Schönstatt - Begegnungen

"There are now nearly 500 Schoenstatt youth around the world who share the gift…"

Schoenstatt Youth-Milwaukee’02 Memory Box

One of the many groups of the Schoenstatt Boys' Youth present at "Schoenstatt Youth Milwaukee02" - Father Kentenich in the center: in the photo, and in the hearts.
Eine vielen Gruppen der Mannesjugend beim Internationalen Jugendtreffen "Milwaukee02" - in der Mitte Pater Kentenich, im Foto und in den Herzen.
At Lake Michigan: because Father Kentenich went there so often with his visitors
Am Michigan-See, wo Pater Kentenich oft mit seinen Besuchern war
Standing where he stood...
Stehen, wo er gestanden hat
German Boys' Youth
Deutsche Mannesjugend
Presentation: giving and receiving
Präsentation: gegenseitiges Bereichern
Experiencing community
Fotos: Garnham © 2002
It was also a special experience for the US American Schoenstatt family,
Auch für die amerikanische Schönstattfamilie war es ein besonderes Erlebnis
Fotos: Welser © 2002

USA, Margaret Fenelon. Looking back at the Milwaukee02 Schoenstatt Youth Meeting, representatives of the Schoenstatt Movement of the USA are grateful "because we know that there are now nearly 500 Schoenstatt youth around the world who can understand and share the gift we’ve been given here in the Exile land."

I have in my lap a small plastic box which our family calls the "Milwaukee’02 Memory Box." Under its lid are newspaper clippings, a press release, some miscellaneous meeting notes, a yellow and blue bandana, my husband’s and my "staff" nametags, a couple of programs, menus from the catered meals, a few pieces of leftover letterhead, and even a red artificial lei from the Hawaiian luau.

My husband, Mark and I were the chairs of the Public Relations and Marketing Sub-Committee for Schoenstatt Youth-Milwaukee’02. We, along with our four children, were blessed with the privilege of participating in an event that changed our lives – and I daresay the lives of the nearly 500 Schoenstatt youth from 16 countries who attended.

Getting to know Father Kentenich in Milwaukee

The purpose of the five-day encounter was to give the Schoenstatt youth of the world an opportunity to get to know on a more intimate basis our Father and Founder as he was during the exile. Through a foot pilgrimage to the Exile Shrine, workshops on Schoenstatt heroes, a theatrical production on the life of Fr. Kentenich, talks with people who personally knew Fr. Kentenich in Milwaukee, a picnic at Grant Park, a pilgrimage to the Madison shrine, and so much more, this group of 16-27 year old youth came to know a side of their founder that they had never known before.

As one of the youth told me, "In Chile, they say don’t talk about the Exile, because it’s such a sad time. But, I see now that it wasn’t really a sad time, it was a happy time full of the blessings of Fr. Kentenich’s fatherliness."

Celebrating the love and desire to know Father Kentenich deeply and share his mission

The youth didn’t come only to gain, they also came to give. They exchanged their ideas and feelings about Schoenstatt in discussions, sang together, laughed together, cried together, and shared their cultural heritages in lively presentations. From July 17-21, this international group celebrated its love for and desire to know deeply, Fr. Kentenich. At the same time, they prepared to spread that love and knowledge to the other Catholic youth at World Youth Day in Toronto.

"We all had seen Father Kentenich in a new light"

The day they left, I watched with tears in my eyes as the youth-packed buses departed for Canada from the Schoenstatt International Center in Waukesha. I cried from both joy and sadness. I was gravely sad because our family had reacquainted ourselves with some beloved old friends and had made many wonderful new friends during the encounter and I knew that we would likely never see them again. A piece of my heart was pulling away with those buses. Yet, I was filled with joy because I was grateful that we had all experienced something incredible, something awesome, here in Milwaukee. We had all seen Fr. Kentenich in a new light through the eyes of the Schoenstatt youth of the world.

Each time I rummage through our memory box, that same feeling of mixed joy and sadness comes back to me. A smile comes across my face, because I know that there are now nearly 500 Schoenstatt youth around the world who can understand and share the gift we’ve been given here in the Exile land.


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