From the very beginning, this was an open feast. "It was so good to simply arrive and not immediately have to attend a common event!" Those who came to Maria Rast in the course of the morning and early afternoon would first see the shrine in feastday decoration. No one was late because it didn't matter what time they arrived, a big relief especially for families with small children! The shrine was open all day, and a welcome address was presented by a different Schoenstatt family every half hour, seven times altogether. Benches in front of the shrine, surrounded by decorative plants, provided a zone of silence and prayer around the shrine - well frequented by many visitors throughout the day. Open sing-alongs, dances, meditations, talks, discussion groups, a video about the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, informative displays on the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Shrine Campaign, the Schoenstatt Branches, Father Kentenich, Karl Leisner (beatified in 1996), Sr. Emilie (process of beatification opened in 1999), rummage sales, a documentation on the history of the shrine and center and several other programs were offered in the house, the park, and house chapel. Joyful welcome, greeting, laughter everywhere. "This is sure not boring," said a girl. "It's real fun!" The children, of course, begged their parents to go with them to the children's play ground!
Experiences from Everyday Life - Sparks of Faith from the Shrine
At 2:00pm, Sr. M. Antonja Schomberg, Provincial of the Northern German Province of the Secular Institute of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, welcomed the participants in the tent: "It was very important to us to celebrate and prepare this day together with the Schoenstatt Movement, with many friends of the shrine, with parish members." On behalf of the Cologne Schoenstatt Movement, Msgr. Felix Kreutzwald greeted the guests.
A theatrical performance followed. In the introductory scene, a couple hiking in the Eifel hills found the shrine by chance and wondered about it. This scene opened a series of clips about the history of Schoenstatt, the daughter shrines, and the shrine in Maria Rast with its mission to light sparks of faith in everybody. In a prayer at the dedication of the sshrine, Father Kentenich ha asked the Blessed Mother to light the light of faith in all those coming to the shrine - the "light of faith, the light of belief in Divine Providence, so everyone would understand the meaning of the events of this time." Scenes showed in a very impressive way how people experienced this as a reality. All the scenes were based on authentic experiences shared by visitors of the shrine.
The Düsseldorf choir "Chorus Cum Animo", led by Georg Flock and accompanied at the organ by Oliver Drechsler, provided the music for the festive Holy Mass. Together with 15 priests from nearby parishes and from the Schoenstatt Priests' Communities, Cardinal Meisner of Cologne celebrated the Holy Mass. In his sermon he spoke about the encounter of Mary and Elizabeth (the feast of the Visitation is celebrated on July 2nd in Germany), and the "homage paid to Mary by the Holy Spirit: 'Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.'" Before the final blessing, Cardinal Meisner expressed thanks for the atmosphere of faith he had sensed during this celebration: "I always knew that Father Kentenich's charisma was important for the present church, but I only realized in the past few years that it is very important ... I thank you for your genuine witness of faith in our country, marked by self-esteem and confidence."
Letzte Aktualisierung: 25.07.2000 11:38 Mail: Redaktion / Webmaster
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