(mkf) "This is the third time that I have been on retreat in Schoenstatt. It feels like coming home!" remarked a 17 year old youth from Ramstein US Military Base. The youth group "Choices" arrived for their confirmation weekend in House of the Families with 51 youth and 6 adults. The theme for the retreat was: the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. On Friday evening, the young people were given a short introduction to Schoenstatt and were invited to write the names of their loved ones, family members or their own name on a star or rose sheets of paper. "Those of us who stay in Schoenstatt aren't just here for our own vacation, but to remember the intentions and loved ones of those who come here."
On Saturday, the young people made a walking pilgrimage down the hill from the House of the Families to the Original Shrine. A short explanation was given about the founding of Schoenstatt with the boys (about the age of their youth group) and a young priest, Fr. Kentenich. All took time to pray for a short time in the Original Shrine. "I remember there were crosses with the names of some of the boys on. Where are those crosses?" asked one youth. The crosses are presently being restored - but a short explanation about the hero sodalists was given by the heroes memorial with Josef Engling's stone representing all the hero sodalists.
The young people then walked up to the Amphitheatre where they wanted to know what it was used for and what the German writing on the pieces of the Berlin wall was. Then the group prayed the stations of the cross up to the top of the amphitheatre. A different youth led the prayers for each station. At the 14th station it was discovered that there was no station for the resurrection, so the group went to the House Chapel in Pilgerheim where the crib scene was still displayed for the 15th station.
The young people then took turns going to the Pilgerheim store where they bought MTA candles, rosaries, unity crosses, etc. for their prayer partners.
"As we were coming on the bus, we prayed the rosary. Afterwards, some of the young people wanted their rosaries blessed. Even one of the boys from a "rock group" wanted his bracelet blessed!" S.
"I have come out with many retreat groups to Schoenstatt. This is my last time coming here. I hope to join the seminary in September. Please remember me in your prayers." C.
"This is really a beautiful place. Last year we had a group of young people who did not want to be on retreat. We took them to the little chapel in the valley and I let them light a candle there for anyone they wanted. This was the turning point of the retreat. Still to this day, some of those young people still Email me. Something began to grow in their heart because of their experience in Schoenstatt." X.
"I was here in November and am glad to be back again." J.
"I am from Ireland and I would like the address of Schoenstatt there. I might go and visit when my family goes there in summer." K.
The program continued in the House of the Families with the weekend closing with a Holy Mass and farewell on Sunday afternoon. The young people were signed the commissioning book as part of preparing for confirmation. They each received a unity cross as a sign of their participation in the weekend.
Zur letzten Nachricht: Beten, das die Welt umkreist