Each Covenant of Love lived...how much light!
"We are united in the Shrine" - Covenant Celebration in Schoenstatt in the evening of October 18, 2002
SCHOENSTATT, mkf. A sea of lights around the Original Shrine on the evening of October 18, each shining into the dark of the October night the gratitude for 88 years of Covenant of Love, 88 years of this place of grace, 88 years of a walking as family in the light of a vision and a mission to incite the world with the flames of love: representing the international Schoenstatt family celebrating the Founding Day of Schoenstatt, the Day of the Covenant together with tens of thousands in Tuparenda, Paraguay or alone in a home shrine in Canada, the participants of the German October Week and Schoenstatt members from all continents on stay or visit to Schoenstatt renewed the Covenant of Love at the place where all began.
A touch of Easter Vigil was in the Pilgrims' Church, illuminated only by the warm light of hundreds of candles, the Easter candle by the cross, the Covenant candle by the MTA picture, and the sanctuary lamp. No text books, no sermons, no reflections – this was a moment of meditation, of prayer, of community with God, with the Blessed Mother, with each other and all those spiritually present, uniting with the place of origin from the Schoenstatt Shrines and hundreds of wayside shrines, and home shrines…
Carry my Light into your World…
Father Josef Treutlein, diocesan director of the diocese of Würzburg, had designed the celebration as a celebration of light. After a introductionary song – "Mary, dawn of salvation, never-ending is your light, for you bring the Light of the World…" - , Father Treutlein, to the tune of the Easter hymn of the Light, sang the praises of the Covenant of Love. "Carry my light into your world" was the leitmotif of the prayers that followed; it was sung by all as response to the prayers:
Violence and terror: Where do we find peace? Natural desasters: How shall creation get into balance again? Manipulation at the genotype: Where are norms? Protection of life: where are alliances for this goal? Blinkered attitude to the church's work: Who is looking for God's traces?
God, you call me! God, you long for me! Carry my light into your world!
Words from the Founding Document were read, making the 18th of October, 1914, present.
Fire and Light – Favorite Expressions of Father Kentenich to describe the missionary love
"Your hearts have caught fire" – From this word of the First Founding Document, in a thoughtful meditation, Father Treutlein combined expressions and prayers around "light" and "fire" from Heavenwards, Father Kentenich's prayer book, Schoenstatt's "condensed spirituality". The first act in the morning, after getting up, according to the morning prayer in Heavenwards is to "rekindle my love"; "we are united in the Shrine where the flames of our hearts beat for our Mother Thrice Admirable". Who lives the Covenant of Love should glow like brands of fire and joyfully go forth to the nations" … For Father Kentenich, the strongest and favorite symbol and expression for love was the warmth, brightness and all-conquering strength of the light and the glowing, inciting, elementary power of fire. God himself is fire, Christ is the Light, who on Pentecost sends the Fire of Love, the Holy Spirit, It's the Pentecost experience of a church, a family in the light, ready to incite the world. In the Covenant of Love, Schoenstatt became and has to become ever again "a firebrand glowing for Christ, scattering sparks of searing brightness, until the world, as a sea of flames burns to the glory of the Trinity."
Litany of the Light of the Covenant
He mentioned the jars by the altar, filled with letters and slips of paper containing the contributions to the capital of grace of many. With these jars, all then processed from the Pilgrims' Church to the Original Shrine. A Marian song resounded, then a litany of "Love is stronger" was prayed – asking for the light and the strength that love may be stronger than disappointments, sicknesses, failures, fears… Then a litany of Covenant graces followed. The Original Shrine - how much light! Each of the 165 daughter shrines with its specific grace... how much light! Each wayside shrine, each home shrine... The Pilgrim Mother who brings the graces from the Shrine to the ends of the earth - how much light...Each Covenant of Love lived in joy and excitement... in disappointment…
When the procession had almost reached the Original Shrine, Father Treutlein with obvious joy mentioned the Apostolic Letter of the Holy Father about the Holy Rosary, the prayer so precious to Father Kentenich, the prayer that on this Covenant Day was prayed in so many Shrines and wayside shrines where the missionaries of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign (and not only them) offered the rosary, or even the Thousand Hail Mary in thanksgiving for the Covenant of Love. By the Original Shrine, all then prayed one Hail Mary of each of the "luminous" mysteries of the new "Rosary of Light" offered by the Pope on October 16: his Baptism in the Jordan, his self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana, his proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion, his Transfiguration, and finally, his institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.
United with the entire International Schoenstatt
"Mother, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, we are celebrating the day when you began to work in the Shrine! On that October 18, 1914, Father Kentenich was here with the group of his young co-founders. You accepted them in the Covenant of Love. Today we united ourselves in a special way with the place of foundation… The lights that we carry in our hands are a sign of our mission. In Covenant with you, our testimony will be marked by warmth and irradiation.
Mother, let us be light and salt of the earth.
Go with us to the young people, to the families, to those who suffer and need help; go with us to the houses, to the work places, and the parishes.
Mother, bless our people!
Help us to be from the Shrine to be witnesses of the redeeming presence of Christ, of the merciful love of the Father and of human dignity…
After a moment of silence, united with all tose who since October 18, 1914, have sealed their Covenant of Love, united with the whole International Schoenstatt family, all then joined in praying: My Queen, my mother….
"I want to be in my Shrine..."
"Protect us with your mantle" resounded, and after the blessing, the papers with the capital of grace were burnt in a fire lit by the cross on the pilgrims' place. In this fire burnt also all the letters and slips of paper offered to the Blessed Mother in the jar in the Original Shrine since Pentecost. How many offers, joys, fears, how much confidence, love – how much light!
While the Schoenstatt Boys' Youth continued with some songs, many enjoyed meeting and greetings friends, while others filed in the Original Shrine where the Eucharistic Adoration began. "I want to be in my Shrine tonight, for the first time on an October 18," a young woman from Germany said. Covenant Day in the Original Shrine – a dream come true not only for Schoenstatters from Africa or Australia, but also for many Germans…It is a special atmosphere – the speakers of the October Week, first-time visitors from the home for old-aged in Vallendar who receive the Pilgrim Mother's visit, youth from Poland, Argentina, Ecuador, superiors and leaders of Federations and Institutes, old people with crutches, Africans, Americans, Europeans, Australians… they all want to be in the Shrine this night., and they all feel as one family.
The Muzzolino from Mendoza, Argentina, members of the Institute of the Schoenstatt families, carry a Pilgrim MTA (Peregrina) in their arms, decorated with much loving care. Some Sisters from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic want to once also carry her. ..
A group of young people from Ecuador and some friends need a photo of all of them in front of the Original Shrine…
Holy Mass with Bishops from Chile
Before the Covenant Celebration began, Sr. Marié and participants of the October Week working with the "Projekt Pilgerheiligtum", together with persons from Vallendar attached to the Pilgrim Mother, in a prayer service in the Original Shrine re-newed the crowning of the Pilgrim Mother as Queen of the Houses. On a stand in front of the Original Shrine, several pictures of the Pilgrim Mother were displayed together with candles, and flowers. Approximately 20 persons had come from the Home for old aged people in Vallendar where the Pilgrim Mother visits thanks to a 80-year-old missionary.
For the participants of the October Week, the Covenant Day had begun at 8:30 in the morning with a Holy Mass in the Adoration Church presided by two bishops from Chile, Bishop Camillo Vial of Temuco, a member of the Schoenstatt Fathers returning from the Chilean bishops' visit to the Pope in Rome, and Bishop Haya of Chillan.
While in Schoenstatt the Eucharistic Adoration in the Original Shrine, and the prayer vigil in the Founder Chapel ended at midnight, the Covenant celebrations in many places of America were soon to begin… each Covenant renewed: how much light!
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