Prof. Dr. em. Engelbert Groß

Engelbert Groß
© KU

The Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt mourns the death of

Prof. Dr. Engelbert Groß,

who held the Chair of Didactics of Religion, Catechetics, and Religious Education at the Faculty of Theology from 1987 to 2004. Groß died on All Saints' Day 2020 aged 81.

Engelbert Groß, born in 1938 in Vettweiß in the district of Düren, had studied philosophy, theology and educational science in Bonn, Freiburg, Graz and Cologne. After his ordination in Aachen, he initially worked as a pastor in the Aachen coal-mining district and as secondary school teacher in the Lower Rhine region, with a parallel teaching assignment at the University of Cologne. In 1987, Groß was appointed to the KU and remained in Eichstätt until 2004, where he held the Chair of Didactics of Religion, Catechetics, and Religious Education. His activity can be summarized by three verbs: writing, researching, organizing. Engelbert Groß was a passionate writer – whether on his travels, which took him preferably to Africa and Asia, or at home in Eichstätt in his spacious study. Pen and paper gave him the opportunity to argue, narrate and describe in different genres, both as a scientist and as a spiritual writer. The large number of his books and contributions bear eloquent witness to this.

Engelbert Groß's religious educational research is based on the insight that religious learning does not only take place in the mind, but in specific action. This is why the "One-World-Religious Education" was created in this unique way. It documents the misery especially of children in many parts of the world and links this with many different reflected projects in schools and universities in Europe in order to take steps towards situational and structural improvements.

Until the sudden and unexpected end of his life on November 1, 2020, Engelbert Groß was involved in this field in a special, unrelenting way. Only about a year ago, the Philippine organization "Children of Mother Earth" presented Engelbert Groß with its Laudato Si' Award after he had been involved in a project for the reforestation of a 7.5 hectare area in the east of Manila with several thousand bamboo seedlings. Groß had collected the financial means for this over several years in numerous campaigns in and around Eichstätt and had also brought schools and the Rebdorf parish on board.

He proved his organizational talent by organizing conferences and symposia at the KU. For example, the large international congress "Experiencing the World Church – Learning from Each Other – Making Earth Habitable" in Eichstätt in the fall of 1999 brought together more than 400 speakers and participants from all over the world. Among other things, he served as Dean of the Faculty of Theology (from 1999 to 2001) in the framework of academic self-administration. From 1999 to 2003, Groß was spokesman for Catholic religious educators at Bavarian universities. In addition to his work at the KU, he also held lectureships at foreign universities. In all his activities – for example as a pastor in the Marienstein Children's Village – Engelbert Groß remained a friendly and cheerful person at all times. He was devoted to people and practiced a love of neighbor with his means, recognizing his neighbors both near and far. The University will honor his memory as an accomplished expert and warm-hearted colleague.


  • Studies of philosophy, theology and education at the Universities of Bonn, Freiburg i.Br., Graz and Cologne; state examinations for teaching profession at academic secondary schools qualifying for university (Gymnasien), Mag. Theol., Dr. theol.
  • Priest at the Diocese of Aachen, 4 years of pastoral care in the region of Aachener Kohlerevier
  • Pastoral care at schools and teaching at Gymnasien in the Lower Rhine region (19 years), simultaneously 10 year lectureship at the University of Cologne (faculty of therapeutic pedagogy)
  • 1987-2004 Chair of Didactics of Religion, Catechetics, and Religious Education at the Faculty of Theology, Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
  • Visiting lecturer at the faculty of orthodox theology at the Sofia University Saint Kliment Ohridski (Bulgaria) and at the faculty of Greek-Catholic theology at the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca (Romania).
  • 1990 Initiator of student learning trip to Senegal: "Religionsunterricht - Mission - Dritte Welt"
  • 1999  Initiator of the International Religious Education Congress on the occasion of the millennium "Weltkirche erleben - voneinander lernen - Erde bewohnbar machen"
  • 1999-2001 Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt
  • 2000-2003 Representative of the Catholic religious education teachers at Bavarian universities
  • 2002 Initiator of the religious education symposium “Schmerz und Sehnsucht von Kindern und Jugendlichen als didaktischer Suchschlüssel für religionspädagogische Thematisierungen"

Research interests

Prof. Dr. em. Engelbert Groß carried out research and work in the field of “Eine-Welt-Religionspädagogik” and has published several publications in this field as publisher, author or co-author.

Furthermore, Prof. Dr. em. Groß has published works on the topic of “Kindergebetbuch” (Children’s prayer book), “Schulseelsorge” (Pastoral care at schools), “Religionsdidaktik” (Religious education) and “Projektpädagogik” (Project pedagogy).

Many projects for encounter in the Third World (India, Nepal, Philippines) have resulted in public educational presentations and exhibitions.

In order to substantiate research results obtained on the Philippines on the topic of “Peripherie als Aufgabe der Kirchen” (Periphery as task of the churches), the chamber opera “Die Lieder der Müllbergkinder” was founded in 2014. Composition: Steven Heelein (Professor at Hochschule für evangelische Kirchenmusik in Bayreuth), Libretto: E. G (cf. text book: Beltran/ Groß/ Heelein: at the place already cited). Performances in Eichstätt, Katholikentag Regensburg, Klosterfest Sankt Augustin, Aachener Heiligtumsfahrt in Mönchengladbach.

Since 2018: Oratorio “Oasen der verwüsteten Kinder” (Oases of devastated children) (Composition and Libretto: cf. “Die Lieder der Müllbergkinder”). This oratorio deals with the topics of the peripheries “Kindergefängnisse” (children’s prisons) and “Kinderprostitution” (child prostitution) and stands up for children’s rights. The text as well as a comprehensive reflection engagée is available in the German publication “Oasen der verwüsteten Kinder - ‘Drama’-Theologie exemplarisch.”, Berlin (LIT) 2016.

There are several community educational projects, such as the 2016/17 “Eichstätter Bambuswunder: Lebensrettung durch Aufforstung” (Eichstätt bamboo wonder: saving lives through reforestation) in cooperation with the institutions University, Mittelschule, Gymnasium and parish and implemented together with the group of young artists “Die Kinder der Mutter Erde” (The children of Mother Earth) in Manila/Philippines and the indigenous people of the Dumagat in the Marikina Watershed area.


Please refer to the University’s publication server KU-Publikationsserver or to this page for a current list of publications by Prof. Dr. em. Engelbert Groß. We would also like to draw your attention to a selection of book publications.

  • Engelbert Groß: Isus: Dansatorul, Profetul, Icoana, Galaxia, Gutenberg 2007 (in Romanian)
  • Engelbert Groß; Klaus König: Religia: pedagogia si didactica ei, Galaxia Gutenberg 2006 (in Romanian).
  • Engelbert Groß; Andreas Weiß: Religion und Schule in der Rechtsprechung. A collection of relevant court decisions, Münster 2005
  • Erziehungswissenschaft, Religion und Religionspädagogik, published by Engelbert Groß. Münster 2004.
  • Invan Denev; Engelbert Groß: Religiöse Erziehung im Kontext des gemeinsamen europäischen Hauses (in Bulgarian and English), Sofia 2004.
  • Engelbert Groß; Klaus König; Bojidar Andonov: Religionspädagogik (in Bulgarian), Sofia 2003.
  • Religiöses Lernen der Kirche im globalen Dialog, published by Engelbert Groß and Klaus König. Münster-Hamburg-London 2000.

Co-author of the academic-theological research collection on the works of Protopresbyter Dr. Stefan Tsakov, Sofia 2014.

Participation in "KERYKS. Internationale Religionspädagogisch-Katechetische Rundschau"/ Poland as well as in "Theologia Catolica" of the "Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai"/ Romania.