3). 

Our final destination is God, from where we come and to where we will return. In Him, our life, even with our frailties, will be given new meaning, and we will live his life. So, as Prudente Nery reminds us “the small, the humble, the earthly, the limited, the weak, the infirm, the mortal is made the receptacle of God. The human person, at the moment of death is transfigured, without losing his creaturely being, into a divine reality. Therefore, the human being’s ultimate destiny does not end with the Resurrection. It opens up a final step: the assumption of the human person by God. Thus, and only thus does the search of the heart rest. The beating of the human heart takes on the rhythm of the beating of the heart of our God”. 

Fr. Johannes finds himself in God. His life on this earth was brief. Now we will all give him to God as a gift and there will be consolation and strength for us to go on living, despite how much we miss him. From heaven, he continues to accompany us with his characteristic smile. I thank God for his life, his consecration and his service to God’s People in the Congregation. He gave his all, with joy, enthusiasm, faith, love and hope. Go with God, Lieber Johannes!”

Bertolt Brecht hat gesagt: “Es gibt Menschen, die kämpfen einen Tag, und sie sind gut. Es gibt andere, die kämpfen ein Jahr und sind besser. Es gibt Menschen, die kämpfen viele Jahre und sind sehr gut. Aber es gibt Menschen, die kämpfen ein Leben lang. Das sind die Unersetzlichen”. Johannes wird immer mit uns sein![1]

May Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help, St. Alphonsus and all our Saints, Blessed, Martyrs and Venerables receive him/you in heaven together with the Redeemer. May he/you rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon him/you. Amen!

Fr. Rogério Gomes, C.Ss.R.
Superior General

Bonn, 22 March 2024

[1] English translation: Bertolt Brecht said: “There are people who fight for a day and are good. There are others who fight for a year and are better. There are people who fight for many years and are very good. But there are people who fight for a lifetime. These are the irreplaceable”. Johannes will always be with us!

Homily by Fr. Jan Hafmans, Provincial St. Clemens at the Requiem for Johannes Römelt

Readings: Romans 8:31b-35, 37-39 and Luke 24:13-35

Sisters and brothers, dear ones,

In the past few days full of grief, dejection and sadness, the lines of a Dutch psychiatrist and sensitive poet kept coming to mind: “So many types of grief, I don’t mention them. Just one: Renunciation and Separation. And cutting doesn’t hurt so much, But being cut off.” M. Vasalis

“It’s not the cutting that hurts so much; it’s the being cut off.” I think that what we all feel deeply and what unites us so strongly cannot be expressed more accurately and succinctly.

You, the brothers and relatives, you, his friends, you, confreres from the General Council and from all over the world, we, the confreres of the Province of St. Clement and you, co-workers and partners in the mission, and all those who are otherwise with us were connected to him.

Do read the complete homily from the PDF attached:

The link to the video broadcast of the celebration