The Blessed Pastor of Wengen

 

Pastor Heinrich did not undertake any exceptional accomplishments and in the eyes of the world he completed to “master work”, but he was a priest.  He was a priest who ceaselessly prayed to and adored God, and who sacrificed himself for His glory; he knew only one worry: the salvation of the souls entrusted to his care.  Heinrich's blessings were famous and zealously sought also in Wengen, as in every place where he had worked.  It was known that when Father Heinrich blessed, it changed things: souls far from God found their way back, the sick were restored to health, youths would find the right path, children were born, hope became present where things had been hopeless, and solutions would be found to previously insoluble problems.

Countless souls made their way to Wengen to have themselves blessed by Pastor Heinrich, to receive his counsel and to attend his Holy Mass.

His hand bestowed God's blessing on the people ceaselessly, as well as upon their animals and their possessions.  These blessings were gifts of love to the spiritual children of his parish so that they could also love and to give them strength and perseverance in suffering and pain, as well as help for body and soul.  The strength of this blessing was almost tangible; he blessed with reverence and authority, as can only such holy and sanctified souls.

Heinrich lived in unshakeable confidence in Divine Providence and was convinced of the efficaciousness and necessity for prayer.  Even the life of the “Blessing Pastor” there were temptations, difficulties and sufferings; he was painfully aware of his weaknesses and brokenness, but he entrusted himself always to the unconquerable love of the merciful Lord.

Heinrich would spend entire nights in prayer, his eyes always raised to the heavenly Father, to beg for His presence and assistance, to defeat the intentions of the Wicked Foe, and to entrust to the Father the many intentions of those who had sought his help.  His prayer was persistent and for him constituted the only antidote to evil, as well as the irreplaceable power to call down grace upon grace from the Lord.  His greatest wish was to lead souls to God.  He received sinners with indescribable dedication and many owe to him their conversion.

Father Heinrich's eyes lit up with joy for every soul led back to its Maker.  He only condemned wickedness, and assisted fallen men and women to find the light which would lead them back to the good and merciful Father.  He delved into the souls of those who entrusted themselves to him, listened to all intently and with kindness and patience.

Day and night, without ceasing, souls under his care and from near and far took shelter in his consolation, his encouragement, his gentle words full of the love of God.  Father Heinrich listens to them in simple fashion, with profound humility, as a mediator between the Lord and a suffering soul in search of alleviation of suffering in body and soul.

The center of Heinrich's spiritual life was the  offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the most holy work in the eyes of God Himself.  Fr. Heinrich celebrated the Mass with indescribable devotion and interior dedication, in order to draw down as many graces as possible up on his spiritual sons and daughters who had asked his intercession.

“The Holy Mass is the throne of Grace!” was Heinrich's tireless refrain, and he emphasized that it nourished a unique love to Jesus Christ in the tabernacle. Pastor Heinrich himself found great strength for his exemplary life as a priest in the long nights in prayer and adoration before the tabernacle.  On the 60th anniversary of his priestly ordination he joyfully gave thanks to the Lord for the 65,000 Masses he had been privileged to offer.  Heinrich Videsott cultivated a deep devotion to the Mother of God his whole life.  He always recognized the essential nature of a true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and saw in this the simplest and most certain way to the heart of Jesus, her Son.  He turned to Mary especially in praying the rosary, a devotion which Fr. Heinrich considered the most efficacious weapon against the Wicked Enemy, the layer of snares.  He ceaselessly entrusted to the Immaculata the prayers and intentions of those who had asked for his prayers.

Father Heinrich lived according to the example of holy pastor of Ars, St. John Vianney; he was his first example on how to conform himself to the Eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ.  Heinrich's life reflected that of his holy patron and he lived only for God and the souls which desired to be saved and enter into Heaven.  He was aware of the immeasurable value and grandeur of the priesthood for the People of God.  Commensurate with the holiness of the service entrusted to him, he taught more than anything through the example of his life.

Heinrich had a deep and intimate devotion to St. Josef Freinadmetz, and he personally intervened to see that the missionary to China would be raised to the dignity of the altar.  He invoked his name when he bestowed his blessings, along with the names of many other saints who were dear to him. The saints were for him beacons along the path to God, examples to be imitated to build up virtue and uproot vice.

There was nothing which could keep Pastor Heinrich from the altar and from the confessional, from his life of intimacy with Christ – not even modern times.  But on the 9th of December, 1999, a Thursday, a day which commemorates Christ's establishment of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist and the priesthood, Heinrich's heart stopped at 1:30 AM, amidst a star-lit night in the snow-capped Dolomite mountains.

Heinrich's priestly blessing was sought many times, even on his deathbed in the hospital in Bruneck; he raised his hand and said, “The blessing of God is an outpouring of His holiness; when the priest blesses, it is Jesus who blesses”.  Tirelessly he tells the saddened faithful who come to his bedside the same words: “I do not leave you alone, after my death I will be even nearer to you and will be able to help you even more!”

Now Pastor Heinrich Videsott rests in mere earth in the cemetery of Wengen, in a simple grave always covered with flowers and candles.  His reputation for sanctity has – and it can be said without exaggeration – spread throughout the world.  His intercession is cited in reports of conversions and healings, as from one who had a “direct connection” to God.  The image of the Father Heinrich and his everlasting memory remain fixed in the hearts of his spiritual children: they see him before their spiritual eyes, the humble priest clothed in his cassock, his breviary in his hand, his mild but strong countenance as the Good Shepherd who with open arms tirelessly receives souls with the kindness and love of a father, while his lips speak words of encouragement, forgiveness and consolation.

 

Thankful witnesses of the intercession of Pastor Heinrich and requests for his prayers come from everywhere.  His grave is the object of constant pilgrimages.  This led to the foundation of the committee “Friends of Pastor Heinrich”, with the goal of researching his spiritual heritage, gathering information about him and making it known.

Whoever has received grace through Pastor Heinrich's intercession is asked to share it with the committee.