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 published: 2006-09-12

Home in Rome

Schoenstatt-Summer’s volunteers end their time together in the Eternal City


Voluntarios del Schoenstatt Summer en Roma, en el Santuario de las Hermanas de Maria, „Cor Ecclesiae“

Schoenstatt Summer volunteers in Rome at the Shrine of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, “Cor Ecclesiae”

Schoenstatt Summer Volontäre in Rom beim Heiligtum der Marienschwestern, “Cor Ecclesiae”



Voluntarios del Schoenstatt Summer en Roma

Schoenstatt Summer volunteers in Rome

Schoenstatt Summer Volontäre in Rom


Alianza de Amor en el Santuario Internacional en Roma

Covenant of Love in the Internacional Shrine in Rome

Liebesbündnis im internationalen Heiligtum in Rom


P. Lothar Herter y Martin, el nuevo aliado

Fr. Lothar Herter and Martin, the new ally

P. Lothar Herter und Martin, der neue Verbündete


En la playa

At the seaside

Am Meer


Cerca del Santo Padre

Close to the Holy Father

Ganz nah beim Heiligen Vater

Fotos: Hand © 2006


ROME, Olenka Hand. What a city to end the experience of Schoenstatt-Summer. What a way to end the experience of a lifetime. A group of 16 volunteers flew to this enchanted city for a week of laughs, relaxation and just being together before going their separate ways after two strenuous months of preparation. It was much needed and well-deserved!

After the finale of Schoenstatt-Summer 2006 ended with the ‘Night of the Shrine’ vigil and the celebratory mass on Sunday, August 27th, the volunteers scrambled about Schoenstatt clearing up all the remains of one month of activities. All banners and flyers, benches and lights were gathered up and put away before they set off for Rome on August 30th. They were exhausted but still buzzing from the last days of festivities and in anticipation of the days to come!

Fr. Güthlein greeted the group at the Mater Ecclesiae shrine in Belmonte with a splendid three course meal of soup (with famous bread from his hometown of Nürmberg!), Italian tomato and mozzarella salad and a traditional ravioli-type pasta from Swabia in Germany. This meal was a sign of the delicious and unique meals to follow, all from the creative genius of Fr. Güthlein himself. The volunteers were truly spoiled; not to mention the mountains of "gelati" they delightfully devoured.

Quite an adventure

Staying at Belmonte was interesting, to say the least, since the site is still under construction. Sleeping bags were strewn across the dusty marble floors, make-shift shower curtains were cleverly constructed and the kitchen was lit by candle light! Every day was an adventure. The group kept up the traditions of Schoenstatt-Summer by gathering together in the shrine for morning and evening prayers and sharing in countless experiences of fun and faith.

Packed into two mini-buses, the volunteers braved Italian traffic to visit the Vatican City, chill-out along the Mediterranean seaside, explore Assisi, greet Pope Benedict in his summer residence and meander throughout the captivating city of Rome. It was a jam-packed trip. The highlights were innumerable but the audience with the Pope was quite cool. The volunteers made it into the courtyard where Pope Benedict gave his address and prayed the Angelus from the balcony of Castel Gandolfo. For 20 minutes, these Schoenstatt-Summer young people were able to be so close to the Holy Father whom they only saw from long distances last year at World Youth Day. And it was World Youth Day 2005 that invigorated these volunteers to give of themselves and continue the legacy of youthful enthusiasm for their faith, for their Church, for Christ.

In the center of the Church

Everyday they celebrated mass. Most days they came together in the Mater Ecclesiae shrine in Belmonte, the international Schoenstatt Shrine in Rome, but one beautiful day found them in a room tucked away in Assisi, just footsteps from the remains of St. Francis. Another day brought them to the Cor Ecclesiae shrine of the Schoenstatt Sisters in the center of Rome with a view of St. Peter’s dome. On the last day, the volunteers woke up at 5AM to drive to the Vatican and celebrate mass within St. Peter’s Basilica itself. That was one of the most profound moments of the trip, when 16 simple young people professed their faith with the simple man who was Peter but who said ‘Yes’ to Christ and gave his life for Him. And though the volunteers came from all over the world, they found their home in St. Peter’s. Despite its grandeur and magnificence, there was a sense that they all belonged; that this was familiar and a natural part of who they were as Catholics. The theme from Schoenstatt-Summer 2006: ‘my home is your home’, carried on to St. Peter’s. They were home.

The Covenant of Love

Near the end of their stay, the volunteers gathered in the shrine to celebrate what brought them together in the first place: the covenant of love with the Blessed Mother. One of the young men decided during his time in Schoenstatt-Summer to make his covenant; and it was in Rome where he sealed it. The covenant is the reason why these volunteers gave of themselves. It’s the reason why they worked for Schoenstatt-Summer. They are youth bringing their comrades back home to the shrine. You and me for them. The legacy lives on when young people truly believe in the covenant of love for the youth of the world and bring their fellow young people home to the Blessed Mother. That is Schoenstatt-Summer. See you next year!

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