Photo courtesy of Benediktinerstift Göttweig

Karl Mayrhofer was born on 2 April 1967 in Aigen, in the municipality of Hernstein in the district of Baden, the third of four brothers, and initially trained as an electrician. He was an enthusiastic altar boy and so the decision matured in him to take the path to the priesthood shortly after his journeyman’s examination in 1986. To this end, he graduated from St. Josef Priory in Maria Roggendorf and attended the archbishop’s secondary school in Hollabrunn.

In 1987, he was admitted to the Göttweig Benedictine monastery as Frater Christoph. He then studied theology in Vienna. He was ordained a priest on 14 August 1997 and his first years as a chaplain took him to the Gölsental valley in Hainfeld and Rohrbach, where he found a second home. He then remained loyal to the Gölsental for many years as parish priest of Rohrbach and, from 2004, as parish priest of St. Veit, Schwarzenbach and Kleinzell. During this time, he also held responsibility beyond the parish area as dean of the Lilienfeld deanery and in the diocesan youth ministry.

In 2017, he was called to work as prior for the Göttweiger monastery community. During this time, he also dedicated himself to the parishes of Mautern, Arnsdorf and Rossatz as chaplain and then also took on interim responsibility for the Krems parishes of St. Paul, Lerchenfeld and Rehberg. He repeatedly expressed the wish that he would prefer to work as a parish priest, and so from summer 2021 he was once again able to work with full dedication as a pastor in the parishes of Kilb and Bischofstetten.

Around the turn of the last year, he was suddenly diagnosed with skin cancer, which required immediate surgery and chemotherapy. He returned to the monastery for this, where his enormous popularity became even more apparent through the many visits he received. Father Christoph endured the months of therapy with sobriety, humor and composure. Never once did a complaint cross his lips. With the end of his chemotherapy, we all grew more confident that he would soon be able to return to Kilb as a pastor; some of the weddings he officiated also hinted at this. However, when he suddenly had to go into hospital a good three weeks ago, his cancer began a rapid downward trend, to which he finally succumbed – strengthened by the sacraments that he himself so often administered to others.

Father Christoph was a fun-loving person and had a carefree and down-to-earth attitude. With childlike joy, he devoted himself to his hobby, model railroading, and not infrequently he even stood at the controls of a real locomotive. Right up to the end, he enjoyed simulating the train dispatcher on the computer.

We will particularly remember his mischievous smile. He was a passionate preacher, a lover of prayer and an enthusiastic pastor. His joy in the altar boys and his care for them is also unforgettable. His honest, unconventional and above all “straight” manner earned him the sympathy of many. Being a member of the fire department was a matter close to his heart. This was expressed in various functions, and he was honored for this many times: among other things as district fire brigade curate in the districts of Lilienfeld, Krems and Melk and as fire department peer of the Lower Austrian fire brigade command, where he was mainly responsible for the training of the peers.

We ask you to remember our deceased confrere in prayer!

Benediktinerstift Göttweig
October 2023