Pastor Augustin Kouanvih was on his way home from a celebration in Neustift, but did not arrive in Fulpmes.
STUBAI. The dismay is great in the Stubaital. The Stubai pastor Augustin Kouanvih is still missing. The hope of finding him alive has already diminished with every hour over the weekend.
He wanted to hurry home
Pastor Augustin Kouanvih attended celebrations in Neustift on Friday evening, at which volunteers from the pastoral care room were thanked for their involvement in the various areas of the parish. At around 9 p.m., the 60-year-old made his way to Fulpmes. He didn’t want to be home late because his sister had come to visit and was waiting for him in the Widum. He should also have held a funeral in Telfes on Saturday morning, for which he still wanted to write something down. In the heavy rain, a man from Neustift accompanied him to the car with an umbrella. He should be the last to see the pastor alive.
Because Augustin Kouanvih never made it to the Widum in Fulpmes. At around 9:15 p.m., his car was hit by the large mudflow that the Margarethenbach near Fulpmes/Medraz cleared on this gloomy evening. Unfortunately, the large-scale search operation on Saturday did not bring any results, although the area was searched extensively and walked through several times. Only the Bible, business cards and documents of the pastor, who originally came from Togo in Africa, have so far been found on the banks of the Ruetzbach.
Devotions in all churches
On Sunday evening prayers were held for Augustin Kouanvih in all the churches in the Stubai pastoral care area. The sympathy of the population at these devotions was very large. The masses of the day also commemorated the pastor, who had worked in the Stubaital since autumn 2019. Deacon Leo Hinterlechner from Telfes wrote “a prayer in an uncertain time” – you will find it below. Bishop Hermann Glettler also posted the prayer on Instagram and wrote: “Where is Pastor Augustin? This question moves me. I share the grief with the people in the Stubaital and all of Tyrol. Heartfelt sympathy, consolation from God… Probably the pastor died in a devastating mudslide. There is no certainty. Thank you for the prayer!” From now on, the rosary, which takes place daily at 7 p.m. in the Fulpme parish church, will be prayed for Pastor Augustin Kouanvih.
In view of the tragic circumstances, the rifle battalion festival that should have taken place in Fulpmes on Sunday was cancelled. All other events in Fulpmes and Telfes – including the theater performances on the open-air stage – have also been canceled for this week.
Prayer for Pastor Augustine
Prayer in uncertain times: Lord our God, you have given us a beautiful valley to call home, but on Friday evening the forces of nature gave us a fright. In this scenario of thunder and lightning, hail and storm, our pastor Augustin made his way home by car, but he never reached his destination. A lot is still in the dark: What exactly happened? Where is Augustine? How should we deal with the bad idea? We fear that we will never see him again as we knew him. His laughter, his jokes, his devotion with which he did his ministry as a priest and pastor, is everything gone? Did the mighty masses of water sweep away everything? – every little hope, every spark of trust? Lord our God, your ways are not our ways and your thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9); we do not know where our path in life will lead us. Desperately we stand before you with our questions and beg you for our pastor Augustin, be with him, wherever he may be now, give us consolation and hope, which is stronger than any threat and never let us lose hope and lose trust. Amen.
Deacon in the Stubai pastoral care room
You can find many more reports of mudslides in the Stubaital at www.meinbezirk.at