Feast Day: November 5
Beatified: June 23, 1996
Venerated: July 2, 1994
Bernhard Lichtenberg was a Catholic priest who served the people of Berlin at St. Hedwig’s Cathedral during a time of great crisis. Born in 1875 in the Prussian province of Silesia, Father Lichtenberg was ordained to the priesthood in 1899 and witnessed the growing power of the Nazi party and its persecution of the Jewish people. His faith in Jesus Christ gave him the courage to speak out.
Bernhard began to pray publicly for the Jewish people. He preached against the injustices he saw the Nazis committing on a daily basis. He even went in person to Nazi officers and officials to protest their actions. At first, the Nazis ignored Father Bernhard’s complaints.
Father Bernhard’s efforts to help the Jews and his calls to put an end to the immoral actions of the Nazis grew stronger. To silence him, Nazi soldiers arrested him. He was jailed for two years, but he never stopping protesting the evil he believed was destroying Germany.
The Nazis sentenced Bernhard to the concentration camp at Dachau. They threw him into one of the cattle cars used to transport innocent Jewish families and other protestors. Already in poor health, Father Lichtenberg never reached Dachau. He died on the train on November 5, 1943.
Pope John Paul II declared Bernhard Lichtenberg “Blessed” in 1996. He listened and responded to the voice of his conscience and acted to stop persecution in his country. We can follow Bernhard’s example by working to form our consciences so that we will make good choices in life.
Connecting to Blest Are We® Parish and School
The Story of Jesus, unit 1