This web site is a memorial to those individuals who were passionate about the reform of the
Roman Catholic liturgy as set forth in Sacrosanctum Concilium (the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)
and who now, in eternal life, worship the God whom they served in this life.

Bede Scholz, OSB

Bede Scholz, OSB
Nov. 1, 1902 — 27 Apr. 27, 1966

Father Bede Scholz, OSB, was born in Dutzow, Missouri (near St. Louis) on 1 November 1902. With due regard for that date as the Feastday of All Saints, he surely would want us to note, as much more significant, the date of his baptism on 2 November, when he was made over to Christ and was given the names Frederic Aloysius Luke. “All kinds of animals are born,” he used to say, “but only we who are human can be born again by water and the Holy Spirit.” Unconventional but true observations like this are engraved with the image of Fr Bede in the minds of his confreres and friends.

With his early education acquired at Concord Hill in the eastern part of Missouri, young Frederic Scholz went west to Conception Abbey for his education in high school and college. At the end of his second college year, he entered the Abbey novitiate. He made his first profession of vows on 8 September 1924, taking the Venerable Bede for his patron, and was ordained to the priesthood on 25 May 1929.

In 1926, after being in the clericate for two years and graduating from college, he was sent for his theological studies to St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. There he earned a master’s degree in Greek and took all the usual steps leading to the priesthood. If, previous to this time, he had found within himself a strong inclination toward the liturgy, it was at St. John’s, especially under the tutelage of Dom Virgil Michel, that this inclination became a personal mission.

On his return to Conception in 1929, Fr Bede was given the post of sodality director in the school. This title suggests the old style of student chaplain, but he welcomed it as a golden opportunity to put into practice, discretely and as if by inner logic, a number of liturgical reforms which he believed should be implemented. Fr Bede remained in office more or less continuously for a total of nine years between 1930 and 1945. As chaplain he also introduced the student body to the principal hours of the Divine Office; in fact, he saw to it that the class schedule was so arranged that a program of sung prayer could be carried out at the proper times.

Fr Bede kept abreast of the latest developments in the liturgical movement through a great amount of reading, especially in German. His typical procedure is best exemplified by the so-called “dry-Mass demonstrations,” which eventually became an integral part of nearly every retreat conducted for laymen at Conception Abbey. In these demonstrations, a deacon or priest would go through the actions of the Mass, while Fr Bede would comment on the history and symbolism of each part of the rite, instructing the people not only as to its present meaning, but also its original significance and form. These demonstrations were always well received by the lay retreatants, and their value for more attentive worship was obvious.

During his forty-two years of monastic life, he held about a dozen positions in the community. Among these can be listed: professor of German, Greek, and religion in the college and seminary; master of ceremonies; librarian; novice and cleric master; director of Oblates; manager of the Benet Book Store; subprior; archivist; retreat director; and instructor of the Brothers.

Not all of Fr Bede’s assignments can be described in detail. A few, however, deserve special mention because they further illustrate his greatest talents and the areas of his greatest success.

One year before he was appointed master of clerics and novices, he already had involved them in the publication of Altar and Home. The first issue appeared, with himself as general editor, in February 1934. This monthly magazine, more ambitious than any other initiative, was Conception Abbey’s main contribution to the renewal apostolate. Altar and Home stimulated other members of the community to take up the cause and give it their best effort until the magazine ceased publication in March 1963, its purpose for existence being largely achieved.

Fr Bede served as librarian from 1930 to 1945. During the first four summers, he attended library courses at the Catholic University in Washington, DC, and the University of Michigan. Thereupon he initiated a more professional organization and operation of the school and abbey libraries. To his foresight should be credited the following improvements: rules and procedures for A.L.A. and Library of Congress cataloging; classification of books according to the Dewey Decimal System; purchase of catalog cards from the Library of Congress; binding of periodicals and exchange of duplicates; and the principle of interlibrary loans. Fr Bede took a practical interest also in the needs of displaced persons after World War II – needs especially of seminarians and university students in occupied Germany who barely survived the war and who could be aided by frequent shipments of care packages and books.

Fr Bede helped to pioneer and staff four new monastic communities. He was among the first to go to Benet Lake in 1945. When St. Pius the Tenth Monastery was founded in 1951, he was named its first prior. From 1954 to 1958 he was on loan to the Benedictine Priory at Weston, Vermont. And finally, in 1962, he was chosen by Abbot Anselm to be a founding member of Skt. Kunds Kloster, a new venture in Denmark, where no monasticism had existed since the Reformation. In these various houses of monks, Fr Bede was – as always – a tireless contributor, a man of unflagging zeal and deep monastic spirit.

Having found his way amidst the polite but sometimes aloof Danish society and his role as the eyes and ears and elder statesman of the small community, Fr Bede began in 1964 to suffer periodically from bouts of ill health. At last it became clear that he could not go on, nor, perhaps, could the priory itself continue. Accompanied back home by Fr Walter Heeney, he collapsed on the plane and was found to be in such mortal danger that the plane was brought down at Montreal to leave him off. Unfortunately, he did not recover. Death quietly overtook him in a city hospital on 27 April 1966, with Fr Walter still at his side.

A concelebrated pontifical Requiem Mass was offered in the Abbey basilica on Saturday, 30 April. Fr Bede had lived, worked, and prayed for exactly two-thirds of his sixty-three year life as a monk and priest of Conception Abbey – years filled with aspirations and visions of things to come, coupled with much hard work, and often many trials.

May he rest in peace!

Tribute prepared by the monks of Conception Abbey, Conception, MO.