"The life and the fights of the entire family are here because we are here"
Covenant Day - a Chain of Commitment, Confidence, and Family Love around the World
SCHOENSTATT, mkf. Each Covenant Day united persons all over the world in a powerful c chain of commitment, confidence, and family love. More than over they feel and experience that through the Covenant of Love with the Mother Thrice Admirable, though the love and mission of Father Kentenich, through the Shrine as common home, and through the Capital of Grace, the Schoenstatters are family. When two or three, or thousands of Schoenstatters unite by the Original Shrine or any remote wayside shrine, they may experience: "The life, and the fights of the entire family are here because we are here, the joys, and the sorrows of the entire family are here, because we are here." As on each Covenant Day, that was also experienced on June 18 - the hottest day of this year in Germany with 39,5° C here in Schoenstatt!
On each Covenant Day, it is a special experience to think of the many people who on this day renew their Covenant, from the Philippines to California… Long before Covenant Day began in Schoenstatt, the Original Shrine was "filled to capacity" with those who in their prayers and longing visited the place of grace, and when midnight in Schoenstatt was long since over, there were still thousands and thousands who in Northern and Southern America gathered by wayside shrines, in Shrines, home shrines… to renew the Covenant of Love. A big chain of love around the world…
"You all were remembered by our little Rosary Campaign group as we gathered in the The Church of the Seven Dolors of Mary in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, USA," wrote Father John d. Reardon. "We were thinking about you and all the pilgrims at Schoenstatt on this day. Thank you for remembering us."
A crown for the Mother - Given by the Mother
Early that morning, Schoenstatt mothers from two courses of the Mothers' Federation in South Africa, and Zimbabwe, visited the Holy Mass in the Original Shrine on the last but one day of their stay in Schoenstatt. The members of one of the courses had received a very special joy – on this Covenant Day they could present to the Blessed Mother the crown that they want to give to her; they got it from the Goldsmith's Shop of the Brothers of Mary just on time.
In Schoenstatt - Participants from Switzerland, South Africa, Zimbabwe
For the Covenant Celebration at 7:30 PM, they went to the Adoration Church together with the pilgrimage from Valais, Switzerland, who came with Fr. Christoph Horn and Sr. Joseline Becchio to spend some days in Schoenstatt. With their two small flags – Switzerland and Valais – they made themselves known everywhere. The big longing and petition they brought to Schoenstatt: a Shrine in Valais. For now, a wayside Shrine near Naters is the "outpost" for the Shrine that they so much long for!
A group of retired Single Women, on retreat in House Marienland, also joined in the Covenant celebration, along with residents of Schoenstatt, the local Schoenstatt family, and many individual visitors and pilgrims – representing the international Schoenstatt at the place of origin, that so many specially on this day spiritually visit to participate in the celebrations there, "our dear cradle of origin", as Mercedes Vivoni, from Arlington, Texas, wrote.
"I close my eyes and imagine to sit in the same pew where I sealed my Covenant in the Original Shrine"
"The Original Shrine was a special place for me, and since I got to know it and made my Covenant there, the love of my heart for this Shrine grew enormously. When I attend the Covenant Mass at night here in the Shrine, I go to my Mother, close my eyes and imagine to sit in the same pew where I sealed my Covenant in the Original Shrine. The songs and prayers of the others, the peace of the Shrine, help me to think I am praying there, it's marvellous," wrote Yadira Ocegueara from Querétaro, Mexico, who in 2000 sealed her Covenant of Love in the Original Shrine.
In many places, specially by the Shrines, on this Covenant Day, as in all the others, Masses were celebrated. "Yesterday night I got off from work late, and only made it to the final blessing of the Covenant Mass," wrote Cristian Figuero from Chile. "Afterwards I could join in the Covenant Renewal of the Family in the Shrine in Montahue."
"Here in Buenos Aires it was chilly, so we could not have Mass in the patio in front of the Shrine," wrote Norma and Lito Barbieri. "Father Guillermo Carmona said the Mass in the hall that the Sisters have near the Shrine. He spoke about love. He said if a Martian would show up and ask us about the characteristic features of us as Christians, and as Schoenstatt members, we would have to respond: love. But first live, and then proclaim it!"
A Special Covenant Day in Ecuador: The Shrine filled with Pictures of the Pilgrim Mother
"Yesterday, the18th, for the first time the Covenant Mass in the Shrine was organized by the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Campaign, and it really turned out very nicely. The Shrine was filled with pictures of the Pilgrim Mother, and outside there were also many," shared Tere Bourne de Valarezo, missionary from Guayaquil, Ecuador. "It was a special day. At least for me, because there were so many coincidences. It was on a 18th of June when Father Kentenich spoke about how to pray and live the rosary in order to help the Blessed Mother to descend ands fulfill her mission from the Shrine, as did the first sodalists in the Original Shrine. He said - without the Shrine, I can't do anything. John Pozzobon also did important acts on that day, like consecrations, visits to other Shrines like the one in Villa Ballester, in Argentina, where he remembered the words that Father Kentenich said there. These coincidences made me experience this Covenant Day in a very intense way."
Instruments through whom God wants to educate us
The text of the Covenant celebration motivated to thank for the graces received in this Covenant, and to ask for a love that is stronger and gives the strength to meet others with love and forgiveness. A little group of local Schoenstatt members from different branches accompanied the songs with flute, and guitars. Father Beller led the celebration; in his sermon, he said that God educates to love and that he does so in two different ways:
First through persons with whom we feel united and one, whose physical or spiritual presence gives us joy and bliss – it would be a gift of God to friends like that, a gift that we should value and treasure. He also educates through the persons who drives us crazy, persons who use us for their goals, who hurt and betray. These are the persons to whom Jesus' word about loving our enemies is to be applied. The miracle of inner transformation is the miracle of being able and willing to look at these persons with the eyes of God – with the eyes of God who loves them and asks me to also love them.
Then, like on each Covenant Day, all were invited to write their contributions to the Capital of Grace on sheets of paper –the encounters with the persons whose presence means joy and happiness; the encounters with persons who hurt me; the biggest joy, the deepest disappointment, the biggest gift, the sadness, broken pieces… United with our Father, with you, and with the millions of people who today renew their covenant of love, we then prayed the words that in many different languages resound today by countless wayside shrines, in home shrines, and Shrines: "My Queen, my mother…"
Outside the church, where the fire was lit, Schoenstatt families from Vallendar (supported by Ladies of Schoenstatt), offered strawberry punch for all, while the pilgrims from Valais sang their Valais hymn, and the mothers from South Africa and Zimbabwe disappeared for a while in the Founder Chapel to show their crown to our Father! The celebration ended in Schoenstatt, while it continued in other places: "We come to you because we are all your children, your family, and give ourselves entirely to you: My Queen, my Mother…"
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