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 published: 2003-09-16

Celebrating the Day of Father Kentenich's birthday for heaven - and earth

September 15 in Schoenstatt

15 de septiembre de 1968 - nacimiento del Padre Kentenich al cielo. La familia de Schoenstatt celebró el 35° aniversario.

September 15, 1968 - Father Kentenich's birthday to heaven. The Schoenstatt family celebrated the 35th anniversary.

15. September 1968 - Pater Kentenichs Geburtstag für den Himmel. Die Schönstattfamilie feierte den 35. Jahrestag.


Tumba del Padre, con alfombra de flores, como en cada 15 de septiembre

Founder Chapel with flower carpet, like on each 15th of September

Gründerkapelle mit weißem Blütenteppich, wie an jedem 15. September


Dr. Gertrud Pollak, 13 de septiembre: El rostro atrayente de la Iglesia - Maria.

Dr. Gertrud Pollak, 13 de septiembre: The attractive face of the Church - Mary.

Dr. Gertrud Pollak, 13 de septiembre: Das ansprechende und ansprechbare Gesicht der Kirche - Maria.


Misa en la hora de la muerte del Padre José Kentenich

Mass at the hour of Father Kentenich's death

Gedenkgottesdienst in der Todesstunde Pater Kentenichs


Renovación de la Alianza, durante la liturgia del 13 de septiembre

Renovation of the Covenant during the vigil  liturgy of September 13

Erneuerung des Liebesbündnis bei der Vigilfeier am 13. September


Fotos: POS, Fischer © 2003


SCHOENSTATT, mkf. "Congratulations and blessings for today, September 15, Father Kentenich's birthday for heaven - and earth," read one of the hundreds of mails that kept coming in these days in Schoenstatt. Less than mourning the loss that came with Father Kentenich's death on September 15, 1968, 1968, the Schoenstatt family on this day celebrates the lasting living presence of Father Kentenich and his entrance into a new reality of being Father of his family and beyond: understanding each language, and to have time for everybody at any time of the day  (or night), ever and for ever. It was the experience of those who participated in the vigil on September 13, and the commemorative Mass on September 15, at the hour of Father Kentenich's death. It was also the experience of those who enjoyed a spiritual pilgrimage to the Founder Chapel, where the place where Father Kentenich died these days is decorated with a flower carpet of white carnations, and lilies, surrounded by an abundance of red roses, letters, rosaries, little symbols only understood by those who put them there - and four big folders full of mails sent from Uruguay and Argentina, Puerto Rico and Poland, Paraguay, USA, Germany, Austria, Brazil, Bolivia… The talk and sermon of these days were centered on the Marian face of the Church.

September 15, 2003, a day radiant with sun and bright blue skies - like made for a (spiritual) pilgrimage to Schoenstatt. Like already the years before, hundreds of Schoenstatt members or entire groups used the internet to send the names of their loved ones, petitions, thanks, prayers, promises, expressions of renewed love and commitment, to be printed and placed "by the flower carpet", as many said. "I know he sees us, no matter where we are", a mail from Ecuador read, "but it is great to know our names are placed so close by the place where he met God Father." - "Seeing the photos pf the Founder Chapel, I feel like my petitions are already answered", Lorena wrote from Mexico.

Others were privileged to be there, personally: the pilgrims from USA, couples from Tucumán, Argentina, and Monterrey, Mexico, German couples on retreat in the House of the Families, and those living in Schoenstatt for a longer, or all the time. "It is such a tremendous experience to be here on that day," Marge Rolan, from Oregon, USA, said. She only knows Schoenstatt since two years, but immediately made it her life, and founded the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign in Oregon. "This Mass was like heaven, although I did not understand one word. But one could so strongly feel the presence of Father Kentenich." Rosa Maria de Galante, from Tucumán, Argentina, is in charge of the Father Kentenich Secretariat there; each15th, and of course this 15th also, they offer Thousand Hail Mary in the Shrine for the canonization of Father Kentenich. "It was and is special to be here, just for this day, and bring all the loads and all the petitions to our Father…I really want to give my all for his mission!"

Already before the Mass began at 7:00 AM, many filed into the Founder Chapel, to be among the first ones to greet Father Kentenich there. Seminarians of the Schoenstatt Fathers, recently arrived from South America, along with Mass Servers, Schoenstatt Fathers, and Monsignor Dr. Peter Wolf as main celebrant processed into the Church, and Mass began… At the altar, next to the main celebrant, stood Fr. Heinrich Walter, General Superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers, Fr. Jonathan Niehaus, USA, and - on his last day before returning to Chile after years in Schoenstatt -, Father Sidney Fones. The Adoration Sisters contributed songs and music.

The appealing face of the Church - Mary

The celebration had already begun on Saturday. The pilgrims from Freiburg, on their annual diocesan pilgrimage September 12/14, like the year before, used the chance of being in Schoenstatt close to the anniversary of Father Kentenich's death by visiting the places he last was then in 1968.

In the evening of September 13, Dr. Gertrud Pollak (Institute Ladies of Schoenstatt), spoke about the appealing face of the Church - Mary. The wish of Bishop Reinhard Marx, Trier, expressed during his visit to Schoenstatt, obliges: he wants to renew the consecration of the diocese to Mary come December 8. Dr. Gertrud Pollak, after a short introduction on the role that the Church played in Father Kentenich's life and mission, stated that always, but especially today in an often face-less mass culture, people are deeply searching for "faces", for persons. The church, she said, would gain profile through human faces, faces that people can turn to - personalities that attract and impress. As Schoenstatt family, we were called to live to Father Kentenich's love for the church by giving a loving, caring, attractive, attentive face to the church. The future Shrine and Center in Rome would strongly point to this love for the church, that is ready to renew the church from within.

She then quoted a sermon that Father Kentenich gave in 1964, to the German parish in Milwaukee, with the statement: "The face of the church is disappointing us" - thus picking up the mood at the time of the endless debates during Vatican II about the role of Mary in the church. Father Kentenich's answer:

The church will get an appealing face through each Christian person, and - through Mary.

As the ever moving world is the place of the church, the church could not fall asleep, but would sleep in each sleepy individual… Renewal of the church today will not happen through turning away from reality, nor through laments, but an "appealing presence".

Mary, whom countless medieval cathedrals are dedicated, according to Father Kentenich is not only member, but mother of the Church; she shows how close God wanted to be to the church. Those who neglect or deny Mary, will take life away from the face of the church. Those who want to add life to the church, must bring Mary back to the church…

It was a special gift that the Blessed Sacrament was exposed in the monstrance for the Rome Shrine, a gift of the Institute of Ladies of Schoenstatt. The monstrance came directly from Milwaukee - it is traveling the world until the dedication of the Shrine next September.

The vigil continued with eucharistic prayers, and, after the Eucharistic blessing, a Marian prayer that summarized in a very simple, original way the main points of the talk.

"I did not miss anything but the many more participants I had expected to be here!" said Martina Rasch, who came from Düsseldorf. "It was really a big gift and experience, the talk was excellent",

Mary "means": to bring Jesus to the world

Monsignor Dr. Peter Wolf picked up the theme in his sermon on September 15. Mary means to bring Jesus to the world, he said - this being the mission of the church. Mary`s life was and is totally centered in Jesus. "Her vocation is to belong to Jesus", Mother Theresa said. Father Kentenich wanted to help the church re-discover its face - Mary, and to become more and more a reflection of Mary's attitudes and virtues.

He shared the impressive experience of a Girls' group some 40 years ago. During a camp, an MTA picture, fell into a burning candle, caught fire - and when the girls realized it, they found the face of the Blessed Mother burnt off, leaving nothing but a hole. Thinking about what God wanted to tell them with this event, one of them finally said - Mary asks us: Give me your face.

This is what Father Kentenich says in these hours to the Schoenstatt family - he asks each group, community, and individual to give Mary their face - to make their face be the face of Mary, so she can, on them, walk through our times, bringing Jesus to all.

All day long, people kept visiting the Founder Chapel, for longer or short prayers …as the spiritual pilgrimage from the ends of the world continued…

A little group of some 50, among them Schoenstatt members from USA, Poland, and Argentina, closed the day with the rosary at the Original Shrine, where on October 18, 1914, Father Kentenich gave Schoenstatt, the church, and the world the Covenant of Love with Mary - "let us, in the Covenant with you, become Mary for our time."


Signos de confianza, gratitud, entrega ...

Signs of confidence, gratitude, commitment...

Zeichen des Vertrauens, der Dankbarkeit, der neuen Bereitschaft...


Dr. Gertud Pollak con la custodia para el Santuario de Roma

Dr. Gertrud Pollak with the monstrance for the Shrine in Rome

Dr. Gertrud Pollak mit der Custodia für das Romheiligtum

15 de septiembre: peregrinos de los Estados Unidos en la tumba del Padre

September 15: pilgrims from the United States in the Founder Chapel

15. September: Pilger aus den USA in der Gründerkapelle


Cuaderno con testimonios de la "peregrinación" de la custodia

Book with testimonies of the pilgrimage of the monstrance

Buch mit Zeugnissen von der Wanderung der Custodia


15 de septiembre: Rosario en el Santuario Original

September 15: Rosary in the Original Shrine

15. September: Rosenkranz im Urheiligtum


Luis y Nora Villarreal, Monterrey, México, jefes de la Obra Familiar

Luis and Nora Villarreal, Monterrey, México, leaders of the Family Movement

Luis und Nora Villarreal, Monterrey, Mexiko, Verantwortliche der Familienbewegung


13 de septiembre: encuentro de Profesionales de Alemania y Sudafrica

September 13, meeting of Profesional Women from Germany and South Africa

13. September: Berufstätige Frauen aus Deutschland und Südafrika treffen sich nach der Feier.


Guillermo Carlos Galante y Rosa Maria Olabarrieta de Galante, de Tucumán, Argentina

Guillermo Carlos Galante and Rosa Maria Olabarrieta de Galante, from Tucumán, Argentina

Guillermo Carlos Galante und Rosa Maria Olabarrieta de Galante, aus Tucumán, Argentina



Fotos: POS, Fischer © 2003

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