In Simplicity and Sincerity: Covenant Renewal a Week After the Attacks
Covenant Day in Schoenstatt Marked by Prayers for those Affected by the Terror Attacks in the USA
(mkf) One week after the terror attacks that hit the USA, and while the Schoenstatt's prayer solidarity with all those affected by these attacks is continuing to unite the Schoenstatt family in a simple and sincere way, the 18th of the month, Convenant Day, was celebrated at the place of origin and all over the world: more silently than in the other months, but united in the joy of being part of one international family that reaches out, in prayer and with the contributions to the Capital of Grace, to those affected by the terror attacks.
Those who came to the early Holy Masses on this morning in the Original Shrine, saw a small picture of the Pilgrim Mother by the statue of Pallotti; and many thought in this moment of the Pilgrim Mother who visits in New York and in Washington - and in so many places of the world where human life is threatened. An idea was shared in the course of the day - to light a candle in each Shrine and home shrine as a sign of hope on this Covenant day.
"We Want a Light to Shine Hope and Peace."
At 7:30PM Schoenstatt members got together in the Adoration Church for the Covenant Renewal - filling the church to the last seat and leaving many standing in the back. Hardly ever had so many persons attended the Covenant Renewal. Schoenstatt mothers from various dioceses, retired professional women, and families were present, as well as the local Schoenstatt family and representatives of Schoenstatt from all continents. The celebration was very simple, focused on the prayer for the victims of the terror attacks. A text that a German Schoenstatt family had posted on schoenstatt.de set the tone: "We want a light to shine hope. wherever we are called to remember persons who lose their life suddenly and innocently. We want to light a candle in our Shrines for the victims of the terror, for those who die of starvation or lose their life before they are born - because our God is a God of Life and our Covenant of Love a covenant for life. We invited and invite all to today, on this Covenant Day, light a candle in our Shrines and home shrines as a sign ." Families had brought the Light of Bethlehem, the Light of Peace and Hope, from the Original Shrine. A litany was said, remembering the victims of the terror attacks, their families and friends, the rescue workers and firefighters, those responsible for these attacks, all those who now are full of thoughts of revenge, the politicians, all those in fear. For each of these groups, a light was brought to the altar. Before, a moment of silence had been held to remember all the dead. The idea of the light in the Shrines and Home Shrines was picked up by many.
In Kleve, Germany, a small but prayerful congregation used some of the texts already made available from the October Covenant Celebration - focusing on the impact of the attacks - during Covenant Mass in the parish; afterwards, all took a small candle to light it at home as a sign of hope and petition for world peace.
Home of Victorious Joy
At the end of the Covenant renewal, Father Matthias Wiebel reminded all of the Shrine that had been dedicated on September 15, in Araraquara, Brazil, with the mission: Home of Victorious Joy. In the Covenant of Love, he said, all can experience this victorious joy and become, for others, specially in times like this, a home of victorious joy. All were then invited to write the contributions to the Capital of Grace on slips of paper, as a sign of solidarity and hope. Then, united with all Schoenstatt members anywhere in the world, and specially in New York, Washington and the entire USA, all renewed the Covenant of Love.
Called for the Protection and Dignity of Human Life - where ever Threatened
Outside, by the fire, Protect us with your mantle was sung; Peter Fischer, who with his wife represents Schoenstatt in the committee of the Ecclesial Movements who collect signatures for the protection of human embryos, then briefly linked the prayer for the victims of the terror with the general "option for life", and encouraged those present to also give their signatures or take lists. Altogether, the Schoenstatt movement has collected over 11,000 signatures, the majority from Northern German dioceses, and from the Schoenstatt family movement, Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, and Professional Women; an increasing number is coming in from parishes, institutions, and communities that were addressed by Schoenstatt members and asked to join in. The total from all the Ecclesial Movements now sums up to over 50,000.
The Covenant celebrations were all focused on prayer and especially prayerfor world peace. In Waukesha, USA, in the Shrine of the Father Kingdom, adoration was held from September 11; many strangers now visit the Shrine to pray. On Covenant Sunday, there was a renewal of the compromise with the Pilgrim MTA on Covenant Sunday and the sending out of new pictures. "Father Dieter's homily and subsequent talk were rather stirring when he spoke of recent tragedy. About the only way the world can ever achieve peace is through prayer and it sounds as though many prayers are being offered in all corners of the world," shared Joan Biemert.
World Peace will also be the focus of the annual Shrine to Shrine pilgrimage in South Africa, from the Shrine in Constantia, Cape Town, to the Shrine in Villa Maria, on September 24.
"As a New York Schoenstatter living on Staten Island," Janet Tatlus wrote on the morning of Covenant Day, "near our Shrine of Light and close enough to the city to be able to hear the explosion and see the clods of smoke rising from the devastation of the Twin Towers, I would like the International Schoenstatt Family to know how consoling all the messages, prayers, Masses, vigils were. The horror and pain this demonic act caused unites us all in a deeper way as a Schoenstatt Family and brings to mind the words of our father and founder: "With hope and joy, confident in the victory, we go with Mary into the post-modern age."
With contributions from: Inge Cleven, Kleve, Germany; Janet Tatlus, New York, USA; Joan Biemert, New Franken, USA; Sr. M. Iona, South Africa
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