Feast of Alfred Delp (February 3)   Leave a comment

alfred-delp

Above:  Alfred Delp

Image in the Public Domain

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ALFRED DELP (SEPTEMBER 15, 1907-FEBRUARY 2, 1945)

German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr

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My offense is that I believed in Germany and her eventual emergence from this dark hour of error and distress, that I refused to accept that accumulation of arrogance, pride, and force that is the Nazi way of life, and that I did this as a Christian and a Jesuit.

–Alfred Delp, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), page 58

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Alfred Delp opposed the Third Reich, which executed him on false charges.

Delp, born at Mannheim, Baden, German Empire, on September 15, 1907, grew up in a Christian home.  His mother was a Roman Catholic and his father was a Lutheran.  Our saint, baptized a Roman Catholic, grew up and went through confirmation in the Lutheran Church.  At age 14, however, he made his First Communion and crossed the Tiber River.  He joined the Society of Jesus in 1926 and pursued theological studies (some of them under the direction of Karl Rahner, 1904-1984), which the rise of Nazism interrupted.  Delp, ordained to the priesthood in 1937, joined the staff of the Jesuit publication Voice of the Times, which the Nazis suppressed in 1941.  Next, as the Pastor of St. Georg Church, Munich, our saint helped Jews escape to Switzerland.

Delp joined the Kreisau Circle, a secret organization that planned a new Christian social order to take effect after the fall of the Third Reich.  In 1944, after the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler, Nazi operatives falsely accused members of the Kreisau Circle of being complicit in the act.  Thus Delp became a prisoner that year.  Our saint wrote profound meditations (of a man who knew he might die any day) during Advent 1944.  In those moments Delp found freedom in Christ. Our saint died via hanging in the Plotzensee prison on February 2, 1945.

His life testifies to the ultimate victory of the love of God, despite the short-term triumph of evil.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 28, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT STEPHEN THE YOUNGER, DEFENDER OF ICONS

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK COOK ATKINSON, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH PIGNATELLI, RESTORER OF THE JESUITS

THE FEAST OF KAMEHAMEHA IV AND EMMA ROOKE, KING AND QUEEN OF HAWAII

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Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr Alfred Delp:

Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph

may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 15:15-21

Psalm 124 or 31:1-5

1 Peter 4:12-19

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 715

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