Preparing for the Jubilee Christmas
Various Advent activities in Schoenstatt
(mkf) When asked about her most significant Schoenstatt experience on the December pilgrimage, a lady from Texas, USA, mentioned: "Reminders of Advent, not Christmas everywhere. Christmas starts before November at home. Advent!" Various Advent activities took place in Schoenstatt during the past weeks, aiming at a profound, personal Christmas experience in this Holy Year.
At the beginning of Advent, families from Poland living in Germany met in Schoenstatt to begin their preparation for Christmas there. The children eagerly participated in an Advent play depicting the Annunciation and the Visitation. Confession, meditation, and sharing about how to prepare for Christmas were offered to the seven couples and five girls who attended the meeting. The time in Schoenstatt was a special experience for a girl from Poland who came to Schoenstatt for the first time. She had experienced a hard time prior to coming and enjoyed the warm welcome and friendship in Schoenstatt as well as the Shrine. "It is like being home."
The Schoenstatt Girls' Youth of the Trier Diocese met for an Advent retreat in House Sonnenau, and also invited youth, families and friends for Advent evenings. Everywhere in Vallendar, posters and flyers invited everyone to either come or at least think about Advent for a moment. On each day since December 15, the Adoration Sisters sang the traditional advent psalms of the Christmas Novena in the Adoration Church; specially on the weekend, many people joined in. "These psalms and hymns create a special atmosphere," a photographer said. "I took lots of pictures to save this atmosphere."
Taking a Weekend Off to Prepare for Christmas
On each Advent weekend, House Marienland hosted 100 or more Schoenstatt Mothers from various dioceses. A week before Christmas, 125 mothers from the Rottenburg-Stuttgart Diocese took the weekend off and headed for Schoenstatt. "It sounds crazy to go to Schoenstatt amidst the Christmas preparations at home," one mother said. "But this weekend is my Christmas preparation, and it helps me to help my family experience Christmas." Turning on the radio these days, a song heard often is: "It should be Christmas everyday." In a deeper sense, this can be said of the entire Holy Year. The Schoenstatt Mothers actually worked on the idea of "Christmas everyday" throughout the whole year and celebrated the Birth of Christ during all their retreats in Schoenstatt during the year.
Bishop of Kiev-Zytomir on Spontaneous Visit to Schoenstatt
A girl from Poland had been in Schoenstatt for a couple of weeks and longed to seal her Covenant of Love in advent, before returning to Poland. She invited two girls from Russia and a student from Bolivia to join in the celebration on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. When walking towards the Original Shrine, the girls met two priests who spoke Polish and Russian. A Polish Franciscan Father from Bornhofen had invited another Franciscan Father to visit Schoenstatt, Bishop Stanislaus Szyrokaradiuk, Vicar General of the Kiev-Zytomir Diocese in the Ukraine. It was his first visit to Schoenstatt. For the girls, this encounter was a true Advent experience – with the fervent wish that Christ may be born in many people in Russia and the Ukraine and all the countries of the former Soviet Union.
English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, Wisconsin, USA
Letzte Aktualisierung: 23.12.2000 19:06 Mail: Redaktion / Webmaster
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