Children for peace
Immediately after the beginning of the war: Illuminated Rosary with elementary school children in Borken, Germany
GERMANY, Sr. Juttamaria Siewering/mkf. Immediately after the beginning of the war in Iraq, the team in charge of the pastoral of the Shrine in Borken, diocese of Münster, Germany, started the initiative: "Children for peace". From now on until Easter, each Saturday they will offer an Illumined Rosary for peace.
Everybody is talking about war, and peace - and the children? Should they only listen or can they also give their comments? "Children's prayers will reach through the clouds," Father Kentenich used to say, and children also know very well what the adults are talking about, the sense the fears and the worry - and they understand maybe much better than many of the adults that war always means loss, pain, broken promises for a better future or for a future at all. Children ask - why did they build the houses and the bridges if they are destroyed anyway, and they ask why the children and the soldiers in Irak studied at school, why they were educated by their parents, why they trained hard and why they went to First Holy Communion just to die anyway…
One of the team members - whose husband is a soldier of the German army and worked in post-war Kosovo - visited the elementary schools near Borken and distributed brochures to the children, inviting them to come for the Illumined Rosary of the "Children for peace".
A Crown of Roses for the Queen of Peace
On Saturday, March 22, the first Illumined Rosary for peace took place. Approximately 40 persons, most of them elementary school children, and some mothers and grandmothers came to the Annuntiation Church in the Schoenstatt Center in Borken, At the beginning, the children were a bit shy, but with each new candle that was lighted their spontaneity grew, and they went forward to pray their Hail Mary with their personal intentions and petitions. The prayers of the rosary had been typed and copied for all, so that also those could pray who did not know the "Our Father" or "Hail Mary". At the end, the "Hail Mary's" of the rosary were not enough for all the intentions the children wanted to say.
During the whole time the children were attentive. At the end, they collected the roses and formed a crown of roses that they all brought to the Shrine - offering it as their crown to the Blessed Mother, asking her to intercede as Queen of Peace to end the terrible war soon - very soon!
Children and adults were grateful and when they bid farewell, many said: "See you next Saturday!"
A nine-year-old boy asked: Is this a Catholic Monastery? The Sisters answered, that indeed we are catholic, but no monastery. The boy explained: "You see, I am Lutheran, and my mummy said it isn't worth while to go to that rosary thing. But my friend wanted to go and so did I, that's why I was here." This boy was one of the most eager ones to pray a "Hail Mary" - after having observed the others for a while.
The team of the pastoral of the Shrine intends to continue with this initiative at least until Easter - and they hope that many others will join the Illumined Rosary that will take place each Saturday afternoon by the Shrine in Borken.
The Illumined Rosary comes from Argentina, where the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign spread it to many parishes; in 1949, Father Kentenich spoke about the rosary as a "crown of living roses", and the living rosary composed of the joyfull and sorrowful mysteries in one's own life. The "Illuminated Rosary" is not a method to pray the rosary in a more attractive way but joining a stream of prayer that is in a special way nourished by the Rosary Campaign.
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