A Second Time – First Time Experience
Hungarian Schoenstatt Federation Families sealed Covenant of Love in the Original Shrine
(Anna Virágh) Eleven Hungarian families form the first course of the Families' Federation in Hungary – the founding generation in this former Communist country. They rented a bus and came to Schoenstatt (April 7-10) to seal their covenant in the Original Shrine.
About 50 years ago – in 1950 – a small group of people knelt in the Original Shrine: the first members of the families' federation. For the first time, families sealed the covenant of love in the intention of joining the federation.
For the first time - a first time experience: this implies the beginning of something new. A "first time" experience should be followed by a second, a third time ...
God's grace made it possible: a big number of courses of the families' federation followed. But most of their covenants were sealed in the then erected shrine of the families' federation, or in a shrine in the countries, where the families' federation started.
A Second "First Time" - 50 Years Later
Now, after so many years, a second "first time" experience took place in the Original Shrine ... The first Hungarian course of the families' federation came to Schoenstatt, to the end of each family hearing: "From now on, you are a Schoenstatt federation family!"
The 11 Hungarian couples arrived in Schoenstatt on April 7, at night. The following day was marked by silence and spiritually preparing – so the souls could arrive. Father Tilmann Beller accompanied the families. He had prepared them through four years for this event of their first covenant in the federation.
At 4:30 PM, the families gathered for a holy Mass in the shrine of the families, in Schoenstatt. "A lot of things are known today," Father Beller stated. "But there is one great longing – a longing for a specific atmosphere, the atmosphere of love." This is the vocation of the families in the federation.
After holy Mass, the families made a pilgrimage to Father Kentenich's tomb. Here, each family thanked in silence for all the gifts and graces received in Schoenstatt, and placed their petitions and presents into his hands. The eleven Hungarian families were joined by Renate and Norbert Martin, the leaders of the German Families' Federation.
Covenant in the Original Shrine
Early that night, the families went to the Original Shrine to seal their covenant. The number of those kneeling in the little shrine was not big – but countless persons were spiritually there, those who accompanied these pioneer families in prayer.
The Hungarian families prayed: "Dear Mother Thrice Admirable, our dear Father Kentenich! We ask you for your intercession, that this first Hungarian course of the Families' Federation will be followed by many others! And we also ask for 12 Hungarian Schoenstatt Sisters and five Hungarian Schoenstatt Fathers!"
Schoenstatt in Hungary began with a Hungarian family who learned about Schoenstatt, and joined the movement, when living in Austria. They returned to Hungary to spread Schoenstatt. Meanwhile, the growing Schoenstatt family in Hungary has a house in Obudavar, near Lake Balaton. A wayside shrine stands at the place of a future Schoenstatt Shrine in Hungary. There are many groups of Schoenstatt families, and since a couple of years, also Schoenstatt Girls. In 1999, a first "Day for Women" was held in Hungary, and two in 2000 – others are planned for fall.