At an age when others have not practiced their profession for 20 years or more, father arno meyer still thinks every day about how he can fulfill his vocation as a priest and pastor for the good of his fellow men. "As a priest, you have to be careful that routine doesn’t get in", says the 85-year-old. That’s why it’s important to him to experience each day consciously, as if it were his last, says father arno. Six decades ago, on 19. December 1959, he was ordained a priest in the lateran basilica in rome.
His responsible tasks in the augustinian order have allowed the jubilarian to travel far and gain a lot of experience. For the past twelve years, he has been back in munnerstadt, the place where he graduated from high school in 1954 and began his novitiate as an augustinian.
Arno meyer was born in 1934 in wingerode, a village in the thuringian region of eichsfeld. The war years, which he experienced as a child, and above all the division of germany after the end of the war have left a lasting impression on father arno to this day. He comes back to it again and again in his sermons. His generation was looking for the meaning of life after those terrible years, he says. He found it in his vocation as an augustinian and priest.
In 1955 father arno meyer made his vows in the monastery church of munnerstadt. He spent his studies first in wurzburg, then from 1956 in rome. 1958 he made his perpetual vows. Ordination followed in 1959. He describes the fact that his parents were allowed to travel from the GDR to rome in 1959 to be ordained as a diplomatic miracle, as well as the fact that he was allowed to celebrate his first mass in his hometown.
After the study came P. Arno meyer moved to weiden as a full-time religion teacher and also became head of the augustinian boarding school there. Between 1971 and 1975 he was prior in the augustinian monastery st. Bruno in wurzburg, chaplain in the parish there and doctoral student at the university. 1975 graduated. A little later, father arno was elected provincial of the german augustinian province. He held this office until 1983.
After several years of extraordinary pastoral care in germershausen, P. Arno’s life in 1991 led him to rome, where he was appointed director of the international college of the augustinians and worked as a lecturer. He thinks back to this time with great pleasure. He had contact with augustinians from all over the world, which he did not want to miss. During visits to the augustinian mission in the congo, he experienced a joy in faith that he often misses in traditional christianity in this country.
In 1992, pope john paul ii appointed p. Arno meyer to the roman congregation for beatification and canonization. In addition, the augustinian was appointed a member of the european academy of sciences and arts. His work was subsequently honored with the dante alighieri prize and the prize of the nations – italy in the world.
In 2001 father arno’s romanic period came to an end. He returned to germany and took over the duties of prior at the augustinian convent in weiden, germany. In 2003 he became prior and director of pilgrimage in walldurrn and parish priest in a neighboring parish. The 85-year-old very much regretted that his order had to give up the pastoral care of pilgrims in walldurrn in 2007 because of the declining number of members of the order.
Father arno has been back in munnerstadt since 2007. There he had the office of prior in the convent st. Michael. In the meantime, he has handed over this task. The jubilarian wishes that the convent of st. Michael, founded in 1279, will continue to exist. Michael can continue to exist.
He still takes his mission as a priest as seriously today as he did 60 years ago, even if he has to step down for health reasons in the meantime. It is important to him that he, as a clergyman, is on the same level as his fellow men and that he is together with them on the path of life towards god. He is happy when he can help people with his words, comfort them and make them happy.
The service for the 60th anniversary of the priesthood on thursday, 19. December, at 11 a.M., he therefore wanted to celebrate with the entire public. He is delighted that seven relatives will be traveling to munnerstadt, including his brother and a nephew, the priest dr. Herbert meyer, who together with the jubilarian and the prior of st. Michael, P. Dr. Gregor hohmann will celebrate the mass. A total of twelve priests will be present at the service, explains P. Arno meyer.