November 22nd 1954 - Heinrich Pesch House (HPH)
Already in the fifties the Jesuits in Mannheim began to develop an institute for Christian social teachings. The beginnings in two cellar rooms of a still partly destroyed house were very provisional. Father Felix zu Löwenstein was the prominent head of that effort.
In the year 1974 the Jesuits moved into the new centre in Ludwigshafen. They came from an upper middle-class mansion in the distinguished east of Mannheim into a modern building of concrete. Its first spade had been dug in presence of Father General Pedro Arrupe from Rome, and the Prime Minister Helmut Kohl from Rhineland/Palatinate.
The institute chose the name of the Jesuit Heinrich Pesch, the important Cologne political economist (* in 1854 in Cologne, † in 1926 in Valkenburg/Holland).
The Heinrich Pesch House sees itself as outer court of the church, as contact field to church and faith, as outpost of church activity, free of dogmatism and ready to discuss, where everybody is welcome, also those who have no contacts with the church - and that without forgetting that a church institution has to hold clear positions in the argument with differently minded people.
The HPH dedicates itself also to the interreligious dialogue, particularly with the many Muslims who live and work among us. In Germany live about three million people of Islamic faith, two thirds of them are of Turkish nationality. In March 1995 the Yavuz Sultan Selim Mosque was inaugurated, one of the largest mosques in Germany with 2.500 prayer places. It is not only a prayer house, but also a social centre. Particularly to mention is the new created institute for German-Turkish integration research. But the HPH is not only a regional education house. It opened also with much energy to the European dimension.
The house and its hotel are functionally well equipped, and are financially generously secured by the diocese Speyer and Rhineland-Palatinate. For the responsible body has been founded a registered association, to which belong the diocese Speyer, the Society of Jesus, and the general association of Catholic parishes of Ludwigshafen and Mannheim.
The year 2005 brought important changes for the diocese Speyer, due to 25% smaller revenues the diocese will in the future support two educational houses only. To the Heinrich Pesch House has been transferred the responsibility for the diocese-own academy. With its educational offers it distinguished itself in the past years as a forum for applied ethics and social practice, and will continue as Catholic Academy Rhine-Neckar to strengthen this orientation. Further the diocesan planning intends to attach to the HPH, starting from the year 2007, a department of family training.