After the First World War, Klosterneuburg gained new significance as a religious centre. Pius Parsch, the Augustinian Canon of Klosterneuburg, wanted to bring the liturgy and the Bible closer to faithful Catholics. He therefore founded a movement which spread from Klosterneuburg all over the world and eventually became manifest in the liturgy reform of the Second Vatican Council.
The starting point of reform was the little chapel of St. Gertrud, originally built as the abbey hospital chapel. Here Pius Parsch developed new, practical forms of liturgy in the German language. His numerous booklets were widely distributed, and his books were translated into various major languages: “The Church’s Year of Grace”, “Know and Live the Mass”, “The Liturgy of the Mass” and “Sermons on the Liturgy for Sundays and Feast Days” are the English titles of his most well-known works.
In 1950, Pius Parsch founded the Klosterneuburg Bible Apostolate, which published bargain Bible editions and introductions to the Holy Scripture. The Popular Liturgical Movement (“Volksliturgische Bewegung”) and the Klosterneuburg bible studies association have made the name Klosterneuburg world-famous.
Liturgical reform in the Catholic church following the Second Vatican Council is inconceivable without the Popular Liturgical community of St. Gertrud, as it was Pius Parsch who not only changed the position of the altar so as to face the people, but also started to use German as the local language instead of Latin for the liturgy.
The pioneer achievements of Pius Parsch in the area of Bible studies and pastoral are kept alive in modern style among others through the Austrian Catholic bible studies association (“Österreichisches Katholisches Bibelwerk”).
Pius Parsch Institute
Stiftsplatz 8, 3400 Klosterneuburg