Late in the evening of May 1, 2006,
Father Peter Scholz OSB
died at KwaMagwaza Hospital near Melmoth as a result of injuries he suffered in a road accident.
Fr Peter was born on 21 April 1935 in present-day
We commend our confrere to your prayers.
Inkamana Abbey, May 2, 2006
Abbot Godfrey and community
Father Peter (Gerhard) Scholz OSB
died in the early evening of Monday, May 1, 2006, in the KwaMagwaza Hospital, Melmoth, as a result of the injuries he suffered in a car accident not far from Melmoth where he was parish priest.
Father Peter Scholz was born on 21 April 1935 in Schmottseiffen, a village in the Archdiocese of Breslau (Wroclaw), the capital of Silesia which was then still part of Germany. The parents of Fr Peter owned a small farm. His father was well known in the district for his modern farming methods. It was a deeply religious and firmly catholic environment in which Fr Peter grew up. The people of Silesia had the reputation of being particularly faithful Catholics. One of Fr Peterís sisters became a Benedictine nun. She worked for many years in a convent in the United States where she also died.
While still a child, attending primary school in Schmottseiffen, Fr Peter experienced the horror of the Second World War. At the end of the War, when Russian troops occupied Silesia, most German families were forced to abandon their farms and homesteads and flee to West Germany. Fr Peterís parents were among those refugees. With only the few belongings they could carry they arrived with their children in West Germany and began to start a new life. In 1947 Fr Peter enrolled at the high school of Odenkrichen. After graduating he began to study for the priesthood, doing the two-year philosophy course at the Jesuit College in Kőnigstein near Frankfurt. While still in philosophy he decided to join the Missionary Benedictines in St Ottilien. In September 1957 he entered the Archabbey and on 20 September 1958 he made his temporal vows. On 11 May, 1961, the Bishop of Augsburg, Mgr Joseph Freundorfer, ordained him priest in Dillingen. In December of the following year Fr Peter received an assignment to the mission field in Zululand. It was for him the fulfilment of a long-held wish. Leaving Europe on September 22, 1962, he arrived by boat in Durban on October 11.
Fr Peter spent the first seven months at Twasana, the motherhouse of the Benedictine Sisters of Zululand. One of the Sisters taught him the Zulu language and Fr Rafael Studerus, the superior of Twasana, introduced him to pastoral work. After helping out at Nandi Mission for two months Fr Peter went to Inkamana where he stayed for nearly five years as assistant priest caring for the outstations on the farms and coal mines. This was followed by a 15-month stint as replacement priest at several missions stations where the a priest was on home leave. It gave Fr Peter an opportunity to get an intimate knowledge of the pastoral situation in the Diocese of Eshowe. In April 1970, Bishop Aurelian Bilgeri appointed him parish priest of Fatima, a mid-sized parish with a large farm. Three years later, Fr Peter was transferred to Gonzaga in the mountains of southern Zululand. He remained there for ten years. While he was there he still visited some of the remote outpost riding a horse. He was the last Missionary Benedictine in Zululand who used this mode of travelling. In 1987 he took over the English speaking parish of St Thomas More in the town of Vryheid together with the Zulu speaking parish in the township of Bhekuzulu. When the St Pius X Parish became vacant in August 1987, Bishop Mansuet Biyase appointed him parish priest there. He served his community for nearly twenty years, celebrating mass, hearing confessions, teaching catechism and visiting the homes of his parishioners.
Fr Peter was a priest with a more than usual sense of duty as a pastor and missionary. At all times a hard worker and a firm disciplinarian, he showed an unfailing loyalty to the traditions of the church, adhering to strict principles in the exercise of his pastoral ministry. Endowed with a somewhat fiery temper, he always displayed a great missionary zeal combined with a fighting spirit that gave him the courage to defend forcefully what he regarded to be right. Although Fr Peter had a bit of a rough outward shell he also had a softer side that those who knew him quite well could experience from time to time. It was this softer side of his character that may explain the fact that the veneration of Our Lady meant so much to him. He never missed an opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to Ngome. He was there again on May 1 for the Diocesan Pilgrimage. As always, he spent much time hearing confessions before mass started. Late in the afternoon he returned to Melmoth, taking along a group of pilgrims in his pick-up van. When he arrived home he took his small car, to take two of the pilgrims to their home at an outstation. On the return trip he was involved in a head-on collision. Suffering fatal injuries, he died shortly afterwards. The day he made a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Ngome was to become the day for him when he embarked on his final journey to a better world. We commend our confrere to your prayer.
The Requiem Mass will be held in our Abbey Church on Saturday, May 6, at 11H00, followed by the funeral in the Abbey cemetery.
Inkamana Abbey, May 2, 2006 Abbot Godfrey & Community
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