The former Abbot President of the Missionary Benedictines gave thanks to God for 90 years of life and ministry during a simple but beautiful Mass which he celebrated on Saturday, 8 June 2019 at the Archabbey of Sankt Ottilien, the monastery of his profession.
Viktor Josef Dammertz had been our Congregation Secretary until 1975, and Archabbot of Sankt Ottilien and Abbot President from 1975 until 1977, when he was elected Abbot Primate. He completed that office in 1992 and later that year was appointed Bishop of Augsburg, a position he held until he turned 75 in 2004. He then took over the chaplaincy of the Sankt Alban Sisters on Lake Ammersee and returned to Sankt Ottilien two years ago.
The Diocese of Augsburg had come in force: the Vicar General and two auxiliary bishops, the whole Cathedral Chapter, and many of his former staff and assistants. Cardinal Wetter, Archbishop Emeritus of Munich and a friend of Bishop Viktor for many years, commented in an aside: “We have got to show that bishops can stick together — at least we old guys.” A touching comment on a more divisive age.
Bishop Viktor’s body is wheelchair bound, but his mind goes strong. He sang the Mass on 8 June and afterwards entertained the invited guests with a spirited mediation on Psalm 90.10: “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” He had to disavow most translations, the wise old Benedictine said, for they were simply untrue. Old age had been so much more than trouble and sorrow.
May God keep you well, and with us for as long as it pleases Him, dear Bishop Viktor!
— Abbot Jeremias Schröder OSB, Abbot President of the Congregation of Sankt Ottilien