Music and more: A multicolored Weekend in Schoenstatt
"Multicolored Weekend" in House Sonnenau, Musical in the Father Kentenich House, Open Air Concert on May 24 - 25 in Schoenstatt
SCHOENSTATT, mkf. A multicolored weekend in Schoenstatt - a title fitting not only for the "Open Program" offered in House Sonnenau with approximately 100 participants, but for the entire weekend in Schoenstatt. On Saturday, May 24, a family choir from Euskirchen performed a Musical in the Father Kentenich House that especially attracted young families and children from the surrounding towns. The Schoenstatt band Esperamor on behalf of their 10th anniversary organized an Open Air "Church Rock" Concert, staging with two other bands, from Koblenz, and Rottenburg, on the lawn by House Wasserburg, near the Original Shrine.
A weekend full of colors, creativity, music, children, young people - that was Schoenstatt on May 24/25. Already for the second time, a team of couples, young women and Schoenstatt Sisters organized a "Weekend in Variety", a "Multicolored Weekend" that is specially marked by its informal and open character. It is an open program, with a cluster of religious, pedagogical, and practical workshops, discussion groups, handicraft workshops, with a lot of music and socializing - and with an attractive program for children and teenagers also. Approximately 100 persons filled House Sonnenau, most of them participating Friday night through Sunday afternoon, although, as Sr. Gertrud-Marie Ehrhard stresses, "some additional 100 or 200 could have joined in just for a small part of the program." It is one of the pending tasks for next year, to find a way to propagate the open style of the program and make this weekend a "Let's go to Schoenstatt and see what's going on" offer.
"The Little Day"
Those who came to House Sonnenau that Saturday could see children playing outside the house and inside, baking, dancing, crafting with wood, and pearls, exploring the wood with a forester, playing soccer and table tennis. Inside, adults excelling in flower arranging, and crafting, baking … while others joined workshops on themes as "multicolored" as possible, varying from prayer to stress management, father-son-relationship to gene technology.
While the open program was enfolding in and around House Sonnenau, approximately 200 persons filled the auditorium of the Father Kentenich House for the presentation of the musical "The Little Day" written by well-known German author Ralf Zuchowsky, performed by a family choir and band from Euskirchen, that is affiliated to the Schoenstatt Center in Maria Rast. The musical that describes one little day's experience on earth fascinated both audience and actors - among them children no more than four years old! A perfect musical arrangement, an excellently working backstage team, and the singers and actors in the limelight made for an impressive musical event. The message of the play, highlighted in songs that turned to become an earworm, was simple and clear - each has to live one's own life to one's own mission. Call it Personal Ideal and you are right in the Center of Schoenstatt. And the other message shared - the boring "little day" that could not bring home revolutions, earthquakes, terror, war on his return was in the end the big winner, celebrated as the "Day of no violence on earth".
Pilgrimage to the Original Shrine
In the evening of Saturday, after some of the results from the workshops had been presented, all - adults and children - were invited to pilgrim to the Original Shrine. The night before, Michael Schulte had presented "impressions" from Schoenstatt activities in various countries (a summary of the highlights from schoenstatt.de), which all have their center and source in this place of grace.
In and outside the Shrine, all listened to the prayers , and joined in singing, lead by Matthias Schindler, and supported by music from a tape recorder. They could write the names of loved ones, or sorrows and needs on slips of paper and place them in the jar in the Shrine; in return, each one got "Mary's business card", as one put it, a business-card sized reminder with a sentence from Father Kentenich. The highlight of the time in the Original Shrine however was the blessing of the children. Father Sidney Fones invited each family to come ahead, while he blessed their children - babies and toddlers on the arms of their mothers and fathers, some of the bigger ones still with their faces painted with butterfly or teddybear design…It was one of the most emotional moments of this day, and for many a first-time ever encounter with the place of grace where Schoenstatt began, and where it finds its center, and source of life.
Quality of Life
On Sunday morning, a panel discussion was offered about "Quality of Life". Four representatives of Schoenstatt gave a brief statement on what makes for quality of life. They covered a wide range of experiences and ways of life. Sister Marié Munz said that before knowing Schoenstatt she knew a sentence from Fr Kentenich that challenged her: What is not worth while to die for, is not worth while to live for, either. What today would add quality to her life, would be the strong motivation received from her vocation as a Schoenstatt Sister. "This morning I got up together with others, for a good cause, and together with God!"
Josef Wieland said that quality of life, for him, means to co-operate with the idea and the work of Father Kentenich, to be his ally and work with and for him. He mentioned his favorite photo of Father Kentenich - that shows him sitting by his desk "that is a chaos with piles of letters, books, photos and other things, a lot worse than mine! He definitely worked!" Josef Wieland works in a big chemical plant and sees his professional work, as his apostolic work for Schoenstatt, as a moment to experience quality of life - what, as he added, means that "no stress" and "quality of life" are not equivalent!
Diana und Lukas Schreiber, members of the Federation of Families like Josef Wieland, highlighted the core competence of a couple that is not the sum of the core competences of each individual. The expression, borrowed from business science, means that a company - take a Coffee retailer - may also sell, in its stores, pajamas and tooth brushes, but that their core competence is coffee (and if they don't sell good coffee, nobody cares for their pajamas!). To find the core competence of a couple, they said, one had to take time for conversations, and keep "couple secrets". To work on their core competence, they said, means quality of life.
The meeting ended with a family Mass celebrated by Fr. Günther Niehüser. The participants commented very positively on the meeting, highlighting specially that the children liked the program very much - a program, that, indeed included some highlights like testing a hot-air balloon or exploring the woods with a real forester. Many said that they'd like to come again the other year!
Esperamor and Friends: Open Air Concert between "Old Tower" and Original Shrine
Many of the participants did not want to miss the special highlight of the day - the first Open Air Church Rock Festival in Schoenstatt, organized by the band "Esperamor" on behalf of their 10th anniversary. Two other well-known bands - "Pfarrverbänd" from Koblenz, and "Dornbusch" from Rottenburg - were invited and added their special tone and sound to the program. Some 300 persons came to listen to the modern spiritual songs that, in different words and rhythms transmitted a younger generations' longing for God, for authentic life, joy, personal encounter with a loving God, social commitment to make credible one's faith…Students of the Schoenstatt Fathers, Boys' Youth, and a number of representatives of the parents' generation supported the event with preparing and selling rolls, sausages, and refreshments very much welcome on a warm and sunny afternoon like this. It was a beautiful picture to see the singing, swinging and hand-clapping crowd between the "Old Tower" and the Original Shrine. A special experience, music and more, on this May 25th in Schoenstatt!
40th anniversary of Father Siegfried Koch's ordination, visitors from Africa and Argentina
On Friday, May 24, Father Siegfried Koch, who since a very long time is working as spiritual assistant for the Pastoral of the Handicapped and Sick, celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination. After a week of retreat for members of the community in House Sonnenau, the participants and many others joined in the Adoration Church where Father Dr. Lothar Penners presided the festive Holy Mass. He emphasized the crucial importance of the sacrifices and prayers of the handicapped and sick, and said they are ever more needed with a number of apostolic projects ahead for Schoenstatt in Germany - the Women's Congress in October, the Families' Congress in April/May 2004, the Ecumenical Meeting of the Movements in Stuttgart, and Catholics' in 2004 and last not least World Youth Day in Cologne, in 2005.
A day earlier, Father Förster, from the diocese of Eichstätt, of the Institute of Diocesan Priests, visited Schoenstatt with a parish priest from Kenya. Schoenstatt is in his parish, he is very much interested in the Movement, and he wanted to get to know Schoenstatt, the place where it all began. Like them, earlier in the week also two priests from Argentina, who were in Schoenstatt for a couple of days, visited the Press Office Schoenstatt, "important part of this truly international place that is Schoenstatt!"
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