He was born during the Pontificate of Leo XIII, was ordained to the priesthood before World War II, and was able to witness a fellow German become successor of St. Peter.  The oldest priest in Germany, Father Konrad Fuchs, died this week at the age of 109, after 83 years in the priesthood.

According to the Kath.net news agency, Father Fuchs died at a home run by the Sisters of Mercy of the Most Holy Cross in the city of Hegne, where he had been living since 2002, maintaining his interest in current affairs and in the lives of his friends and associates.

Father Fuchs was born on October 15, 1897 in the city of Dingelsdorf.  His family was very devout, and after completing grade school and high school he entered the seminary in the city of Freiburg.

Father Fuchs was a young German during the pontificate of St. Pius X and he fought in World War I, when Benedict XV was Pope.  He was ordained in 1923, during the pontificate of Pius XI.  He was pastor in Seebach, in the Black Forest, and in Freiburg, where he ministered to the faithful during the difficult times of World War II, under the pontificate of Pius XII.  He was pastor of the Church of the Holy Family in Freiburg for 32 years until he retired.

The German priest always had a great love and devotion for the liturgy, especially for choral music.  He maintained a deep relationship and friendship with the Benedictines, from whom who took the motto of his priestly life: “May God be glorified in everything.”

Father Fuchs was just few months shy of being the oldest priest in the world. That honor belongs to Father Nicolaus Kao Se Tseien, a Trappist monk in Hong Kong who was born on January 15, 1897.

Father Nicolaus was born in the Chinese city of Fuzhou and says the secret to his longevity is “to not smoke, get upset, covet, get drunk, eat too much, or stop exercising - or praying!”