"I rejoice with the Schoenstatt Family: Father Kentenich is number 17 on the list of the one hundred best German personalities of all times!"
From the joy flows the energy to continue further. We must get Father Kentenich in the debate of the current events," says Fr. Angel Strada
SCHOENSTATT, mkf. Father Kentenich number 17 on the list of the poll conducted by ZDF TV in Germany! A total surprise for the majority of the German population and obviously also for the members of the Schoenstatt Movement, even if they had decided to vote for him. "Now we see that Schoenstatt can achieve something," said a reporter of Rhein-Zeitung. "We expect that they will also take an active part in other relevant issues, as they have shown that they can do it".
There are Schoenstatt members in South America who don’t understand a single word of German, but they are interested in surfing the web pages of ZDF where the first 100 are shown with pictures and text; in Father Kentenich’s case, www.schoenstatt.de "Of course I found Father, he was the best in every sense of the word; such a paternal look that brings emotion even to those who don’t know him! It’s too bad that people didn’t get to see him; otherwise he would have been in first place! Obviously I didn’t understand a word but I still went to the web-site..."
I rejoice with the entire Schoenstatt Family because Father Kentenich has an important place in the list of persons nominated as the Best German personalities of all times", wrote Maximiliano Silva from Valdivia, Chile on November 7th, a few minutes after receiving the news. "It is a sign that his fatherhood develops and reaches the remote corners of the world through his work."
Father Kentenich "public"
"To be number 17 is really high," commented Fr. Angel Strada who is moderating the beatification process of Fr. Kentenich. "I don’t know if it corresponds to the real popularity of Fr. Kentenich in the German society. But now it is up to Schoenstatt to make it corresponding! We proved we have the potential," he said. "I liked the comment made by the Rhein-Zeitung. Now they expect Schoenstatt to act the same way in the current issues of the Church and of society. They are right: Schoenstatt can make a difference." Were you not disappointed with the presented text of Fr. Kentenich being so brief and not so positive? "I believe that being the first time we couldn’t expect anything longer and without a touch of criticism. We can be happy and continue forward. We can let them debate the ideas and proposals of Fr. Kentenich and not be afraid of taking a stand on the current issues. There will always be criticism, what's important is that the light of the message doesn’t remain hidden but that it can be seen by everyone."
"I voted for him!"
"We read and reread that our beloved Father J. Kentenich got number 17 on the poll ‘the best of our people’. If this means so much to us we can imagine how happy you must be. Our young ones have prayed so much, we dream of Father’s canonization" writes the director of Casa del Nino en Florencio Varela, which has the name of the honored Fr. Kentenich.
Pedro Lazaro writes from Iquique, Chile, "It has been a great happiness to learn the results of the TV contest with Fr. Kentenich in the 17th place among the 100 most outstanding of all times..."
Well, it was a show, not a very serious one or scientifically proven..., and the "100 best" selected on November 7th in many cases is the result of a campaign of friends... as is the case with Fr. Kentenich. His friends are now proud of getting him to the 17th place. "How nice about Fr. Kentenich being number 17" writes Ines Petiti from Goya (Corrientes, Argentina). "We read it today on the internet and the eyes of Raquel were shining when she said, ‘I voted for him.’"
"We felt especially happy about the news of our Founder since it is a great achievement to reach 17th place among the most important people in Germany and that he gets the recognition he deserves," write Aquiles and Fatima Sotillo, Directors of the Family Council from La Paz, Bolivia.
When they reached the 50th place, I told my daughter, I am going to sleep, Father Kentenich is not there"
Only in Germany and the neighboring countries was the show seen live. Many members of Schoenstatt watched it waiting to see Father Kentenich among the first one hundred presented that night as the result of the polls conducted during August and September. He was not mentioned in the list of 300 proposed by the TV, his name was never in the "new proposed" presented, but they kept waiting...
The presentation started with number 100 and continued the list in descending order giving the names of 15 people at a time with brief video clips. People from the studio made comments, in a more or less intelligent manner, about the results while huge photos were shown in the background.
"When they reached the 50th, I told my daughter, I go to sleep now, Father Kentenich is not there... But I stayed never the less and then... What a surprise! I had goose-bumps! I never dreamed that the Father would reach that place! I’m so happy, so proud, amazed..." writes Anneliese Dingler.
"That Father is among the 100 and even in such place, it is the maximum!" writes Andi Kessier from the Men’s Youth.
In Marienland, Schoenstatt, the participants of the Workshop of Delegates of the Mother’s Branch, the Professionals Branch and the Mother’s Federation and some other people watched the show (It was the first time in history that they have a common program for these workshops). Every time a person with a beard showed up on the screen there was talk in the audience. Fifty, forty, thirty... Is it possible that the Father didn’t make it with so many people in the family voting for him?
"I never thought that adult women could scream so much" is the comment of one of the young professionals. His picture appeared and the rest was lost behind the screaming!
In Koesching where the Schoenstatt Center of Bavaria is, on November 7th there was a "jornada" of the Women’s Youth and a meeting of the priests of the Institute. "The girls had taken some banners from McDonalds and after the meeting we went to the room where the television set was, there was an atmosphere of World Cup Soccer mixed with Week of World Youth, screaming and banners waving in the air each time a name was given which was not Father’s and expecting he would have a better position. We arrived at number 60 and the girls’ happiness was contagious. I even felt bad for not voting." admitted Fr. Martin Emge, Vice-dean of the Mayor Seminary of the Diocese of Bamberg and the Director of the Movement of the Dioceses. When Father was mentioned, there was great joy, one single scream, the banners were in the air: Spectacular!" On the following day when I arrived at the Seminary, the seminarians greeted me with, ‘Your Father Kentenich won!’" he added.
The news inflamed my heart with holy happiness
The reaction of the international Schoenstatt family goes from pure joy to pride and the impulse of doing more to make the world learn about Father Kentenich and his mission. "How nice it is to know that our father and founder is being made known thanks to his children, it fills our hearts with happiness and we see the work of God in our times," says Bolivia Sanchez from Ecuador, a member of the Girls’ Youth.
"This news makes my heart inflamed with pure happiness, our father and founder in such a good place, we continue praying more than ever for his canonization. God willing, we will see him raised to the honor of the altar in the hundredth year of the covenant of love," says Nora Bracci of the Mothers Federation of Villa Ballester, Argentina.
"We had great joy when we learned that Fr. Joseph Kentenich is among the 100 most outstanding in Germany! We thank God and the MTA for this," is the comment of the Castro Villalba family of Mexico.
"Father must be happy, not only with his place in the list,but also with his family," says Sally Leroy from Arizona, USA.
We must make him known, especially in Latin America," is the conclusion of Nicolas Kipreos from Chile, while his compatriot Gustavo Eduardo Barrios says, "It could not have been otherwise. But next time we will put him in first place!" "Still today my neighbors and people from the parish speak to me about Fr. Kentenich," says Annemarie Lanzke, Director of the Mother’s Branch in the dioceses of Hildesheim, Germany.
"Hello everybody and each one of you! With great happiness I transmit again the message of the Press Office in Schoenstatt. We can imagine the emotion the family experienced in Germany when they saw our Father in such an outstanding place on the television. As a family from Latin America we join in this happiness and we can also feel very happy because our contribution was significant. As father would say, "This deserves a Magnificat of gratitude."
"For those of us who start tomorrow the Month of Mary – for a majority it is in the month of May – let this be an incentive to live our covenant with the MTA," writes Angelica Medina from Peru to all her Schoenstatt contacts.
"Our father in the 17th place, what a surprise!" writes Fr. Hans-Peter Unglert, of the Federation of Priests of Germany, "What a well organized fan club! Well, the presentation was a disaster. Stupidity on TV! The consequence, make him better known and work with an authentic ‘kentenichian profile’ in our apostolic work and our workshops. Seems to me like a hint from the MTA to have reached such a good place and to get such a poor presentation."
To know him is to love him
The day after the show the Father’s Secretariat of Paraguay organized a new contest with questions and answers about Father Kentenich. The slogan of the Contest was "To know him is to love him" version 2003. "Nine groups participated (among them the pioneers or altar boys, who qualified for the second round when they defeated the university students of the Men’s Youth). The finals were very competitive and it looked like it would never end because the two groups (Mother’s Branch and the team from the Family Branch ) were so good and did not miss, but at the end the team of the Mother’s Branch won and got three tickets to Buenos Aires. This was two fun nights. The judges were Father Francisco Pistilli, Sister Maria Martha, Lluis O’hara and a lady of the Father Kentenich Secretariat. The prize was well deserved because they were the best. They said this is the last time it is done inside the country. Next year it will be an international competition. "At least between the neighboring countries," says Carmen Codas. If knowing him is to love him, to make him known is also to love him. The TV show and the 17th place is just a step. In the Prefounding Document father himself is giving us the tools for making him public, known, loved. "We learn to walk by walking, we learn to love by loving..." We learn to make him known by making him known, We learn to debate his ideas by debating them"
There is a test on the internet pages of the TV channel (where after the photo of the Father there is an encyclopedia text and the connection to www.schoenstatt.de ) The question that concerns Father Kentenich is: What movement was founded by Father Kentenich? The Movement of Limburg? The Milwaukee Movement? The Schoenstatt Movement?"
We’ll see how many German people know it, or they will visit www.schoenstatt.de or contact a member of Schoenstatt to find out!
"We want to thank the couple who discovered the news about the polls in a newspaper and their great love for father that allowed them to find a way to make him known in the world" said an admirer of www.schoenstatt.de. Thank you also to all those who multiplied the message by sending the news to all their e-mail contacts with the request to vote for Father Kentenich."
Translation: Carmen Barruel, Belgium/Paula Dudgeon, MN, USA
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