A Life Centered on Schoenstatt - "You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth."
50th Anniversary of Schoenstatt Father Rudolf Mosbach's Ordination Celebrated on July 8 in Schoenstatt
(mkf) "You will be witnesses for me to the ends of the world, you will be my witnesses because I hold you in my hands..." - This refrain of a song, written by the Professional Women of Northern Germany as their gift for Father Mosbach on his 50th ordination anniversary, was not only a lively melody and text variation of the bible verse chosen 50 years ago form his ordination cards, it was like a leitmotif of the feast celebrated by the Schoenstatt Movement on July 8, the anniversary of Father Kentenich's ordination, for and with Father Mosbach, "a true witness of Schoenstatt". That he was and still is a true witness of Schoenstatt to the ends of the world, "without frontiers", as the song said, became visible and tangible in the community that got together to celebrate with him, and in the various sermons, talks, and words of gratitude expressed on this day.
"This man is a blessing because he is centered on something different but on himself," said Father Tilmann Beller, Movement leader of the German Schoenstatt Movement, at the beginning of his sermon in the Adoration Church in Schoenstatt, where Father Kentenich had died on September 15, 1968, after celebrating the Holy Mass his first one in this newly-erected church. Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary formed a choir and provided songs for the festive Mass. Representatives of all Schoenstatt communities had come 'car-sharing' of members of different branches who had come from several areas of Germany mirroring the wide range of Father Mosbach's activities in the 50 years of his priesthood: Pilgrims' Movement, Mothers' Federation, Institute of Schoenstatt Families, Women with Academic Profession, Professional Women A course brother of Father Mosbach, Father Enrique Schaefer from Argentina was concelebrating, representing the international character of Father Mosbach's work and mind. Institute Families from Brazil, Argentina, USA, Puerto Rico, Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Chile, had sent greetings on this day. Together with Father Mosbach, who presided the Mass, and Fr. Schaefer, Fr. Heinrich Walter, Superior Regional of the Schoenstatt Fathers, Father Tilmann Beller, and Father Theo Breitinger were at the altar, while approximately 20 more priests were concelebrating.
In the School of Father Kentenich
In his sermon, Father Beller named the most important chapters in the 50 years of Father Mosbach's work: Pilgrims' Movement, school, prison chaplain, Mothers' Federation, Women in Academic professions, responsibility for all of the female branches, Institute of Schoenstatt families, Women's League. The source of his life, he added, had been passed on to those he lead: "They began to think of something different than of themselves. This infantile egoism so often found in religious circles simply had no chance and no place where he was. Those who are centered on something different than on them are a real blessing, because they give the credit of benevolence to others. And more: when someone is centered on something else but on himself, he simply is not insulted." The secret behind this way of life, he said, were "the quiet love for Mary" and for her work, Schoenstatt.
Another of his characteristic features, he said, were his sense of humor including a good ability to surprisingly pull one's leg -, and a certain cheerfulness: "Life is not always a tragedy. When God gives his smile to the world, one just can't have such a gloomy and heavy attitude towards this earth." This, he said, is to be learned in the school of Father Kentenich. "A person who centered on anything but on himself is a blessing," Father Beller repeated, and added: "That's Schoenstatt. In our Shrine people join who give something to the Blessed Mother, and that makes for this freedom of the heart."
"Solidarity of Gratitude"
After the Mass, the "solidarity of gratitude" that Fr. Mosbach had proclaimed at the beginning of the celebration, became visible in front of the Adoration Church. Relatives, neighbors, classmates and friends from home, members of the Schoenstatt communities mixed and mingled as they were forming lines to congratulate Father Mosbach or stood in small groups waiting for their turn. "I thought that many more would come for such an event, I expected the church at least as full as at the closing Mass of the October Week," a Professional Woman said in astonishment. She had worked hard to save this free Sunday from her shift. A woman from the Mothers' Federation explained: "It's vacation time, many won't be here. But for me, it was self-understood to drive three hours to come here today. This is family, and a family celebrates together!"
The family celebrated on during dinner in the Pilgrims' House, where approximately 120 relatives, friends, and Schoenstatt members were together. Father Heinrich Walter introduced the speakers, who all picked up the light and deep tone of the joyfulness born from a deep love for Mary and the centering on Schoenstatt, on others, on a mission. Father Dr. Lothar Penners who was on the small filiation in the valley of Schoenstatt together with Fr. Mosbach for several years spoke in behalf of the Schoenstatt Fathers. "He is always personal", Father Nicolás Schwizer, now in Paraguay, had said about Fr. Mosbach years ago. He had always combined a clear thinking and precise definitions with personal interest and understanding "Sure, he worked with the female branches for years!" One of Father Mosbach's characteristic features would also be his confidence in others even when opinions would differ. The two-in-oneness of Schoenstatt and Pallotti, Father Penners continued, would be an essential part of Father Mosbach's hope, also in view of a stronger unity of the Apostolic initiatives in the church. A word from St. Augustine finally concluded the hope manifest in this day: "O eterna veritas, o vera caritas, o cara eternitas" - O eternal truth, o true love, o beloved eternity." All would finally be centered on eternity, loved in anticipation because love already reaches eternity, and the organism of attachments would be completed and lived in eternity and for all eternity.
Providing A Clear Knowledge, Empowering Laypersons to Take Responsibility
Francisco Nuño then thanked for the almost 25 years of Father Mosbach's work in the Institute of the Schoenstatt families. The families had experienced him as "transparency of the Father", teaching them the love for Mary. They had experienced him to be a father, specially in his profound respect of the originality of each one. He had provided a clear knowledge, and at the same tome worked hard on the empowerment of the laypersons, to stand on their own two feet and to take up responsibility in the church and in Schoenstatt. Francisco Nuño mentioned three books that for him were forever related to Father Mosbach: Heavenwards, "Sign of Light", and the October Week 1950 and, as a forth one, "Jewels of Purity".
Short addresses followed from Inge Radke (Mothers' Federation) and Maria Peter (Academics).
Himmelwärts, "Lichtzeichen über der Welt" und die Oktoberwoche 1950. At the end, a school comrade added some childhood and school adventures, making for general joy and laughter.
What we Do and Give is the Result of what we Receive from each Other
Picking up the idea of "solidarity of gratitude", Father Mosbach closed with a few words of gratitude. "We live in mutual bonding," he said, "and what we do and give is the result of what we receive from each other." Being a person would mean to live in relationship, to give and to receive. Therefore, the gratitude expressed towards one person would always mean the others, also. The principal address of all gratitude, however, be God who had given the gifts and abilities and talents in order to use them, mainly to "love each other ever more," according to St. Paul.
For him, he added, the with-another of the different generations on this day would be a real gift. His ordination by the tomb of Vincent Pallotti 50 years and a week ago, he said, would be a gift, as it was expressed in a big display with the main events, words, and hopes of the 50 years of priesthood celebrated on this day. "You will be my witnesses to the ends of the world (Acts 1.8)", is written on the card of Father Mosbach's ordination and first Holy Mass." That's what we experienced today," said one of the Professional Women who had dedicated the song on this verse to Father Mosbach: "Proclaim my ever-faithful love, and bring this love into your daily life; accept really everyone into this love, so I can be without frontiers.
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