Your Shrine – Our Home
(Patricia McEvoy, John Bebee, mkf) On October 1 Bishop Terence John Brain of Salford, dedicated the first Daughter Shrine in England. Approximately 900 people, among them several visitors from Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Australia, Mexico and South America, attended the celebration. Thirty years of preparation, two years of planning, 10 months of building the Shrine came to a climax on this Sunday, when the Schoenstatt Movement of England found "A Home for a Lifetime" in their Schoenstatt Shrine in Kearsley, Bolton, Greater Manchester.
Literally up to the last moment, work was being done in and around the Shrine, and prayers were being said, (not only in England), for good weather. And as the festive moment of the dedication of the first daughter Shrine in England approached, not only was all the work done, but blue skies and sunshine welcomed the 900 or so participants – although heavy rain had been forecast for the whole of England. Joy, gratitude and awe marked the atmosphere of the celebration. One participant summarised: "The warm welcome we received, the site of this beautiful Shrine, the lovely marquee with the fantastic display of flowers, the music, the singing and the Mass, – everything was just perfect."
The Shrine is built on a hillside with a valley below and then views of distant hills beyond: "We thought that only Our Blessed Mother could have chosen such a spot. The setting is quite magnificent!"
"It Feels Like a Dream"
For dedication a large tent had been put up just behind the Shrine, seating about 850 people, but the congregation was so large that some had to stand at the back! Most were from the United Kingdom, but there were also visitors from Australia – they had come over from Schoenstatt – , South America, Ireland, and Germany. A Mexican couple who had moved from Querétaro to Manchester on September 18 were able to join in the celebration and enjoyed being there very much. The representatives of the local community were invited to the dedication celebrations.
Some members of the Focolare movement form Liverpool were there, among them also Anglicans. The local Methodist Minister was present, also. John Bebee, retired Methodist minister, from Rustington, got to know Schoenstatt in Manchester: "Jan and I were glad to have been invited to the Dedication. We have known some of the people in the Manchester groups for over 20 years and for us it seemed like joining part of our family. We really did feel included; the fact that we are not Catholics did not seem to matter; during Communion we and all non-Catholics were invited to receive a blessing."
The MTA picture, decorated with an abundance of flowers, was placed by the altar, next to a model Shrine that symbolised the longing of the entire English Schoenstatt Movement for a Shrine. "Shrine 2000" – this vision had enkindled their love and striving for the past years. "Words cannot describe our feelings," shared Pat McEvoy from Liverpool. "It is quite an emotional experience. There were so many tears of joy. It is so lovely to have a Shrine of our own near to us. I just love being in the Shrines. It is wonderful to think that our English peoples have an opportunity to enjoy this sanctuary of love and peace. We hope and pray that it will help to make England once again `Mary's Dowry`."
A member of one of the Schoenstatt family groups added: "I just can't believe it ! Is it really true after all these years of waiting and longing ? It feels like a dream. It is a dream come true! Isn't it brilliant!" A choir provided songs for the festive Holy Mass; Bishop Terence Brain was the main celebrant. Many Schoenstatt Fathers and priests stood at the altar with him. The moment of the actual blessing was incorporated into the Holy Mass, with the bishop knocking at the door of the still closed Shrine, as one special moment of the rite.
Opening the Door for Our Lady
Patricia McEvoy and her husband Bill had the special task of opening the door for Our Lady: "Bill and I were so honoured to have been asked to open the Shrine door for Bishop Brain. We felt that we were opening the door for Our Lady to come into the Shrine. We really did welcome her and asked her to work miracles of grace not only for England, but for all our Schoenstatt family. I particularly remembered the Professional Ladies in Germany, because I felt that it was their prayers for good weather that resulted in the sun shining. The beauty of the colourful display of flowers around the altar in the Shrine expressed our joy and happiness in welcoming Our Blessed Mother." The Schoenstatt Movement in Cuidad del Este, Paraguay, who celebrated the dedication of their new Shrine on the same day, were especially united in prayer with the Schoenstatt Movement in England.
"A Home for a Lifetime "
"Our Lady is here!" – This remark was overheard again and again, when, after the Holy Mass, all could visit the Shrine. "Isn't the Shrine beautiful ? It is so peaceful." The blue and yellow ribbons which had been in each one's text of the celebration, were placed in a net on the right wall inside the Shrine, as an expression of bonding. "The whole day was just wonderful from beginning to end. It was just perfect," said one visitor. Another one: "It was one of the best days of my life."
"Your Shrine - Our Home" - the name under which the Schoenstatt Shrine in England was dedicated, is a program, and an experience. Already on the day of its dedication, this new shrine became a home for many. "I can't wait to come back." – " What a peaceful place." John Bebee: "Our sadness is that we are 300 miles away and cannot go there very often!"
Pat McEvoy summarised the feeling of the day: "I have never seen so many people with such happy, smiling faces, full of excitement and enthusiasm. It is a memory that will forever live in my heart."
English edition: Marlene Peter, Harare, Zimbabwe
Letzte Aktualisierung: 16.10.2000 11:58 Mail: Redaktion / Webmaster
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