First Message: Support the family and defend marriage – both of which have never before been attacked as they are today. This was Pope Francis’ reflection to the Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement whom he received in Paul VI Hall on October 25th, on the occasion of the centenary of its foundation of the Movement in October 1914 by Father Joseph Kentenich. The meeting, in which some 7,500 people took part, was animated by a conversation between the Pope and those present, and by testimonies and videos of the community, spouses, families and young people from some fifty countries. The Holy Father continued: “That the family is hit, that the family is knocked and that the family is debased as [how can this be] a way of association … Can everything be called a family? How many families are divided, how many marriages are broken, how much relativism there is in the concept of the Sacrament of Marriage. At present, from a sociological point of view and from the point of view of human values, as well as, in fact, of the Catholic Sacrament, of the Christian Sacrament, there is a crisis of the family, a crisis because it is hit from all sides and left very wounded!.. We are witnessing”, he notes, the “reduction of the Sacrament to a rite… the Sacrament is made a social event… [but] the social [dimension] covers the fundamental thing, which is union with God… What they are proposing is not marriage, it is an association, but it is not marriage! It is necessary to say things very clearly and we must say this! The pastoral helps, but in this alone it is necessary that it be ‘body to body.’ Therefore support, and this also means to waste time. The great teacher of wasting time is Jesus! He wasted time to support, to have consciences mature, to heal wounds, to teach. To support is to journey together.” Connected with this, the Holy Father expressed concern that engaged couples engage in a profound preparation for marriage, have support, and understand the meaning of “forever” which today is disputed by the “culture of the provisional.” He urged them not to be scandalized by what happens, “family tragedies, the destruction of families, the children” who suffer because of their parents’ disagreements, but also [because of] the new [forms] of living together. “They are new forms, totally destructive and limiting of the grandeur of the love of matrimony. There are so many [persons] living together, and separations and divorces: therefore, the key to know how to help is ‘body to body,’ supporting and not engaging in proselytism, because this does not lead to any result: to support with patience.” In front of the symbols of Schoenstatt’s spirituality — the Cross of the mission, linked to the Movement’s strong missionary impulse, and the image of the Pilgrim Virgin and then the reading of the Gospel on the Visitation, with the meeting between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth — those present asked the Pope about his “great love for the Virgin” and his “way of seeing the missionary role” of Our Lady. Continue reading “Five Messages of Pope Francis to Schoenstatt”
Around 3000 pilgrims walked from St. Vincent Pallotti’s grave to the Vatican. The celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the International Schoenstatt Movement continue 6 days after the unforgettable day: October 18th. A narrow street full of people, lit candles, flapping flags, families and cheerful songs marked the pilgrimage of the Schoenstatt Family in Rome. Before the pilgrimage started, the youth met in San Carlo ai Cantinari Church and celebrated Holy Mass. When the Mass ended they joined the rest of the family in San Salvatore in Onda Church, place of rest of St. Vincent Pallotti. From there they set out towards St. Peter’s Square. The idea was to go in pilgrimage from there to the “heart of the Church and renew our Covenant of Love” all together. As spiritual preparation for this moment, every pilgrim received a candle that they kept burning until the end, a symbol of the torch that some young men carried from Pompey to Schoenstatt. The WYD Cross and the image of the Blessed Mother were present also, leading the procession carried by the boys. One of the themes for the evening was a question that Father Kentenich asked Father Menningen; “Do you come with me?” At some point every pilgrim received a bracelet with this phrase as a symbol of the commitment assumed from now on in the Schoenstatt Movement. After that, they got together in pairs that for a little section of the road to share personal experiences about what was that made them fall in love with Schoenstatt and which moments of the celebrations were the most important for them. “It is incredible to know that, despite the distances and age difference, we have the same ideals and that we have had similar experiences”, told us Cecilia Dutra, a young girl from Uruguay. When they arrived in the Vatican the members of the Schoenstatt Movement sat on the floor and meditated the words from the Founder. When every pilgrim heard the phrase in their language they got up with energy and responded out loud: YES FATHER, WE GO WITH YOU! After this impressive moment, they renewed their Covenant of Love looking at the mosaic of the Blessed Mother in St. Peters Square and finished with a storm of applause. “What a grate experience it is to say YES to Father Kentenich, to feel that we are part of a story that started so long ago and it is also yet to be written”, said Maria Elena Aguirre. This first encounter of the Schoenstatt Family in Rome ended with the Hymn of Franz Reinisch. It was a great moment in which they could get together as members of the Church and prepare for the Audience with the Holy Father. Full of joy and excitement they left with their groups, ready to start the new 100 years guided by Mary.
Welcome to the next meeting of Schoenstatt Heart’s Afire next Wednesday, 29th October at 7.30pm. We celebrate in these days the Centenary of Schoenstatt and we give thanks for this new spiritual way within the Church. In Schoenstatt, Germany and in Rome there has been a great pilgrimage to express gratitude for 100 years of the Covenant of Love. We are challenged to strive for missionary conversion and become Apostles of this Covenant of Love. To this end in Schoenstatt Heart’s Afire we consider what steps can we take to reach out to others and evangelise and ask of ourselves the question: Are you serious about your spiritual life? We look forward to welcoming you again. Please invite members of your family and friends to join us.
2.30pm Afternoon Tea (We will be joined by the Mayor of Bolton)
3.15pm Courtesy of EWTN we will join live streaming of the International Covenant Celebration in Schoenstatt
5.00pm Solemn Mass to Celebrate 100 Years of the Covenant of Love
You will receive a full programme so that we can follow the celebrations easily. We have 60 Scarves available as a souvenir of the Jubilee (£8.00 to cover production costs).
We would also like to invite you to our Jubilee Supper
Friday 24th October Schoenstatt’s Jubilee Supper
with Live Music and Bar starting at 7.30pm we have tickets available (£12.00) at the Centre Reception Desk. We look forward to welcoming you.
On Oct. 18 in 1914 a Pallottine priest, Father Joseph Kentenich (1885-1968), sealed a covenant of love with Our Lady. This was the founding act of the movement. To mark the jubilee, Fr. Heinrich Walter, chairman of the General Presidium of the International Schoenstatt Movement and General Superior to the Schoenstatt Fathers, answered some of ZENIT’s questions.
ZENIT: The Apostolic Schoenstatt Movement will shortly celebrate its centenary. How did the movement come about? Father Heinrich Walter: Schoenstatt began in 1914 in Vallendar on the Rhine. At the time Father Joseph Kentenich was chaplain to the young students who wanted to become Pallottine priests. In a talk to these students he lay out a programme to set up a Marian place of pilgrimage. They offered themselves to Our Lady and asked her to take up her abode in this place. Kentenich’s idea landed on fruitful ground. The young men put all their work but also their life on the line for this and invited others to do the same. So now we have a growing Christian faith community from all walks of life centred on that little chapel, which we now call the Original Shrine. Schoenstatt developed very quickly and soon had its own customs, rules and statutes.
ZENIT: So just how did the movement grow? Father Heinrich Walter: The movement grew with the help of the youth who then brought it to adults. And soon different communities sprung up for priests, men and women. The first self-independent community was the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, who were founded in 1926. Through their missionary work, they were able to bring the movement in the 1930s to other continents. Today there are about 100,000 people who are committed to the Schoenstatt Movement worldwide plus millions more who have a lot of contact with Schoenstatt in over 100 countries Continue reading “Schoenstatt: 100 Years of Testifying to the Faith”
A 12-minute documentary about Schoenstatt has been released, just days before the Oct. 18th 100th anniversary of the ecclesial movement. “Father Joseph Kentenich, A prophetic vision” broadly covers the severly tested, yet fruitful life of Father Kentenich and his foundation. With footage of the landscape of the multicolored mountains that surround the Schoenstatt valley, very close to the edge of the Rhine River, the film relates the main milestones of the movement that carries the name of the town in which it emerged. The documentary begins with the founding of Schoenstatt on October 18th, 1914, in the small chapel, which today is known as the Original Shrine. Father Kentenich invited young students to place the abandoned cemetery chapel in the Schoenstatt valley at Mary’s disposal; and by their love and dedication, their self-education and prayer, they asked her to initiate from that little chapel a new opportunity of faith and love. In 1942, Father Kentenich was imprisoned by the Nazis for preaching Christian values, awakening a marked inner freedom and strong commitment in his followers, which made him an enemy of National Socialism. The film, which alternates pictures of the war with comments from Sister Petra Schnuerer, who was Father Kentenich’s secretary in Milwaukee for three years, explains that “later he was sent to the concentration camp of Dachau, where he remained for three years.” Father Ángel Strada, Postulator of Father Kentenich’s Cause for Canonization, offers his testimony, especially related to the time in which the Founder had to face trials imposed by the Church, to whom he selflessly offered his charism and his life; and upon his return to Schoenstatt, where he gave the last three years of his life to Mary and Jesus, in the people of the Schoenstatt Family and of the Church. The film has been translated into Spanish and German, and soon versions in Portuguese, Italian, French, Polish and other languages will be offered. The English version in high resolution can be accessed through the following link: https://vimeo.com/108398260. Official information about the international jubilee may be found on www.schoenstatt2014.org.
A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island. The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agree that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island. The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man’s parcel of land remained barren. After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing. Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing. Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island. He considered the other man unworthy to receive God’s blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered. As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, “Why are you leaving your companion on the island?” “My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them,” the first man answered. “His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything.” “You are mistaken!” the voice rebuked him. “He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings.” “Tell me,” the first man asked the voice, “what did he pray for that I should owe him anything?” “He prayed that all your prayers be answered.”
For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of another praying for us. “What you do for others is more important than what you do for yourself.” I hope you will share this with your friends and loved ones – it’s a message we all need to hear and understand.