Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 23, 2007
Maier ordained late in life
Fr. Lorenz Maier, 79, died peacefully
Fr. Lorenz Maier
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Father Lorenz Maier became a priest later in life than most. But doing so enabled him to bring a worldly richness to his ministry.
The diminutive, soft spoken man from Bavaria was 64 years old when he was ordained a priest Oct. 17, 1991 and he dedicated the following 10 years of his life as associate pastor of St. Joseph's Basilica.
Maier had become quite frail over the last few months, yet he never stopped wanting to serve.
Maier passed away peacefully April 10. He was 79.
A prayer service was held April 15 at St. Boniface Church in Edmonton, where he had been pastor since July 2001.
Father Mike McCaffery worked with Maier at the basilica when he was rector.
"Father Lorenz had quite an interesting background," said McCaffery. "I believe he was a banker in Germany before coming to Canada. I remember he became quite involved with a retreat centre in Hinton where he did a lot of discerning before entering St. Joseph's Seminary."
Maier was born May 19, 1927 in Bavaria. He experienced a call to the priesthood at a very young age but rejected it.
"I told the Lord I wouldn't be any good, so he should look for somebody else," Maier once told the WCR.
He moved to Canada in 1960 and set up a plant nursery. Despite all of his care and attention, that operation folded. But around 1980, Maier began to feel the Lord stirring deeply within him. He felt led in a deeply profound way and became involved in the charismatic renewal.
"It was the charismatic people who built me up, who reached out," he said.
Maier helped build the Way of Holiness Prayer Retreat in Hinton before taking courses at Newman Theological College. In 1987, he entered the seminary.
Sister Annata Brockman says once the decision was made to become a priest, nothing stood in his way. "He went forward. The fact he was quite small didn't bother him. When he was ordained a priest he was almost old enough to retire. He had finally realized it was what God was asking of him."
A German parish
Maier's appointment as pastor of a German parish was a dream come true, McCaffery said. "He could have retired years ago, but he wanted to stay with them. I think working at the parish was his lifeblood."
Father Gottfried Seifert assisted Maier at St. Boniface when his health began to fail. Seifert appreciated Maier's humility.
"He was a truly humble, friendly and priestly person."
Seifert recently celebrated the Triduum and Easter Mass services at St. Boniface, with Maier concelebrating.
Maier struggled, but it was important for him to be there.
"It was very hard for him because he was so frail," Seifert said. "He was kind and a genuinely good person."
McCaffery recalls Maier being close to his mother and he looked forward to his annual visit to his homeland.
In fact, Maier recently bought plane tickets to return to Germany to celebrate his 80th birthday.