Father Benjamin Wirtz, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1883-1971)

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Born on July 7, 1883 in Mulhouse, Alsace-Lorraine in Europe, he came to the United States as a young boy and was educated in the shadows of St. Michael’s Monastery, West Hoboken, New Jersey. He was educated at St. Michael’s Parish school before he entered the Passionists. He went to the novitiate in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and professed his vows on February 17, 1903. He was ordained a priest on May 21, 1910. From 1911 until 1914 he was assistant pastor at St. Michael’s Parish, Southside, Pittsburgh. From 1922 until 1925 he was rector of St. Paul’s Monastery, Pittsburgh. At that time he was elected general consultor of the Passionist congregation and remained in Rome until 1931 when he was appointed Master of Novices for the German province. In 1934 he was elected provincial of St. Paul of the Cross Province. After that he was an active preacher. In 1942 he was assigned as chaplain at St. Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland and in 1947 pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish, Union City, New Jersey for ten years. He was very civic minded and promoted the play “Veronica’s Veil” and also authored a sequel entitled “Prince of Peace” which was produced during the Advent season. From 1957 until his death he was assigned to Pittsburgh where he was confessor for the clergy and spiritual director for the Passionist Nuns at Carrick, Pennsylvania. In his later years he authored a variety of books on Christian Life and Spirituality. He spent the last weeks of his life as a resident at the Home of the Vincentian Sisters of Charity, Pittsburgh. He was also open to many of the liturgical changes that took place in the 1960s.

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