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"The more are spiritually here, uniting with Schoenstatt from far…"

Last Covenant Day of the Year in Schoenstatt illumined by the "Light of Bethlehem"

Día de Alianza de Schoenstatt, 18 de diciembre: los nivicios de los Padres de Schoenstatt trajeron la lampara verde con la "Luz de Belén"
Covenant Day in Schoenstatt, december 18: the novices of the Schoenstatt Fathers brought the "Light from Bethlehem" in this green lantern
Bündnistag in Schönstatt, 18. Dezember: die Novizen der Schönstattpatres brachten in dieser grünen Laterne das Licht von Bethlehem
P. Heinz Künster, Federación de Sacerdotes Diocesanos: Podámosle a la Mater que nos mueva a mover otros."
Fr. Heinz Künster, Federation of Priests: "Let us ask the Blessed Mother to move us to move others."
Pfr. Heinz Künster, Priesterbund: "Legen wir nicht die Hände in den Schoß, lassen wir uns bewegen, etwas zu bewegen."
Irmgard Hammer (d) y Marianne Mertke (2 de d.), Federación de Mujeres, oradoras
Irmgard Hammer (r), and Marianne Mertke (2nd from r.), Women's Federation, speakers
Irmgard Hammer (r) und Marianne Mertke (2. von r.), Schönstatt-Frauenbund, Sprecherinnen
Quemando el capital de gracias
The capital of grace is burnt
Verbrennen des Gnadenkapitals
Estudiantes del Colegio María en Vallendar
Students from Mary's School, Vallendar
Schülerinnen der Marienschule wirkten mit
Alianza internacional: Rosa Espinoza, Argentina; Mónica Omaza, Ecuador; Gilka Aranibar, Bolivia (izquierda a derecha)
Covenant international: Rosa Espinoza, Argentina; Mónica Omaza, Ecuador; Gilka Aranibar, Bolivia (from left to right)
Liebesbündnis international: Rosa Espinoza, Argentinien; Mónica Omaza, Ecuador; Gilka Aranibar, Bolivien (v. links n. rechts)
Novicios de los Padres de Schoenstatt con la lámpara con la "Luz de Belén"
Novices of the Schoenstatt Fathers with the "Light from Bethlehem"
Novizen der Schönstattpatres mit dem "Licht von Bethlehem"
Madre y su hija desde Sudafrica
Mother and daughter from South Africa
Mutter und Tochter aus Südafrika
Fotos: POS Fischer © 2002
Renovación de la Alianza en la ermita en Bahía Blanca, Argentina
Covenant renewal by the wayside shrine in Bahía Blanca, Argentina
Bündniserneuerung beim Bildstock in Bahía Blanca, Argentinien
Fotos: Badano © 2002

SCHOENSTATT, mkf. On this last covenant day of the year, as the Christmas novena had already begun, in the Original Shrine the "Light from Bethlehem", the Light of Peace, already announced Christmas. The small numner of those physically present in the Original Shrine and for the Covenant Renewal did not really matter, because, as Father Künster highlighted, "the more are spiritually here, uniting with Schoenstatt from far." "To know that we are remembered in Schoenstatt really makes us feel part of a very special family and it is good to know what is happening to other members of our family around the world," wrote Shirley Hall of the Professional Women's League, in Sydney, Australia

The first snow flakes of this winter had fallen this night, and Covenant Day began with a touch of white, and sunshine for the first time after a row of grey, wet days. The Original Shrine brilliant in the bright sunshine, the interior in advent decoration with bouquets of white roses and lilies – an atmosphere of heaven! It's always special to pray in the Original Shrine, but to do so on an 18th is different – knowing of so many who on this day are united in the one covenant of love, almost like praying together, the rosary and 'My Queen, my Mother…' – and although on a day like this 18th not many people were in the Original Shrine, it was filled with life, longing, love…

The Light from Bethlehem, the Light of Peace, in the Original Shrine

On Tuesday, the novices of the Schoenstatt Fathers brought the "Light from Bethlehem"to the Original Shrine; on Sunday, they had been in Koblenz to fetch it. The German Boys' Scouts – the main moving force of the 'Initiative Light of Peace from Bethlehem' – carried the light lit by a child in the grotto in Bethlehem to several German cities. From Koblenz station, the light was passed on in a human chain until it arrived in Christ's Church where an ecumenical celebration took place. In the Original Shrine, the Light from Bethlehem urges all to also pray for peace in Bethlehem and in the whole land where Jesus lived – also for the Christians, the Schoenstatt families there, and for all the people in countries and places suffering from war, violence, injustice, lack of freedom and violation of human dignity.

At 7:00 PM on this Covenant Day, in Argentina people of all denominations and religions were called to pray for peace, before the first anniversary of December 19 and 20, 2001, days of looting, peaceful and violent protest marchs, insecurity and fear that led to the resignation of the President. "It is an invitation to all religions," Sister Andrea, from Tandil, wrote, "In our parish the National Hymn will be sung, then we'll have adoration and rosary, At 8:00 PM, we'll have Holy Mass; for us it will be a Covenant Mass as we have a big MTA picture by the mail altar. On November 30, we crowned Mary here as Queen of victoriosity, in view of the situation of our land." In the Confidentia Shrine in Buenos Aires, the Blessed Mother was crowned as Queen of a New Argentina on this day.

"Let us ask the Blessed Mother to move us to move others"

The advent activities in Schoenstatt – retreats for families, mothers, pilgrims – have come to an end, and those who come to Schoenstatt to celebrate Christmas there are yet to arrive, so Schoenstatt was quite silent on this Covenant Day. It was only quite a small flock for the Covenant Celebration – "but the more are spiritually here, uniting with Schoenstatt from far," said Father Heinz Künster, who led the celebration, and specially welcomed a mother and her daughter who had just arrived from South Africa. Picking up the fact that the German Schoenstatt Movement at the moment does not count with a movement director, he said: "Are we a movement? Are we moved and do we move? Otherwise we don't need a movement director. Let us ask our dear Blessed Mother to move our hearts, our hands, let us ask her to move us to move others."

The celebration was designed as a shelter seeking, with traditional Advent songs accompanied by organ and violin. The crib scenery in the Adoration Church is "growing", and the Christmas trees are already in… The central message of the meditative texts was: Soon we will see our God, our Father, and his grace will be given to all people – we will see him in the activities of these last busy days before Christmas, we will see him in the dark, and lost spots of our earth, because he will come and fill this earth with his light, with his love, with his caring presence. We will see him in the faces of the people around us, and we will see him in our shrines, and in our hearts.

The gift of love that urges to act

During the meditation, the novices of the Schoenstatt Fathers, and youth from several countries brought the lamp with the light from Bethlehem to the altar; one of the novices explained the meaning of this "light of peace" and invited all to later come and incite candles at this light and to take it to the homes, and to the Shrines in Schoenstatt. It was a quiet celebration that followed, meditating the new motto of the German Schoenstatt Movement in the light of advent and Christmas: Love sees more – sees more than a stable, a manger, a baby… sees more than a little chapel, simple people, little deeds and beginnings like a rosary made of bags with food for the neediest…

Father Künster picked up the theme and, hinting at fears of war, economical problems, joblessness, and a widespread depressive attitude, he urged all to find the roses in the thorns, and to tell about the 'roses' that they find: the solidarity, the willingness of young people in Germany for example to help with the floods in summer… Everybody who belongs to Schoenstatt, is called to help others see the gifts of God the Father's mercy. Because God made and called us, and because he loves us with an endless love, we don't have the right to say: I can't…, I am too stupid…, I will pray for that…, no, we should act and live our Covenant of Love in concrete deeds. When in a few days we would kneel by the crib, we should ask for the gift of love that urges us to act.

United with all those in the world who today renew their covenant of love by the wayside shrines, shrines, home shrines ..- the participants then offered their capital of grace and renewed the Covenant.

Outside, the papers with the capital of grace from the celebration, and those from the jars in other Shrines in Schoenstatt, and from the Original Shrine, were burnt in the fire. The children present joyfully helped with the many papers! Many of the participants walked away with a candle with the light from Bethlehem.

Covenant Day at a wayside shrine in Bahía Blanca, Argentina: "We don't want to go but stay a little bit longer…"

When the celebration of the Covenant day had long since finished in Schoenstatt, some missionaries of the Campaign were praying by a "famous" wayside shrine thanks to, a wayside shrine "that is pictured in the web page with the soy project". Blanca Otero shared about the celebration of the 18th at this wayside shrine: "We gathered at 7:00 PM as a small group of missionaries to pray the rosary. We burnt our capital of grace and wrote petitions to John Pozzobon to be sent in for the process of canonization. When eve we go to the wayside shrine, we bring along photo frame with the photo of John Pozzobon, a small unity cross that we brought from the National Shrine, and a beautiful bronze picture of Father Kentenich's face, framed in dark wood, that we bought when we were at the Tabor Shrine in Brazil; it visits the houses of the missionaries.

At our wayside shrine, we always enjoy the fresh air and slight breeze; this is refreshing on hot days like this! You hear the singing of the birds in the neas trees. A couple of teros - a special bird of this area that gives loud cries that sound like 'tero, tero, tero', therefore the name - usually comes walking by. One of our missionaries bapitzed them 'teh teros of the Mater', as they always give her company!

Although the place of our wayside shrine is at the streets where cars come in and out of the city, it is not a noisy place, on the contrary, there reigns a climate of peace, it is a special atmosphere... It always happens to us that, finished the prayers, we don't want to leave but would like to stay a little bit longer. The Mother Thrice Admirable gives us this special atmosphere of having a home, of joy, and of peace. It is a climate so similar to our dear Schoenstatt Chapel in Paso Mayor with its trees, silence, its birds, and the blue transparents skies... This is how we feel by our wayside shrine, this place blessed by the Mater..."


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