Schönstatt - Begegnungen

"Come Into our Midst now, that the Hope may Live …"

Covenant Day in Schoenstatt – and in Harare, Bahía Blanca, Córdoba, Waukesha …

P. Tilmann Beller, director of the German Schoenstatt Movement,mentioned three key subjects of the past weeks: the protecition of human embryos, the death of Sr. Erika, and the Covenant Celebration.
Pater Tilmann Beller, Bewegungsleiter der deutschen Schönstattbewegung, nannte drei Dinge, die in den letzten Wochen bewegt haben: die Entscheidung um den Import embryonaler Stammzellen, der Tod von Sr. Erika, die Bedeutung der Bündnisfeier
"Mixed orchestra": Schoenstatt Girls' Youth, Schoenstatt Sisters, Institute of Families, Ladies of Schoenstatt.
"Gemischtes Orchester": Mädchenjugend, Marienschwestern, Institut der Schönstattfamilien, Frauen von Schönstatt
Flags representing the international Schoenstatt Movement
Landesfahnen als Zeichen der Verbundenheit mit der weltweiten Bewegung.
The new "Covenant Light"
Das neue "Bündnislicht"
Sr. Anna Maria, from USA, intoning "Protect us with your mantle"
Sr. Anna Maria aus USA begleitete "Breit um uns deinen Mantel" mit Trompete
"Just arrived": Schoenstatt Girls' Youth from Ecuador and Texas, USA (m)
Gerade angekommen: Schönstatt-Mädchenjugend aus Ecuador und Texas, USA (m)
Fotos: PressOffice Schoenstatt, Fischer © 2002

SCHOENSTATT, mkf. On each 18th of the month, thousands and thousands of Schoenstatt members and friends join by the daughter Shrines, way side shrines, home shrines, to celebrate what makes a difference to their lives: the Covenant of Love, sealed on October 18, 1914, in the Original Shrine in Schoenstatt. For Father Kentenich, each 18th was also characterized by the renewal of the Covenant with the family and with each other. Through each covenant of love renewed, the world is changes because Christ is born anew, Father Beller said during the Covenant Renewal in Schoenstatt – that the hope my live.

Already since before Covenant Day in January, the small Pilgrim Mother picture is by the statue of Pallotti, representing all the thousands and thousands who are contributing that the stream of life and grace from the Original Shrine reaches the ends of the world, and the hearts of many. Father Künster, Federation priests, the celebrant, at the beginning said that on each Covenant Day God our Father and the Blessed Mother had a surprise for us and only waited for us to discover the surprise! At the end of the Mass, we all renewed the Covenant of Love, consciously representing all who today unite to renew the Covenant of Love.

The gift of Returning to Schoenstatt: "I Felt Like Home Again"

Just before or on that Covenant Day, Schoenstatt members from Argentina, Ecuador, USA (Texas), and the Czech Republic had arrived, glad to be in Schoenstatt for the first time or again on this special day of grace. "When the car had crossed the bridge across the Rhine I felt like home again," said a student from Texas who was in Schoenstatt for several weeks in summer 1999. Although tired from the trip, she would not miss the Covenant Renewal in the evening. Also a group of girls from Ecuador joined in.

"Come into our midst now, that the hope may live; give us from your light that moves and characterizes us. We, one heart in the Father –Love that moves the world!" – The Covenant Light – a newly-donated light with a brass stand and a glass candle holder with the Schoenstatt logo embossed on it – was lit, followed by smaller lights that were lit while the persons who have been instrumental to bring God close to humankind, or better, to bring all people close to God, were asked to join in this celebration (the idea was adopted from the Covenant with Father Kentenich on January 20, at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Father Shrine): the missionaries, the reformers and founders of the church, the saints and martyrs of the 20th century, the Schoenstatt "saints", and specially Father Kentenich.

"With each Covenant of Love, Christ is Born Anew"

In his sermon, Father Beller mentioned three moments that had moved the Schoenstatt family in Germany : the political decisions and Schoenstatt's initiative around the use of embryos for research, the death of Sr. Erika – who was "Schoenstatt in Rome" for so many - and the Covenant Renewal. Beginning with Sr. Erika, he said that she was a child with the heart of a lion – ready to fight for Schoenstatt and the mission. Each one of the small human beings, that are called embryo and that are used for research reasons, Father Beller continued, "has the potential to be a Sr Erika, and it is worth while to fight for each one of them, even if one has to suffer a defeat. It takes long to change an attitude, but what those did who worked for this initiative was the beginning of this change." Each time when we renew the Covenant of Love, so his conclusion, Christ would be born in our hearts and thus in the world. Church and world are being changed because with each Covenant of Love Christ in born.

Before all renewed the Covenant of Love, they were invited to write down the contributions to the Capital of grace- the biggest joy of the past four weeks since January 18, the most profound disappointment, the most loved person, the most special gift, the biggest fault, the deepest sadness, the most heartfelt thanks… Then, united with the thousands who today live and renew their covenant of Love, they prayed: "My Queen, my mother…"

United with Those who Live the Covenant of Love in… Harare, Zimbabwe

"This evening we went to St. Francis Xavier Church in Braeside, where we crown our MTA Queen of Africa every May 31. There was Holy Mass to pray for peace. Referring to the need to pray for peace we were told that yesterday parishioners in Bulawayo, from different Christian churches in the city, including Catholics, had started out on a prayer drive in their cars going in procession to different churches and praying there for peace, had been met by police at the last church they visited and the minister from that church and the catholic priest from the cathedral had been arrested and were in custody. That was sad news. There was also good news because the mass was also being offered up in thanksgiving for the call to the priesthood of one of the young parishioners. Of course our Schoenstatt Family was there to renew their Covenant of love with Our Lady. It was a beautiful prayer filled mass. In the readings we heard the message that we should let the Word of Jesus in all its richness find a home in our hearts. This is so important now when fear is gripping the hearts of so many and violence is the order of the day. Jesus' Word is full of hope and peace and healing. After mass we renewed our covenant of love. In the meditation we were reminded what Covenant "Nothing without you, nothing without us." Christian renewal can only be brought about by the cross, and now here in Zimbabwe we feel the weight of the cross. We in Schoenstatt need to be ready to help our MTA bring hope and healing to our fellow men at this time." The words "This depends on us" struck me as being very important. In our sharing the situation we are in, the deep seated fears and concern for our families was evident. Many people are afraid to come out of their homes in the evenings, and just this afternoon there were violent demonstrations in town because the EU were meeting to discuss whether they would impose sanctions. We must pray, pray, pray letting The Word be at home in our hearts, and have confidence in God's providence and our Mother and Queen's care and support. Our resolution is that we will this month share our time with others, welcoming them, listening to them as our contribution to the 'capital of grace' …"

Marlene Peter, Harare, Zimbabwe

"We are so Far and so Close , United in one Mother and one Father..."

"United with the thousands of persons who today live and renew their covenant of loive in the entire world, we pray the dedication prayer: my Queen, my mother..." – these words resound on each 18th in Schoenstatt. It's the reflection of a reality:
"A very important light that has been lit in the dark of our times are for sure the 75,000 signatures in favor of life. Here, we prayed today in the small wayside Shrine in our quarter. It is placed at tan intersection of three streets, and the way side shrine has three sides, each one representing one of the three graces we receive from the Shrine; each one is directed to one of the streets so that those who come and go from the city receive the graces of the Mater. We also have a makeshift bowl to burn the slips of paper with the contributions to the Capital of Grace."

Diana Cristina Hernández, Bahía Blanca, Argentina

"Yesterday (Feb. 18) we were in our Shrine in the middle of a downpour, but as the Mother knows that the Covenant Mass is an open air event, she always had the kindness to give us dry and bright times just and exactly for the Mass!"

Rosita Alavarado, Córdoba,Argentina

"We had a nice crowd for Covenant Sunday in Waukesha which was led by Father Niehaus because Father Dieter is in Texas.   The weather was beautiful the entire weekend. There was a lot of wind but the sun was out brightly and the temperature!"

Joan Biemert, New Franken/WI, USA

"We went to the National Shrine in Nuevo Schoenstatt , Florencio Varela, where we had our encounter with our Father and Founder. It was a precious night, and like always the atmosphere of peace that reigns there gave us new strength to go ahead. The sermon of Father Beller that we heard of in the 'Covenant Greetings' is very important, with the parallel to Sr. Erika and the potential of each of these little human beings, the embryos. How beautiful had it been to be there to bring our Capital of Grace!"

María Inés and Victor Cutrone, Buenos Aires, Argentina

After the final blessing, to the tune of "Protect us with your mantle" – played in the church with organ, outside with trumpet by Sr Anna Maria from USA – all processed to the Covenant fire where the slips of paper with the contributions to the Capital of Grace were burnt. The girls from Ecuador sang a song, old friends were greeted – but today the time by the fire was shorter as all were invited to join in the presentation prepared by Ruth and Peter Fischer, Schoenstatt's representatives in the Initiative of the Spiritual Movements for the protection of human embryos. A big number of persons attended this presentation

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