Schönstatt - Begegnungen

Making Use of the Verve of One's Own Heart

A Sunday in September - Sunny, Spirited, and Very Young

Young pilgrims by the Original Shrine
Junge Wallfahrer am Urheiligtum
Several children plan to bring thier friends along next time!
Mehrere Kinder kündigten an, beim nächsten Mal ihre Freunde mitzubringen!
Encounter in the Founder Chapel
Begegnung in der Gründerkapelle
The children liked the crafting ...
Den Kindern gefiel das Basteln ...
Chilean and German Professionals enjoyed an evening with crafting - no translation needed
Kreatives Tun braucht keine Sprache: chilenische und deutsche Berufstätige
Monsignore Arlindo Mombach
Hoy Mass in the Original Shrine
Heilige Messe im Urheiligtum
Religious experiences for children -- one of the main objectives of the weekend retreat in Schoenstatt
Darum geht es in Schönstatt zentral: schon den Kindern relirgiöse Erlebnisse vermitteln
Excited audience of the marionette play
Begeisterte Zuschauer beim Kasperletheater
Fotos: PressOfficeSchoenstatt, mkf © 2000

(mkf) Making use of the verve of one's own heart" - this inspiration from the life and teaching of Father Kentenich set the tone for the mother-children weekend in Schoenstatt on September 22 -24, attended by 38 young women with their 56 children. Along with approximately 40 younger children who were in Schoenstatt with a group of Schoenstatt families from the Cologne diocese, hey turned Schoenstatt into a children's playground on the last Sunday of September.

Youthfulness was shown not only by the little ones but also by Monsignor Arlindo Mombach and his niece, Iloni Mombach Hommerding, from Brasilia, Brazil. This was experienced by 14 professional women from Northern Germany who had invited him to celebrate a Holy Mass in the Original Shrine on Saturday morning. In his sermon, he shared with youthful enthusiasm about his experiences with Father Kentenich during a retreat he had given in Santa Maria over 50 years ago. He recalled details of Father Kentenich's talks that had "a lifetime message," and he shared them as though that retreat had only ended the day before. "I don't understand why Father Kentenich is not yet canonized. Personally, I already did that 50 years ago. I sensed that I was listening to a saintly priest." Spontaneously, his niece added: "I was 14 or 15 years old and went to a school in Santa Maria. Father Kentenich gave a talk to all of the students one day. Some of his words I remember to this day – and I never forgot that priest." A professional woman from Chile who is studying in Italy and a young man from Curitiba, Brazil who works in Cologne were present at this Holy Mass that was said in Portuguese and German. The young man from Brazil did not know anything about Schoenstatt. He had decided to go on a pilgrimage in this Holy Year and was told to go to Schoenstatt. The first person he met when he got off the bus in Schoenstatt was a Schoenstatt Sister from Brazil, and five minutes after he had entered the Original Shrine the Holy Mass with the priest from Brazil began. "I did not expect Schoenstatt to be so international," he said. The young Chilean knew that Curitiba has a Schoenstatt Shrine, and a German informed him about the Schoenstatt Shrine in Cologne.

To Feel God

"Here in Schoenstatt I find the strength I need for my everyday life," shared one young mother participating in the mother-children weekend in House Marienland. Another one said, "I needed to feel God; that's why I came. In Schoenstatt you feel God. His presence is tangible in the Shrine and in those who have made Schoenstatt their life." How to experience God's presence and guidance in everyday events" was the topic of the talks given by Father Theo Breitinger and Sr. M. Pia Buesge during the weekend. The young mothers from the dioceses of Limburg, Fulda, Mainz, Würzburg, Trier, and Paderborn were especially impressed by a visit to the Father Kentenich House and the challenge of Father Kentenich's life and message, to recognize and use the verve of one's own heart to face the tasks of each day, of personal and family life. Morning meditations, walks, meditative dance, rosary, and sharing added to the program. Each one could choose and find something that fit her personal desires and needs.

Religious Experiences for the Children

The common experiences of mothers and children, however, were the most important part of the weekend program, whether this was a puppet show on Saturday evening or the closing Holy Mass with the blessing of each child. "We want to give a religious foundation to our children," one mother shared, "and we want to pass on to them why we love to be here." They seem to have succeeded as some of the little guys surprised their mothers with very concrete plans not only as to when to return to Schoenstatt but also which of their friends they would invite!!! Their mothers now only have to invite these friends' mothers, they told them.

The children were also the focus of the Cologne families' meeting; many of these young families were in Schoenstatt for the first time. One part of the program was a "rally of the valley." The little ones and adults were involved in finding out numbers. While the children quickly had done their jobs (counting the number of confessionals in the Pilgrim Church or the number of pews in the Original Shrine), the grownups had a harder time multiplying the number of pages of the new biography on Sr. Emilie times the telephone code of House Mariengart ... In the end, they knew all of the houses in the valley of Schoenstatt and a lot about Schoenstatt (and that a calculator would have come in handy!).

"We learn to share that we experience God in our lives," summarized one of the mothers who had participated in the meeting in House Marienland.

"Sometimes we need such a weekend in Schoenstatt to recharge our batteries," a young league member said. "We as professional women are often so busy. Therefore, it did so much good to slow down and spend an hour in the Sonnenau house chapel and write a letter to Father Kentenich." Another one added, "I was most impressed by Sr. Petra, who shared about her experiences with Father Kentenich, and the time spent in the Founder Chapel afterwards. I call him 'my Father' now." "Schoenstatt is really a place where heaven touches the earth," another one added, "and Schoenstatt is where I am. We are obliged to pass on to others that God is present, here and now!"

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


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