At the Place Where Schoenstatt was Born
Advent Covenant Day in Schoenstatt - and LaFeria, Kearsley, Guayaquil
(mkf) Covenant Day in December was marked by the anticipation of Christmas. In Schoenstatt, pilgrim groups from Texas, USA, Argentina and Uruguay celebrated the Covenant at the place where Schoenstatt was born, in the Original Shrine. In the evening, the local Schoenstatt family gathered for the monthly Covenant renewal in the Adoration Church, spiritually united with all those who, on or around the 18th of the month, join in celebrating the Covenant of Love - for instance in LaFeria,Texas, Kearsley/Bolton, England, and Guayaquil, Ecuador.
The pilgrims from Argentina and Uruguay, who had arrived the day before, celebrated Covenant Mass at 9:00 AM in the Original Shrine. Schoenstatt members not only from these two countries but also from Mexico, Chile, and Germany were present and consciously represented the International Schoenstatt family at this place where Schoenstatt was born, the source of life for each Schoenstatt Shrine. In the introduction and during the sermon, Father Cazone from Cordoba compared Jesus' birth in Bethlehem – in the poor ramshackle stable – with the birth of Schoenstatt in the small Shrine, a tool shed then, chosen out of God's free initiative to be a place of grace. Here the Blessed Mother wanted to work miracles of grace; from here, she set out to over 60 countries; from here she created the 160 or so Shrines; the next Shrine in Madurai, India, will be dedicated on December 30. The ways in which the Blessed Mother works, he said, are always the same in each Shrine. "She wants to work miracles of grace and wants us to contribute. Therefore, she urges us from here to make our Covenant of Love contagious, to share Schoenstatt and the Covenant of Love wherever we can. She created a "geography of Shrines," but this immense network of Shrines is still not enough. The Blessed Mother does not know any borders." Ttherefore Schoenstatters should believe in the Covenant of Love, love the Covenant of Love, and share the Covenant of Love with all who would need the love and guidance of Jesus and Mary. For the prayer of the faithful, all were invited to include their loved ones, Schoenstatt members from every country, as well as their gifts and petitions. Then all renewed the Covenant of Love, remembering all those who are attached to the Original Shrine and to share their Covenant with members everywhere in the world.
Sharing the Joy in the Wayside Shrine of Loyalty
The evening temperature was rather cool as the Schoenstatt members gathered for their monthly 18th devotion in LaFeria, Diocese of Brownsville, Texas. One of the mothers' groups was in charge of the devotion, and 23 people braved the cool weather to be with the MTA at her Shrine of Loyalty on the grounds of St. Francis Xavier Parish. Christmas anticipation was evident. Carlos Cantu: "The parish had asked the Schoenstatt Movement here to contribute candy for the main posada (shelter seeking) on December 23rd in the evening. Bags with candy, an apple or an orange and some nuts would be distributed to the children who attend. It is nice that our Schoenstatt Movement was asked to participate." The devotion in LaFeria ended with the loyalty ring, the renewal of the Covenant of Love, and the bid for God's blessing.
Sharing the Joy in the New Shrine in Peru
In Guayaquil, Ecuador, the time around the Covenant Day was marked by many Advent activities. The various branches organized their apostolic projects and posadas. The youth got together in different homes for singing and sharing about the meaning of the people by the crib, leading to a practical resolution for each day related to those persons. Advent in Guayaquil was especially marked by the joy in the new Shrine in Trujillo, Peru, that was dedicated on December 8. From Guayaquil, 20 young people and two Sisters had attended the celebration there and were very impressed by the welcome they received from the Schoenstatt Family of Peru, their kindness, their sacrifices and striving for their Shrine. The young people from Ecuador and Peru are dreaming of future common endeavors. The Covenant celebration on December 18th was marked by forgiving and asking for mercy, in moments of silence for a personal encounter with the Lord. The Schoenstatt Mothers presented their new banner with their symbol, a monstrance in the hands of the Father and Founder. Many people sealed their Covenant of Love on that day - Schoenstatt Mothers, Professional Women, Pilgrims. The day before, several girls had made their membership dedication.
Sharing Joy in the new Shrine in England
The second Covenant Celebration since the dedication of the Shrine in England was again marked by exuberance in the Shrine. Pat McEvoy, Liverpool: " The radiance of the Shrine reminded me of that brightness present at the Blessing of the Shrine in October. It is so lovely to have our own Shrine. Our Shrine is beautiful. It is very good to have our own Shrine. One that is not too far away. Bill and I `babysit` the Shrine for a few hours each Monday. We have a roster of people who `babysit` each week so that the Shrine is open for visitors." The Cottage by the Shrine has been renovated for use by the Schoenstatt family. Mass was said in the Church and was very well attended. A torchlight procession to Kearsley Mount Cottage followed. Fr. Bryan knocked on the front door which was opened by Margaret and Ron Bradbury who welcomed all who lived the Covenant. While Fr. Bryan blessed each room, a hymn was sung to Our Lady. Afterwards, the erection of the Home Shrine took place. This had been the late Ita and Joe Connor's Home Shrine. They were one of the founding couples of Schoenstatt. A variety of gifts for use in the house were brought in. Finally, carols, mince pies, wine, tea and coffee were available for all.
Pat McEvoy: " This was a fitting start to our Christmas in the year 2000, one which we have yearned and sacrificed for, and prayed about for many years. This year our dream has come true. We now ask Our Lady to 'Recapture her dowry by setting England on fire with love.' We wish all our Schoenstatt families throughout the world a blessed and holy Christmas from our Shrine."
South American Schoenstatt Songs in the Adoration Church
The pilgrims from Austin, Texas, twelve persons who came on December 13, enjoyed being in Schoenstatt on Covenant Day. At 7:30 PM, the local Schoenstatt family gathered for the Covenant Renewal in the Adoration Church in Schoenstatt A number of Pilgrim Shrines were placed on the sarcophagus in the Founder Chapel, among them two from Brazil. Students of the Schoenstatt Fathers from South America provided well-known South American Schoenstatt songs in Portuguese and Spanish; the songs set the tone for a covenant renewal celebrated with joy in the Covenant. All were invited to look back at the Year of Grace and write down their personal thanks as contributions to the Capital of Grace. Father Beller welcomed Fr. Ottomar Schneider, movement leader from Brazil, and remarked again about the importance of South America for Schoenstatt. The streams of life that flow from there, he said, in the sense of the mission of the 31st of May, touched Germany and other countries in a very concrete and fruitful way with the Pilgrim Shrines. "The same Jesus who was born in Bethlehem and who transformed the world into a Shrine lives in my heart, and the same Jesus lives in everyone's heart. The network of Shrines means also a network of heartshrines as a reality." Paragraphs from the Holy Father's dedication prayer from October 8 were prayed, and then all renewed their Covenant of Love. Outside by the fire, "Protect us with your mantle" was sung in various languages at the same time. The Fathers' students sang a number of South American songs. It was really dark and it was really cold, yet all stayed and listened happily!
English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, Wisconsin, USA
Letzte Aktualisierung: 23.12.2000 1:14 Mail: Redaktion / Webmaster
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