Croatia for Schoenstatt: Red and White Roses as a Sign and Promise
Covenant of Love Constituting the Schoenstatt Family of Croatia
(mkf) Early in the evening of August 22, the feast of Mary the Queen, the Croatian Schoenstatt Movement, represented in more than 80 pilgrims from Croatia, made the Covenant of Love in the Shrine of the Families in Schoenstatt, thus officially founding Schoenstatt in Croatia. This was the highlight of the Croatian pilgrimage to Schoenstatt that had begun on August 18 with the Covenant Celebration in the Adoration Church and ended with the sending of 50 new pictures of the Pilgrim Mother, destined for Croatia, Bosnia, and Yugoslavia, on August 24.
Croatia for the Mother Thrice Admirable, Croatia for Schoenstatt - the stream of life and grace that comes from the Schoenstatt Shrine, rooted in the Covenant of Love with the Blessed Mother and lived by concrete persons in their very places is heading for Croatia: This is the desire and experience of the Croatian Schoenstatt Movement. "We found the Croatian Schoenstatt Movement, sealing the Covenant of Love as Croatian Schoenstatt Family," over 80 pilgrims prayed on August 22 in and in front of the Shrine of the Families in Schoenstatt, Germany. Several Croatian families living in Germany, and two Croatian Schoenstatt Sisters have joined in this important moment of Croatia's and Schoenstatt's history.
Red and White Roses
While the Covenant prayer resounded, many of the Croatians again and again looked at the big bouquet of red and white roses in the sanctuary of the Shrine - roses in the Croatian National Colors. As a sign for their personal contributions to the Capital of Grace, the pilgrims had offered these roses. "Accept these white and red roses as our contribution to the Covenant," they prayed, "and inscribe our names into your heart, dear Mother." Men and women, young people, priests were praying with joy and emotion. "As a sign for our surrender, we want to give you a threefold gift," they continued. The gift is their striving for self-education, community spirit and the commitment to announce and spread the Covenant of Love "with our families, with individuals, with Church and society and all the peoples to whom you send us." With childlike confidence, they ask for a "beautiful land for our Croatian Schoenstatt Shrine and retreat center", for vocations and for the network of love that the Mother Thrice Admirable is to erect wherever she works as Pilgrim Mother, from a home Shrine, wayside Shrine or Schoenstatt altar. The final sentence of the dedication prayer is a summary of Schoenstatt's spirituality: "In the Covenant of Love, lead us to the Holy Trinity and to the people!"
The Croatian Covenant Book
At the end of the prayer, some young people passed on small cards with a graphic: a book - for the Croatian Covenant Book with the names of all those who have sealed their Covenant of Love -, red and white roses, a heart as sign of community, the Croatian coat of arms. "Protect us with your mantle" resounded in Croatian; the ceremony ends with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, accompanied by a Eucharistic song in a typical Croatian tune. The priests gave the blessing, and many stayed for Adoration. On the altar of the Shrine, a heart was placed with the Croatian coat of arms, and crown, the gift of a Croatian woman from Germany: "for the Queen in the future Shrine!"
Before the Founding Ceremony, a priest, a girl, and seven mothers had made their personal Covenant of Love.
Encounters in Schoenstatt
During their stay in Schoenstatt, the pilgrims from Croatia had tours of the places in Schoenstatt and Metternich, and daily talks on the Schoenstatt spirituality. When they visited Mount Sion, Father Michael Marmann, Superior General of the Schoenstatt Fathers, gave them a tour of the house and shared about his encounters with Father Kentenich when he met him in Milwaukee. The pilgrims were impressed with the tour that Fr Egle gave them on Mount Moriah: "The fountain in the entrance hall, symbol for the four milestones, was a perfect introduction into Schoenstatt, specially as we had worked on the four milestones during last year's retreat," said Hedwig Weinzierl, of the Women's Federation, who works in Yugoslavia since years. It was a special experience to pray by the altar from Dachau, and many had liked to listen longer to Sr Petra when she shared about her experiences with Father Kentenich in Milwaukee. The pilgrims were also excited with all that they got to know in Metternich. Life and mission of Sr. Emilie was inspiring for the pilgrims. On Saturday, the pilgrimage closed with 50 Pilgrim Mother pictures to be sent out for Croatia: Schoenstatt in Croatia grew and continues to grow through the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Campaign, a new visit of Mary to Elizabeth.
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