Colors of Life A Weekend of Variety
Over 100 Persons joining a Weekend of A Thousand Possibilities in Schoenstatt
SCHOENSTATT,mkf. Schoenstatt, a Marian pilgrimage place, center of an international Ecclesial Movement – that is enthusiastic young people bubbling over with a thousand and one ideas, colors, music, a flurry of activities, children running around, and a lot of laughter, joy, and excitement: at least for those 100 or more persons who joined the weekend in House Sonnenau on May 24 – 26. "Colors of Life – A Weekend of Variety" – under this title, a group of Limburg-based Schoenstatt members had organized a meeting to offer young people especially a chance to get to know Schoenstatt and bring friends and relatives along.
"A young family is excited with Schoenstatt and wants to show it to a friend and to the friend's friend – but these friends are not yet married. Where can they bring them?" This was one of the questions that gave the impulse for the "Colors of Life" weekend that was organized by a committed team: Claudia and Matthias Schindler, Susanne Ortseifen, Sr. Gertrud-Maria Erhard, and Sr. Brigitt Rosam. "We have many seminars and retreats in Schoenstatt, specifically most of the time for couples, mothers, men, singles, youth…" said Sr. Gertrud-Maria, "but what is missing are open events for all!" The "Color of Life" weekend was meant to be an alternative along that line. Workshops, crafting, music, dance, discussion groups, meditation – multi-faceted offers were made, and each could chose what, when, and how long they wanted to join in. On Saturday, House Sonnenau was swarming with over 100 persons, of whom approximately 80 – 90 percent were first-time visitors to Schoenstatt. At the beginning of the program a "song of colors" – that soon turned out to be really catchy and hummed by all in between – introduced into the weekend that which lay ahead of the participants – a weekend as colorful and varied as life.
Walking through House Sonnenau on Saturday Afternoon
Spirited Latin American sounds received the chance visitor who on Saturday afternoon entered House Sonnenau. Students of the Schoenstatt Fathers from North and South America, with keyboard, guitar and a lot of fun sang at the top of their voices, supported by some Schoenstatt friends from Latin America, while approximately 40 adults and children sitting in wide circles around them in the foyer of House Sonnenau tried to sing along. A young family with children was just arriving, some youth waved good-bye. The foyer of the Sonnenau, like the whole house, was decorated with cloths in all colors, multi-colored big umbrellas, multi-colored signs, flowers, and napkins… With much love for detail, the team had prepared the house! In the nearby self-caterers' kitchen, Sr. Luisa – who normally works in the dining room of the sisters in House Marienland – was introducing talented and/or excited people to the art of baking and cooking. "It was so relaxing, and we had so much fun," one of the participants said. "I met a woman from the Internet", Josef Wieland, Federation of Families, said the other day. In one of the workshops, he had recognized the name of one of the participants, Elfi Stitz, as "actor" or an article on schoenstatt.de about the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign in the Metropolitan area of Washington. Couples were sitting in a workshop about marriage, children crafted pieces of art from wood, while others experienced a "dream trip" to a sunlit meadow. A young woman talked about First Aid, teenage girls practiced for a pop dance, while others worked on their guitar skills… Almost each room of the house hosted a different possibility to relax, to talk, to be creative.
Colors of Schoenstatt
Without talking much about it, the organizers succeeded in also making known a lot of "colors of Schoenstatt" – given the number of persons from different branches and countries who had fruitfully volunteered to share their talents and skills – Schoenstatt Fathers, Schoenstatt Sisters, members of the Federation and League of Families, Girls' Youth… A model also of cooperation in an open and selfless way.
On Saturday and Sunday a morning meditation was offered in the house chapel; workshops and discussion groups - on marriage, education of children, stress management, conflict management - were offered by Schoenstatt members, most of them taking their inspiration from the Schoenstatt spirituality.
On Saturday night, results from the creative workshops were offered for all in a common program that many regarded as being the absolute highlight of the whole weekend.
Colors of Faith
On Sunday, the weekend was summed up in a Holy Mass, celebrated by Father Ángel Strada in the foyer of House Sonnenau. The Schoenstatt band "Esperamor" accompanied the liturgy with their songs and instruments, children brought flower pots decorated with napkins in different colors for the different aspects of faith.
Upon leaving, many of the participants expressed how much they had liked the weekend and that they would come back. The team of organizers was floating on the clouds with the outcome, especially as one of their main goals, namely to attract young families and young people who so far never had come into contact with Schoenstatt, seemed fully achieved. Of course, they said, with the experience of this weekend, several new aspects to be considered had shown up, but the general impression was: It was worth the effort since over 100 people experienced a colorful, open, joyful, creative Schoenstatt that welcomed them just as they were.
English edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken/WI, USA
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