It is with regret that we inform you of the death on the 1st of April, 2022 in the Hospital of Hall in the Tirol, Austria, aged 91, of
Father Erwin Hain
Mill Hill Missionary
May he rest in peace
Erwin was born on the 20th of February, 1931 in the village of Pfarrkirchen in the Diocese of Linz, Austria. He was baptized almost immediately after birth,on the 21st of February 1931, and confirmed on the 23rd of May 1940 at Rohrbach in the Diocese of Linz. His father was Lukas Hain, a farmer and shoemaker, and his mother was Maria Hain, nee Hofer. Erwin was their only child.
For a short time in 1944 Erwin attended the Staatsgymnasium in Linz. From 1945 to 1952, Erwin attended the Minor Seminary “ Kollegium Petrinum” of the Diocese of Linz. Determined to become a priest, he attended the Major Seminary of Linz Diocese from 1952 to 1955. From here, he transferred after his Philosophical studies to Saint Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, London to study Theology as a candidate of the Mill Hill Missionaries. As his preparatory studies came to an end, Erwin took the Perpetual Oath to God as a Mill Hill Missionary on the 21st of October, 1956. Less than a year later, on the 7th of July, 1957 he was ordained a priest in the College Chapel at Mill Hill by Cardinal Godfrey of Westminster Archdiocese.
On the day of his priestly ordination, Erwin was given his first missionary appointment. He was sent to the Diocese of Buea in Cameroon. From 1957 until 1959 he served as an assistant priest in Kumbo, then from 1959 to 1962 as assistant in Nkar. In 1963 Erwin was withdrawn from Cameroon and appointed to Organising and Promotion work in Coesfeld in the Diocese of Munster/Westphalia, Germany. From 1965 Erwin was appointed to the city of Munster, where he assisted Fr. Rabanser as Development Coordinator. Indeed, from 1966 to 1970, he was Rector in our Munster house. By 1970 Erwin was longing to return to his beloved Cameroon. Initially he was appointed back to the Diocese of Buea, where he served as acting parish priest in Ndop Parish. 1970 was an auspicious year for the Church in Cameroon, when the Diocese of Bamenda was founded. Erwin was appointed to Bamenda to act as Secretary and Bursar to Bishop Paul Verzekov. In October 1970 until August 1971, Erwin was parish priest of Ntambeng parish. In 1982 Bishop Verzekov was made an Archbishop. Erwin stayed by his side serving him and the Archdiocese as Bursar and Secretary. For over a quarter of a century Erwin assisted in the financial management of the Archdiocese of Bamenda. In early 2005 Erwin was finally withdrawn from the land and peoples he grew to love and appointed to retire in the German Speaking Region of our Society.
As well as learning the local languages of the peoples whom he served, Erwin was fluent in Latin, Greek, Italian, French, Nederlands and latterly in life was teaching himself Russian. He was a naturally gifted administrator, especially of finances, and this talent he shared with great effect and appreciation in Cameroon, where he wrote a manual entitled “Financial self-reliance within a self-reliant Church”. Erwin also helped many Religious Congregation define their rights and duties in community. He took a keen interest in “Population” studies and was active in promoting “Family Planning” by natural methods. A keen writer too, he was often submitting articles for the Missionsbote, the German Speaking Region’s mission magazine, and in various Austrian newspapers. As Erwin was withdrawn from Cameroon and appointed to retirement, the Superior General wrote, “May God reward you for all the energy you spent for the welfare of the Church in Cameroon.” Erwin’s requiem will be on Wednesday the 6th of April at 2.00.pm in Absam,, after which the body will be taken to his native village of Pfarrkirchen for burial.