Venerable Bernhard Lehner of Herrngiersdorf (1930 - 1944)
|"Little Bernhard," as he is called by his many admirers affectionately, was born on the 4th of January 1930, the son of a carpenter in the Lower Bavarian village of Herrngiersdorf, near Regensburg. In baptism he received the name of the great mystic, St.. Bernard of Clairvaux. Even before his birth, he had been consecrated by his pious mother, Anna, to the Mother of God in Altötting. The large family lived in modest, but quite harmonious proportions. Even in primary school, he attended Holy Mass almost daily in the neighboring parish church in Semerskirchen. He made His first Confession and First Communion on the 16th of April 1939 which were for him an important experience. This Probably germinated in him already the deeply felt desire: "I want to be something in order to get to heaven." To achieve this lofty goal, the little boy strove daily. So grew in Bernhard the desire to become a priest. His pastor was able to write in good conscience in his application for admission for the episcopal boy's seminary in Obermünster in Regensburg: ". Bernhard Lehner has the inclination and aptitude for the priesthood" After overcoming time-related difficulties - the wretched Nazi regime indeed which held Bavaria firm in its grip - the boy came on the 21st of September 1941 to Regensburg to visit as a seminarian the old school of the cathedral city. In his aspiration, he lived according to the principle: in the praying to be the most pious, the most diligent in studying and in recreation the most cheerful. The pious, fresh boy was loved by all. When he was allowed to receive the sacrament of Confirmation in 1942, he recorded in his diary a yellow star - the day meant to him the pinnacle of his short earthly life. Beginning in December 1943 Bernhard fell ill of septic diphtheria. Hurriedly he was admitted to the urban children's hospital. Around Christmas, his condition deteriorated rapidly. The soft palate paralysis followed diaphragmatic paralysis.|
Bravely, patiently, even cheerfully he endured all the pain. After a bout of weakness on the 16th of January 1944 he seemed to have come to an end. He asked for the last sacraments, and said to his family: "., Let me die: Who will cry when they get to heaven!" Finally, he died on 24 January 1944 to the last fully conscious. All who witnessed his death, had the impression that he had gone home like a saint. Even then his seminary director said: "Now we have an advocate in heaven" when he learned of the death of Bernard; Years later he said: "He was the best seminarian, I had in my 35-year seminary time" On 27 January 1944, a harsh winter day,many of the faithful came including countless children and young people, for burial in the small cemetery of Herrngiersdorf. This was not, of course, apart from the weather, because at that time in 1944 the Bavarian population had truly other problems. The sufferings of the war, Nazi harassment, bombings, food crisis and an uncertain future occupied the people. But at the funeral was a touching feeling of emotion. The participants, relatives, villagers, classmates, seminarians, teachers and seminary directors, they all felt, here's a little 14-year-old boy, whose only desire was to become a priest, was found ready for eternity before God: he was perfected early, he was spared the arduous earthly pilgrimage. In the life of Bernard no striking or even outstanding achievements of holiness stand out. Rather, his holiness came from a conscientious, persevering faithfulness in everyday duties: a "little way" ie, similar to the little St Therese of the Child Jesus.
Also Bernhard had a healthy, natural, fresh, happy and pious presence. But above all, his fine and compassionate, always helpful childlike quality is attractive, who sincerely took an interest in all suffering of those he encountered. The source of this is to be found in his generous love towards God's will and His commandments. Also noteworthy was his ardent devotion to the dear Mother of God, which was expressed in devout faithfulness to the rosary among other things. So he was in his lifetime and even after his death a silent role model for children and adolescents. The boy was, however, only during his serious illness, and on his death bed able to grow beyond himself. "Holy," he seemed to everyone who knew him and were allowed to visit him. His life, suffering and death, especially his love for God and neighbor left a strong and lasting impression. After the war the reputation of Bernhard spread by leaps and bounds as an intercessor at the throne of God, first in his immediate homeland, then in Bavaria and far beyond. The Regensburg Bishop Michael Buchberger (1927 - 1961) was prompted by that fact to initiate the process of beatification from 1950 to 1951. On 14 September 1952 the mortal remains were carried in a solemn transfer and burial of the Servant of God in a tomb of the Herrngiersdorf parish church. About 20,000 of the faithful attended. Since then, the beatification process in Rome is pending and in the meantime was also the basic question of whether one can already speak of heroic virtue in children, has been positively resolved. Thus the conditions for the continuation of the process are present .
There continues to be amazingly great devotion among the Catholic people in continually trust in his intercession. Thousands of answers to prayer are not to be overlooked. During the audience granted by the Prefect of the Congregation of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, of 2 April 2011 authorized Pope Benedict XVI. the Congregation to promulgate the decree on the heroic virtues of Bernhard Lehner. The church confirmed that: Bernhard lived the Christian virtues of his age and level in an exceeding manner. He can now be referred to as "venerable servant of God." It is hoped, assuming a detectable miracle that the venerable servant of God Bernhard Lehner will be given the honors of the altar. Therefore, all the faithful are invited to bear their petitions through his intercession before God in prayer alongside their own concerns. A help and inspiration to offer the following prayer.
prayer for the beatification of the Venerable Servant of God Bernhard Lehner
Triune God, the crown of all holiness! You always awaken new saints in your church. We ask that you let your servant Bernhard Lehner, who has to you and neighbor out of love all his duties conscientiously fulfilled, will soon be raised to the honors of the altar, that he may be to all the faithful, especially the children and young people, a model of Christian life and so that you, almighty God, are glorified by him all the more so where you live and reign for ever. Amen.