Departure of the "friends of the Schoenstatt Shrine in Rome Matri Ecclesiae" to Rome
A pilgrimage on gratitude and a new request: For the Schoenstatt Shrine in Rome as a common gift of the Schoenstatt Movement
SCHOENSTATT/ROME, Fr. Oskar Bühler. More than 50 pilgrims on Tuesday, December 3, set out from the Original Shrine, Schoenstatt, to Rome. They followed an invitation of the Schoenstatt Institute of diocesan priest that already since years invited the " friends of the Rome Shrine Matri Ecclesiae" to a pilgrimage to Rome, always in this season. As the name says, this pilgrimage is specially connected with the decade-long wish about the realization of an international Schoenstatt Shrine and Center in Rome; in September, after very long efforts, the responsible Roman authorities decided to give the construction permission. This Shrine was promised to Father Kentenich on the 16th of November, 1965, by the General Presidium of the International Schoenstatt Movement, as a present on behalf of his 80th birthday.
"Love is stronger" that is the motto of the Rome pilgrimage 2002. Part of the program is the encounter with persons who served the church with the power of their love, specially in times of crisis: the pilgrims will visit the church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the tomb of Catherine of Siena, and the Sisters of Mother Teresa. Their testimony is meant to inspire the Schoenstatt family to serve the church in love. A pilgrimage to the popular Italian church "Divino Amore" in the outskirts of Rome is also scheduled.
Visiting the place of the future International Schoenstatt Center in Rome: December 5
The future International Schoenstatt Center, together with the Shrine, is meant to serve this misison as spiritual center in the center of the church. Next to the encounter with the Pope, in the General Audience on Wednesday, and with his church, St. Peter's Cathedral, a visit to the land "Belmonte" in the Roman quarter of Casalotti, is one of the highlights of this pilgrimage. The pilgrims will have a celebration at the place where the Shrine will be built – and may imaginize already the Center and Shrine!
Visiting the Cor EcclesiaeShrine: December 8
A visit to the Cor Ecclesiae Shrine of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary in Rome of course also is part of the program. On December 8, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the pilgrims will celebrate a Holy Mass there, and thus close their stay in Rome. Via Asis, the city of St. Frances, who influenced the church with his charisma, the pilgrims will head home to Germany.
Looking back at 1965
During their stay in Schoenstatt, the pilgrims will repeatedly look back to the year 1965, with the emerging of the plan to build this Shrine and make the promise to do so a gift to Father Kentenich. 1965 – the last session of Vatican II was taking place; a time of high hopes in the church, of expectations; everybody was getting ready to work for a new springtime of faith. In Schoenstatt, hopes were growing for the final approval of the movement by the ecclesial authorities. Schoenstatt had in 1964 been granted the status of an autonomous institution, but the founder still was separated from his foundation, living in Milwaukee, USA. In spring and fall of 1965, young priests and theologians of the Institute of Diocesan Priests made a pilgrimage to Rome, walking the last 80 – 100 kilometers, praying and meditating. In September 1965. Father Kentenich was called to Rome. This made the whole Schoenstatt family focus in special way on Rome. The top representatives of the communities could assemble around him; after long time the father and founder was available again for conversations and lectures. When Father Kentenich heard in these conversations about the idea of a Schoenstatt Shrine in Rome, he picked up this thought with great interest. This led to the promise of the General Presidium on the 16th of November, 1965, on behalf of the celebration of the Founder's 80th birthday. The responsibility for the execution of this plan was transferred to the Institute of the Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests, on request by father Kentenich.
A present of all - to the Father and Founder, and to the church
Many pilgrimages and pilgrim's marches have been undertaken since then in direction of Rome. For a while, the goal was to find clarity about the design, from time to time also on clarity about the correct ground, since twelve years specifically about success in the effort for the building permit on the ground of Belmonte. The pilgrimage to Rome of this year may be first a pilgrimage of gratitude, after the long rings around the building permit are finished successfully. But the look goes naturally farther forwards. Work lies ahead. The responsible persons will soon take steps in view of the detailed design for the first section. And the whole international Schoenstatt Movement will stand together and help together, so that the promised Shrine and Center will really be a common present of all to the father and founder, and to the church. The 50 pilgrims are on their way to Rome as a representation of the whole Schoenstatt Movement and know that many spiritually accompany them with their prayers, and their capital of grace.
During their stay in Rome, the pilgrims can be contacted: email@example.com
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