Heinrich Videsott –
the Blessing Pastor of Wengen
Heinrich Ulrich Videsott was born in Montal, a tiny section of St. Lorenzen in the Puster Valley near the district of Bruneck in the South Tyrol on the 3rd of July, 1912. He was born into a simple family which spoke Ladin as its mother tongue. His father was from St. Martin in Thurn and had married the young Luzia Bernardi from Abtei. For reasons of work, they moved into the tollhouse of Montal, where they worked collecting the tolls. Five children were born into this family of deep faith and great love, though two died at a tender age.
Young Heinrich, filled as he was with the example of his parents and his father's two brothers, both of whom were priests, was already filled with a deep faith and a spirit of true and joyful charity even in his childhood. As a small boy he helped his parents with the counting of the toll income. But his favorite place was the goats' shed, because there with his rosary he could meditate on God and His salvific work.
Once when he was attending the First Mass of a newly ordained priest, he felt the desire to dedicate himself to God in this same way as a priest. A Capuchin helped him along this path, and so Heinrich began his studies at the Augustinian Preparatory School in Brixen. When this was completed, he transferred to the boys' seminary, the Vizentinum. After successfully completing his studies there, the now 20 year-old entered the major seminary of The Diocese of Brixen in 1932, where he began the study of theology.
He only knew one method: Jesus Christ; to know him and to love him, to worship and imitate him and to show him to his brothers and sisters. His greatest passion was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
On the 29th of June, 1937, the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul, Heinrich stood before the fulfillment of his desires: he was ordained a priest. He was 25 years old as he ascended for the first time the steps of the altar. He would always remember that 4th of July as the most wonderful day of his life. During his first Holy Mass he asked the Mother of God for a special grace: the gift of the right word, so that he could speak of Jesus Christ with conviction and guide many souls to him. From then on Heinrich would be only one thing: a priest – and that completely; on the altar during the Holy Mass, in the Confessional as he administered divine absolution, in the pulpit as he preached the Good News and the love of Jesus; to convert people to God, in the houses and on the streets, everywhere where they lived and suffered, so as to bring the light and consolation of the faith to everyone he met. Heinrich knew that only the priest – he himself – can bring Jesus Christ, the only savior, in the most perfect way to souls in need.
Heinrich Videsott did this in the various parishes to which he was sent: he began his apostolic work 1937-38 in Weitental, where he came into close contact with St. Josef Freinademetz (1852-1908), who came from the Gader Valley and was a missionary in China. After this assignment he spent a year in Enneberg, where he brought Holy Communion to the most distant hamlets, which the faithful greatly appreciated.
From 1941-43 he served with tremendous charity and conviction as associate pastor of Bruneck. Many people came great distances to hear his clear and deep homilies. This was what placed him in danger of deportation to Dachau, so Prince-Bishop Johannes Geisler transferred him to Cortina D'Ampezzo, a parish at the edge of the Diocese of Brixen. He remained there until 1946, when he was sent for a year as associate pastor of Buchenstein, before Heinrich was given as his first pastorate the parish of Mittewald am Eisack (look the image above at right).
He worked in Mittewald for 17 years, beloved by the people. Finally he was sent in 1964 at the age of 52 to the parish of Wengen in the Gader Valley, in that area in which three languages are spoken, where he would work until his death 35 years later. He acted as father, teacher and wise and holy intercessor by God for the people of his parish, as well as for the large number of souls from near and far who flocked to him there.
Pilgrimage of Holy Cross (2000 m of sea level) - moutain peak Holy Cross (3000m)