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 published: 2007-02-09

God waits for them with open arms

Three bishops participate in the blessing of parents in the cathedral of Saint Paul in Munster


Mons. Reinhard Lettmann bendice a futuros padres en la catedral de Muenster

Bishop Reinhard Lettmann blessing future parents in the cathedral in Muenster

Bischof Dr. Reinhard Lettmann segnet werdende Eltern im Paulusdom in Münster


La catedral de Münster: el 4 de febrero fue lugar de la bendición de mujeres embarazadas

The Cathedral in Müster, on February 4 place of the blessing for pregnant women

Der Paulusdom in Münster war am 4. Februar Ort des Mutter-/Elternsegens


Tres obispos ofrecieron la bendición

Three bishops offered the blessing

Drei Bischöfe spendeten den Segen


Mons. Reinhard Lettmann durante la predica

Bishop Lettmann during the sermon

Bischof Lettmann bei der Predigt


Mons. Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst bendice a unos padres jovenes

Auxiliary bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst blessing young parents

Weihbischof Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst segnet junge Eltern


Mons. Josef Voß durante la bendición

Auxiliary Bishop Voß during the blessing

Weibischof Voß beim Segen


Regalo: escarpines para cada bebe a nacer

Gift: baby shoes for each baby to be born

Geschenk: Babyschuhe für jedes neugeborene Kind

Fotos: Tomás Garzón © 2007


GERMANY, mkf. All children should be able to grow in a world in which "plants bloom, peace reigns, and in which mankind can live protected and with dignity." On February 4th, the Bishop of Munster, Monsignor Dr. Reinhard Lettmann, expressed this desire during a blessing ceremony for future mothers and their families that took place in his cathedral. The pastor of Munster was visibly pleased to see so many future mothers at this blessing ceremony. Some participated with their spouses, children, parents and friends - in spite of the fact the final game of the world handball championship was being played at the same time.

"The first blessing that the Church gives a small human being, is the one received in the maternal womb", said Elisabeth Helmich, diocesan leader of the Mothers' Branch of the Schoenstatt Movement, the group which organized the celebration, with an added attraction, the children's choir of Saint Joseph from Ahaus. "Each child is a blessing", Monsignor Lettmann stressed in his homily. With this blessing, it is evident that today God also gives his yes to "his history with man and he wants to continue salvation history with us", he added. He invited the many children who had attended with their parents to sit in front of him in the presbytery. There he showed them his bishop's crozier, an African Episcopal crozier, decorated with pearls, that was given to him by Monsigner Johannes Luck on the occasion of his 60th anniversary of his priestly ordination. Each pearl is precious, but each child is more precious that each pearl: "Your are, and you, and you!"

Mary and Elizabeth

In the Bible, there is narrative about the encounter of two expectant mothers, Mary and Elizabeth. During this encounter, it was made quite clear the birth of child is always a message of joy, said Mons. Lettmann. That God himself became a child, and, in Jesus, he assumed a human face honors everything that has a human face. It is important that no child be alone in the world, the bishop said, insisting children should be protected by their parents, by the family, and by the Church.

Monsignor Lettman, along with two auxiliary bishops, Monsignor Franz Peter Tebartz van Elst and Monsignor José Voss, then personally blessed the mothers and their families, and they were visibly touched.

Monsignor Voss, who had replaced Monsignor Lettmann last year because of his sudden illness, wanted to also participate this year. The three bishops, who jointly blessed the mothers, were also a sign of how this apostolic initiative of the Mothers' Branch fills a void the Church does not offer. During a pregnancy, when mothers are emotionally very sensitive, this simple and unconditional blessing, without any pre-requisites, awakens such a religious experience that it does not remain on the surface.

A young man tenderly embraced his wife who was crying profusely. "Why are you crying?" "Because it touched me deeply…it is so beautiful!"

The first gift for your child

"I am amazed by the great number of small children and of expectant women who were in the square of the cathedral", said a young woman. "I followed them when they went to the cathedral and here I am, in the midst of a wonderful ceremony. It has touched me very much to have received the blessing for me and for my child". Another one said, "No one has asked me whether I go to church or not, it has been like when someone simply opens their arms and you can run to them...and I also ran".

Long lines formed before the three bishops conducted the blessing. Some women were alone, others had their children with them, and others were couples. The received the blessing with great joy, and very devoutly.

At the end, a young man arrived alone before Monsignor Tebartz van Elst. One of the mothers heard him say that his wife could not come, so he was representing her. The bishop spoke briefly with him and blessed him. Tomás Garzón, a member of the Schoenstatt Boys' Youth from Argentina and a volunteer in the Schoenstatt Press Office, worked there as a photographer. Later he said: "I was tempted to go and ask for a blessing for my sister, who is expecting a child".

One of the Schoenstatt Mothers related: "After the ceremony, a young woman approached me and said: "Today I am here completely alone. I wanted to experience this beautiful ceremony in peace without my children. Last year I was here with my husband. I was expecting my third daughter. She arrived healthy and each time that I put on her booties, I think about this beautiful ceremony in the cathedral with great gratitude, and I always happy for having her. Today I just wanted to thank you. I wanted to be sure to tell you!"

We want them to receive God's blessing for their children and we want them to know that they and their children are welcomed with open arms. That is what the Schoenstatt mothers want to accomplish through this apostolic initiative they have carried out in the diocese and parishes for several years. And now this beautiful custom is accompanied by a gift the future mothers received at the end of the ceremony of blessing, pairs of booties for the baby that are knitted by the same Schoenstatt mothers.

That night, autobahn 48 was closed for two hours in both directions. It is impossible to pass. Tomás takes out a pair of blue booties from the pocket of his jacket. He looks at them closely. It is the most beautiful gift for the baby that will be his godchild. He smiled happily. "Aren't they beautiful? Only mothers can invent something like this…"

Next February 24th there will be a blessing for parents in the cathedral of Rottenburg, presided by the Auxiliary Bishop, Monsignor Renz

Translation: Celina Garza, Harlingen, TX, USA / Judy Harlowe, Milwaukee, WI, USA


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