A Sunny Sunday in Schoenstatt
Walking through Schoenstatt on a Sunday in March
SCHOENSTATT, mkf. Walkers, Bike Riders, little adventurers in pampers who conquer the playground by House Marienland on Mount Schoenstatt, senior citizens – some with their dogs-, young families, the little bookshop's regular customers, pilgrims, and residents of Schoenstatt – on the first spring Sunday of this year, a day with radiant sun, Schoenstatt was swarming with people!
House Sonnenau is filled to capacity with communion children and their catechists from Heidesheim, 50 persons altogether. The parish priest and others know Schoenstatt and suggested to spend the weekend of intensive preparation there. The children obviously enjoyed the stay. The day before, the communion children from Mehren, Lahn, had been in Schoenstatt, in the House of Pilgrims. The parish priests each year organizes one day for the communion children in Schoenstatt; the group took three pictures of the Pilgrim Mother home to circulate among the communion children in the last weeks of their preparation. The parents were given a short explanation. Now it depends on the work of the Pilgrim Mother whether the children and their parents want to continue being visited by her after Communion Day!
Pilgrimage to a Place of Grace
At the same time, a small group of persons responsible for the Schoenstatt pilgrimages in their dioceses or parishes had a meeting in Schoenstatt. Father Beller and Sr.Adelindis spoke with them about the main focus of this year's pilgrimage pastoral - the grace of inner transformation, finding God in every day life - and encouraged them to pass on the message that it is worth while to go on pilgrimage to a place of grace.
On that sunny Sunday in Schoenstatt, many persons, most of them individuals or small groups, could be seen visiting the Original Shrine. The license plates of the cars made clear that some had traveled several hours… "I sang all way," said Inge Cleven who made a spontaneous trip from Kleve to Schoenstatt, about three hours by car. "It was such a joy to go to Schoenstatt for some hours!" In the course of the week, each day about 100 - 150 persons came with buses from Waldbrunn, Mömbris, Urmitz, Vilmar, Bad Nauheim, Alzheim, and Usingen. In the course of the year, several major diocesan pilgrimages are scheduled: from the dioceses of Fulda, Munich, Aachen, Trier, Essen, Regensburg, Osnabrück, Freiburg, Limburg, and Eichstätt.
Mount Sion, Mount Schoenstatt, and the Valley - Nearby Recreational Area
During the afternoon, Mount Sion and Mount Schoenstatt turned into Vallendar's, Simmern's, and Koblenz' nearby recreational area once again. "It's so beautiful here and so peaceful, the children can run around and we can enjoy the flowers and the beauty," a couple from Vallendar said. Their three grandchildren had conquered the lawn around the Father Kentenich House as ideal area to play catch. Other children and parents had discovered the very small children's playground by House Marienland. Some had to stand on files to get a turn on the swing and see-saw. Files also in and before the little bookshop near the Adoration Church - Sr. Astrid almost ran out of cake on this afternoon. "I used the first sunny day to come here again after my trip to Egypt," said a woman, joyfully greeting Sister Astrid. Two little bike riders give the impression that a "Tour of Schoenstatt" could have a great exit... Hikers and walkers were to be seen throughout the whole day - the street to Mount Schoenstatt and from there towards Höhr-Grenzhausen being one of the accesses to the "Rheinhöhenweg", a footpath on the heights along the River Rhine. Many of them stop by for a short visit in the Adoration Church, or simply try to find someone who could tell them what this place is about...
International Place of Pilgrimage
"I live in Southern Germany since some time, I am from Brazil and would so much like to visit the Original Shrine and attend a Mass there! Here in Germany, the churches are only open a couple of minutes before and after Sunday Mass, I miss the adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament... But the homepage of Schoenstatt says that the latest Holy Mass on Saturday in the Original Shrine is at 8:00 in the morning!" The lady who wrote this mail knows Schoenstatt from the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign in Guaratinguetá, Sao Paulo. Like her, many individual pilgrims from all over the world plan to come to Schoenstatt this year, the visit being a once-in-life experience for many and a dream come true for that they are willing to invest a lot! Pilgrimage groups are expected to come from Liverpool, England; from USA, South Africa and Zimbabwe (Mothers' Federation), from Chile (professional women, mothers, families), Spain (families), Brazil, and Portugal (families), and France. "The couples we are to bring to Schoenstatt are all very exited about coming to Schoenstatt, it is good that there will be some special celebrations while we are there, " said John Beebe, who is to bring a group of Methodist Christians to Schoenstatt. "It will give them a taste of Schoenstatt spirituality. Our difficulty will be that there will not be time for all we want to do, and all we want to show them!"
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