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 published: 2009-06-05

One Year to Celebrate Fully Throughout the World

The Year for Priests and the Centennial of the Ordination of Father Kentenich – More than a Temporal Coincidence


„Das Jahr des Priesters, das Papst Benedikt XVI. ausgerufen hat, um den 150. Todestag des heiligen Pfarrers von Ars, Johannes Maria Vianney, zu feiern, steht vor der Tür.“ (Symbolfoto: Schönstattpatres in Indien)

“El año sacerdotal, promulgado por nuestro amado Papa Benedicto XVI, para celebrar el 150º aniversario de la muerte de san Juan María Bautista Vianney, el Santo Cura de Ars, está a punto de comenzar…”. (Foto símbolico: Padres de Schoenstatt en India)

“The Year for Priests, announced by our beloved Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the death of the saintly Curé of Ars, St. John Mary Vianney, is drawing near.” (Symbolic photo: Schoenstatt Fathers in India)

„Das Jahr des Priesters, das Papst Benedikt XVI. ausgerufen hat, um den 150. Todestag des heiligen Pfarrers von Ars, Johannes Maria Vianney, zu feiern, steht vor der Tür.“ (Symbolfoto: Schönstattpatres in Indien)

Foto: Fr. Andrew Pastore © 2009


P. José Luis Correa

P. José Luis Correa

Fr. José Luis Correa

P. José Luis Correa

Foto: MK. Fischer © 2009

Kardinal Hummes mit der “Königin der Priester”  

El Cardenal Hummes com la “Reina del Clero”

Cardinal Hummes with the “Queen of the priests”

Kardinal Hummes mit der “Königin der Priester”

Foto: Ir. M. Nilza © 2009

Kardinal Hummes bei der Lektüre der Beiträge aus Schönstatt  

El Cardenal Hummes estudiando los aportes de Schoenstatt

Cardinal Hummes studying the contribution from Schoenstatt

Kardinal Hummes bei der Lektüre der Beiträge aus Schönstatt

Foto: Zillekens © 2009

Das neue Buch von Msgr. Dr. Peter Wolf mit Texten Pater Kentenichs zum Priestertum  

El nuevo libro de Mons. Peter Wolf con textos del Padre Kentenich sobre el sacerdocio

The new book from Msgr. Peter Wolf with texts by Fr. Kentenich on priesthood

Das neue Buch von Msgr. Dr. Peter Wolf mit Texten Pater Kentenichs zum Priestertum

Fotos: M.K. Fischer © 2009


ROME, mkf. "The year for priests proclaimed by our beloved Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John María Vianney, the holy Cure of Ars, is soon to begin….." Thus reads the letter sent by Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy, on the occasion of the year for priests convoked by Benedict XVI which begins on the 19th of June and closes one year later with a great pilgrimage of priests to Rome.

"It should be a positive and purposeful year in which the Church wants to say, especially to priests, but also to all Christians, to the world society, through the global mass media, that She is proud of her priests, that She loves and venerates them, that She admires them and that She recognizes with gratitude their pastoral work and their testimony to life," highlights Cardinal Hummes in his letter.

Jesus, who did not come to condemn the world but to save it

In an interview with ZENIT on June 3rd, Cardinal Hummes explains what for him is a decisive moment to communicate in this Year for Priests: "The challenge is to understand how to be a priest in this new time, not to condemn the world but to save the world, like Jesus, who did not come to condemn the world but to save it. The priest should do this from his heart, with a lot of openness, without demonizing society. He should be integrated within it with the missionary joy of wanting to bring Jesus Christ to the people of this society."

A few years ago, Father Alberto Eronti from Argentina, in an article for "," relates an encounter with Father Kentenich in October of 1966. This spontaneously brings to mind upon reading these phrases in the interview: "It was the day prior to the October Conferences. Father came to greet us after our first European vacation, and he asked us how it had gone, what experiences had we had? We told him of positive and negative experiences. The negative ones were in reference to the deterioration of European society. We asked Father if he believed that the decomposition of society would deteriorate even further. He paused and said: "I think there is still a long way to go before arriving at the ‘sty’ (referring to the experience of the prodigal son); but when man gets there, he will want to return ‘home’ and you must be ready to show him the way."

Here is what impresses me: the Father and Founder saw in the sinfulness and the human misery a mission for us. He did not stay with the lament, he was capable of reading the task in the sinfulness. That it was always this way in Father is confirmed in his words to the students in the minor seminary when he was named Spiritual Director there: (He wished) "to use my spare time and strength in the service of the people of the world, particularly the old and hardened sinners. I wished to hunt down the so-called ‘Easter lambs.’ It was my greatest priestly joy when one of these came to confession, so heavily laden with the old refuse which he had collected over the years that the confessional creaked." (Pre-Founding Document, 1912). That difficult days and dark circumstances remind us that there are no bad times for God. He wants to make them favorable times of salvation. That is how our Father understood it."

When Fr. José Luis Correa, a Schoenstatt Father who works in Chile and Perú, returned from an exchange with Cardinal Hummes in Rome, he spoke on the same, this topic was not mentioned. The coincidence between the vision of Cardinal Hummes and that of Father Kentenich –missionary mercy – is only that of two great souls before the challenge of today’s world. But, what he did say was that with great openness, Cardinal Hummes again accepted the offer of the priests of Schoenstatt to offer the Church their active collaboration with the wish that the Year for Priests touches the hearts of many priests and laity at the same time.

Father José Luis Correa’s book on Priestly Paternity as well as Father Kentenich’s texts on the priesthood, edited by Msgr. Peter Wolf, speak of this vision of the priesthood. On the occasion of the 99th anniversary of the priestly ordination of Father Joseph Kentenich, the Symbol of the Father which Fr. Kentenich himself gave to the Schoenstatt Family, will be sent out to visit all the countries of the world where Schoenstatt is present.

So that a current may come forth…..

Fr. José Luis Correa, at this exchange with the Cardinal, presented the letter which Fr. Heinrich Walter, in the name of the Schoenstatt priestly communities, offers some proposals for the Year for Priests.

An idea born in Schoenstatt was already directly accepted: to have the relics of the Holy Cure of Ars go on pilgrimage throughout the world in this Year for Priests, "thinking – says Fr. José Luis Correa – of the experiences with the pilgrimage of the relics of St. Teresa and what we experience throughout the world with the Campaign of the Pilgrim Virgin." "For a current to be born, it is necessary to awaken and cultivate life. For that, there must be a message, a motto, a hymn, a prayer….." In general, he was very happy with the initiatives.

Priestly examples

In the interview with ZENIT, Cardinal Hummes highlighted another theme: "We also want to encourage various nations and Episcopal conferences or local Churches to choose some local exemplary priest and present him to the world and to the youth: Men and priests who would be true models, who could inspire and renew a conviction about the great value and importance of the priestly ministry."

Another idea presented by the Schoenstatt Fathers is to promote the testimony of life which is what is more convincing. "We can show Father Kentenich, during the centennial of his ordination, as an exemplary priest," says Fr. José Luis Correa.

Also to be published on "" –with the support of those who feel inspired to do so – biographies on priests from the Schoenstatt Family. "Fr. Hernán Alessandri, Fr. Horacio Sosa, the seminarian Sebastián in Burundi," are named by Fr. José Luis, but also on the "heroes of everyday life" who may only be known by a few. "It would also be a gift for Father Kentenich for his 100 years of priesthood – says Fr. José Luis – to show a cloud of witnesses of holy priests who grew around Father Joseph Kentenich."

Sponsor a priest

In this context, another idea came forth on the 18th of May which could be transformed into a present for Father for his 100th ordination anniversary. Recalling that in this year for priests the centennial anniversary of the priestly ordination of Father Joseph Kentenich will also be celebrated, we want to give Father a gift through an activity directed in service to the priests. The priests are a key element in the Church and in the Family. Today they are being criticized severely, also through objective faults of their own. But the question arises: do we concern ourselves sufficiently for our priests? Have we ever invited our pastor to our home? Do we pray for them…..motivate them…..accompany them, especially if they are elderly or if they are ill?

The proposal is very simple:

  • That each Schoenstatter sponsor a priest in his diocese during this year (July 8, 2009 – July 8, 2010).
  • To sponsor means, first of all, to pray for that priest and to make contributions to the Treasury of Grace for him. Also, according to the means of each family or each person, to make other initiatives for him; for example, write to him, call him on the telephone, get to know him, invite him, help him if he needs something.

In Perú, the current to sponsor a priest has been alive for quite some time; some groups of mothers and professional women in Germany have also been doing it for quite some time. An older group of professional women who were in Schoenstatt recently, made the commitment to not only continue with new fire in their sponsorship, but to sponsor new priests, and to sponsor those "who need it the most," those who abandoned their office.

"We are going to pray a lot for our priests," writes Marco Antonio Gonzales from Paraguay. "I want to tell you that I have already sponsored a diocesan priest in my city. He is a recently ordained priest and I want the Lord to guide him in his task because he works in the heart of my city." "Every day at 8:14, I pray for the great pilgrimage, for the missions in Germany and for my dear diocesan priest," writes Manuela Mañanes, a young woman from Argentina.

Queen of the Clergy

"And the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Clergy, will intercede for all of you, dear priests." Thus ends the letter of Cardinal Hummes. When he left Sao Paulo to assume his task in Rome, the Schoenstatt Family crowned the Blessed Mother as "Queen of the Clergy" and gave the Cardinal a picture of the Blessed Mother. May the Queen of the Clergy accompany him and all those who from their heart, contribute toward celebrating this Year for Priests.

Note: In Schoenstatt, the great celebration marking the centennial of Father Kentenich’s ordination will take place on July 3, 2010; on July 8, 2010, the priests will celebrate the centennial in Limburg where he was ordained.

Translation: Carlos Cantú Schoenstatt Family Federation La Feria, Texas USA 060909



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Last Update: 10.06.2009