Schönstatt - Oktoberwoche

October Week
Semana de Octubre


in Schönstatt

Sharing the Founder's Mission Covenant Colors

October Week in Schoenstatt focused on the Network of Shrines

Opening of the October Week in the Pilgrims' Church
Eröffnung der Oktoberwoche in der Pilgerkirche
Opening Talk: Father Tilmann Beller Movement Leader
Eröffnungssvortrag: Pater Tilmann Beller
Mr. and Mrs. Dambacher: "30 Pilgrim Shrines travel in our parish!"
Ehepaar Dambacher: "Jetzt gibt es 30 Pilgerheiligtümer in unserer Pfarrei!"

Sr.M.Kornelia Fischer:
"25 volunteers from several countries belong to PressOffice Schoenstatt's team"
"Zum Team von PressOffice Schoenstatt gehören 25 ehrenamtliche Mitarbeiter aus aller Welt."

Concelebration - Schoenstatt Priests in charge for Schoenstatt in the dioceses
Konzelebration - Diözesanleiter und -präsides

After the holy Mass, all processed to the Original Shrine
Prozession zum Urheiligtum nach dem Eröffnungsgottesdienst

The participants of the October Week consciously represented the international Schoenstatt family
Stellvertretend für die weltweite Schönstattfamilie waren die Delegieten der Oktoberwoche beim Urheiligtum

Covenant Fire by the Original Shrine
Bündnisfeuer am Urheiligtum

Covenant renewal by the Original Shrine
Bündniserneuerung am Urheiligtum

Schoenstatt Girls' Youth lead the singing by the fire
Schönstatt-Mädchenjugend stimmte beim Feuer noch Lieder an

PressOffice Schoenstatt, hbre © 2000

(mkf) On the evening of October 18, Schoenstatt's Founding and Covenant Day, while Schoenstatt members all over the world united in celebrating the Covenant of Love, "October Week", the annual Leaders' Conference in Germany, was opened. Approximately 1,000 persons gathered in the Pilgrims' Church. After Father Beller's opening talk and a Holy Mass, all processed to the Original Shrine - consciously representing the entire international Schoenstatt Movement.

It's a special experience to begin October Week on October 18 - the vast majority of the participants did not remember any such previous occasion. "This is a special gift for me," said Dr. Inge Birk, General Superior of the Ladies of Schoenstatt. "It is so special to go into this convention starting with the Covenant Day and to start it here by the Original Shrine. The graces from here may now flow into the whole group." The opening took place in the Pilgrims' Church - extraordinary as well and also related to October 18.

From there, all went to the Original Shrine in a candlelight procession to renew the Covenant of Love there in unity and representing all who anywhere in the world celebrate the Covenant Day.

Encounter and Relationship: Father Kentenich Speaks to Me

Within one month, Father Beller stated at the beginning of his talk, two Schoenstatt persons had been called to eternity, who for years had been involved in the October Week celebration: Sr. M. Ilona (+20.9.2000), General Assistant of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, and Monsignor Werner Krimm, (+ 16.10.2000), for years a Schoenstatt diocesan leader in Mainz. Both had been known and respected for their joyous ways and the seriousness of their search for Schoenstatt's future path. Monsignor Krimm's testimony about his relationship with Father Kentenich set the tone for the opening talk.

"We have a great Father. I owe everything to him ... We can change everything with the magic wand of his Father love." Personal encounters with Father Kentenich, said Father Beller, would create an awareness that "He is my Father." Studying and reading his texts would then mean: "He speaks to me. This is his message to me, and therefore this is my message to the world."

An individual and personal share of the Founder's charisma.

The same process is happening in the different communities that mirror the multifaceted charisma of the Founder. The joy in one's personal share in the Founder's charisma, the evaluation of the original share of one's own community or branch, and the joy in others who shared in the Founder's charisma are the basic prerequisites to live in a church moved by the Spirit, in a church inspired by a multitude of charisma.

Encounters with the charismas of other religious movements - Focolare, Sant' Egidio - will take place during this October Week.

A Network of Shrines - Reaching Out to the World

The October Week, said Father Beller, is focused on the network of shrines. On October 22, the German Schoenstatt will celebrate the shrines as places of Christ's rebirth. The network of shrines reaches out to the world, thus expanding the "beautiful place" created by the Covenant of Love. Father Beller mentioned three steps that were taken leading to this goal: the Schoenstatt Priests' Pastoral Congress, the Pilgrim Mother, and the Schoenstatt Press Office.

The network of shrines, as a network of life and love consisting of daughter shrines, home shrines, and pilgrim shrines, poses a challenge: My "here and now," my home - a small Schoenstatt Center.

Build From Here A World Which Is Pleasing To The Father

"There is something about the Home Shrine," said Mr. Dambacher in his statement included in Fr. Beller's talk. Day by day, he and his wife had enjoyed life, with their Home Shrine being the true center of their marriage. And then one day they had sensed the Blessed Mother's urge: "I need you. Remember the Pilgrim Shrines." "That's a great thing, but not for me. I cannot do that." This clear answer was somehow ignored by the Blessed Mother, who finally got Mrs. Dambacher going, led by the motto: "Whether we meet with failure or with success, we want to proclaim your love." Three weeks of "street working" (and neglecting her household) brought 18 circles with 200 families. "But that's only 50% of the parish," her husband said. "What are we going to do with the remaining 50%?" They went on, and the number of pilgrim shrines travelling to families in their parish totals 30. "Most of the participants do not go to church!" Again, a question arose while the two were in their Home Shrine: "And what about the other parishes?" Some hours spent on the phone with parish priests, invitations to speak to parish councils, fear and courage, and the result: "Sometimes it was hard. But in each parish where we spoke, the Blessed Mother found people who opened their homes to Jesus and to her." No wonder. The Dambachers' Home Shrine has a motto: " Build From Here a World Which Is Pleasing To The Father!"

A different way of reaching out to others and creating a network was presented by Sr. Kornelia who spoke about the Schoenstatt Internet website and public relations. More than 25 volunteers from all over the world working as correspondents and doing translations and editions form Schoenstatt's Press Office It's inspiring to know what is going on in Schoenstatt and to share because, "We have something to pass on. Schoenstatt can be shared. Schoenstatt gives a home and transforms. Schoenstatt grows, not necessarily just in numbers. Schoenstatt makes a difference. That's the simple message shared. To know about each other and about successes of apostolic projects creates joy and Schoenstatt pride and increases the dynamic unity of an apostolic movement."

Covenant Renewal - Representing the International Schoenstatt Family

After a short break, Holy Mass followed. Father Treutlein was the main celebrant, and the Women's Federation prepared the texts and songs. Meanwhile, it became dark. All of the participants had a light with the symbol of the Holy Year. About one thousand people, with lights in their hands, processed to the Original Shrine, consciously representing the international Schoenstatt family on this day and at this place. The covenant fire was lighted. The celebration by the Original Shrine was simple and had only one subject the Covenant of Love; the Covenant of Love that was sealed by Father Kentenich and the boys on October 18, 1914; the Covenant of Love that brought Schoenstatt into the lives of all those who stood around the Shrine and to all those in the world who celebrated the Covenant on this day. Texts from the First Founding Document were read. Then all renewed the Covenant of Love. All held candles, and many tried to go into the Original Shrine or at least find a place outside by the windows. Small flags from all countries stood on the window sills in the sanctuary, reminding everybody of the international Schoenstatt. After "Protect Us With Your Mantle" was sung and the blessing was given, some young women from the Schoenstatt Girls' Youth started to sing one song after the other, the "sound" of the International Meeting. Hanna Riebesehl summarized the experience of this moment: "We are celebrating the 18th, our Covenant. And we celebrate it here!"

English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, Wisconsin, USA



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