"Build from here a better world" – Shrine 1975 - 2000
25th Anniversary of the Aurum Patris Shrine in Johannesburg
(Barbara Kern, Johannesburg) The celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Aurum Patris Shrine in Johannesburg – dedicated on October 18,1975 – was in 3 parts. On the 18th October, a Holy Mass in the Shrine specially for the people who physically built the Shrine, on 21st October a Thanksgiving Mass at Malvern followed by a Jubilee pilgrimage to the Shrine, and on 22nd October Holy Mass, followed by shared experiences of the Shrine and formation of the year's motto.
18th October: In spite of threatening rain the evening was beautiful, by 19:30 when Mass began it was dark and peaceful. The Shrine was full and overflowing with Schoenstatters, old and new. They gathered together to give recognition and thanks to the members of the Movement who built the Shrine 25 years ago. The Mass opened with a special welcome to the builders present, a poem specially written for the occasion was read. The Mass was very beautiful. Fr Bernhard of the Comboni Missionaries gave a very uplifting sermon; the prayers of the faithful were like listening to the history of the Shrine and the offertory procession included builders' tools – very fitting. As Masses tend to be in Schoenstatt, it was very long but absolutely wonderful. "We are so grateful
to the Sisters and Movement members who had the vision and courage to do what seemed to be an impossible task," said one of the Schoenstatt members, " given the lack of sufficient funds and for the most part, amateur but willing instruments."
After Mass slides were shown of the actual building operations. The participants saw medals being put into the foundations of the Shrine. Those builders who had died, or who were too ill to attend, or who had moved away, were joyfully recognised and acknowledged. There was such animation during the slide show, people saying "remember that", "look we are getting more proficient" and "how did we manage that". There was also an absolute acknowledgement that Our Lady had truly taken up her abode there. The slides brought back to life the obvious camaraderie, the hard work but also the fun. The slides showed shared picnic lunches provided by wives, children running around, babies in prams. Good family stuff! It was a glorious trip down memory lane for those present at the time of building; and for those who weren't present a time to be very grateful for their efforts - a true labour of love.
At the social gathering that followed the atmosphere was joyful, full of reminiscences, and it was very, very late into the night before all went home. A truly memorable occasion, one for the books.
Mass of Thanksgiving
21st October: The main celebrant of the Mass of Thanksgiving was Bishop Reginald Orsmond of the Diocese. The church (which had to used because of the number of people attending) was beautifully prepared, the flowers and special place of honour prepared for the MTA picture were really beautiful. The entrance procession was solemn and impressive as the picture of the MTA, the Shrine, the Papal, South African and Zimbabwean flags were brought into the church.
There were also banners of various branches. During this procession there was a trumpet voluntary. All sang a hymn to Our Lady as the picture was placed in a position of honour. At the entrance hymn the cross bearer, acolytes and servers and many concelebrating priests processed to the altar where they joined Bishop Orsmond at the altar.
Before Mass itself began a short explanation of proceedings was given and a warm welcome was extended to all present. The Bishop was thanked for gracing with his presence (really appreciated as he is not well). Gratitude was expressed for the presence of the delegation from Zimbabwe, Sr Eleonora, the Schoenstatt Sisters' Provincial, Miss A. Quinting of Women's Union, Germany and Fr Michael Hagan the superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers. The Mass was that of "Mary, Image and Mother of the Church". In his sermon the Bishop spoke of " Nothing is impossible with God" and of Our Lady's role in salvation history. He also thanked the Schoenstatt Movement for all the apostolic work done by its members. At the offertory procession, which was once again impressive and meaningful, various symbols were taken up and these were presented to the Bishop. These included a small replica of the Father symbol, as our pledge to erect a Father symbol in the Shrine, a Pilgrim Mother Shrine, an African jar containing symbolic offerings of the Schoenstatt Family, a Jubilee candle, the scroll with all our deceased members' names and a pilgrimage/ jubilee candle from Zimbabwe. These were then placed around the picture of our MTA. The Zimbabwean candle was placed on the altar and the gifts of bread and wine followed.
At the end of the Mass Sr Eleonora and Sr. Judith came forward to take the MTA picture on pilgrimage, together with the congregation back to the Shrine. After the Bishop's final blessing, the Bishop and Fr Michael accompanied joined in this pilgrimage. At the Shrine there was a short ceremony of welcome, prayers and singing after which the Bishop once again gave us his blessing.
Afterwards refreshments were served, old acquaintances renewed and enjoyed. It was a truly blessed occasion.
From the Shrine – "Build From Here a Better World"
22nd October: This day the Schoenstatt Family gathered from far and wide for their October, Jubilee and 25th Anniversary celebration and preparations for the coming year. The day began with Mass in the training center hall, once again officiated by Fr Bernhard – as usual his sermon was pertinent and enlightening.
During the offertory the Refugee Family League members from Rwanda sang and danced. After the Mass all were told that the words of the song, roughly translated, were – Mary we greet you, we come with our brothers and sisters to bring you a message, we will serve you, we have no possessions, only our rosaries and the Word of God, but we come to serve you. During the Eucharistic prayer at the prayers for the dead, the names of the dead on the scroll were quietly and reverently read out. Before the final blessing all went in procession to the Shrine where a solemn pledge was made to erect a Father symbol in the near future.
Afterwards, at tea, "we renewed old acquaintances," shared one Schoenstatt member, " and felt very at home and happy to be the Schoenstatt Family that we are."
Next on the programme, experiences of the Shrine were shared: "There was an overall acknowledgement of the reality that our Shrine is our powerhouse. We heard of peace, transformation, miracles, successful missions and undertakings also of many graces and blessings."
After a shared lunch, picnic style, in the grounds the annual motto was formulated. Not surprisingly, the Schoenstatt family went back to thier roots. They agreed unanimously on the motto: From the Shrine - " Build from here a better world." These words were spoken by Fr Kentenich in Johannesburg and are on the corner stone of the Shrine. This motto was announced after Benediction in the Shrine, which brought the celebrations to an official end. But many lingered on, having tea together, saying goodbyes, still savouring the time together.
Throughout the celebrations the weather was kind and the spirit of family strong – all in all a wonderful 25th Anniversary celebration: "As always Our Mother cared perfectly!"
Letzte Aktualisierung: 31.10.2000 12:38 Mail: Redaktion / Webmaster
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