Beginning the Journey to Rome
A Festival for Father Kentenich in Puerto Rico
PUERTO RICO, Hna. Teresa Blaquier, October 19, 2003. Each year on the Sunday after October 18th, the Schoenstatt Family of Puerto Rico proclaims the 2003-2004 year's motto and gets together for the celebration of the Covenant of Love. This year, the idea of a Festival for Father Kentenich created much enthusiasm in all groups and branches. It was no wonder, with the new motto being: Father with you, Living Shrines, Beginning the Journey to Rome.
On October 18th, the eve of this festival, heaven touched earth. Grisobelle Virella, one of the members of the Professional Women’s League, sealed her Life Consecration in the Jubilee Shrine in Cabo Rojo. It was truly a grace - filled experience with much joy, which awakened anticipation for the activity of the next day.
A Special Tribute to Father Kentenich
Since the celebration on October 19th would conclude the Jubilee Year of the 30th Anniversary of our Shrine of Solidarity, together with the closing of the Year of the Rosary, the idea came up to make it something extraordinary and it was decided to have a little Festival. It turned out to be bigger than anticipated because all branches became so enthused with the idea!
The program began at 8:30 AM by offering the day as a special tribute to Fr. Kentenich, with all different booths. In the Retreat House there were activities for the children, i.e. puppet show, prizes, helium balloons and etc. There was a tremendous display of Father treasures decoratively prepared by the Family Federation. The highlight of this encounter room was Father’s very own shoes which symbolized our motto: Beginning the Journey to Rome! In another room of the Retreat House the Girls’ Youth gave out roses that they made with candy kisses and there the people could hear Father Kentenich’s voice on tape. Down stairs were two displays; one showing exquisite crafted Schoenstatt items done by an individual Schoenstatt member. In another room, older pictures were used and enlarged to make a history display. In this atmosphere we also had a power point presentation about the past 30 years. In the front entrance people could come and write petitions to Father and receive pamphlets. There too, the guests could take advantage of the gift shop.
Outside, as the people arrived they were welcomed by wonderful music provided by the group Ain Karim, whose tapes were also sold. From there and via an audio system the atmosphere was already announcing and preparing the new arrivals for the encounter we hoped they would have with our Father.
Fair Activities Around the Shrine
On the beautiful grounds overlooking the ocean, other treasures were also to be found. The Boys’ Youth had their display by their newly renovated Joseph Engling Memorial, hoping to interest more new members. The Family Federation also sold many hand-crafted Schoenstatt items outdoors. In the Shrine, which was adorned exteriorly with a decorative fountain display, one could go and the Schoenstatt people themselves gave explanations of Shrine and Father Memorial and prayed with the people. Homemade shrine cookies, prepared by the Sisters, were distributed as a little gift from the Blessed Mother. In the midst of all the activity there was also a Pilgrim MTA group of 12 members who sealed their Covenant of Love. In front of the Shrine the visitors could receive a specially prepared Father telephone message.
Further down near the Pilgrim Center the Girls Youth had another booth where they sold piña colada and cookies which they made as a fund raiser, since they want to go to the Reception of the ten novices in the Dominican Republic in February 2004. Across from their booth, some League Members made some of the typical foods from Puerto Rico and sold all of it!
Adoration and Rosary
In the Sisters House Chapel was adoration which the people truly took advantage of!
In the Pilgrim Center the Pilgrim MTA group prayed the Rosary with those who were interested. For Mass at 11 AM, the Professional Women’s League provided the choir and musical leadership. There were more than a 1000 people and afterwards a catered lunch for 400. After that there was still a talent show, prepared ahead of time, outside by the Shrine with different poems, musicals, etc... along with judges. Then finally, the actual proclamation of the motto in the Father House. There was a written celebration coupled with a power point presentation. The Girls’ Youth themselves prepared a little Father Encounter drama to highlight the motto. After a full day, the abundance of activities was followed with a snack, and with lots of sharing and comments of "Father encounter".
The main intention of this day was truly, to begin the journey to Rome in preparing for our Father’s canonization. May the in break of grace experienced this day, animate all of us to work diligently in this intention.
English edition: Paula Dudgeon, USA
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