Long Live Schoenstatt!
Fr. Heinrich Walter’s Homily at the Holy Mass on 10-15-05: WYD evaluation in Cologne and in Schoenstatt
Dear Schoenstatt Family,
Repeatedly comes to my eyes the image of those thousands of youths by the Rhine awaiting the Pope to welcome him. They left at dawn in order to be in the front rows when he would arrive. Those in the front rows were up to their knees in water. Automatically one remembers the lake at Gennesaret in the passage where Jesus speaks to the multitude from the boat since there was no more room on the shore. What great desires these youth brought along! Their desire to be guided, to have a home, and to be accepted was so great. Many felt homeless with the death of John Paul II and came to the shores of the Rhine like "orphans" with an open heart.
Pope Benedict XVI made the moment easy for them by presenting himself with simplicity and humility as the successor of the great Pope who preceded him and with whom he shared a great part of his journey. The youths did not cling to the impacting gestures and words full of strength of John Paul II. They did not look for a "super star." From the depths of their hearts and through the simplicity and depth of the new Holy Father, they were able to find the path to God. It was a marvelous event which in our Schoenstatt language we call organic transfer.
1. A generation searching for God
We have experienced a generation of young people who are searching for God, a generation passionate for God as was formulated by Cardinal Lehmann in his reflection on the future of the Church in Germany. At the conclusion of the vigil and until the Eucharistic celebration began, a holy mantle of silence covered Mary’s Camp. One million youths immersed in silence and adoration! They had truly come to adore Him. All of the liturgical celebrations were simple and profound without great "decorations" but centered on what was essential. Pope Benedict neither tackled in his homilies the supposedly important topics nor the questions from the reporters. Instead, he only centered on the essential: the mystery, the event of the redemption in Christ, in God. The youths accepted his words. They accepted them even when they experienced them as a challenge.
Since our youth is a generation searching for God, will it then not "tolerate" our society in general’s religiosity and spirituality of which we consider it capable? Will it not be old fashioned to excuse oneself with timidity and shame for one’s faith? WYD urges us. It demands that we take a stand, demonstrate our opinion, and give witness. If the youths are the "migratory birds" who point toward the signs of the times anticipating the future, then we accept the challenge. May we grow Eagles’ wings!
2. Long live Schoenstatt!
Once again let us take a look at what happened here in Schoenstatt. Schoenstatt was full of life. It was alive. The houses were absolutely full. The Original Shrine was surrounded day and night. Continuously there were experiences like those of Victoria and Lucía from Paraná, Argentina: "And suddenly one day we found ourselves standing in front of the Original Shrine…..and suddenly you are blank and it seems as if your heart wants to jump out of your body!" And the tears flow. We are here!
Long live Schoenstatt: the strength of the place of grace
Once again, the strength our place of grace has comes to my attention. The world’s youth has made us aware of it. Those of us who live here have clearly been made aware of this. The Shrine is sacred for us. We know that it is not only about the place: it is the strength of the attraction which the great Woman radiates…..the Mother and helpmate of Christ. How many eyes Blessed Mother has seen in this month of August! How many tears of joy has She not seen! How frequently She accepted Covenants of Love! She must have been very happy with these youths. Therefore, it is also good that Father Rummel, Rector of the Original Shrine, is also here today.
Long live Schoenstatt: solidarity without precedence
That Schoenstatt is alive could be confirmed in that it has never seen solidarity which moved all of the communities and members of the Family. The open houses…..the hospitality…..the generosity in the donations…..many things changed throughout the Summer when Schoenstatt was in the hands of the youth and it was good for us to live in that way with the youth. This was not a one-way street as was expressed this afternoon by a representative of the Mothers Federation. She expressed her gratitude and that of her community to the youths who had previously expressed their gratitude for the collaboration they received during the festival. That is as it should be if we truly want to be a Family.
Long live Schoenstatt: a new experience of internationality
It was sufficient to perceive during the festival that the number of youths who spoke Spanish or Portuguese more than doubled those who were German speaking and the conferences were in English. The future of Schoenstatt is international and that future will be in the long run even more Hispanic and Anglo Saxon than German. This does not represent a loss in the absolute. It is an enormous gain! Whoever wants to collaborate in the realization of this future can already be thinking about which language he wants to learn.
Long live Schoenstatt: guidance through prominent examples
Another sign of Schoenstatt’s vitality was the "Night of the stars"…..of the heroes…..of the "saints" of our Family. The youths point toward the highest said Pope Benedict. How much idealism was awakened with the images of the first co-founders and with the concrete examples of the Schoenstatters! The heroes – in their framed pictures – amid torches surroundedthe Original Shrine and our Father and Founder.
Long live Schoenstatt: in the life current of the Church
Seldom, as a Movement, have we participated so actively in a life process of the Church as with this opportunity with WYD. Looking beyond our own community, we have offered our service to the Church for the preparation and realization of WYD. The latter comments of the WYD Office in Cologne confirmed that our solidarity was very visible. This brought us great joy and awakened new strength within us. Today, Schoenstatt lives more deeply in the heart of the Church and the Church lives more deeply in the heart of Schoenstatt. This reinforces our vision of how it is and how it should be when – as a Movement – we are even more present in the heart of the Church.
3. A new founding generation comes forth
What does God want to tell us with this year’s experience? I repeat what I told the youth when the Festival began:
I imagine our Father and Founder looking from his window, there in the <<Old House>> next to the Original Shrine, smiling with everyone while he says : <<Desiderio desideravi: I was waiting for you with great longing! Schoenstatt can only go forward if you truly commit yourselves completely, if you risk taking the future into your hands!>> And I sense that he also tells them: <<You are my Founding Generation of the third millennium! My charism is now yours. Encourage yourselves to give our Movement a young face!>>
An international founding generation is coming forth. The moment in which this founding generation is born is the moment of the Covenant of Love for the youth of the world sealed this past 10th of August. This generation has its own connotations: it is joyful with being responsible for the rest, for all of the youth and for all the world. (It managed to come out of this test with flying colors – it gave honest proof of it)…..concretely, it was at the moment the event was organized and celebrated for the youth. The third trait I perceive is the missionary testimony. I will only mention a few facts: Chilean students who go to Milwaukee for a year to help consolidate the Schoenstatt youth in an activity they have named "Operation Mario." Others under the motto "Porta de Europa (Door or Gate of Europe)," have traveled to the Iberian peninsula to collaborate apostolically with the development of Schoenstatt. I think of the Portuguese youths who develop an apostolate in Angola and Mozambique and in the Spaniards who with the name "Piedra nova (New Rock)" have traveled to Rome during this year to found the Schoenstatt Youth.
Some decades ago, our Father sent in particular the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary to take Schoenstatt to the whole world. This young generation has taken the initiative on its own. It is the spirit of founding times. A generation of lay missionaries comes forth….. apostles. I am certain that Blessed Mother will bestow new "heroes" on this generation. Such initiatives could also come forth here among us in Germany. It is not necessary to go to Africa. Perhaps a group could come forth who would decide to go for a year to Berlin…..to take Schoenstatt to our capital.
4. The Covenant of Love for the youth
As we renew today the Covenant of Love for the youth of the world, we want to offer our solidarity to this new founding generation so that it can continue maturing and conquer many fruits.
And what does this mean to us in the here and now? We may be proud that our Family was blessed with such youths. This awakens our confidence…..a confidence in advance, and this confidence will strengthen the youth. We do not only want to be rejoice because of them, but we want to make a Covenant with them. The more the generations live a mutual covenant, the more attractiveness will awaken this Family.
Thinking also of our country, Germany is paralyzed. Stagnation is perceived on many levels…..in the Church…..in society. Humdrum is everywhere. Our country needs that awakening of which Fr. Penners spoke. The best runway to follow is the idealism of the youth and being radical as they are. Providentially, in these days we learn of the campaign launched by the main means of communication which says: "You are Germany," and this means "You are the marvel of Germany." You can transform Germany. This campaign is meant to motivate or promote innovation in our country. Is this not the appropriate combustion to enliven our fire as is seen in the video "Fire"? WYD will endure according to the measure in which we keep alive in our conscience that "I am Germany." You are Germany, Martina! You are Germany, Daniel!
Translation: Carlos Cantú La Feria, Texas USA
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