Friday, November 28, 2008

Updates: Wolfgang Amadeus Wackerbauer

A re-indexed news site brought me an "alert" about Fr. Wolfgang Amadeus Wackerbauer, a story that I remembered but didn't blog about at the time. Wackerbauer, known to his parishioners as Fr. Amadeus, was a German missionary priest and sacred musician who was assigned to the Diocese of Trujillo, Peru. In 2004, he met and fell in love with a considerably younger Peruvian teacher named Susana Zambrano. She got pregnant and photos of the couple at a beach got into the Peruvian press, forcing Fr. Amadeus into a very abrupt and public resignation. He courageously stood and read his own letter of resignation to his congregation.

The couple then got married in a civil ceremony so that Fr. Amadeus could remain in Peru and Susana gave birth to their son, José Patrick. To support the couple, Fr. Amadeus raised money to set up a foundation to teach music to poor children and, as an accomplished violinist, he is one of the instructors.

Fr. Amadeus has also written a book about his journey. The Spanish edition is titled "Al final solo cuenta el amor. Mi camino como sacerdote, músico y peregrino" ("In the end, only love counts: my journey as priest, musician and pilgrim", Katequil Editores, 2007).

I dedicate this book to my brother priests. To those who live their celibacy with conviction and are completely at the service of others, for whom they are a real blessing; they irradiate much happiness and seem to be tireless.

To those who during their life lost their enthusiasm and don't transmit much happiness but continue to be faithful to their priestly obligations, even though they often feel drained and frustrated.

To those who cannot bear the solitude of the celibate life and live in a loving relationship that they cannot be open about because they do not want to lose their work in the Church, and who sometimes feel that they are inconsistent because of their double life.

And, finally, to those who like myself got married and started a family, and dared to begin a new life full of risks, sometimes suffering because they cannot work as priests. I hope that one day all priests, of whichever side, will be able to live out their priestly vocation, to live and be witnesses to God's love and help others commit themselves to this Great Love.

Photos: Fr. Amadeus, Susana and José Patrick

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