"Because I found an answer in Father Kentenich, and find my way thanks to him..."
Covenant Day and birthday of Father Kentenich celebrated in Schoenstatt
SCHOENSTATT, mkf. "Because I found an answer in Father Kentenich, and find my way thanks to him..." The message of this testimony given by Schoenstatt member from Argentina, cited in the texts of the Covenant letter, marked the atmosphere of this November 18 covenant celebration - as Schoenstatt also celebrated the Founder's birthday. Like on each 18th of the month, around the world people renewed the Covenant of Love first sealed October 18, 1914, Schoenstatt's central process of life.
November 18 was a double feastday –with the celebration of the Covenant of Love with Schoenstatt's Mother and Queen, and the birthday of the one who gave this covenant, our Father and Founder. The international Schoenstatt family war present and in Schoenstatt on this clouded, wet and gray November day, first of all through the many who renewed the Covenant and spiritually made a pilgrimage to the Original Shrine and Founder, but today especially also through the many sign of attachment to our Father and Founder to be seen in the Founder Chapel since early in the morning: letters, cards, photos, many roses, lilies, bouquets of flowers, all types of Pilgrim MTA's (small ones, one with rosary and crown from Mendoza, Argentina, and many that had been blessed this morning in the Original Shrine and are now waiting to be sent out in Germany), rosaries, crowns, gift packs (contents being a secret between our Father and his children). Many Schoenstatt members from all five continents came to the Original Shrine and the Founder Chapel on this day – among them a girl from Bolivia, La Paz, where the Schoenstatt family is preparing for the 10th anniversary of the Shrine next Saturday, an El Salvadorborn couple from Melbourne, Australia, working for the Pilgrim Mother, a couple from the Institute of Families from Mendoza, Argentina, and like always the many youth, volunteers, students, Sisters from different countries being in Schoensatatt for some months. The top representatives of the German Schoenstatt Movement were also present today; the diocesan directors, and the responsible persons from the central, had their meeting; earlier in the afternoon, a holy Mass celebrated in the Adoration Church had marked the act of thanking Fr. Beller, Movement director of the German Schoenstatt Movement, whose term ends on December 1. He introduced the regular Covenant Celebration in Schoenstatt.
Like a chain of love that encircles the earth
At 7:30pm, all of them came, together with the local Schoenstatt family, to the Covenant celebration in the Adoration Church. Students of the Schoenstatt Fathers from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Spain, India, and the USA accompanied the songs with guitars and keyboard, and provided instrumental music in between – all masterly done and with contagious joy.
At the beginning, Father Beller reminded all that on this day all around the world, like in a chain of love encircling the earth, people pray "My Queen, my Mother", renew the covenant, sing "Protect us with your mantle", and experience the warmth and home of a family of the Father. All over the world, people today would remember Father Kentenich's birthday, thank him for the Covenant of Love, honor him as prophet and founder, find a Father in him who strengthens and frees them.
My God created him for me
"Because I found an answer in my Father, because through him I see a way, my way that he went ahead of me, I am strong. I feel that nothing of all that I have to risk, give up, suffer and give for the sake of my family is beyond his experience and life! I feel that what our Father did on January 20, 1942, his decision to give up his freedom for the sake of the family he also did for me. As his child I feel called to follow him and to offer my own life and that of my family like he did, generously, to the wish and will of God the Father and with the love of a small child take the hands of the Blessed Mother and surrender myself totally to her."
This testimony, given at the closing celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Shrine in Argentina, cited in the covenant letter, was the starting point for Father Beller's sermon.
This testimony of a lady from the Schoenstatt family, he said, would describe the meaning of celebrating the Founder's birthday: "He exists for me. My God created him for me." And also: "I exist for him. My God created me for him and his mission. We live for each other."
This would however not only be valid in view of Father Kentenich and his birthday in view of the covenant with him, but for each birthday to celebrate: "I exist for someone else. Some may say. I exist for many – that depends on the personal vocation and the degree of holiness. This is what keeps us going in moments of tiredness and pain. Often we do not even know who all is depending on us, for whom we exist…"
When a family celebrates
Like always, the celebration culminated in the offering of the capital of grace and the renewing of the covenant of love, spiritually united with all those who on this day renewed their covenant, with all who live and share their covenant and are in any way linked to the stream of life and grace from the Shrine. After the blessing, to the tune of "Who is this gracious lady?" all processed out to the place before the church where the capital of grace was burnt.
The seminarians started to sing songs, and afterwards offered tea and cookies amn idea of the Braszilean, Chilean and Argentine seminarians who expressed that "in our countries" the birthday of Father Kentenich could not be celebrated without birthday party! With songs, laughter, talks, and tea, the party was celebrated, closing with all Latin Americans together singing "Grande es el cariño" to God the Father who gave Schoenstatt all that was celebrated.
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