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Bl. Anton Maria Schwartz

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Birth: 1852
Death: 1929
Beatified By: Pope John Paul II

After serving as a chorister in his teenage years, Anton Schwartz, of Baden, Austria, was ordained a priest at the age of twenty-three. Because of the poverty of his own family, Father Schwartz had to borrow the chalice and vestments for his first Mass. After serving as a parish priest and a hospital chaplain, he resolved to begin an apostolate to assist young workingmen. In 1889, he founded the Christian Workers of Saint Joseph Calasanz, a congregation of religious dedicated to the spiritual and moral formation of workers. Father Schwartz became an outspoken advocate of workers' rights. Appealing to Catholic social teachings, he denounced the exploitive practices of unjust wages, unpaid overtime labor, and unnecessary work on Sundays. In Vienna he erected a church for workers, instituted an "oratory" for apprentices to provide these young men with catechetical instruction, and composed a special prayer book for workers. Father Schwartz died on September 15, 1929. At Father Schwartz's beatification in 1998, Pope John Paul II declared, "Do all you can to protect Sunday! Show that it cannot be a work day because it is celebrated as the Lord's day!"


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