At the head of the Benedictine monastic community is the abbot. This office is currently held by Thomas Maria Freihart. He was born in 1960 as the eldest son of a farming family with eight children in Raitenbuch near Berching. In 1980 Freihart entered Plankstetten Abbey as a novice and made his perpetual profession there in 1984 as a Benedictine monk. He studied theology at the Catholic University of Eichstätt and was ordained a priest in 1986. In 1988 he continued his studies at the Benedictine College of Sant’Anselmo in Rome and graduated in 1991 with a degree from the Monastic Institute. After his return from Rome, Father Thomas ran the guest house in Plankstetten Abbey; he was also novice master and prior there from 1993.
On October 2, 1995, Thomas Maria Freihart, who came from Plankstetten, was elected Prior Administrator, i.e. temporary Superior of Weltenburg Abbey, succeeding Abbot Dr. Thomas Niggl. On June 25, 1998, the convent elected him the 70th abbot of the traditional monastery. On September 19 of the same year, Bishop Manfred Müller (Regensburg) performed the solemn abbot consecration at a pontifical mass in the monastery church of St. George.
Abbot Thomas places his service under the motto: “Caritatem non derelinquere — don’t give up on love”. With this motto from the 4th Chapter of the Rule of St. Benedict, the abbot refers to his central task, namely to ensure that the love of Christ determines living together in the community.
The coat of arms of Abbot Thomas M. Freihart OSB von Weltenburg combines the emblem of the abbey with personal symbols. Since 1415, the red paw cross has stood for the patron saint of church and monastery, St. george Three ears of wheat indicate that Thomas M. Freihart came from a farming family; at the same time they symbolize St. Eucharist, alluding to the abbot’s motto. The blue color and the green triple mountain are borrowed from the coat of arms of his professed monastery, Plankstetten Abbey. The square in the lower left corner of the four-part shield is both an attribute of St. Joseph (baptismal name) as well as St. Apostle Thomas (religious name), the patron saint of the abbot.
shield squared of silver and blue; 1 and 3 a continuous red cross-pattern; 2 three golden ears of corn on a green three-mountain; 4 an oblique golden angle hook. On the shield is a silver miter with red trimmings, behind it a golden abbot’s baton, slanted to the left, with a silver cloth flying away.