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 published: 2008-03-11

A historic moment for Schoenstatt in India

Eighth Grade students from the Regional School in Untermosel, Germany, raised money for the Schoenstatt Fathers’ Children’s Village in India - Opening of the Children's Village "Sunrise" and the first Schoenstatt Movement Center in India

Zwei Tage vor der Eröffnung des Kinderdorfes Sunrise in Indien übergaben Schüler der Regionalschule Untermosel einen Scheck über 2500 ¬ dafür.

Dos días antes de la apertura oficial de la aldea infantil “Sunrise” en India, estudiantes de la Regionalschule Untermosel, Alemania, presentaron un cheque con una donación de 2500 €

Two days before the opening of the Children’s Village Sunrise in India, students from the Regional School Untermosel,Germany, presented a check with a 2,500 € donation

Zwei Tage vor der Eröffnung des Kinderdorfes Sunrise in Indien übergaben Schüler der Regionalschule Untermosel einen Scheck über 2500 € dafür.


Bernhard Irsch (Mitte) übergibt den Scheck an P. Stephen

Bernhard Irsch (centro) entrega el cheque al P. Stephen

Bernhard Irsch (center) presenting the cheque to Fr. Stephen

Bernhard Irsch (Mitte) übergibt den Scheck an P. Stephen

Die Initiative ging von den Schülern und Schülerinnen aus  

Fue una iniciativa de los estudiantes

The initiative came from the students

Die Initiative ging von den Schülern und Schülerinnen aus

A der Wand alle symbolischen Schecks für Sunrise  

Con alegría se muestran los cheques simbólicos

Display of donations received

A der Wand alle symbolischen Schecks für „Sunrise“

Bernhard Irsch, Lehrer an der Regionalschule Untermosel  

Bernhard Irsch, maestro del colegio Untermosel

Bernhard Irsch, teacher at the Region School Untermosel

Bernhard Irsch, Lehrer an der Regionalschule Untermosel





Schüler mit Pater Stephen  

Estudiantes con el Padre Stephen

Students with Fr. Stephen

Schüler mit Pater Stephen

Fotos: Melissa Ann Schmid © 2008




INDIA/GERMANY, Melissa Ann Schmid. Father Stephen Lourdu was smiling from ear to ear when the class from the Regional School Untermosel presented him with €2,500 on Monday, March 10th, 2008 to be used for the newly constructed childrens’ village in India entitled SUNRISE. The center is scheduled to open on Wednesday with a Holy Mass and Inaugural Function beginning at 9:30 am. SUNRISE will open just four days after India’s first Schoenstatt Movement Center was blessed and opened. These days certainly mark a great milestone for Schoenstatt in India.

In the Patris Verlag building in Schoenstatt, some 25 students gathered with their two teachers, Bernhard Irsch and Moritz Mehlem, to enjoy a slideshow of pictures from India. Father Stephen gave a brief cultural lesson to the group. Gasps of amazement and outbursts of unbelief emitted from students and teachers alike as they realized how different the Indian culture is to the German culture. Father Stephen completed his presentation with Indian music and various authentic snacks.

"We feel very proud about our accomplishment"

The students were happy to be physically present in Schoenstatt to give their donation check. They have collectively been working to raise money for several months. Last year, two of the students, Lucas Jewes and Thomas Kretzer, both in the eighth grade class, met Father Stephen for the first time in their parish. Fr. Stephen had come to solicit funds for the SUNRISE children’s village. He and their teacher, Bernhard Irsch, are good friends. So, the two boys asked Bernhard Irsch if Fr. Stephen could visit their class. His talk in church had motivated them to do something for the children in India. Fr. Stephen showed the class pictures of each child in the children’s village in India with their names and ages. "When they can actually see who they are helping with their money, it inspires them even more to participate," commented Fr. Stephen.

Lucas and Thomas came up with the idea to launch a special campaign in their school called Star Action. With their fellow classmates, they made small stars and sold them for €0.50 each. Not only did this activity earn a lot of money, but it also sparked compassion for the far-away land throughout the entire school.

"Raise your hands in the air and smile!"

After Father Stephen’s presentation and snack break, it was time for the big moment: to present the oversized check. The entire class crowded around the Indian display Father Stephen had arranged. Once they handed the check to Father Stephen, their teacher told them to raise their hands in the air in joy just like they saw the Indian children do in the pictures. It truly was a moment of great joy for these students who really feel that they have made a difference in the world – and they really have. Lucas and Thomas remarked that they would like to visit SUNRISE in person someday.

Wednesday is the big day

Father P. Franz Joh. Bruegger, provincial of the Sion Province of the Schoenstatt Fathers and thus also in charge for the Schoenstatt Fathers’ work in India, stated that March 12th will forever be a famous date in India’s Schoenstatt history, marking the opening of the children’s village, SUNRISE, in Thirunelveli, Tamilnadu. He recalled the goals of SUNRISE to address the problems brought on by the Tsunami catastrophe: "We want to offer to homeless children, to orphans the experience of warmth and solidarity of a family. Our Founder will be proud of this project because he knows through experience in his childhood what it means to miss the natural family and all what God wants to offer to each human through the family."

He further stressed how this ministry will impact the community at large and be a strong apostolic outlet for those Schoenstatt members involved: "The name of our children’s village SUNRISE indicates a program. The light and warmth of Christ will rise through us, through Our Fathers and the "Mothers" and helpers within the village. It is a wonderful chance to be in a personal way Christ’s instrument. Saying this we all realize that LOVE, that FAMILY are great ideals in all the religions which we meet in India and which also are represented in SUNRISE. I am sure that all in the village will be happy because of that in spite of all the tensions and burdens and sacrifices which go with it. They will grow because of the demands of the children in self education towards the high ideal of Christ’s unselfish love."

SUNRISE follows the grand opening of India’s first Schoenstatt Movement Center

Last Saturday, March 8th, 2008, the first Schoenstatt Movement Center in India was opened, Trichur-Kuttur, Kerala, which surely signifies a historic week for Schoenstatt in this land. The aims of this center are to provide a gathering place for the people, where they can engage in fellowship, celebrations, and prayer, where they can learn together, and where they can explore the meanings of ‘family’ and ‘the Church in modern-day society’, as well as discern personal vocations.

Father Bruegger stated: "We know the phrase: ‘Become what you are!’ Yes, we (as Schoenstatt Fathers) are meant to be the nucleus of a vital apostolic movement which is rooted and at home in our new Schoenstatt Center – a wonderful place - with a wonderful House - with a wonderful Shrine of Our Mother and Queen... This is the first MOVEMENT CENTER and more will follow."



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Last Update: 14.03.2008