Welcome to our Taste and See Mass in Advent on the 2nd Sunday of Advent, 8th December 2013. All are welcome. Holy Mass begins at 3.30pm followed by children’s programme and input and discussion for the adults. Then you are invited to share a meal. We plan to finish by 6.30pm. So much has happened in the Church and the world in this Year of Faith. Now Pope Francis invites us to become apostles of joy so that we can win many for Christ. We attract people to Jesus through truth we share with them, beauty of God’s plan of love and our goodwill. Pope Francis says our lives and our faith should bear the hallmark of the resurrection – joy. In the Dachau Prayers Father Kentenich prays:“May glory be joyfully given to the Father, give him honour and praise, through Christ with Mary in the Holy Spirit now and for ever and ever. Amen.”
This past year we have been celebrating the Year of Faith, a time in which we, the faithful, have been called to deepen our faith and to grow closer to Christ and his Church. For many Catholics, this has been a time of renewal and grace. But for many in the Middle East—especially Christians—this time has been a period of extreme trial. I want to respond to the question of “What do we do next after the Year of Faith?” by looking at the witness of our persecuted brothers and sisters in the Middle East. There is a town by the name of Maalula (pronounced Mah-loo-lah) that is one of the most famous and important Christian places in Syria. It is a historically Christian town, where a version of Aramaic—the language Jesus spoke, can still be heard today. In the last two weeks, the inhabitants of Maalula have been on the front lines of the fighting between the troops of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels who are trying to topple his regime. The Christians are often suspected of siding with the government and are therefore treated with suspicion by the rebel fighters, whose ranks appear to contain some radical Islamists who are not Syrian. On September 7th, this year, armed rebels affiliated with the Islamist groups Al-Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda descended on the town and began entering houses. As they went through Maalula, the rebels defaced any sacred images they found in the homes. In one house, the militants found three Catholic men and one woman. The rebels demanded that everyone present convert to Islam or face death. The young grandson, responded: “I am a Christian and if you want to kill me because I am a Christian, do it.” They were then killed in cold blood. Some-how, the woman was only injured and miraculously survived. She is currently being treated at a hospital in Damascus. I share this story because I believe it will help us to respond to the question: “What do we do once the Year of Faith is over?” Does our society understand this kind of sacrifice? Does our culture honour courageous faith like his? I think the answer to those questions is that Western society finds any faith-rooted sacrifice like his almost incomprehensible because our culture is so focused on self-promotion and self-satisfaction. These faithful Christians were able to stand for their faith because it was not just something they felt was right at the moment; it was integral to their identity and they believed it was the Truth. The natural consequence of their belief in Jesus and his Church was for them to give public witness to it, even if it meant death. [Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver]
Welcome to our ‘Into My Vineyard Meeting’. We experienced the beginning of the Centenary Year with the International Opening in Schoenstatt on 18th October 2013. We learned that the Holy Father, Pope Francis has extended a plenary indulgence on the Original Shrine and all Schoenstatt Shrines and so we expect that this coming year will be a year of grace.In the last few years we gone step by step towards this coming Jubilee. (If you come for Mass you may want to bring a packed lunch)
Saturday 7th December 2013 1.00pm – 5.00pm
Invitation to Holy Mass at 12.00noon
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft and mushy. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hardened egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its deep flavour and inhaled its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What’s the point, mother?” Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity – boiling water – but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin, outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water. “Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?” Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong? But with pain and adversity, do I wilt and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a fluid spirit but, after death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water – the very circumstance that brings the adversity, the pain, the hardship – into something quite wonderful. When the water gets hot, it releases it’s fragrance and flavour. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better, and change the situation around you for the better. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN?
(Somehow, “wake up and smell the coffee” takes on a whole new meaning)
You are invited: Next Year we have our Family Week in Marienau in Schoenstatt – Saturday 2nd – Saturday 9th August 2014. This is the year of Schoenstatt’s Centenary and we will be living four minutes from the Original Shrine. Our theme for the Week will be: Celebrate 100 years of the Covenant of Love. We will have a family based programme and look forward to joining you there. For more details contact Konrad and Anne Ostmeier of Fr. Bryan (If you would like to book on to this week click here to download the Info Leaflet and Registration form.)
Welcome to our Covenant Mass in November. Holy Mass will be on Monday 18th November at 7.30pm at the Shrine followed by light refreshments. Throughout the year we have looked at how to keep our Faith growing. There are three ways in which God attracts people to Himself. We are attracted firstly by TRUTH. We find an answer to our questions in the Church. Secondly we are attracted by BEAUTY. We walk into a beautiful cathedral or see a sunset, or are inspired by beautiful music and we find God there.Thirdly, people are attracted to God by the GOODNESS of others: Smiling faces, open hands, open hearts. Other people’s goodwill opens the door to God’s Love. Here at Schoenstatt, around and from our Shrine, we want to bring TRUTH, BEAUTY AND GOODNESS to people’s hearts so that we all may be drawn closer to God. In this month of the Holy Souls we remember all our deceased loved ones and ask that they may have their eternal reward.