Original Shrine: Blessing at Midnight
(mkf) Adoration took place in the Original Shrine throughout the evening. The miniature flags on the window sills in the sanctuary reminded everyone of the International Schoenstatt and the prayer chain from shrine to shrine. Some families, league members, and some Ladies of Schoenstatt entered the shrine around 9:00 pm: "The year 2000 has already begun in India," one of them said. "It is beautiful to know we are here - and Schoenstatt members are praying at the same time in the shrine in Bangalore." Schoenstatt members from various branches and countries - Indonesia, Germany, USA, Poland, Brazil, Chile, and others, - were in the Original shrine, in silent prayer.
The Men's and Girls' Youth hosted a New Year's Eve Party for all interested Schoenstatters in the Sonnenau. At 10:30 pm about 75 young people gathered at the Original Shrine. "We unite with the prayer around the world, as we represent the Schoenstatt family, our church and all those who receive graces from this place of grace." All was placed into the hands of the Mother Thrice Admirable. Joyful songs, accompanied by flutes and guitar, marked an atmosphere of hope and gratitude. With short meditations with bible quotes on Jesus, the light of the world, and inspirations about the light from Bethlehem, they looked back on what was positive in the past and where a need for a new beginning might be. Then they lit candles from the light from Bethlehem - candle to candle going out of the Original Shrine. Outside, many youth and Schoenstatters from different branches, had joined, enjoying the inspirational prayer service. There were not enough candles for everyone so some handed the candles on to the next person and this chain continued. At the end, everyone could pick a sentence from Fr. Kentenich for the New Year. Then the youth made a torchlight procession back to the Sonnenau.
At 11:45 pm the Pallottines had a closing of the year benediction. Many members from the various communities of Schoenstatt were present: Ladies of Schoenstatt, Youth, Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, Brothers of Mary, Federation Women, Families, Professional Women, etc. Petitions included the intentions of all those who suffer, as well as friends and loved ones, and all the youth and children who look with hope into the future.
At Midnight - the bell from the Marienau shrine rang a few minutes before the hour. All was still. It was as if everyone held their breath to see what would happen. Then the "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name" was sung as the bell from the Original Shrine was rung. The Blessing was given and New Year's greetings began. Fireworks went off in various parts of Vallendar.
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