Photo courtesy of Abtei Münsterschwarzach

On 5 February at 4:30 p.m. our dear confrere

Father Germar (Heinrich) Neubert OSB

died quite unexpectedly at the age of nearly 85. His robust health was declining faster and faster for half a year now, which was difficult for him.

Fr. Germar, baptized with the name Heinrich Gustav, was born on 26 May 1939 in Arnstein. His father Josef was a railroad official, his mother Maria led the family. This was all the more important because the father died at the end of his son Heinrich’s time at primary school. The 10-year-old boy began his gymnasium studies at the St. Ludwig seminary with the pain of his father’s death. It was certainly a big step away from the security of home. After his school years there and in Münsterschwarzach and Würzburg, he graduated in 1959 with a diploma from the Altes Gymnasium.

At the beginning of September 1959, he entered the monastery. At his admittance into the novitiate on 10 September 1959, Heinrich received the Benedictine habit and the monastic name Germar. Temporary vows followed, according to the usual schedule, on 13 September 1960. Frater Germar made his solemn profession on 29 September 1963. During his studies he was ordained deacon on 5 July 1964 and ordained priest on 26 June 1965.

For one year (1966–67) Fr. Germar was prefect of the upper-level students of St. Benedikt, Würzburg. This was followed by three years as a formator and teacher at the St. Maurus Seminary in Münsterschwarzach. The new foundation in the Oldenburg region needed young people. Father Germar was sent by Abbot Boniface to be prefect and later head of the boarding school in Damme (1970–82). The loyalty of former students and the fact that they are still in contact today testify to the valuable and fruitful youth work.

After his abbatial blessing in 1982, Abbot Fidelis appointed Fr. Germar prior of the abbey. He served diligently for eleven years with a pronounced sense of order. Since all living things always need care, Germar took care of the whole–the brothers, the trees and the landscape, the buildings, and the security for all of us. At the end of this assignment, he spent six months of ongoing formation in England, then, back again to helping in Damme, a familiar habitat. And finally, another big step to the USA, where Fr. Germar served as prior of the house in Schuyler, Nebraska, from 1994 to June 2011.

His prudent manner, his sense of reality regarding pastoral care, administration of the property, guests and the community shaped the development of the priory during these years. Fr. Germar was present with his whole being in the world of America, something he cherished.

After returning to the abbey, his presence was found wherever there was something to do: in the guest house, in the visiting parlor, as priest chaplain of the diocese, with an attentive eye for trees, grounds and house. Fr. Germar was always fully involved in everything: hands-on, sometimes forceful, in humor and in seriousness, in praise and in irritation.

His obituary should end with a short story: “On 24 June 1987, the feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist, I—Father Germar Neubert OSB—had 6 stones set into the still fresh concrete under the future high altar of the abbey church: 1. from Mount Sinai (Mount of Moses); 2. from Mount Tabor (Transfiguration); 3. from Jerusalem (Dormition Abbey); 4. from Pugu (site of the murder of Bishop Cassian Spieß); 5. from Ndanda (abbey); 6. from Lourdes (Marian pilgrimage site–Grotto).”

This speaks of his breadth of spirituality, his rootedness in our history, his trust in the community of the blessed into which he was called home by God in grace.

On Friday, 9 February 2024, at 2 p.m., we will celebrate the Eucharist and afterwards bury him in the monastery cemetery.

Münsterschwarzach, 8 February 2024

Abbot Michael and the Community of Münsterschwarzach