Family at prayer - Family on holiday - family relaxing
Comments and thoughts from Archbishop Keith Patrick O'Brien on the Scottish Pilgrimage to Schoenstatt
SCOTLAND, www.schoenstatt.co.uk. On September 28, the Holy Father appointed Cardinal the Archbishop of St. Andrew and Edinburgh, Keith Patrick O’Brien. With this, the Scotland Schoenstatt web site (www.schoenstatt.co.uk) counts with the hihgest ranking correspondent of all the Schoenstatt websites of the world: the newly appointed Cardinal did not only accompany a group of some 50 Scottish pilgrims to Schoenstatt last July, but also wrote a summary of the trip, with personal comments and thoughts - about the experiences in Schoenstatt.
Family at prayer, family on holiday, family relaxing - with these words Archbishop O'Brien titles his comments on the pilgrimage experience. From the 22nd July to the 30th July 50 pilgrims from Scotland went to Schoenstatt, lead by Archbishop Keith Patrick O'Brien. The Scottish Schoenstatt centre at Campsie Glen lies within his diocese and this was his first chance to visit the Original Shrine. The pilgrims came from all parts of Scotland from as far apart as Inverness, Dundee, Edinburgh and the Glasgow area. Accompanying the group was Sr Margareta from Campsie and Fr Michael Savage from the Schoenstatt Institute of Diocesan Priests. Like most pilgrimages it was a mixture of prayer and leisure, with a well planned prayer programme and trips down the Rhine by boat. On one day the group was led by the Archbishop to the grave of the Scottish Franciscan, Blessed John Duns Scotus, in Cologne. The highlight of the pilgrimage was the final day when several members of the party made their consecration to Mary in the Original Shrine.
Here is what Archbishop O'Brien wrote:
"The word 'Family" sums up the recent holiday-pilgrimage"
Having the Schoenstatt Shrine within my own Archdiocese at Clachen of Campsie, I was only too happy to be able to accept an invitation from Sister Margareta to join the Scottish pilgrimage to Schoenstatt, Germany in July 2003. On previous occasions, invitations had been given, but had to be turned down because of other engagements to be fulfilled either in Scotland or further afield.
It was with a certain 'trepidation' that I joined the pilgrimage group of almost 50 people at Prestwick Airport on the morning of Tuesday 22 July 2003 - not really knowing any of the pilgrimage party well and only really knowing Sister Margareta from Schoenstatt, Scotland.
I was immediately welcomed as one of the family and the word 'family' sums up the recent holiday-pilgrimage.
I say this because 'family' was really evident in three particular ways for me:
Family at prayer
Each day our activities were focused on prayer, with Morning and Evening Prayer each day being led by some of the lay members of our pilgrimage group. The prayer and singing morning and evening from the house chapel in Schoenstatt Sonnenau where we were staying was most enthusiastic.
Daily Mass was usually celebrated in different shrines each day including very beautiful celebrations in the Mother Shrine (Original Shrine) at Schoenstatt; in St Kunibert's church in Gymnich where Father Joseph Kentenich was baptised; in the house chapel and Mount Moriah; in the Adoration Church at Mount Schoenstatt; and very beautiful opening and closing Masses in the house chapel at Schoenstatt Sonnenau.
Further liturgies had been organised, binding us ever more closely together as a family, including the very beautiful celebration of healing, including the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the house chapel; as well as the Acts of Consecration of two couples and three mothers in the Mother Shrine. Prayers were also said in Colgne Cathedral, which we were privileged to visit, as also at the tomb of Blessed John Duns Scotus, a native Scot from Duns in Berwickshire, whose remains were buried in Cologne after his holy life and distinguished academic career.
Family on Holiday
The second aspect of our time together, which I would emphasise, is that of a family on holiday. A coach had been organised almost daily and was at our disposal each afternoon to take us wherever we wished to go, near and far. Of course, visiting the shrines in Schoenstatt itself, the coach was invaluable in helping us reach the top of the various mountains!
Among our visits there was a very beautiful afternoon in Cologne, as well as a wonderful Sunday afternoon at Maria Laach Benedictine Abbey. In addition, an afternoon boat trip on the River Rhine had been organised, as well as a very enjoyable night out in Koblenz.
The third aspect of the recent pilgrimage-holiday which I would empahsise is that we were very much a family together in our place of residence, at meal times, and at our recreation. We could not have been made more comfortable by Sister Lisann and her staff; we could not have had a more informative guide than Sister Miriam from the Schoenstatt International House; and watching over us at all times was our own Sister Margareta. Wonderful meals were happy, joyful occasions; times of recreation, especially in the evenings, were opportunities of great fun; and 'party pieces' were heard both on the bus, in the evening periods of recreation, and in that final, glorious concert.
All in all, this group of members of the Schoenstatt family thoroughly enjoyed their experience of life in Schoenstatt, Germany and have more than that enough many happy memories to bring back to Scotland. It is, of course, the prayerful wish of all our pilgrims that our own spirituality will have deepened through our pilgrimage holiday together and that we will have the opportunity of deepening in our love of Jesus Christ himself and of Mary, the Mother of God and of one another.
Archbishop Keith Patrick O'Brien (Archdiocese of St Andrew's & Edinburgh)
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