Learning to Love with One's Heart Rather than with Words
"Covenant International" in Schoenstatt - an Experience of Mutual Enrichment and Responsibility
(mkf) On the 18th of each month, Schoenstatt members all over the world unite by a Shrine, wayside Shrine, or home shrine to celebrate the day of the Covenant of Love, the covenant with Mary, and the covenant with each other. On August 18, the mutual enrichment and responsibility in the Covenant of Love –from the international and local perspective- was experienced and celebrated on a day vibrant with Covenant joy. As a special intention, the initiative of Schoenstatt and other Ecclesial Movements for the Protection of Human Life and Dignity was offered in prayer.
Through information on schoenstatt.de about upcoming Schoenstatt events and contacts with PressOffice Schoenstatt, Institute families from the Czech Republic who made their covenant in the Bethlehem Shrine in Rokole, the coordinators of the annual feast of the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Campaign in Cordoba, Argentina, the Schoenstatt Boys' Youth in Austin, Texas (one member made his Covenant on this day in the Exile Shrine in Milwaukee), and the Professional Women from Northern Germany who sponsored "On the Eighteenth in Schoenstatt" knew about their mutual Covenant celebrations and united in prayer for and with each other in Covenant love.
Celebrating the Covenant of Love
After the early morning Mass in the Original Shrine, several new Pilgrim Mother pictures were blessed; at 9:00AM, the leaders of the Schoenstatt Girls' Youth had their final holy Mass after the Leaders' Convention.
For 10:00 AM, the Professional women from Northern Germany had invited all for a festive Covenant Mass in the Original Shrine. Father Deva, a Pallottine Father from India who works in the Vallendar parish, celebrated the Mass with the Professional women, families, students from Spain and Bolivia,Schoenstatt Sisters, and members of the Women's Federation. One couple who belongs to the Schoenstatt prayer circle came from Hagen – 2.5 hours by car – to join in the program of the Covenant Day in Schoenstatt. "We love to come to Schoenstatt; and as soon as we saw the note about this celebration we decided to join in!" Father Deva spoke about Mary as the one who brings Jesus close to people and people close to Jesus. "The Covanant with Mary means to experience her big adventure – Jesus!" Mary, he added, would be a modern woman who knew how to use the new media of communication! He referred to Margot who would make her Covenant of Love; she got to know Schoenstatt some weeks ago through a friend who had found Schoenstatt while surfing on the internet. Both now belong to a group of Professional women.
A Rose for Córdoba, a Rose for Rokole
"Mary helps us see with the heart rather than with the eyes, hear with the heart rather than with the ears, understand with the heart rather than with the brain, and most of all to love with the heart rather than with words," Father Deva concluded his sermon on the organic love for Mary. Then, together with Margot, all those present renewed the Covenant of Love, "so that the stream of life and grace from this Shrine can flow to all," as Margot expressed it in her personal dedication prayer.
With a red rose placed on the altar as symbol for the own heart and love and commitment, all renewed their Covenant of Love. One red rose was offered for the participants of the feast in Cordoba, one for the families in the Czech Republic, one for the Covenant of Love of one of the boys from Austin, one for the missionary from Argentina who brought the Jubilee Pilgrim Mother to Senegal, one for all who bring the Pilgrim Mother to others, one for all sick and new-born babies who are entrusted to the Pilgrim Mother for babies at risk, one for all who on this day would first make their covenant, and several roses for all those who anywhere in the world renew and live their Covenant of Love.
After Mass some Marian songs were sung near the Original Shrine.
Each bead of the rosary...
At 3:00PM, the Professional Ladies offered a "Covenant rosary" in the Adoration Church: each bead of teh rosary, each 'Hail Mary', represents a person who is important to me, whom I love, whom I care for, whom I cry for; Capital of grace given to the Mother and Queen, thanksgiving for home and love – expressed in candles and roses. The decades of the rosary were offered in special intentions such as the recent political debate in Germany on stem cell research, and the Ecclesial Movements' Initiative for the Protection and Dignity of human embryos, the Professional women and all who had joined them prayed for all unborn babies and all whose life and dignity are threatened; lists with signatures were placed by the rosary that was created on the steps by the altar as a sign of gratitude for over 4,000 signatures collected by Schoenstatt members and to ask for strength, courage and concrete action.
...a Person whom I Care for, whom I Cry for, whom I Thank for, an Unborn Child whom I decide for
Schoenstatt events of this day anywhere in the world taking place on this Covenant Day,especially including all people present in Cordoba, Rokole, Milwaukee/Austin, Senegal were the intention of the second decade. Then the people, challenges and joys of other dimensions of life were brought in -all who take a Pilgrim Mother picture to others, for all who spread Schoenstatt, for the Schoenstatters from Croatia to arrive that night, for all in the work places, families and parishes who live with tension, who experience sickness, unemployment, disappointment, lack of faith and confidence, and for all whom we owe our Covenant of Love, for all who have made a difference in life. For each Hail Mary, a candle was lit and a rose placed by the MTA picture in the middle of the "Illuminated Rosary" where a Father Eye symbol spoke also of the Father's merciful and faithful love, as was intoned in the verse: that resounded again and again: I will sing of your love my Lord, I will sing of four faithfulness forever; I will sing of the life we share, o Lord, this covenant, Lord, is my song." – "The rosary was so beautiful, such a deeply spiritual atmosphere, I could have kept praying for hours, " said one professional woman who came to Schoenstatt for the first time. After learning that the Professional Women plan to offer "On the Eighteenth in Schoenstatt" on each 18th that falls on Saturday, the couple from Hagen parted with the promise: "We'll come on May 18." They took a list home and volunteered to collect signatures- comment: "It is important to do something. We can't be silent and think that someone else should do it. We are responsible. When we read about the initiative we became so grateful and proud that we belong to Schoenstatt!"
"You are my Living Crown"
The local Schoenstatt family and those living and working in Schoenstatt, along with retreatants and visitors, met at 8:30 PM in the Adoration Church. A course of the Families' Federation from Austria, students from Spain, and the over 80 pilgrims from Croatia who had arrived only few hours before, joined in the celebration; some prayers and the sermon were both in German and Croatian. The Schoenstatt Girls' Youth's motto: "You are my living crown" set the tone for the celebration, that was sponsored by the Girls Youth remembering one year of the "living crown", the central experience of the International Meeting in 2000. The songs from this meeting brought back many beautiful memories!
Carrying Each Other
In his sermon, Father Beller encouraged all the renew the Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother and with each other: "We offer prayers and sacrifices to her, and the Blessed Mother comes and dwells in our midst in the Shrine, and she gives us gifts and graces. We carry each other in the Covenant of Love, a concrete experience of the mystical body of Christ. When we pray, and when we suffer, we carry each other and are united with each other."
All were invited to offer the joys and pain, the gifts and disappointments, their work, and friendship enjoyed to the Capital of Grace. Then, united with all who anywhere in the worlds renewed their Covenant of Love:" My Queen, my Mother…" All who by a Shrine, wayside Shrine, in their home shrine or in the middle of every day life renew their covenant this day, all who take or receive the Pilgrim Mother, and all who on this day would come to a Shrine or meet someone whose heart is a Shrine, were then included in the final blessing.
Outside, by the fire, songs in German and Croatian were sung, and Spanish words were also overheard. The pilgrims from Croatia stood together, around their flag, proud to represent their country on this special day. A bouquet of roses that had been by the MTA picture in the Adoration Church was given to them as a special welcome greeting - it was a gift from the Professional Women. "The Schoenstatt members all over the world celebrate the 18th of the month," said Father Kentenich on April 18, 1956, in Milwaukee, "because the day of the Covenant is a special feastday." It was quite tangible on this day in Schoenstatt.
English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken, Wisconsin, USA
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