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 published: 2003-12-09

A gift for the future of the Church

Corner Stone Laying for the Matri Ecclesiae Shrine in Rome

La piedra fundamental con el logotipo del Santuario Internacional de Roma

The corner stone with the logo of the International Rome Shrine

Der Grundstein mit dem Logo des internationalen Romheiligtums


Oración común de la Presidencia General

Common prayer of the General Presidium

Gemeinsames Gebet des Generalpräsidium


Mons. Robert Zollitsch, y Mons. Gino Reali durante la celebración

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, and Bishop Gino Reali during the celebration

Erzbischof Dr. Robert Zollitsch und Bischof Msgr. Gino Reali bei der Feier der Grundsteinlegung


Monseñor Gino Reali, obispo de la diócesis de Porta-Santa Rufina

Bishop Gino Reali of Porta-Santa Rufina, the dioceses where Belmonte belongs to

Ortsbischof Gino Reali, Diözese Porta-Santa Rufina


Mons. Dr. Wolf con los dos tubos con los documentos de la piedra fundamental

Mons. Dr. Wolf with the two copper tubes with the corner stone documents

Msgr. Dr. Wolf zeigt die beiden Kupferhülsen, die die Urkunden enthalten


En representación de las autoridades civiles: vice-alcalde del Municipio 18

Representing the civil authorities: vice-mayor of the "Municipio 18" of Rome

Vizepräsident des Municipio 18 di Roma


Reunión por la noche: Charla del Nuncio (a pies); con Mons, Ignacio Sanna, Roma; P. Georg Egle, y Mons. Dr. Peter Wolf

In the evening: words of the Nuncio (standing); with Mons, Ignacio Sanna, Rome; Fr. Georg Egle, and Mons. Dr. Peter Wolf

Bei der Ansprache des Nuntius – v.l. Professor Msgr. Ignazio Sanna, Rom; Nuntius Paolo Romeo, Rom; Pfarrer Georg Egle, Weitingen / Liebfrauenhöhe; Msgr. Dr. Peter Wolf, Schönstatt / Berg Moriah


Mons. Paolo Romeo, Nuncio Apostólico en Italia

Mons. Paolo Romeo,  Apostolic Nuncio in Italia

Erzbischof Paolo Romeo, Päpstlicher Nuntius in Italien


Una ánfora romana, un regalo de la familia de Schoenstatt de Roma para los peregrinos de otros países

A little roman amphora, a gift of the Schoenstatt family of Rome for the pilgrims from other countries

Ein kleiner Krug, Geschenk der römischen Schönstattfamilie an alle Gäste aus Deutschland bzw. anderen Ländern


Para la "agua" del capital de gracias...

For the "water" of the capital of grace…

Für das "Wasser" des Gnadenkapitals

Fotos: Bühler © 2003




ROME, P. Alberto Eronti. "A gift for the future of the Church", the Matri Ecclesiae Shrine in Rome, Belmonte, on December 8, 2003, passed the threshold from dream to reality with the corner stone laying. With this act, a new presence of Father Kentenich and Schoenstatt in the city of the Popes has begun.

The evening before, Sunday, could not have been worse thinking of what was ahead for the other day, the feast of the Immaculate. Rain and cold made everybody think: How will the weather be tomorrow? Arriving early in the morning of December 8 on St. Peter's Square, the illuminated Cathedral showed its majestic beauty to all… Dawn broke, and the cupola silhouetted against the clear, virgin skies that gave farewell to the last stars… "This will be a real day of the Immaculate," one spontaneously thought.

In the sacristy, the priests met that were to concelebrate the Mass at the altar of Peter's cathedra, to be presided by Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, with the participation of some 250 pilgrims, most of them from Germany. Many more than the assumed number of priests showed up; with over 50 concelebrants, the festive Mass was the festive beginning of this day.

A living Shrine for the life of Church and World

The Mass, celebrated in German, was marked by a climate of profound prayer and peaceful joy. When Monsignor Zollitsch began with the sermon, a special emotion moved many when already with his first words he mentioned Father Kentenich. One could not help but remembering the many hundreds of men and women that here, in the Gloria Bernini, had been declared saints. To hear the name of Father Kentenich said here, meant a special feeling of joy and obligation. The archbishop spoke about the meaning and mission of the "Mother of the Church" Shrine that was to be built now. It must be a living Shrine for the life of the church and world, and needs to be supported by our daily striving. Using the words from the first letter of Peter, he said that we must be living stones of the Shrine that is called to be Mother.

At the end of the Mass, the hymn of the family was intoned, and so, in the Cathedral of the world, we asked the Blessed Mother to "protect us with your mantle", to protect the Church, the family of humankind…

Leaving the cathedral, the pilgrims were greeted by radiant sun in a cloudless sky - but the chilling cold was felt. But nevertheless, the light and the intense color of the clear, bright sky reminded us of the purity and beauty of the Immaculate, the soil of Schoenstatt, and of the new Shrine as place of grace for the motherliness and fecundity of the Church. Looking at the sun, one spontaneously thought of the Candlemas Vision today not to come with a candle but with a giant reflector that was to light all - a symbol of the future?

At noon, the German pilgrims took part in the Angelus prayer of the the Holy Father; at the end of his talk, he greeted the German-speaking pilgrims, "specially the members and friends of the Schoenstatt Movement. Entrust yourselves always to the intercession of Mary, the Mater ter admirabilis, the Mother of the Church. May our Lord accompany you in your pilgrimage" - a message spread by Radio Vatican throughout the world.

The silhouette of the future Shrine in the upper part of the land

Soon before 3:00 Pmlocal time the land at Belmonte got buzzing with life. From the wayside shrine, the way that will lead to the Shrine was marked, as well as the contours of the future buildings. The silhouette of the Shrine, made of tubes and awning, in the original size and shape, greeted from the upper part of the land. Bishop Reali, Archbishop Zollitsch, Mons. Wolf, Mons. Sanna, members of the Institutes and Federations, the Schoenstatt family of Rome and from other places in Italy was there, as well as the other pilgrims. The cover of the brochure with the texts read, above the logo: "A gift for the future of the Church".

Living Stones of the Shrine

The celebration began with the greeting of the bishop. Then, Mons. Wolf greeted the participants with his usual warmth and friendliness. After the readings (1 Pet.2,3-9 and Jn.19,25-27), Bishop Reali held the sermon; he referred to the history of the name "Mother of the Church", reminding of the words of Paul VI in the Fourth Session of Vatican II, in 1965. At the end, with the two readings as starting point, he invited all to become living stones of the Shrine and to live intensively to the gift that Jesus gave to the Church: his Mother. Then, the bishop blessed the corner stone, symbolically blessed and laid by Father Kentenich on December 8, 1965. Afterwards, the Movement directors of various European countries alternated in reading the text of the corner stone document.

All answered with the Magníficat. After listening to texts of the Founding Document, the General Presidium prayed the prayer prepared for the occasion, ending with the prayer from Heavenwards, "Build from here a world which is pleasing the Father, as our Father once implored so longingly in prayer.

May love ever reign there together with truth and justice and a unity which does not become mass-mindedness nor leaf to inner slavery."

A new presence of Father Kentenich and Schoenstatt in the "City of the Pope"

Finally one of the most emotional moments came: the hammer-blow on the corner stone with wishes expressed outloud. Some 30 representatives of the Schoenstatt family did so, and received a little amphora, a gift of the Italian Schoenstatt family, a clear reminder to fill in the "water" of the Capital of Grace so the Blessed Mother can transform it into "wine". Then, the bishop invited all to join in praying the Lord's prayer to live and express us being the family of God - Our Father -, and then gave the final blessing.

After Monsignor Wolf's words of thanksgiving, all sang the "Salve Regina" to the Immaculate Queen that has granted all a very cold day with a warm hearts... While all were heading to the cafeteria for the necessary warming, some started to sing "Grosser Gott", expressing once more with Mary that the Lord did great things with small instruments, and that we were filled with joy…

The day closed with a family get-together in the House "Tra noi", celebrating and remembering the experiences of this day as family. A day that is a milestone for Schoenstatt and announces a new presence of Father Kentenich and Schoenstatt in the City of the Popes.

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