Visit of the Holy Father in the Schoenstatt Shrine in Rome
On December 29, 2000, Pope John Paul II. for prayer in the Cor Ecclesiae Shrine
(Sr. M. Margareth Murmann) At noon on December 29 Pope John Paul II went to the shrine of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary in Rome. The visit of our Holy Father was as well an encounter with representatives of the Roman Schoenstatt family. In a written address to the sisters the Pope expressed his joy about visiting the Schoenstatt shrine in Rome during the Christmas season in the Holy Year 2000. He expressed the wish that the light of Christmas should radiate forth into the New Year and direct our way into the third millennium.
This memorable visit was of private character and was announced only two days before. Thus at the Cor Ecclesiae Shrine the Pope was welcomed by a small group of about 30 persons. Msgr. Zimmerer, the general director of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, and Sr. M. Jacoba Kesselheim, the general superior, had traveled to Rome just for this occasion. The Brazilian sisters from two Schoenstatt missions in Italy as well as the sisters stationed at the shrine in Rome were also present together with representatives of the Roman Schoenstatt movement. Sr. M. Jacoba: "For a long time already we have cherished the wish that the Holy Father would once come to our shrine in Rome and pray there to our Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt. Today, this wish was fulfilled."
Joy About the Visit at the Schoenstatt Shrine
At around 12:30 noon the Holy Father arrived in a private car, accompanied by two bishops and the security guards. After Sr. M. Jacoba and Msgr. Zimmerer had greeted the Holy Father, he presented a written address to the Schoenstatt sisters of Mary. The beginning reads: "It is a great joy for me to visit the Schoenstatt shrine in Rome during the Christmas season of the Holy Year 2000." He concludes with the words: "With gratitude for your unswerving loyalty I express the wish that the light of Christmas may radiate forth into the New Year and direct your way into the new millennium. With all my heart I give you and all those united to you the apostolic blessing upon the intercession of the Thrice Admirable Mother Mary."
Msgr. Zimmerer presented his gift to the Pope, the five books with writings from Fr. Kentenich about the themes of the three year preparation for the jubilee year as the Holy Father had announced them in "Tertio Millennio Adveniente", one book with the theme of the jubilee year itself and the fifth volume with writings about the Blessed Mother for the first year of the new millennium.
After the "Our Father" was prayed the Holy Father gave the blessing as he stood in the sanctuary of the shrine. Then everyone could greet him personally and a group photo was taken.
Throughout the entire visit of the Holy Father there was an atmosphere of cordiality and spontaneous joy among those present.
The Cor Ecclesiae Shrine in Rome is the second Schoenstatt shrine that Pope John Paul II. has visited. During his second journey into his home country Poland he dedicated the Schoenstatt shrine in Koszalin on June 1, 1991. This was upon the initiative of the diocesan bishop Ignaz Jez, who wanted this shrine to be dedicated by the Holy Father as the marian shrine in his diocese. Bishop Jez knew Fr. Kentenich as both of them were prisoners in the concentration camp at Dachau.
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