The Sunshine Surprise or: a Lesson on Faith in Divine Providence
Corpus Christi Procession in Schoenstatt
(mkf) When after the final blessing of the Corpus Christi Procession on Mount Schoenstatt on Sunday, June 17, some of the participants feared for sunburn, the lesson on Practical Faith in Divine Providence was perfect. Only two hours before, downpours had made the procession on Mount Schoenstatt more than questionable. Approximately 1,300 – 1,500 persons from near and far, among them groups from Poland and from Ecuador, joined in the traditional procession famous for the abundance of flower carpets on all of the ways, prepared by Schoenstatt Sisters and many volunteers on Saturday.
Each year anew, those on charge for the Corpus Christi procession on Mount Schoenstatt check the weather forecasts - this year, again, rain was predicted! Nevertheless, many Schoenstatt sisters and volunteers spent hours the days before collecting flowers and preparing flower carpets in honor of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. This year, an afternoon program with meditation, blessing, info stands was planned for those who would come then to see the flower carpets. A group from Murow, Poland, who had been visiting Vallendar, the partner town of Murow, came for the procession as well as Schoenstatt mothers from Switzerland, a pilgrimage from Ecuador, two busloads of pilgrims from Grimmitschau, Eastern Germany, one from Saarland, and many persons from near and far, approximately 1,300 - 1,500 altogether.
A moment of Confidence
A sunny Saturday ended with thunder and lightning and downpours lasting all night, continuing until the Holy Mass had begun in the crammed Adoration Church. The Vallendar Youth Choir took turns with the choir of the Schoenstatt Sisters providing the songs for the festive Eucharist.
A moment of confidence and a courageous decision before the final blessing, as the rain had ceased: "We'll go, but only to one altar and then return to the church."
The Niederwerth brass band accompanied the procession. The international character of Schoenstatt, the place of origin and the spiritual center of the international Schoenstatt movement, was underlined by the flags from more than 40 countries - many of them carried by representatives of these countries, by some prayers said in different languages, but most of all by the participants from all continents. The pilgrims from Ecuador who had only arrived the day before, with joy and pride carried MTA pictures and pictures of the Pilgrim Mother, many of them decorated with signs of their love and gratitude.
Mary - the Guiding Star on the Way With Christ
The flower carpet by the Shrine on Mount Schoenstatt showed Mary as the guiding star on the way with Christ. While the Sisters' choir sang and the prayers were said, the skies became lighter and lighter. Monsignor Zimmerer announced that the procession would also go the altar by the Mother House, and those at the head of the procession were witnesses of sisters running to bring the bouquets of flowers and the microphones. "That was a real joy," said a young woman from Northern Germany, "I appreciated this spontaneity very much!" Before the blessing was given, the pilgrims from Ecuador sang a song from their country, a song of their love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. "We are Eucharist-orientated in our country," said Sister Consuelo from Ecuador, "and we are so happy to have had the second Corpus Christi procession of our pilgrimage, the first in Rome with the Holy Father, and now here!"
Was it because of the song from Ecuador? Within minutes, blue skies and radiant sunshine added to the joy and confidence of those present.
The God of Life - a God of Surprise
During the final blessing by the Adoration Church some participants headed for shade ... "The God of Life is a God of surprise," said Monsignor Zimmerer at the end, "let us be grateful and ready not only for the painful surprises but also for the joyful ones like this sunshine!" - "Who had said a word about the sunshine had it been sunny all day," said a woman. "'This was a real lesson in practical faith in Divine Providence. Next time when all my plans fall through, I'll remember this sunshine after the downpour. But we need to make our decision before we see the sun!"
In the afternoon, individual visitors and groups came to look at the flower carpets. In the old barn, coffee, cake, and fresh wafers were offered - a good time also to talk. Each hour, a meditation was given in the Shrine; at 3:00 PM, a Eucharistic prayer service was held at the altar by the House of Formation - the altar that had been skipped in the morning. While the final song was sung, heavy rain began. "This morning's sunshine was a real gift," someone said. "We are so happy that we could experience this today!"
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