Celebrating 25 years of "My Shrine"
25th Anniversary of the Shrine and Formation Center "Marienland" in Schoenstatt
SCHOENSTATT, mkf. "My Shrine" – the leitmotif of the talk given by Father Alex Menningen 25 years ago, on April 30, 1977, on behalf of the dedication of the Shrine by House Marienland, the "Regnum Patris" (Kingdom of the Father) Shrine, resounded in the hearts of many Schoenstatt Mothers, Professional Women, Sisters of the Dynamic Province, when on April 30, 2002, the bells of the Shrine announced the 25th anniversary of its dedication. Despite the original intention of celebrating this jubilee throughout the year with the groups in the very retreats, about 250 – 280 persons gathered to celebrate their Shrine.
A festoon around the door, a banner with a big silver "25" at the gable, white-and-yellow flags all along the way from the Center to the Shrine and around the small square in front of it, and inside the Shrine an abundance of flower arrangements by the artist's hands, and a new antependium (gift of the Senior Women's League of Southern Germany) with the words embroidered: "Love is stronger", the German Schoenstatt Movement's Year's motto – it's Jubilee of the Shrine!
"Thank you for the Shrine"
The feast day began in the evening of the day before with a night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Early the other morning, the participants of the retreats taking place in the Center Marienland, and the Sisters of the Dynamic Province opened the feast day with a "Happy Birthday, dear Shrine" meditation. As a big surprise, a new jubilee song emerged!
Due to the uncertain weather conditions, the festive Holy Mass, originally planned in the open air by the shrine, was transferred to the Adoration Church. The celebration began at 10:30 AM by the Shrine, with a eulogy of the Shrine and the graces received there. Approximately 250 predominantly senior Schoenstatt members of the various branches and groups at home in this Shrine – next to the Mothers' and Women's League, and the Sisters, also the Ladies of Academic Profession, the Federation of Sick and Handicapped Women, the Women in Pastoral Service, and Mothers' Federation – and several guests from the other Schoenstatt communities joined to give thanks for the 25 years of grace in the shadow of the Shrine. Each branch or group gave a short statement of thanks, showing the unity and variety of attachments to this Shrine.
On the way down to the Adoration Church some of the oldest participants lamented the absence of the young generation, but understood that young people could not come on a normal workday. "I was present for the dedication," shared Elisabeth Schenk, one of those who could not come on April 30, "at that time neither belonging to the Women's League, nor very excited in joining a solemn dedication. But up to this day I remember parts of Father Menningen's talk: 'My shrine', that became an incentive to work for this Shrine to become my Shrine, and today, after 25 years, I can say: It is my Shrine!" - "At the beginning of this year I really did not care much for the jubilee of this Shrine," said a member of the younger generation. I was not involved in anything regarding the Shrine and is conquering, and not more attached to this Shrine than to many others! Then I got the task to chose paragraphs from Father Menningen's talk for the magazine of the Women's League, and at the end of this work I would have been really interested in knowing more about this Shrine and ist special mission! I guess I would like it to be my Shrine!" A bouquet of roses was to be her and the others' sign of being present on the day of the jubilee.
A Shrine with a Special Grace and Mission for the Women
In his sermon, Father Rudolf Mosbach – who was also present 25 years ago for the benediction - picked up the word of the shadow of the Shrine; Father Kentenich, in a talk for Schoenstatt Sisters working in the female branches of the Movement had modified the word, expressing that in the shadow of the Shrine the destiny of the church will be decided through many women and girls being transformed into a "small Mary". Father Menningen had applied this word to the new Shrine in 1977. In the shadow of this Shrine, Father Mosbach said, women should find themselves rooted in the love of God in such a way that they are equipped with all they need to mould the culture of these times. The Blessed Mother from this Shrine would set free energies of love, that a civilization of love could grow.
Father Mosbach also mentioned the meaning of the formation center that must not miss by a Shrine.
"God is present"
A woman from Höhr-Grenzhausen had happened to get into this Mass, not having an idea of the jubilee. "I am still so shocked by the Erfurt school shooting," she said, "I simply needed to be in a church. I enjoyed this Mass, and for me it was like a service for the victims of Erfurt, a consolation in the knowing – God is present, no matter what happens!" Maybe she described, without knowing, the mission of the Shrine – Kingdom of the Father, reigning presence of the Father.
After Mass, all were invited for a snack and refreshments in House Marienland, where all dining rooms were set for the guests – including the Sisters' dining room, a special attraction for many (although it turned out to not be too different from the other dining rooms!).
In a family-like atmosphere of shared joy, the feast of the Shrine closed early in the afternoon - and the jubilee celebrations of the various groups attached to the Shrine will go on throughout the year!
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