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 published: 2003-06-17

"The one that really love this Shrine are the ones that radiate it into their families"

Schoenstatt Federation of Families celebrated the 25th anniversary of their Shrine in Hillscheid/Schoenstatt, with an International Congress and Day of Pilgrimage

Celebración del 25° aniversario del Santuairo de la Federación de Familias

Celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Shrine of the Federation of Families

Feier des 25jährigen Jubiläums des Heiligtums des Familienbundes


Chicos llevaron 25 flores, en agradecimiento para 25 años del Santuario

Children brought 25 flowers, sign of gratitude for 25 years of the Shrine

Kinder brachten 25 Blumen als Dank für 25 Jahre Heiligtum


Monseñor Karl Josef Romer, Roma, con los Padres Elmar Busse (izq.) y Tilmann Beller (der.)

Bishop Karl Josef Romer, Rome, with Fathers Elmar Busse (l.) and Tilmann Beller (right)

Bischof Karl-Josef Romer, Rom, mit P. Elmar Busse (l.) und P. Tilmann Beller (r.)


Dr. Norbert y Renate Martin con el nuevo antipendio

Dr. Norbert and Renate Martín with the new antipendium

Dr. Norbert und Renate Martin mit der neuen Altarborte


Angela y Uli Gold, Argentina: oración de los fieles

Angela and Uli Gold, Argentina: prayer of the faithful

Angela und Uli Gold, Argentinien: Fürbitten


Monseñor Karl Josef Romer, sermón

Bishop Karl Josef Romer, sermón

Bischof Karl Josef Romer, Predigt


Tarde: circulo alrededor del Santuario

Afternoon: a wide circle around the Shrine

Nachmittag: ein Kreis ums Heiligtum


Monseñor Romer, Dr. Norbert Martín, P. Arkadiusz, Polonia

Bishop Romer, Dr. Norbert Martín, Fr. Arkadiusz, Poland

Bischof Romer, Dr. Norbert Martin, P. Arkadiusz, Polen


Es nuestra fiesta!

It's our feast!

Das ist unser Fest!






Encuentro de jovenes

Youth meeting

Jugendliche treffen sich

Fotos: Wieland, Kessler, Fischer © 2003




SCHOENSTATT, mkf. "This Shrine is the most precious treasure, the most beautiful gift we have… This Shrine leads into the love of God, and radiates this same love into the families. The ones that really loves this Shrine are the ones that radiate it into their families, as father, as mother," said Bishop Karl-Josef Romer, Secretary of the Pontificial Council for the Family, on June 15, 2003 in Schoenstatt, Hillscheid. He had gladly accepted the invitation of the Federation of Families to celebrate with them on that day the 25th anniversary of the dedication of their Shrine. Since 25 years, the "Shrine of the Federation" is the spiritual center not only of the Joseph Kentenich Farm, the central house of the Federation of Families, but also of the Federation Families, and not only of those in Germany, as could be experienced on June 15, 2003, the traditional day of pilgrimage that this year had an international jubilee character. Also the Federations of Families from other countries feel attached to this Shrine.

During the week after Pentecost, representatives of the Schoenstatt Federations of Families - families, Spiritual Assistants - from Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, USA, and Puerto Rico (and from Argentina as translators) had joined for a convention at the Joseph Kentenich Farm. On June 15, this convention culminated in a day of pilgrimage with a festive Holy Mass in the morning and a jubilee celebration in the afternoon. The Federations of Southern America will celebrate the jubilee with a Convention July 31 - August 3 in Tuparendá, Paraguay, where recently the Council of the Latin American Bishops' Conferences (CELAM) held their meeting.

A Day of Singing, Praise, and Thanks - A Family Day

Many families from all regions of Germany came to the Joseph Kentenich Farm to join in the jubilee celebration. Under a deep blue sky and with Mediterranean summer weather, with babies, and toddlers in the arms of their radiant mothers and fathers, and children running around "like at home", the feast day started like a big family party in the garden around a generous Mother's House. No need for explanations, the visitors, guests of honor from other Schoenstatt communities - among them Sr. M. Jacoba Kesselheim, superior general of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, and Sr. M. Antonja Schomberg, General Assistant - , and the participants of the Press Office Seminar understood who and what was to be celebrated: the family, original place of evangelization, the family, that, having a home in a vivid spiritual family, finds missionary power; families that have their own home - the Shrine of the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen, and Victress of Schoenstatt.

An elderly couple, obviously a bit tired with the heat, headed towards the other side of the place in front of the Shrine, where they warmly greet a younger couple; both radiate with joy upon this surprise meeting… "Thank you for coming, thank you for being with us today!" Members of the Family Federation warmly greet each guest or visitor. Some girls from the Schoenstatt Girls' Youth, one of them a daughter of a family present, are there. One of them made her Covenant of Love early in the morning, in the Original Shrine.

Renate and Dr. Norbert Martin, directors of the German Federation of Families, before the Mass read congratulations received, welcome Bishop Romer, the honor guests, and introduce the participants from other countries, as well as some surprise guests, among them the daughter of a Federation family, Sr. Regina-Maria Domberger, who came as participant of the seminar of Press Office Schoenstatt. The Martin's give a short overview of the history of the Shrine, emphasizing that the little shrine is the most precious and beautiful property and possession of the Federation of Families.

The most precious and beautiful property and possession

Children with big cardboard flowers- 25, for 25 years of the Shrine - accompany Bishop Romer and the other concelebrating priests, the spiritual assistants of the Federation in Germany, Fr Chrysostomus Grill, in Czech Republic, Fr. Elmar Busse, in Hungary, Fr. Tilmann Beller, in Poland, Fr. Arkadiusz Sosna, and in South Africa, Fr. Michael Hagan.

Bishop Karl Josef Romer, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, expresses his joy in being present on this day of celebrating and joy, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, and to join in the Federation's celebration of the Shrine. He knows the Schoenstatt Shrine, and has dedicated the Shrine in Rio (Tabor of Salvation of the Families), on October 18, 1998, in the presence of more than 6,000 persons. And more: "My mother made a retreat in the Shrine in Switzerland almost each year; my father did not participate, but supported her. She always radiated something special when she came back. And she had a good bunch of sorrows with ten children." The families listen attentively - the moments of personal testimony given by the bishop are precious.

Bishop Romer's sermon is an illustration of the Years' motto of the Federation of Families in Germany - Duc in altum - in the up-current of our Shrine. He describes the creative tension between "into the Shrine" and "from the Shrine". The Shrine, he emphasizes, on the one hand leads people into the love of theTriune God, and on the other hand sends them out to bring this love to the ends of the world.

  • Only who, like the disciples, has encountered the Risen Lord, can proclaim him, he states. Therefore: Find in Jesus the strength to be family and to work for the family.
  • While we say - the most precious good we have is the Shrine -, God and the Blessed Mother say: what we most love with this Shrine, are the persons who come there, the families. Therefore: Who effectively loves this shrine, radiates the reality of the shrine into the families, in each mother and father.
  • Mary, at the hour of the Annunciation, is overshadowed by the power of the Most High; it is the same reality that is shared twice in the Old Testament as thrilling experience of God's presence, when the cloud covers the Tent of Revelation, and fills the Most Holy Sanctuary of the Temple. This is how Mary is "presence of God" among mankind. "You need to bring the Shrine to the others, like Mary. As a family be the place where God is present and changes the face of the earth."

A Youth band accompanies the Mass, readings and prayers of the faithful are in different languages, as well as some songs - although the South Africans later comment that they would have preferred the South African version of "Oh Triune God" to be sung instead of the American one… But in the spirit of unity they forgive, of course!

During the offering of the gifts, families bring various signs of gratitude and mission consciousness to the altar: a globe, a star, a stone…

Before the final blessing, Norbert and Renate Martin bring the jubilee gift - a new antependium for the Shrine, with the words "Family in freedom", "in Patre", written in different languages.

"We became young again!"

After the Mass, Marianne Domberger talks her daughter into following her to the Founder Room. She wants to show her the crowns, with that Father Kentenich on May 31, 1966, crowned the MTA pictures of all families of her course. "We have gotten old and now are preparing for the final part of our way," the 82-year-old shares. "Two weeks ago we had a course meeting here, probably our last one, as so many cannot come anymore in future." With joy and pride, she explains the new course symbol, that will unite the different crowns. They already attached four crowns of deceased couples to this symbol. "We will give this to the Federation, as our gift for the Founder Room," she said, radiant with joy and gratitude. "Our course became young again with this striving!"

Many encounters, meetings, greetings happen during noon break. Some youth celebrate meeting Father Beller again; Hannelore Spannager, diocesan leader of the Mothers' branch in the diocese of Freiburg, had small rosaries blessed by Bishop Romer that are part of their apostolate for pregnant women whom they offer a liturgy of blessing. "By chance", someone from South Africa picks up some words about this, and after explaining a bit to him, Hannelore Spannagel loses one of her rosaries to him…Fred and Fe Perez from Puerto Rico meet someone whom they so far only knew by e-mail, and Angela and Uli Gold from Argentina are joyfully greeted by two girls who had the time of their life in Argentina two years ago… And in the middle of all that the children turn the entire area into their playground!

Forming a big circle around the Shrine

The Day of Jubilee and Pilgrimage continues with the jubilee celebration by the Shrine in the early afternoon. The attachment to the Shrine is expressed in songs, prayers, symbols. Three families give a personal testimony about the Shrine in their lifes. The official communities as well as the courses, and the guests from other countries, bring their jubilee gifts. The celebration ends with a wide circle that the families form around the Shrine. As a sign for the "up-current" from the Shrine, hundreds of red balloons ascend into the deep blue summer skies…

Long after that, families sit together, sharing coffee and cake, memories, addresses, the firt digital photos…

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Last Update: 17.06.2003 Mail: Editor /Webmaster
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