For A Place of Prayer by the Tabor Shrine
Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Men's Retreat House in Schoenstatt
(mkf) After decades of planning and struggling with local authorities, as well as decades of longing, praying, striving, and finally crowning the Blessed Mother as Tabor Queen, the Schoentatt Brothers of Mary got permission to build a small Men's Retreat House by the Tabor Shrine. On July 14, the groundbreaking ceremony took place with 37 men from all of the Schoenstatt Men's branches being present. The building permission had been granted on July 10, the day of Father Kentenich's ordination.
The participants of the Men's League retreat taking place July 13 - 15 were privileged to represent the Men's League on the occasion of the groundbreaking. Together with the Brothers of Mary (many of whom had traveled from far to participate) and representatives of the Men's Federation, they joined in a short prayer service in the Original Shrine. Then they set out to the place of the future Men's Retreat House by the Tabor Shrine. It had poured all afternoon; but although the skies were overcast and rain was threatening, the walk up the mountain to the Shrine as well as the ceremony took place without umbrellas needed!
A Crown - Gift from the Brothers of Mary from Brazil
The Brothers of Mary from Brazil donated a crown for the MTA picture in the future Retreat House. Placed on an MTA picture, this crown was carried ahead as the procession approached the place of the future House. The crown is a replica of the crown in the Puer et Pater Shrine in Santa Maria, Brazil - a crown with a special history. Mario Hiriart, the first Brother of Mary from Chile, wanted to take the original crown to Schoenstatt when he, via Santa Maria and Milwaukee, headed to Schoenstatt for his tertianship, a time of schooling and intensive religious formation. The crown should be renewed in Schoenstatt. The crown never got to Schoenstatt, as Mario Hiriart died in Milwaukee on the way to Schoenstatt at the place where Father Kentenich, the founder of Schoenstatt, lived during his exile.
On November 22, 2000, the Schoenstatt Men's League crowned Mary with a replica of this crown, the donation of the Brothers of Mary from Brazil, with the intention of the building permission for the Retreat House: "We crown the Tabor Queen - She will Give us the Retreat House"! In February 2001, the Brothers of Mary crowned her with the same confidence and intention. The crown will find its place in the future Retreat House.
A History of Crowning
In a short meditative prayer service, the men recalled the history of the Tabor Shrine and Men's Retreat House, beginning in the '30s with Father Kentenich selecting this mountain as "the mountain of the men." Father Kentenich spoke about this idea in the concentration camp in Dachau, where he founded the community of the Brothers of Mary. A wayside shrine was erected in 1957 - exactly at the place where, in 1995, theTabor Shrine was built. Father Kentenich blessed the mountain in 1967.
During the time the struggles occurred for permission to build the Shrine, the men again and again crowned Mary. The history of the Tabor Shrine and the Retreat House, as well as of the Youth Center situated at some distance from the Shrine, reflects the history of crowning and confidence - and of a growing community within the various Men's branches, who built the Tabor Shrine as their common Shrine.
A Historical Spade
After the blessing of the land, the groundbreaking took place - with a "historical" spade. This same spade had been used for the groundbreaking of the Mario-Hiriart House (1973), the Youth Center (1977), the Shrine in Bonn, Kreuzberg (1986), and the Tabor Shrine (1995). Ernest Kanzler, Superior General of the Brothers of Mary; Father Dr.JoachimSchmiedl, Assistant of the Brothers of Mary; and Father Dr. Erwin Hinder and Gebhard M. Basler, moderators of the Schoenstatt's Men's League, were the first to take the spade and express their wishes and blessings for the future house. Architect Schaaf, Vallendar, was present and also joined with the other participants from the Men's League and Federation and the Brothers who took turns with the spade, each representing their community, diocese, or group. Almost all German dioceses were represented on this evening.
An International Center of Prayer and Adoration
Herr Münz, Niederwerth, in the name of the local Men's group expressed the wish for reconciliation and fruitful cooperation with local authorities, party leaders and ecological groups who had violently opposed the building in the past. Francis, a young Brother of Mary from Sierra Leone, and Markus Amrein, Switzerland, spoke for the international spread of their community and for all the young men from all of the countries of the world who one day might come here to Schoenstatt, asking for the Tabor Queen blessing on their vocation. It was exactly 9:00 PM when the groundbreaking ceremony ended with the priests' benediction and the Schoenstatt hymn: "Protect us with your mantle…" All then joined in a festive dinner in the Mario Hiriart House sponsored by the Brothers of Mary to celebrate this important step towards the center of prayer and adoration by the Tabor Shrine.
English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, WI, USA
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