(Rome) Last Sunday, 14 June, the Vatican Press Office announced the appointment of a new papal ceremonial officer. It is the Slovak priest Monsignor Lubomir Welnitz, who has already worked with the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Pope.
Father Welnitz is a member of the Work of Jesus the High Priest(OJSS), which was founded by the Tyrolean priest Paul Maria Sigl and recognized as a priestly association by the Roman Congregation of Clergy in 2008. This association of priests originated from the charity Pro fratribus for the church of the Slovak underground bishop Paul Maria Hnilica (1921-2006), which was persecuted in the Eastern Bloc. Bishop Hnilica was ordained a priest in 1950 because of the Communist persecution of the Church in what was then Czechoslovakia, and in 1951 he was also a bishop.
After the collapse of the Communist dictatorships, the relief organization was re-established as an international association of the faithful through the cooperation of Bishop Hnilica and P. Sigl under the name Pro Deo et fratribus – Family of Mary and recognized by Rome in 1995. This includes the Order of the Apostolic Sisters of the Family of Mary (FM).
The Association of Priests, the Order of Women and the Lay Community share the Marian, apostolic and missionary charism. The Seminary of the Community is located in Rome, the mother house of the Order of Women in Slovakia. The Community is currently active worldwide in Italy, the Federal Republic of Germany and Austria, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, as well as Uruguay, Kazakhstan and Russia. In Bohemia, they took over the former Servite monastery of Gratzen (Novy Hrady), where Bishop Hnilica died in 2006, and in the Gratzen Eraland, they look after the Marian Shrine of Mary Trost in Brünnl (Dobri Voda), also known as Maria Brünnl, which was exemplarily renovated by the community.
Under the direction of Monsignor Guido Marini, the Master of Ceremonies of the Pope, Father Welnitz is now active with eight ceremonares: Pier Enrico Stefanetti, Diego Giovanni Ravelli, Marco Agostini, Massimiliano Matteo Boiardi, Vincenzo Peroni, Jon Dubina and Fr. Krzysztof Marcjanowicz.
Monsignor Welnitz, born in 1977, studied at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome, where he received his doctorate in canon law. He then entered the ministry of the Apostolic Penitentiary and was elevated to monsignor under Pope Benedict XVI.
Fr. Welnitz will continue his previous work at the Apostolic Penitentiary as an official and as secretary of Cardinal Grand Penitentiary Mauro Piacenza.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi Picture: VaticanNews/Wikicommons (Screenshot)