Family Get-Together at the Pope's House
Thousands Celebrating the New Cardinals in Rome
(mkf) Joining in a feast of faith as part of a large family of 40,000 from all over the world, the Schoenstatt members present in Rome, representing the international Schoenstatt, walked through the Pope's House with the others to meet and greet the new Cardinals. The Apostolic Palace, to which the public usually has no access, turned into an open house filled with thousands of joyful faithful on the afternoon of February 21.
"We felt like we were on a tour through the Pope's house," said Elisabeth Neiser of the Families' Institute. "Christians on their way with each other." Together with four or five other Schoenstatt members, she filed into the Apostolic Palace, "pushed around a little bit here and there." All of the rooms were open, and Cardinals were waiting there to receive the courtesy visits. "It was great that the Pope opened his house for thousands of people," Elisabeth Neiser said. "You could see large and small groups everywhere."
A Family of Many Peoples and Nations
Hardly any time ("just enough for a pizza") was left between the end of the celebration in the morning and the time when one had to go for the courtesy visits. Over one hour before the doors opened, people stood waiting. "We simply began to talk to each other," said Elisabeth Neiser, "February 21 in Rome was experiencing church as a family!" Many Schoenstatters from Germany had this family experience after the ceremony creating the Cardinals in the morning when they joined the Chileans waiting for their new Cardinal in St. Peter's Square – with flags, posters, and much pride in their Cardinal – double pride for the Schoenstatters among them. Birgitt
Winter of the Institute of the Ladies of Schoenstatt was especially impressed to meet among the Chileans a group of people from a very poor quarter in Santiago. The diocese had sponsored their trip to Rome. "We were sure we should meet Cardinal Errázuriz here," said Elisabeth Neiser. She was right.
Again and again, small groups of Schoenstatters could be seen in the hallways of the Apostolic Palace. Schoenstatt Sisters, Fathers, families, groups of four, five, six. "Schoenstatt is known in Rome," shared a Schoenstatt Sister. Nuns from India, relatives of the new Cardinal, greeted her, telling her that they knew Schoenstatt – - the Pilgrim Mother and the Schoenstatt Sisters in Irinjalakuda to be exact.
"We first extended congratulations to the German Cardinals in the name of the Schoenstatt Movement," said Elisabeth Neiser. "Cardinal Lehmann was very pleased to see us." They thanked Cardinal Scheffzyck for his Mariological studies and promised to greet Mary for him in the Schoenstatt Shrine. "Then, after walking endless awe-inspiring hallways for over 15 minutes, we made it to Cardinal Errázuriz," said Elisabeth Neiser. "The Chilean TV was there and many press photographers. Many people came, but it did not take too long to get in."
Holy Mass with the Pope: Receiving the Cardinal's Ring
Joy and excitement marked the atmosphere on that afternoon in the Apostolic Palace – a real family get-together, "a family of many peoples and nations," said Elisabeth Neiser. Other Schoenstatt members in Rome agreed: "We experienced being a family, as Schoenstatt Movement, and as Church!" This family met again on February 22 in St. Peter's Square; approximately 20,000 people participated in the Holy Mass concelebrated by John Paul II, the new Cardinals (dressed in white and gold vestments) and many other Cardinals and Bishops in red and purple. Again blue skies, yet cloudy, the atmosphere a bit more quiet and solemn than on the previous day. The new Cardinals stood around the altar, and each one walked ahead to receive his ring from the Holy Father. After the final blessing, the 20,000 people broke into applause as John Paul mounted the papamobile to greet and bless the faithful. Dinners, receptions, and press conferences were awaiting the new Cardinals later in the day. The Chilean Embassy in Rome gave a reception for Cardinal Errázuriz in the evening. During the festivities in Rome, the Chilean government gave credit to hiswork for reconciliation and social justice, while TV and press extensively covered both his activities as Archbishop and the events in Rome.
English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, Wisconsin, USA
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