The oldest living Cardinal, His Eminence Paul Augustine Card. Mayer, OSB, has died at nearly 99 years of age.
Card. Mayer had an incredible life of service in the Church.
I can make the claim that we were friends. His Eminence ordained me a deacon in 1990.
He had been Abbot of Metten, the first President of the Athenaeum Sant’ Anselmo, a peritus at the Council where he helped write the documents on priesthood, Secretary for the Congr. for Religious, first Prefect of the Cong. for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, first President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".
He and the present Holy Father, a fellow Bavarian, were dear friends.
And he was the holiest human being I have ever met.
Please say a prayer for the repose of the soul of Paul Augustine Card. Mayer, who has gone to his judgment and, I am confident, swiftly his reward in heaven.
I guess this makes me an "orphan" in ecclesiastical terms!
The priests/bishops who brought me into the Church or ordained me have passed away: Msgr. Richard Schuler, Card. Mayer, Pope John Paul II.
Coincidentally, they all died in April (Schuler 20 April, Mayer 30 April, John Paul 2 April.).
Here is an old photo of the Cardinal with a much younger Undersigned, I think in the summer of ’91 when I visited him for a while at his monastery in Metten, where he will be buried. This was taken in the famous monastic library, where I spent some time reading through His Eminence’s notes from the Council.
An interesting anecdote to give you a sense of what sort of man Card. Mayer was.
When I was a Metten, I think that trip, I made arrangements with the sacristan for my Masses in the morning.
When I got to the sacristy, the Cardinal was there. He had set up the altar and then served Mass as if he were a brother.
Afterward, having helped me divest, he knelt for the blessing.
He would personally wait on his guests in the refectory…. a Cardinal of Holy Catholic Church.
I had a phone call from the sisters who take care of Card. Mayer’s household.
The Cardinal had been getting weak over the last couple weeks, but even yesterday celebrated Holy Mass.
In the last 24 hours he declined rapidly and died very peacefully in his bed at home with the sisters there.
He is now laid out in his household chapel, decked out in his cardinalatial choir dress, and purple Mass vestments waiting for the Requiem in St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday. I wish I could be there, but the tickets are horrible and I would have to leave tomorrow.
He will be buried at his abbey at Metten on 12 May.
Now it is off to the chapel for the first Requiem for him.