Out of the Covenant of Love – Called to Work for a World Closer to God
Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz visiting Original Schoenstatt
(mkf) A month after the creation of 44 new cardinals in Rome, one of them, Schoenstatt Father Francisco Xavier Errázuriz Ossa, Archbishop of Santiago, Chile, president of the Chilean Bishops' Conference and Vice-President of the Latin American Bishops' Conference (CELAM), visited Schoenstatt, the place where he lived and worked for almost 20 years and where he has his spiritual home. Schoenstatt members and friends from all areas and a number of politicians and citizens from the towns of Vallendar, Simmern, and the surrounding areas joined on March 17 for a welcome and prayer service by the Original Shrine, a festive Holy Mass in the Pilgrims' Church, followed by a casual get-together with talks, snacks and music.
The rain that was predicted for the whole day fell only when all of the approximately 1,000 -1,1000 people had gathered in the Pilgrims' Church. Before, when many of them had already gathered by the Original Shrine, sunshine welcomed them and Cardinal Errázurriz who headed towards the Original Shrine around 3:00 PM - the place where "Mary lives and works and from where she cares for each one's path of vocation and accompanies each one through all stages of life," as Father Marmann, Superior General of the Schoenstatt Fathers and Chairperson of the General Presidium, pointed out in his address. Pallottine Father Matthias Rummel, director of the Original Shrine, with joy and emotion greeted the new Cardinal at the place "where the streams of grace from October 18, 1914, flow," the streams that marked the new Cardinal's life.
In the Shadow of the Shrine
Step by step, he said, Cardinal Errázurriz had been led to ever-greater responsibility in the church. "What may Divine Providence hold in mind for you?" Father Rummel mentioned Father Kentenich's "prophetic words about the shadow of the Shrine" and Pallotti's words, "She is the great missionary" and closed his speech with a prayer: "Dear Mother Thrice Admirable, take care of your servant in all his efforts!" After spontaneous words of gratitude, Cardinal Errázuriz said that he had written a letter of congratulations to the other newly appointed Cardinals with his promise to ask the Blessed Mother to intercede for them as she did in Cana, and to greet them, as Father Kentenich in Dachau had always prayed: "Mother, I greet you - greet me, also!" He then headed into the Original Shrine, inviting the congregation to pray with him: "My Queen, my Mother ... I trust your might ... Let us walk like you through life..." Invited by Father Rummel, he gave the Apostolic blessing to all. The Niederwerth brass band provided music for the procession to the Pilgrim Church. "Isn't that fantastic!" a Schoenstatt Father, beaming with joy, exclaimed. "We are walking through Schoenstatt with a Cardinal and he is 'ours'!"
A stone from the Original Shrine for the Cardinal
A young family from Chile, with toddlers waving Chilean flags, walked in the procession, along with many Schoenstatt Fathers, Schoenstatt Sisters, families, young people, citizens from Vallendar, Simmern, and the nearby towns. Schoenstatt memberswho were on retreats and workshops in Schoenstatt joined in as well as many individuals and groups who had come from several hours distance. "It's a church event, and it's a Schoenstatt event, I would not have missed it," a young woman from Augsburg said. The Vallendar parish choir and the Niederwerth brass band were in charge of the music and songs during the festive Holy Mass. The Schoenstatt Fathers' students and novices sang songs in Spanish and Tamil for offertory and after Holy Communion, emphasizing the international character of the get-together. Cardinal Errázuriz was the main celebrant, together with Bishop Claudio Gimenez of Caácupé, Paragauy (Schoenstatt Father), Father Marmann, Father Sidney Fones, Monsignor Wolf, and Father Beller; numerous Schoenstatt Fathers and Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests concelebrated. At the beginning of the Holy Mass, Father Beller, the German Movement Leader, greeted the new Cardinal, "who lived in our midst for so many years, like a foundation, often hidden but strong, with a marvelous benevolence." Father Beller then presented the German Schoenstatt Movement's gift to the new Cardinal, a stone from the foundation of the Original Shrine, with a gilded Schoenstatt logo attached and on which the numbers '1914' and '2001' were written. He promised the Schoenstatt family's prayers for the Cardinal.
Called to be Instruments of Unity
In his sermon, Cardinal Errázuriz highlighted the meaning of a priest from an Ecclesial movement, from Schoenstatt, being called to be Cardinal. The Holy Father would know the spiritual families of those he would nominate, and he would know which charisma he, in this way, wanted to bring forth into the universal church. He gave witness of his personal knowledge of the Holy Father's esteem of Schoenstatt, and of the Ecclesial movements in general, whom he would see as the spring of the church. When, Cardinal Errázuriz continued, he had walked forward in Rome to receive the signs of the Cardinal's dignity from the hands of the Pope, he spontaneously remembered the hour of his Covenant of Love, sealed on October 18, 1953, as a student. This Covenant of Love had been the beginning of a calling to follow Jesus with unconditional love. The unity cross – the cross he wears as bishop – were a sign and constant reminder of the hour of grace when Jesus entrusted mankind to his mother in the hour of his death. As Jesus' disciples, all Schoenstatt members were called to work together and live the "Cor unum in Patre" (One heart in the Father), to be instruments of unity, living a spirituality of unity and dialogue rooted in the Covenant of Love. Thus, in the power of prayer and with missionary spirit, Schoenstatt should work to be open for all and to join forces to work towards a world that would be closer to God and people closer to each
other in solidarity. When the Pope, he added, would call for pedagogy of sanctity, Schoenstatt should recall the concept of everyday sanctity. Closing his sermon, he invited all to ask the Blessed Mother to grant each one wisdom and generosity of heart, to be ready and willing to fulfill the plans of the Holy Spirit today.
Joy and Pride – in Schoenstatt and in Vallendar
Chile, the poor, Simmern, Vallendar, and the recent floods in the Rhine valley were mentioned in the prayer of the faithful. After the Holy Mass, the brass band played spiritual tunes that turned ever more joyful, setting the tone for Fred Pretz's welcoming address. The mayor of larger Vallendar said, "A Cardinal celebrating in Vallendar, or, like one newspaper titled, 'A Vallendar citizen became Cardinal,' that means joy and pride for Vallendar." He emphasized the Cardinal's efforts – during the time of his stay in Schoenstatt – for closer contacts between Vallendar and Schoenstatt. On Monday, March 19, the city of Vallendar will sponsor a reception for the Cardinal.
From the Pilgrims' Church – rain had stopped just in time – all then walked to the Pilgerheim for snacks, refreshments, music, congratulations, conversation. Vallendar Mayor Wolfgang Helbach made his way through the crowd to personally greet Cardinal Errázuriz. "It is an honor for Vallendar," he said. "A Cardinal from Vallendar! It's also an honor for Schoenstatt, a sign of Schoenstatt's acceptance in the Church. We are proud to have the world center of the International Schoenstatt Movement in our city. Therefore, we will make every effort to support Schoenstatt in the municipal council's decisions."
Cardinal Errázuriz, in a very casual way, greeted well-known Schoenstatt members, walking through the rooms where groups waited to see him. Schoenstatt Boys' Youth sang songs, accompanied by guitars. Spanish, French, English, German words could be overheard; old
friends from long-ago Girls' and Boy's Youth times met; memories from the centenary and other events were shared. "It was a big family celebrating together – and now, at the end, we all take some leftovers home," said a woman. Ladies of Schoenstatt, Schoenstatt Fathers, families, indeed with a big smile, carried plates with rolls and croissants to their cars. "That's also family spirit!"
English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, Wisconsin, USA
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