Schönstatt - Begegnungen

A Celebration of Love –
in Schoenstatt, in Querétaro, in Bethlehem, in Harare

Covenant Renewal on August 18, 2000

Frauen aus der Tschechischen Republik nach der Bündnisfeier auf dem Kirchplatz der Anbetungskirche, Berg Schönstatt
A group of Schoenstatt Mothers from the Czech Republic was present

Mädchen aus Weißrussland und Polen singen nach der Bündnisfeier
Girls from Belorussia and Poland sang by the fire

In der Gründerkapelle: Pilgerheiligtümer vor der Aussendung im August und September
Harare, Zimbabwe: In der Pfarrei St. Martin findet die Bündnisfeier statt.
Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe - a Covenant Service is held here each month

(mkf) Each 18th of the month, tens of thousands of Schoenstatt members and friends gather by a shrine, way side shrine, home shrine or pilgrim shrine, and spiritually united with each other renew the Covenant of Love with Mary, the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt. Those who do this in Schoenstatt represent all of them by the Original Shrine and by the tomb of Father Kentenich, the places which are the 'heart' of Schoenstatt. On August 18, the participants in Schoenstatt also felt specially united with the youth in Rome.

During the 6:30 a.m. Holy Mass in the Original Shrine, pilgrim shrines to be sent out were blessed and afterwards brought to the Founder Chapel. A couple from Paraguay made their blank check in the Original Shrine, at the same time that local Schoenstatt members, a group of Schoenstatt mothers from the Czech Republic – most of them in Schoenstatt for the first time – , and Schoenstatt mothers from the Cologne diocese, came together in the Adoration Church for the covenant renewal.

United with: Querétaro, Mexico – and the priests and seminarians retreating there

Father Michael Schapfel, who had just returned from Querétaro, Mexico, led the celebration. In his sermon, he inspired all to reflect on the Schoenstatt highlights of the past months and join together in gratitude. He mentioned the Schoenstatt Institute of Families' General Chapter and the new government of the Institute, the International Meeting of the Schoenstatt Girls', the World Youth Day. Then, he shared his experience in Querétaro during a fruitful

retreat for priests and seminarians from all over Mexico; some of them had driven 17 hours to get there. They had expressed so much gratitude for having found Schoenstatt and the Blessed Mother. He challenged the German Schoenstatt movement to lead many priests to the shrine, to the Blessed Mother – like Father Kentenich did in the thirties. The covenant celebration was marked by the Schoenstatt Priests' motto: " To Find and Celebrate God in

Persons" . At the beginning, bits of experiences were shared, for example from a female prisoner in a German jail, who receives a pilgrim shrine and returned to the faith, from a student who found a long-forgotten novena when she was nervous with her final exams and now sees Father Kentenich as her "interpreter" to God. They all had found God in persons who passed on their joy, faith and confidence.

All were invited to think of one person in whom they had found God in the past, and to give thank for this gift; to give all the joys and sorrows of the past time to the Capital of grace. A paragraph from the First Founding Document was read, then all recalled the moment when they first made their covenant.

United with: Bethlehem - and Schoenstatt Pilgrims from Chile and Ecuador

"I liked the text that was read then, " shared a woman from the families' group, "It really touched me – to consecrate to my mother: my eyes with all they had seen, and all they don't want to see; my ears with all they heard, my heart with all its sorrows and un-shared pains and joys; my mouth with all the nasty and nice words I said ... And to know that the Blessed Mother does not want a perfect heart, but my heart."

Then, all united spiritually with the Schoenstatters in the whole world and renewed the Covenant of Love. "Protect us with your mantle" was sung – the song that some hours before had resounded in the Milk Grotto Church in the shepherds' fields in Bethlehem. A group of Schoenstatt pilgrims from Chile, and Ecuador, had Holy Mass in the Nativity Church in Bethlehem on this Covenant Day. "Then we discovered the MTA picture in the Milk Grotto Church, and we sang the family hymn," shared Angela Santos. The day before, some from the group had met with Schoenstatt members in Nazareth.

United with - Belorussia, Poland, and 10,000 pilgrims to Koszalin

In Schoenstatt, all processed out to the fire. Girls from Belorussia and Poland sang songs and played instruments. The girls shared their joy about the 10,000 or so participants in the crowning celebration in the shrine in Koszalin, Poland - the one that was dedicated by Pope John Paul II. Five bishops had been present on August 15, 2000, for the crowning. The joyful songs sung by these girls made many of the participants in Schoenstatt stay. Children played by the fountain, small groups got together and shared news – a family get-together by the covenant fire.

United with – Harare , Zimbabwe and the Longing for a Shrine

At the same time, Schoenstatt members and friends gathered at St. Martins' Parish in Harare, Zimbabwe. "We met at St. Martin's parish for mass which was followed by our covenant service," shared Marlene Peter. "It is a poor parish where the people have big hearts and strong faith. Most of them live in crowded conditions, houses very small and close together. The church is very well looked after by the parishioners, they are adding extensions just outside the Exit doors to give more room as it has become far too small. The meditation in our Covenant service spoke of homelessness. Sheila shared some of her experiences on the pilgrimage to Dachau with the Union Mothers. Speaking about the trip to Dachau she noted that today in Zimbabwe we are experiencing in some way a 'Dachau situation' and we needed to ask ourselves what is being asked of the Zimbabwean Schoenstatt Family in these times? We all long for a shrine and she urged us to really strive for one and offer up prayers and sacrifices through our home shrines for this desire. She told us that the Philippine Schoenstatt Family will join us in praying for our shrine as we will pray for theirs. At the moment, we have very serious shortages of fuel, petrol, diesel and paraffin - the latter very much needed by the poor for their cooking and water heating and lamps. Foreign currency is also short, no jobs, crime. So prayers were offered up both for these material needs of daily life as well as for our spiritual needs. Meeting afterward for tea, news and a chat cheered us up and we came home feeling comforted and at peace."

English edition: Marlene Peter, Harare, Zimbabwe

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Letzte Aktualisierung: 25.08.2000 15:53 Mail: Redaktion / Webmaster
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