A New Way of "Seeing" the Contours of Mary and of Each Other
Covenant Day in Schoenstatt: The Pilgrim Mother Setting out to Visit Blind People in Vallendar
(mkf) On the 18th of each month, Schoenstatt remembers the day of ist founding: October 18, 1914. All over the world, people gather by Shrines, Wayside Shrines, in parish churches or at home to renew the Covenant of Love, spiritually united with the Original Shrine, where the Covenant of Love was first sealed, the source of the streams of grace and life flowing from all of the Shrines. On May 18, during the Covenant Renewal Celebration in Schoenstatt, as a Pilgrim Mother picture made of wood for blind people was sent out, the new way of seeing the contours of Mary and of each other, created in the Covenant of Love, became the focus of the Covenant Renewal for all those present.
Early on this Covenant Day, a Schoenstatt Father from Madrid, Spain, had blessed new Pilgrim Mother pictures for families, for visits, and the first one for blind people after the 7:15 AM holy Mass in the Original Shrine. For him, this was a special gift as it was the first Holy Mass he celebrated in the Original Shrine – especially in view of the coming dedication of the City Shrine in Madrid. At this moment, 3,147 Pilgrim Mother pictures for families are visiting in 1,102 towns of Germany. Additionally, the Blessed Mother has set out to take the graces from the Shrine to children (74 pictures), to lonely people (103 pictures for visits), reaching out to over 30,000 families. All those are remembered in the holy Mass in the Original Shrine on the 18th of each month and with them all those who anywhere in the world are visited by the Pilgrim Mother and all those who live their Covenant of Love.
"You bring us Christ, the Light of the World!"
In the evening, the local Schoenstatt family and representatives from the German and International Schoenstatt gathered in the Adoration Church – among them sisters from Burundi, girls from Russia and England, a couple from Brazil. Father Beller led the Covenant Renewal in the Adoration Church; missionaries of the Pilgrim MTA read texts and prayers. The song of the Pilgrim Mother Campaign in Germany set the tone for the Covenant renewal: "Mary, walking with you, we experience you, the Pilgrim Mother. Bring us Christ, the light of the world..."
Testimonies, songs and meditations invited all to express thanks for the visit of Mary to Elizabeth that is taking place anew where the Pilgrim MTA is received in families, in hospitals, jails, nursing homes, and schools in over 80 countries of the world. A letter written by João Pozzobon to his bishop on Dec 8, 1972, was read - words describing what is experienced here and everywhere: "What moves us most with our visits is the miraculous working and the presence of the Blessed Mother, for whom all doors open in order to receive her. All hearts, no matter whether they are poor or rich, skilled or unskilled, open themselves for her. The doors of the schools, hospitals and jails open themselves for her..."
Taking the Pilgrim Mother to Blind People in Vallendar
On this day, the doors of the Vallendar nursing home for the elderly were opened for her – an image of the Pilgrim MTA, one with a wooden relief of the MTA. It had come via a number of detours from Argentina where the Campaign of the Blind Persons has grown since 1995 - to the secretariat of the Campaign in Germany. It was then entrusted to Helena Schlüter, who is working in the pastoral of the sick. Helena will take her to blind people living in the Vallendar home for the aged.
In his sermon, Father Beller called the wooden relief picture of the Pilgrim Mother a "messenger" for all. The blind people, he said, could not see the face of our MTA; but by deliberately and lovingly touching the contours of the relief, they would become conscious of her and understand her profile.
The Ability to See and Understand
We, he added, are often blind also – to God, to the Blessed Mother and her mission, and also to the people around us and their unique profile. How can we learn to become conscious and understand? "When we give something to a person, a new 'organ' to see this person is given to us," he said, pointing at the Capital of Grace as a means to overcome the blindness for the Blessed Mother and for the mission and value of those around us. What Joseph Engling of the founder generation of Schoenstatt began in 1916 with this "May blossoms for Mary" created a growing closeness to Mary. "Those who love see more and see deeper," Father Beller added. When he gave the Pilgrim MTA to the new missionary, he prayed: "Mary, enter into the house of the blind people so they see you, and help us to see and understand you when we give a sign of our love for you." Looking once again at João Pozzobon and the many signs of love for Mary that he gave walking 87,500 miles with her to carry her to all, and in his belief that Schoenstatt's spirituality can move mountains, all prepared to renew their Covenant of Love, bringing the experiences of joy and pain, of sorrow and hope lived through in the past weeks as Contributions to the Capital of Grace. Then, all united especially with all those visited by the Pilgrim Mother, and then joined in praying: My Queen, my Mother …
United with – Armadale, Harare, Fairfax, Rhede
This covenant renewal united people around the world: In Armadale, Australia, the Covenant celebrations were small but very meaningful also. Sr. Mary Agnes: "We are at present praying a novena to Sr. Emilie in preparation for the addition of the Father symbol in our Shrine later this year. Part of our Covenant renewal was this novena, followed by a video on Father Kentenich's homecoming." In Fairfax, Virginia, USA, the Schoenstatt family met already on the Sunday before the 18th to honor the Mother of God on Mother's Day: "At the beginning of our celebration three people made the covenant of love and the rest of us renewed our Covenant with our Mother and Queen. Father Wooton gave a talk on spiritual simplicity based on Father Kentenich's words and advice. Next we processed out into the beautiful garden where the Rinderles have a Schoenstatt Wayside Shrine. There we prayed the rosary and crowned the MTA as Queen of Peace. Following that, we enjoyed the perfect spring day and the wonderful hospitality of our hosts."
In Harare, Zimbabwe, the covenant renewal was marked by anticipation:"On Thursday, May 31, we will have our annual crowning of our MTA Queen of Africa at 7 p.m. at St Francis Xavier Church. This will be the 21st time we have done this." Marlene Peters added: " I continue to pray our Queen and Mother novena prayer as our country is in such an awful mess. We need to cling to our Mother and allow her to shelter us as she intercedes a return to peace and normalcy in our Zimbabwe. At our covenant service last night, our meditation came from the booklet on Everyday Sanctity. It is possible for all of us to become saints right where we are by doing everything we do the best we can for God."
In Borken, Northern Germany, the candlelight procession to the Shrine was cancelled due to the rain. One woman from nearby Rhede, who once or twice a year attends, was inspired just by this fact and asked her husband for a special gift for the weekend, a spontaneous trip to Schoenstatt and to stay there overnight for the first time ever! Together with their two young daughters, they made it to Schoenstatt on Saturday night, enjoying the warm welcome in House Marienau at 9:30 PM!
Those visited by the Pilgrim Mother Come to Visit Her
After the Covenant Celebration in Schoenstatt, all processed outside to the fire, where the Capital of Grace was burned, while "Nothing without you, nothing without us..." was sung. Whoever would guess closest to the exact number of towns visited by the Pilgrim MTA, Sr. Marié announced, would receive a gift, a small picture of Pilgrim Mother. Guessing ranged between 500 (far too low) and 5,000 (future goal). Manfred Ringelmann from the Cologne area was the winner! All who had stayed by the fire got a card with a sentence from Father Kentenich.
The Pilgrim MTA for the Blind People was at the center of attention.
Only four days later, on May 22, the residents of the Humboldthöhe home for the aged came to Schoenstatt, paying a visit to the place from where Mary set out to visit them.
Contributions from: Marlene Peter, Harare, Zimbabwe; Sr. Mary Agnes, Armadale, Australia; Rosita Ciola, San Martín, Argentina; Elfi Stitz, Clifton, USA.
English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, Wisconsin, USA
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