Sharing the Holy Places of God's Tangible Presence
Living and Celebrating the Covenant of Love - in Schoenstatt, Harare, Herradura, Madrid...
(mkf) Sharing the holy places of God's tangible presence - and of these " above all, my heart": These two phrases from the Holy Mass in the Original Shrine in the morning of the Covenant Day in July, and from the Covenant Renewal in the Adoration Church in the evening highlight the meaning of the Covenant of Love renewed in Schoenstatt and around the world on each 18th of the month.
Early in the morning on July 18th, a number of new Pilgrim Mother pictures were blessed in the Original Shrine; those present renewed the Covenant of Love, representing the international Schoenstatt family and each and everyone who lives and renews the Covenant of Love in a Shrine, by a wayside Shrine, in the home shrine or in the middle of every day life and work, and each and everyone who brings or receives the Pilgrim Mother. The Father who said the Holy Mass on this morning said that we are called to share the holy places of God's presence with all – because this is what people need: to experience a place where they can come close to God through the presence of God in the friendship, respect, and love shared by persons.
United in the Love for Mary
Like on each 18th, the local Schoenstatt family got together for the Covenant celebration in the Adoration Church at 7:30PM. Father Ernst, a Federation priest who in September will begin as parish priest in Jessen near Wittenberg, Eastern Germany, welcomed all and pointed at the flags from various countries as sign of being united with the international Schoenstatt; but, he added, the many Pilgrim Mother pictures in the Founder Chapel were a much stronger sign of being united internationally with millions of persons all over the world, united in the warm love for Mary, who wants to give to us and to whom we want to give all – "but above all, my heart". He specially welcomed girls from Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic, from USA and South Africa who provided music and songs – "As I knee before you" in English, Russian, and Polish! A special congratulation was passed on to the men's branches, who on July 10, the day of Father Kentenich's first Holy Mass, had received the permission to build the "guardians' house" by the Tabor Shrine, and who had had the groundbreaking ceremony on last Saturday.
Covenant Love Around the World
The Schoenstatt Family of Madrid, Spain, for the first time met in their new Shrine. Approximately 120 persons came, expressing their joy with this new place of grace.
In Herradura in the province of Formosa, Argentina, as by the Schoenstatt Shrines, hundreds of way side Shrines, and in parish churches, missionaries of the Pilgrim Mother and families visited by her met to renew the Covenant of Love and pray the rosary together; the missionaries of Herradura met in the Chapel of St. Joseph on July 18, praying and offering the rosary - with each Hail Mary ail Haiof the rosary being expressed with a typical flower of this area, Mburucuyá..
In Herxheim, Germany, an unusually big number of persons had come for the Covenant Celebration. The Covenant renewal in the Shrine at Campsie Glen, Scotland, took place on the Sunday after the 18th; July is usually a quiet time due to the summer holidays but the shrine was full with some over spill. "The sun even lowered itself to shine on us for few hours, shared Father Michael Savage who celebrated the holy Mass.
In Harare, Zimbabwe, fifteen faithful Schoenstatt members gathered at their shrine in the Arnold's home for their monthly covenant service on the same day. The room is small so some had to sit outside near the window as usual. "It has been lovely and sunny these last couple of days," Marlene Peter shared. "We sang and prayed the glorious mysteries interspersed with prayers of petition and of thanksgiving for many things. The sick, and the need for a peaceful solution to our country's present problems were among some of the situations we included. Then because it was Bible Sunday, Pat Arnold gave us a reflection on the gospels of Matthew Mark, Luke and John. We resolved to strive to 'build from here a better world' in our homes, our parishes, our work places, and do the best we can. We also shared our thoughts on each word that makes up our motto for the year, 'May our covenant bring hope and healing to the lives of our people on Zimbabwe.' We sang "My Queen My Mother". There was such a warm feeling of togetherness and a quiet peace settled into our hearts."
"But above all, my heart"
The Schoenstatt Mothers' motto set the tone for the Covenant renewal in Schoenstatt: "But above all, my heart" – the word from the Pre-Founding document, illustrated with the cover picture of the July Covenant letter – a hand that with reverence and confidence touches the image of the MTA, the heart of the mother, overflowing with love for each of her children. Father Ernst shared two simple testimonies. When he, before studying for the priesthood, had worked in a bakery, he had proudly presented a cake to the master, who had said: it is right – but you have to do these things with love. Only two days before the covenant celebration, he had gotten the answer of a Schoenstatt mother to his petition whether she could look after his household as new parish priest: She had sent him the words: "I now place myself completely at your disposal with all that I am and have: my knowledge and ignorance, my ability and inability, but above all my heart." All that we do, he summarized, should be done with love, in the Covenant with the Blessed Mother and in the covenant with each other. Only those who invest their heart in their work, their apostolate, their friendship and their faith will be able to enkindle and transform others and to be enkindled and transformed.
All were then invited to give the joys and sorrows, the gifts and thanks and petitions, to the Capital of grace. Then all renewed the Covenant of love, remembering all with whom they are united in this Covenant all over the world. After the blessing, all processed to the Covenant fire, where "Protect us with your mantle" was sung in different languages, while the fire was lit and the papers with the contributions to the Capital of Grace were burnt. The girls from Russia and Poland gave a short special performance of Polish and Russian songs and dances and got all to clap their hands!
Covenant of Love, renewed in Schoenstatt. It is the Covenant of Love, lived in every day life. Covenant Renewal on July 18, somewhere in the United States, in a home shrine: "After coming home this evening -tired and weary -to think at this point in the day I can offer her my heart(even as it is this moment) - oh our wonderful Covenant of Love is such a great, great gift for us!!!!"
With contributions from Walter Dejon, Marlene Peter, Maureen Donnelly, Fr. Michael Savage, Aileen Lütjens.
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