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 published: 2009-02-17

A preview of what will happen on 18 October 2014

Conference 2014: It was so much more than a conference

 

Im Urheiligtum am 2. Februar – symbolischer Rückstrom, ein Vorgeschmack dessen, was am 18. Oktober 2014 sein wird

En el Santuario Original, 2 de febrero: Corriente de retorno... un avance de lo que sucederá el  18 de Octubre del 2014

In the Original Shrine, February 2: A preview of what will happen on 18 October 2014

Im Urheiligtum am 2. Februar – symbolischer Rückstrom, ein Vorgeschmack dessen, was am 18. Oktober 2014 sein wird

 

Die Entscheidung...

La decisión...

The decision...

Die Entscheidung...

 
Fast einstimmig und mit großer Freude  

Casi unánime y con alegría profunda

Almost unanimously and with a deep joy

Fast einstimmig und mit großer Freude

 
Die Symbole im Konferenzsaal 2014  

Los simbolos en la sala de la Conferencia 2014

The symbols in the Conference may 2014

Die Symbole im Konferenzsaal 2014

 
Sarah Leah mit Evelyn aus der deutschen Dolmetscherrkabine  

Sarah Leah con Evelyn, de la “cabina alemana”

Sarah Leah with Evelyn, from the German booth

Sarah Leah mit Evelyn aus der deutschen Dolmetscherrkabine

 
Die “englische Kabine”  

La „cabina inglesa“

The „English cabin“

Die “englische Kabine”

 
Die Delegation aus Argentinien mit einigen Helfern aus dem Land am Grab von Pater Kentenich (und Sarah-Leah in der Ecke)

La delegación de Argentina junto a los servidores de Argentina, en la tumba del Padre (y Sarah-Leah en el rincón)

The delegation from Argentina , together with helpers from Argentina , at the tomb of Fr. Kentenich (and Sarah-Leah in a corner)

Die Delegation aus Argentinien mit einigen Helfern aus dem Land am Grab von Pater Kentenich (und Sarah-Leah in der Ecke)

Fotos: Konferenz 2014 Santos, Schick, Leal © 2009

 

 

 

CONFERENCE 2014,Sarah Leah Pimentel. The 2014 Conference was so much more than a gathering of representatives from the International Schoenstatt Family. The participants did more than look back on the last 95 years and look forward to the 2014 centenary celebrations and beyond. Many of those who participated at the Conference, whether as representatives for their countries or part of the helper team, have described it as a cenacle moment in our history. It really was a coming together of branch leaders from so many different countries and although we spoke different languages and have different ways of thinking, we were united because we all speak the same ‘language’ – our common Covenant of Love. But for me, the Conference was also a family reunion, a small preview of what will happen on 18 October 2014.

As members of the interpreting team, we obviously couldn’t participate in the very interesting discussions held during conference sessions, but that doesn’t mean that the booths were silent when the participants were in their small groups or there was a break. As members of the Schoenstatt Family, it was impossible for us not to be emotionally involved with what was happening on the floor below us and we shared our thoughts with one another whenever we weren’t on duty! I know that for me, there were so many thoughts and questions running through my mind and I struggled to put many of them into words. But the one question that often cut my jumbled thoughts was: What would Father Kentenich want of us now, as we head towards 2014 and beyond?

What does he want of his Family now, at the start of the 21st century?

On one of the evenings, after having been "accidentally" stranded outside in the cold as the people in Pater Kentenich Haus held their evening prayer, I decided to take refuge in the Founder Chapel which we had been told would be open. It was quiet and there was only one other person there. For those of us who live so far away from Original Schoenstatt, it is such a rare treat to visit the Original Shrine and the Founder Chapel, but when you can get one of these places almost to yourself, then it is a real treasure. So that evening, as I sat on the hard floor at Father’s feet, I asked him over and over, what does he want of his Family now, at the start of the 21st century? Just as father had his ear close to the Blessed Mother’s heart, what would we be able to hear if we also trustingly placed our hands in hers?

I saw the sodalists gathered with Father Kentenich in the Original Shrine…

There were no answers that night. The next day, the participants were asked to decide on where the 2014 celebrations should be held and for once the English interpreting booth was quiet as we waited in anticipation for the result. In the silence, two images formed in my mind:

In the first image, I saw the first sodalists gathered with Fr. Kentenich in the Original Shrine on the eve of WWI as they sealed that first Covenant of Love with our Blessed Mother on 18 October 1914. The weather was grey and cold and the little shrine seemed forlorn against the surrounding buildings and landscape. The words spoken by Fr. Kentenich in the founding document seemed almost too audacious for the place in which they were proclaimed. Those words almost appeared to be swallowed by the despair of the threatening war. Yet, despite the despair and the knowledge that many of those young seminarians, including Josef Engling, would fall in battle, there was a sense of anticipation. I saw a stream flowing out from the Original Shrine, small, tentative, but full of purpose. As it left the doors of the shrine, it branched out into other smaller streams heading off in all directions.

Streams of love and life are flowing…

A second image followed it. As I watched I immediately knew that I was now looking at the joyful celebrations on 18 October 2014. I saw those same streams flowing back into the Original Shrine. But they were different. Instead of the gentle trickle of the first image, they were flowing back into the shrine with the power of mighty rivers. From all directions, these rivers flowed back to their source. And they were not alone. Behind each of the rivers, I saw an enormous crowd of people. They, too, were coming from all directions, from Berg Schoenstatt, from the little town of Vallendar, from every little pathway in the valley, from Marienberg and from Berg Sion. The sheer magnitude of their numbers made them as powerful as the rivers that led them towards the Original Shrine.

As I considered these two images, I saw that the representatives on the floor below had unanimously decided that original Schoenstatt should be a centre for the centennial celebrations. Thousands of people may come to Schoenstatt to celebrate its centenary and it may not be possible to have a quiet moment in the Original Shrine. For many people, it may be the one and only time that they will be able to visit this place of grace that is so central to our being and they should be given the opportunity to enter. I won’t mind if I don’t get a chance to enter and pray, but if God wills it, I know that I want to be a part of that crowd that returns to the place where it all began, even if the closest I get is half-way up Berg Schoenstatt!

We need to begin this new history together and we need to celebrate our centenary together

As I write this, I am reminded of Fr. Kentenich’s words in the Talk of the 31st of May:

It is as if we were now just beginning to live, as if everything we had experienced until now were a part of pre-history. Now is when the real history begins, the history of the New Schoenstatt, as in Schoenstatt in 1914-15.

We need to begin this new history together and we need to celebrate our centenary together because "the Blessed Mother has given us each other. We want to be faithful to each other – in one another, with one another and for one another in the heart of God...We are together to mutually enkindle our enthusiasm and faithfulness. We belong together for time and eternity [J. Kentenich 31 May 1949].

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