A song in Spanish and the joy of sharing and belonging
International Congress of the Schoenstatt Mothers' Federation gives decidedly international and festive form to the Covenant Day in Schoenstatt
SCHOENSTATT, mkf. "One of the most international Covenant Renewals that we ever had in Schoenstatt", according to Fr. Theo Breitinger, closed the Covenant Day in Schoenstatt close the anniversary of Father Kentenich's death. The German Schoenstatt Mothers' Federation, on behalf of the First International Congress of the Schoenstatt Mothers' Federation, arranged the Covenant celebration, giving it a decidedly international and festive form.
In the morning, the Original Shrine saw Schoenstatt members from all continents taking turns to greet the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt and celebrate a Covenant Mass at this place where all began and from where the stream of life and grace flows that makes Schoenstatt live and be fruitful. "When is the Covenant Mass? ", a pilgrim from South America asked. There is none in Schoenstatt, but yet – there were many.
Streams of Pilgrims heading towards the Original Shrine
Seminarians of the Schoenstatt Fathers from Latin America and India, along with a group of Schoenstatt Boys' Youth from Chile, with their songs and prayers turned the usual 7:15 Mass into a Covenant celebration. At 9:00 AM, the pilgrimage of the Schoenstatt Mothers' Federation of Chile, with a Puertoricanian Father of the Esclavos de Eucaristía, had a festive Mess in the Original Shrine celebrating both Covenant Day and the Chilean Independence Day, their National Feastday. While they were renewing the Covenant of Love, the participants of the First International Congress of the Mothers' Federations arrived - they had made pilgrimage (by foot some, by car others) from House Marienland to the Original Shrine. Five Schoenstatt Fathers concelebrated the Mass with Fr. Javier from Argentina being the main celebrant - talking in German with translation given into Spanish, Portuguese and English. The Mothers brought an abundance of treasures, precious expressions of love and faith, among them a crowned picture of the MTA, and placed all on the altar of the Original Shrine. The "star musicians" of the German Mothers' Federation, two sisters, accompanied the songs (sung in different languages) with flute and cello in a masterly manner. After the Mass, one of the delegates from Texas received the lantern with the light from the Original Shrine to be brought to the Covenant Celebration in the Adoration Church at night.
Chileans celebrating National Feastday
House Sonnenau with the mothers and boys from Chile, and a Chilean couple from the Federation staying there, was turned into a Chilean feast scenery with Chilean flags by the MTA picture and on each table in the dining room, balloons with the Chilean flag, and festoons in blue, white, red everywhere - the few "Non-Chileans" present (from Germany, Argentina, Ecuador, and USA) were just incorporated in the celebration of their National Day!
Being and representing the International Family
At 7.30 PM, the Adoration Church was filled to capacity with all those who as international family and representing this family at the place of origin, came to renew the Covenant of Love. A choir of the German Mothers' Federation had practiced for months to contribute songs for several voices; the texts of the Covenant Renewal were marked by the motto of the Congress of the Mothers' Federation, "Duc in altum". Father Theo Breitinger, Spiritual Assistant of the German Mothers' Federation, welcomed all to this "most-ever international covenant renewal in Schoenstatt": the participants of the International Congress of the Mothers' Federation, and of the International Congress of the Schoenstatt Sisters, the ladies of the Chilean Mothers' Federation, the group of the Chilean Boys' Youth, a pilgrimage from Neuenkirchen, Northern Germany, vicarage housekeepers from the diocese of Würzburg, pilgrims from Chile, Argentina, USA, Puerto Rico, Schoenstatt members from several countries on extended formation or work stay in Schoenstatt, and the local Schoenstatt family.
The opening song of the choir set the tone for a beautiful covenant renewal that touched the heart and created a climate of family joy and sharing of riches, uniting all in the one covenant, the one Father and the one Mother.
Remembering the time between death and funeral of Father Kentenich in 1968
There was a moment of remembering the anniversary of Father Kentenich's death on September 15 and the time when until September 20, 1968, Schoenstatt members filed into the Adoration church to keep vigil by the body of Father Kentenich: girls and Schoenstatt mothers from different countries in procession carried lights and lilies, and the Covenant Light from the Original Shrine, to the altar. Come and enkindle in us anew the first love; let the love and enthusiasm, the joy and longing, the readiness and generosity that filled us when we first sealed our Covenant of Love become alive again now..."
The Surprise: Song to God Father in Spanish
The well-kept secret of the choir members was revealed, when the first tones of their next song made all Latin Americans present sit up and take notice, ever more so when the first words resounded - in Spanish: Grande es el cariño... (Immense is the love...), the "Song to God Father". For weeks, the choir members had practiced (with a CD) to sing this song in Spanish, with several voices and accompanied by flute, cello, and keyboard. Some Latin American Schoentatters started to sing along, with joy and emotion for the gift of this for them so precious song sung in the Covenant Renewal in Schoenstatt - and sung by German ladies of whom all but one do not know one word in Spanish!
The Covenant Celebration continued remembering the highlight events of the past weeks in the international Schoenstatt - the dedication of the Shrine of Life and Hope in Córdoba, Argentina, on August 31, the "Rosary for an new Argentina" sponsored nationwide by the biggest Catholic Weekly and the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign, and the crowning of the MTA as Queen of the United States, Queen of Peace on September 11. All were invited to thank for the Covenant history that belongs to all.
Covenant Renewal in five languages
Father Breitinger then motivated all that the gratitude and joy of this hour be an inspiration to give all - the joy, gratitude, the biggest gifts received, the hardest disappointments and blows suffered, just all as contribution to the capital of grace. After a time of silence to write the contributions to the Capital of grace on slips of paper, the choir started singing the round 'O Mother, in your holy heart'. A mother read words from the founding document. Then those present in Schoenstatt consciously united with the Father and Founder, and with all those who all over the world, by shrines, and the countless wayside shrine celebrated the Covenant Mass, prayed the rosary, and renewed the Covenant of Love, joining in this grace of the 18th. Renewing the Covenant of Love - with the Little Consecration prayed first in German, then in Portuguese, Spanish, and English was a special experience of international family unity.
After the blessing, to the tones of the final song, all processed outside to the fire, where the slips of paper with the capital of grace were burnt. The different groups present took turns singing their best typical songs for all - up to all Chileans present singing, on their National Feast Day, a Chilean "cueca", and the boys joining with the song of Fr. Franz Reinisch sung in their loudest voices and with all enthusiasm and apostolic fire: Make me an apostle of Schoenstatt!!! The German Mothers' Federation's choir from many persons received thanks and congratulations for the "Song to God Father" - meant and understood as gesture of gratitude for the gift of belonging to an international family.
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