A New Bell Will Ring in Christmas in Original Shrine
Original Shrine will be Open Again on December 23
(mkf) A new bell will ring in Christmas in the Original Shrine: fastened in the new bell tower with its dark-red timbers, and first rung on December 13, 2001, it will announce the re-opening of the Original Shrine on the fourth Advent Sunday, December 23. As a real Christmas gift, the doors of the Original Shrine will open again after several weeks. Due to the complete renovation of the roof timbering, the Original Shrine, the source and center of Schoenstatt's life, had been closed since the first week in November.
The sun was shining from bright blue skies on a crisp, chilly winter day when the new bell for the Original Shrine arrived with short notice on Thursday, December 13. Father Matthias Rummel improvised a blessing ceremony with a little flock of participants who happened to get the information or just walked by. The new bell has a relief picture of the Mother Thrice Admirable on the front side, crowned with a replica of the Original Crown that Father Kentenich attached to the MTA picture in the Original Shrine on December 10, 1939. A rosary of ten rose buds surrounds the picture like a living crown of roses. "Mother Thrice Admirable, pray for us!" reads the inscription of the bell. On the reverse side it has a picture of Vincent Pallotti and reminiscence to the centenary of the Pallottines' arrival in Schoenstatt. In the afternoon, at around 4:00 PM, the new bell was finally fastened in the bell tower.
Complete Renovation of the Roof
The weeks before, progress in the renovation of the roof could be seen day by day. The major part of the woodwork of the roof had to be replaced, new shingles were attached – making the old ones a precious object of longing and joy for Schoenstatt members who got a chance to achieve one. Father Matthias Rummel SAC decided to also have the necessary painting of the inside walls done now: "So we don't need to close the Shrine again in spring, like in the other years". Asked why the Shrine would only re-open on the day before Christmas, he said: "We could have done it some days earlier, but then we would still have had the scaffolding and all the signs of a construction site. I thought it to be better to open it just for Christmas, with all done, so we can return to a beautiful Shrine where the light of Jesus' birth is shining…"
The Spiritual Dimension of a Closed Shrine
Many items from the Shrine have been in temporary custody of Schoenstatt communities during these weeks. "Today, on a personal anniversary, I had the Holy Spirit symbol of the Original Shrine," said Fr Joseph Treutlein, chairperson of the German diocesan directors. "It's strange to not be able to send a mail to Schoenstatt asking someone to take me and my loved ones to the Original Shrine," said a Professional Woman. "And anyway, a closed Shrine, that does not work. The nature of our Shrine is to be open, I understand that much better now."
Word of mouth quickly spread that the old shingles were available. The joy and anticipation with that Schoenstatt members in Australia, USA, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador and other countries are looking for their "piece of the place of grace" to arrive, leaves some of those who have the grace of being close to the Original Shrine dumbfounded. The measure of longing is the measure of love, and distance increases the longing. "I understood much better how important the Original Shrine is for the international Schoenstatt family, as a unifying center, as the source of grace. It is amazing that such an old shingle from our Shrine can mean so much for someone in USA," said a young woman from Germany. "Can I please also have one?"
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Last Update: 19.12.2001 15:20 Mail: Editor /Webmaster
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