(mkf) On February 18, the renewal of the covenant united the international Schoenstatt, all those, who anywhere in the world renewed their covenant of love in their home shrines or by a Pilgrim shrine. The Schoenstatt family and local visitors, together with retreatants from various branches, joined in celebrating the Covenant of Love in Schoenstatt.
Covenant day dawned on a white Schoenstatt – a beautiful winter scenery. Like on each 18th of the month, pilgrim shrines were brought to the Original Shrine for the 6:30am holy Mass and blessed afterwards. In these 50 shrines, the MTA will bring Jesus to 50 new groups that will start in Lent.
Approximately 300 Schoenstatters joined in the adoration church at 7:30pm to renew the covenant of love. Father Beller led the celebration. He welcomed the local visitors and Schoenstatt Family, and all those who had arrived short before for retreats: families from the Limburg and Trier dioceses meeting in the House of the Families, mothers from various areas who were joining a training weekend, 20 women from academic professions, Women’s League from the Speyer, Fulda and Trier dioceses.
Flags stood at the front left near the altar of the Adoration Church and reminded everyone of the International Schoenstatt - also well represented through Schoenstatters present from India, Brazil, Chile, Ireland, USA, England, Slovakia, Poland, Argentina, Switzerland, and other countries.
Transforming each day’s "Dachau" into a beautiful place
The Schoenstatt Apostolate of the Sick and Handicapped set the tone for this covenant renewal, as their year’s motto was the inspiration for the texts: Praise and Thanksgiving to you, Triune God - You are where I am. Amen.
An inspiring example of the hidden and quiet apostolate of the sick people was shared: A 72-year-old woman who suffers from polio since she was 20 years, is sincerely grateful to have been able to give so much into the capital of grace for others. "We may not be able to change the conditions," Fr. Beller commented, "but we do try and change the way how we deal with the conditions." That’s the reason why those around Father Kentenich in Dachau, in the concentration camp, could experience Dachau as a wonderland, a beautiful place. This is how we can help our MTA to transform the Dachaus of our and other’s everyday lives into a beautiful place.
Everyone was invited to remember the gifts and graces of the past weeks and to offer all of the joys, sufferings, disappointments and longings to the capital of grace. The slips of paper were collected and put into the jar placed by the MTA picture.
United as one family – in Schoenstatt, Harare, Mexico City, and elsewhere
Then, all renewed our covenant, united as one family, with all those in the world who are close to our MTA in a pilgrim shrine, home shrine, replica shrine. The reality of being one family in the covenant is an experience reflected and fostered via Internet communication:
Meeting by the fire
All were invited outside to the fire where the Capital of Grace was burned. Some families from Trier started singing "Protect us with your mantle", and other Schoenstatt songs. Though it was cold and already dark, many people stayed sharing and enjoying to be together. Two couples had spontaneously decided to make the 1 ½ hour ride from their town to join the covenant celebration in Schoenstatt. "One of our husbands did not really want to go, because of the snow, but we talked him into coming with us. Now he is so excited with the many families here and the international atmosphere."
Together with the slips of paper from the participants and from those who had placed their "capital of grace" in a jar in one of the shrines in Schoenstatt, a poster with colorful paper clips and a letter to the MTA was burning in the fire – sent via mail by a university student of San Diego, California.