Uniting with the Founder Generation - the MTA magazine of the Schoenstatt Boys' Youth in Austin
The young editors want "Mary and Jesus coming into each boy’s home wherever he is"
USA, Andrew Arriaga/mkf. It's a central part of the schoenstatt.de editor's job to check some hundred mails and some 10 letters arriving in the "real" mailbox each day - mails filled with beautiful, awesome, inspiring, moving testimonies of authentic Schoenstatt life and Covenant love, be it in Paraguay or Canada, in Germany or Colombia, in Zimbabwe or Australia… It makes you smile, pray, thank, think… but hardly ever freeze like hit by a lightning. That happened than sunny November morning while checking the mailbox, sorting through newspapers, advertisements…Who throws one of the precious old MTA magazines, Schoenstatt's first magazine, for six years edited by Father Kentenich, into the mailbox? But stop… that is the MTA magazine, but - a copy on tan paper, a copy of the reprint of the very first issue from March 1916, and, no - this is English! Who did the marvelous job to translate the MTA magazine into English. But - it reads October 18, 2003, and it reads: Austin, Texas, it came by air mail, and: This has letters and testimonies from boys from Austin, this is - a new MTA magazine, and it is a true MTA magazine, modeled on the old, on the original one!
Tracing down the editor was not difficult: Andrew Arriaga, from Austin, Texas, on October 4, 2003, had made his Leader's Consecration in the Exile Shrine in Milwaukee, and he has dedicated himself to edit a magazine for the Schoenstatt Boys Youth of Austin, of Texas … and beyond. A magazine modeled on the magazine that Father Kentenich edited 1916 - 1922, beginning some months after the first sodalists had been forced to leave Schoenstatt joining the army, sent to the battlefields of World War I. Just 9% of the articles in this magazine were written by Father Kentenich, most of them being nine biographies, written in various sequences, of sodalists killed in war. For the rest, Father Kentenich printed the letters that the boys wrote to him and to each other, letters about living the Covenant of Love in difficult times… encouraging, inspiring letters full of stories about the life at the hand of Mary, of a life attached to the Shrine, a life made precious with the capital of grace, a life modeled to sanctity with the Schoenstatt means of education; stories of hope, joy, faithfulness, homesickness for Schoenstatt, of longing, of falling and beginning anew, stories of having a home, a mission, and a chance to grow; stories of reaching out to others, of sharing, of bringing the graces of the shrine to the battlefields.... So in fact, it was 100% Father Kentenich who wrote the magazine, planting the seeds in the hearts of the young men and carefully accompanying their growth, working with the power of mutual encouragement and inspiration. Life enkindles life - with only 180 young men formally belonging to Schoenstatt in 1918, the MTA magazine had 2,000 and more subscribers of whom many decided to join Schoenstatt or form their life "in the spirit of the MTA".
"I come to you, to warm you when your surroundings wan to make you cold and empty"
"I come to you, to warm you when your surroundings wan to make you cold and empty, and when the cold and emptiness of your surroundings try to paralyze you - to refresh you when the heat of battle threatens to suffocate you. I wish to heal your wound - how could you not be wounded in the turmoil of the combat? I desire to place myself next to you, to stand beside you in the midst of the fighting. Again and again new treasure from the place of grace will flow to you…" This is what Prefect Albert Langner, inspired by Fr. Kentenich, wrote in the editorial of the first MTA magazine, letting the MTA - the Blessed Mother speak to the young men. This is what is on the title of the new MTA magazine as well. Andrew, how did the idea come up to edit a new MTA magazine?
"Before production of the magazine, I had not looked carefully or even with much interest at those days, the days in which the Blessed Mother was working her miracles on the battle fronts of the Great War. But after I read All Quiet on the Western Front, and Sr. Christa Marie was reading to me from some of the sodalists' letters (translating from German), I was awed. I believe it was during one such reading that our boys leader John Hand came in and asked me if I'd talked to Matthew Blan, one of our boys (7th grade), that he wanted to start the MTA Magazine. It was one of those unforgettable moments when I saw so many threads... how we are scattered, how the Blessed Mother is working toward unity in the USA among her boys, how we have to become the Foundation stone of the shrine, how I was looking for a project to do about my reading about the founders, and the lack of a spiritually deep and refreshing newspaper for us, also one that was local and relevant to the boys. We translated "Zum Geleit" that night!
That was over the summer, and the rest is an unfolding history down to October 16th with my prayers for the Blessed Mother to send some more articles so I'd have enough material to fill the eight pages, that my computer (flashing warnings about being low on ink!) would be able to print...and all of the places we mailed it! We still are waiting to see what the Blessed Mother does next."
Simple: " The real beauty of our magazine is in seeing the unity and transformation and sanctity the Blessed Mother works."
"The Boys Youth of Texas has members in many different places. We want to have a visible reminder of our unity. The same thing for the Boys Youth of the USA, and again, for the world!
I remember going to the Schoenstatt Youth Encounter in Milwaukee in 2002. The boys youth were gathered from all over the world, and it was beautiful to see how many sons our Blessed Mother. I really realized at that time that even though there are barriers like distance and language between us, we are all united in her heart.
In Austin, our Boys Youth are really focusing on becoming the foundation of the Shrine of Bethlehem, Cradle of Sanctity. Therefore we want to sacrifice and grow in unity, and we feel very strongly united in that way to the Black Cross Generation, the Founding generation of Schoenstatt.
We want to bring their magazine, the MTA Magazine, into our day, by bringing their articles to the boys youth of Schoenstatt. So we want to translate and republish their letters. We also want to show our unity with them by printing our own letters beside theirs.
Our header and layout is a replica of the original; we too want this magazine to be "Mutual Inspiration in the Battle for Our Threatened Ideals in Difficult Times".
We follow the original format of having simple 7.5"x11" format, only a few pictures, and printing in black only. The real beauty of our magazine is in seeing the unity and transformation and sanctity the Blessed Mother works. When, in Prefect Albert Langner’s first letter, the Blessed Mother says she wants to reveal her full beauty to us in this magazine. But it is so simple! Just like our selves, though.
And the picture of the MTA is there because in this Magazine, through the voices of each other, we are standing shoulder to shoulder with each other, gathered around the Mother and Child, just like in Bethlehem. In this Magazine, Mary and Jesus are coming into each boy’s home wherever he is.
We want this to contain honest, open letters, they can be anonymous, from each young man to his brothers in the boys youth. In this way, we will see in black and white how the Blessed Mother is working in our hearts all around the world. We can be encouraged by each other, and it can be a place to ask for prayers or offer inspiration!"
An MTA magazine to the Holy Father
"The first printing of the current editions, October 18, 2003, was 100. Like the original, we suspect that production (because of demand) expands over time. We will print at least once every 2 months, but if submissions become heavy, we will print and send it out every time we have material for eight pages.
We have sent copies to all of the Texas Boys Youth we have addresses for, and we have sent some to other places, including to University men, the Boys Leaders in the Northern USA, Puerto Rico, and Nebraska. We have sent copies to various Boys Youths, I am not positive which ones. We have been looking for various addresses to send MTA Magazine sample to different English speaking boys youths, for example Scotland or Australia. We even sent one to the Holy Father, care of the captain of the Swiss Guard."
Encouraging: "And I think of myself and all the boys I have known going through that exact experience all over the world"
"I had almost been discouraged, reading a part of a letter from Fr. Kentenich after the war that said that the MTA was written, as a rule, for participants in the war, not young students in a well-ordered situation. Have I made a mistake in trying to repeat Father's work? But going on I read, "The young man stands there in a foreign and hostile environment entirely alone with his ideals and view of things. The things which are of greatest value and holiness for him are the object of the ridicule and scorn of his comrades." And I think of myself and all the boys I have known going through that exact experience all over the world. The magazine takes on added importance, as well as unity with the Founders!
Instrumental: It is her work
"I can only see it as another response of the Blessed Mother to our prayers. The important thing to know right off is that this is the work of the Blessed Mother; from the start it has been her desire and her action. Many lives and desires came together at the exact moment to spark off this work. We want to use it for our Boys Youth to grow together over distances as the Founding Generation did, we want to become connected in a deep way with them, and we want to show each other our strivings.
We do not know how universal subscription will be, but for now our goal is consistently being a product of and for the Austin boys youth and some of the other USA leaders and highschool youth.
I am just growing in understanding of why the Blessed Mother is doing this for us, now, in Austin, at this time. It is my privilege to be the first editor of the MTA Magazine in quite some years, a post filled by our founder for so long. I can only pray a lot and recognize the truth: that this is entirely driven by the Blessed Mother, that it is her idea, her desire...to visit the boys, to gather all of our hearts into her... I understand more each day "NOTHING WITHOUT YOU, NOTHING WITHOUT US".
Thank you very much, especially for all the work you do with schoenstatt.de! I will pray for the Schoenstatt Press Office, which I no longer can take for granted.
I take this job as Editor of the MTA Magazine really close to my heart, because I know that it is the role that Fr. Kentenich had before me. It is his guidance, and the founding boys spirit, that we and the Blessed Mother want in our midst again!!!
Well one day I hope to learn German very well, I have just started to study it this year; I want to read Father in German, and read the Boys in German."
How to contribute… and how to get a magazine
"Fr. Jonathan Niehaus was just on a visit to the Schoenstatt Movement in Austin, and he gave to the boys youth, on permanent loan, a 10th anniversary republication of the first MTA magazine from 1926! We are really excited. The other thing we need to be working on is to translate some articles into English, because one of the main points of our new MTA Magazine is to unite ourselves with the founding generation."
Paging through the magazine, you get from the boys of the founding time to the founder generation boys of Austin sometimes without sensing the threshold from one century to the other. "What is it, to be a priest?", Luke Arriaga writes in his testimony about the ordination of Fr. Mark Niehaus on October 3. "I thought I could do things alone, but after this trip I realized that God has plans for me …and the Blessed Mother helps me to fulfill the plan set for me… Fr. Mark helped me to understand what it is to be a priest; to be able to dedicate themselves to God and the Virgin Mary, and everyone else around them, to be able to give themselves up for the holy family." Justin Blan shares about how family members help him remember his Spritual Daily Order (you really get inspired to find our what that is…!!), there is a long report on the Covenant of Love of some of the boys, Matthew Blan knows how to use a dark night in a tent with his frightened friend to teach him the Guardian Angel prayer, under the title: "Sharing our refuge", and John Hand encourages to become the corner stone of the Bethlehem Shrine in Austin… (and you really want to know more about the mission of this Shrine!).
Andrew, how can one get a magazine?
"Anyone who wants to receive one or has questions should email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will send it! But with only a few exceptions we want to keep the subscription for Boys Youth and their leaders.
There is no subscription fee yet, but to receive the magazine is to receive the responsibility to contribute to her journeys in one of four ways.
These are in my editor’s letter on the back of the Magazine: 1) Contribute writing, 2) Contribute sacrifice and prayer, 3) contribute money, 4) share the magazine with others—like the sodalists on the front."
This is sure an impulse to work for the Boys' Youth, get brothers, sons, nephews… in, just to get a magazine!!! And remember - the first female readers of the MTA magazine are reported from 1917!
Contact: Andrew Arriaga, email@example.com
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Last Update: 25.11.2003 Mail: Editor /Webmaster
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