The Rev. Francis X. Weiser, S.J.
Rev. Francis X. Weiser, S.J., who served as the twenty-third pastor of Holy Trinity (German) Church (1943-1950) was born on March 21, 1901 in Vienna, Austria. Fr. Weiser entered the Society of Jesus on September of 1916 and was ordained on July 26, 1930 at Holy Trinity Church in Innsbruck, Austria (the same parish in which the founder of Holy Trinity Church in Boston had been ordained in 1825).
|He fled to the U.S. in the wake of the German annexation of his homeland
in 1938 and later became an American citizen.
Shortly after arriving in the U.S., Fr. Weiser was asked to serve as pastor of St. Ann's Church in Buffalo, New York, where he became active with the National Catholic Women's Union and the Catholic Central Union of America before coming to Holy Trinity (German) Church as associate pastor for four years. In 1943, Fr. Weiser was asked to shepherd Holy Trinity when the church's pastor, Fr. Henry M. Brock, S.J., was forced to resign due to poor health.
Besides being an extremely active pastor at Holy Trinity, during the Second World War Fr. Weiser found time to serve as an auxiliary chaplain for the German prisoners at Fort Devens between 1943-1945. He was also instrumental in forming the Massachusetts branch of the National Catholic Women's Union, and shortly thereafter was appointed Youth Director and later National Spiritual Director, a position which he held for twenty years.
Fr. Weiser, an intellectual of the first rank, earned doctorates in theology, philosophy, and psychology from the University of Innsbruck and another doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University in 1950. In his later years, he served as professor of philosophy and German at Emmanuel College (where he taught for eleven years), and as professor of ethics and theology at Boston College from 1961 to 1970.
Also a cultural historian, Fr. Weiser was concerned with the relationship of liturgy and the Christian life. He authored no fewer than twenty-two books, several of which dealt with traditional Catholic customs such as The Christmas Book, The Easter Book, The Holiday Book, and The Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs. His first book, Das Licht der Berge (The Light on the Mountain), was translated into thirty languages. His books were not only instrumental in influencing people in the U.S., but also in Germany. In 1957 the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Theodor Heuss, awarded Fr. Weiser the Order of Merit, First Class, for his outstanding contribution to the young people of Germany, and for his work in war relief.
To honor this soldier of Christ, who excelled as both pastor and scholar, the Holy Name Society at Holy Trinity (German) Church proudly dedicates its lecture series to his memory.