Status: 02.12.2023, 14:23 PM
Gebhard Fürst, Bishop of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, is about to start the celebrations for his 75th birthday and farewell in the Festhalle. © Silas Stein/dpa
For 23 years, Gebhard Fürst was bishop at the head of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart. For his 75th birthday on Saturday, there was a big party. And many warm words to say goodbye.
Rottenburg - After 23 years as Bishop of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Gebhard Fürst retired on Saturday. At the same time, invited guests from politics, church and society congratulated Fürst on his 75th birthday, which he celebrated with more than 200 guests in the Festhalle of Rottenburg (Tübingen district). The birthday was also the reason for the request to resign from office, which the prince forwarded to Rome some time ago. At the age of 75, a Catholic bishop leaves office. Canon law prescribes this.
Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) spoke of an intense friendship that he and Fürst had maintained for many years. "Our friendship is a friendship of conversation." Kretschmann described Fürst's life with the sequence of a menu. The appetizer was Fürst's time as academy director of the diocese. The main course came in 2000 with the assumption of the episcopate. The dessert "as a sweet final act" is retirement. He emphasized Fürst's constant readiness for dialogue. In reference to his government motto "Politics of Being Heard", Kretschmann said that Fürst had pursued an "ecclesiastical policy of being heard".
The festivities were to continue in the afternoon with a Pontifical Mass in St. Martin's Cathedral in Rottenburg. At the end, a taps and a citizens' reception were planned. In addition to Kretschmann, Nuncio Nikola Eterović and Georg Bätzing, Bishop of Limburg and Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, had announced themselves as prominent guests.
Fürst is the longest-serving German bishop and head of 1.7 million Catholics. He has been Bishop of Rottenburg since 2000. For the diocese, a period of transition begins on December 3. Dpa