October Day 2013 Start of Schoenstatt’s Jubilee Year

Centenary FlagWelcome to our annual October Day at the Shrine  on Sunday 13th October 2013 starting at 12.30pm with Holy Mass at 3.30pm. The day is organised by the Taste and See Team. On this day we want to join with out Holy Father Pope Francis and consecrate the world to Mary, the Mother of God. This day marks in England and Wales the beginning of the year of celebration of Schoenstatt’s Centenary (18th October 2014). Here are the details of the Day 12.30pm Tea & Scones and time to catch up. 1.00pm a short time for praise and worship. Our children will then have their own programme. Adults will hear a mediation on the call to be an apostle. 2.00pm Encounter Time in the Shrine and at 2.45 we join Pope Francis in the consecration of the world to Our Lady. We then have a short break and holy Mass will be at 3.30pm followed by a shared meal. 5.30pm we have Farewell in the Shrine. We look forward to seeing you on the day. (To download the poster with programme details click here.) Continue reading “October Day 2013 Start of Schoenstatt’s Jubilee Year”

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Mary, we crown you…

When we speak about Crowning Our Lady it means that we recognise that she is our Queen in heaven: By virtue of her relationship to Jesus Christ, our Saviour and the Universal King, and by virtue of the mission that God gave her in life for the salvation of the world. In Holy Scripture, amongst those who receive the “crown of life and glory” (James 1,12; 1 Peter 5,4; Revelation 2,10), Mary is the first and the most prominent. Often she is compared to the woman with the “crown of twelve stars upon her head” (Revelation 12,1). In our Tradition of Faith, the role of Mary in our Salvation, was often described with the symbol of the crown and the title “Queen”. In past cultures where “kings” and “Queens” were common figures, it seemed much more obvious that Christ and Mary would be symbolised through “royal” symbols. The Crown of Mary became the sign for her care, her protection, her intercession and also her mission to bring us closer to God. Our Crowning today at the beginning of May is a consequence of our striving to be witnesses of Christ and instruments in Our Lady’s hands for a better world. Through recognising and celebrating Mary as a Queen, we can find it easier to celebrate Christ as our King and Lord. The Crowning of Mary should not be understood just as an expression of piety, it is also a sign of our efforts and striving to live and build the Kingdom of God here and now. When we crown Mary today, what are we saying? We are asking her to make us witnesses, we are asking her to give us the grace to build the Kingdom of Jesus everywhere, amongst our young people, in our families, in our homes, in our country, and we are asking her to use us as her instruments to establish more and more the “civilisation of love”. When we crown Mary, we are also seeing in her the ideal for women today. She is the woman who God raised up in an original way (see Luke 1,52). Crowning Mary means to value properly the “genius of womanhood” and the dignity of women in general, but also to recognise the individual dignity of Mary, the Mother of God. Mary’s mission is to take us to God and to help us experience God in our daily lives of faith. By Crowning Mary we are making a step towards God in our own lives, and we are becoming more aware of God’s presence in our lives and in our families. Is not our Church a Family? Doesn’t she have the mission to spread and grow more and more in the world? The Church has Mary as the great Mother of the People, but she is also a Queen standing beside Christ the King. Again today, we may look upon the Queen of the Universe. And shouldn’t that fill us with a great and deep joy? We are able to offer Mary again, as our Mother and Queen, a Crown. We want to crown her and we are allowed to crown her as the Mother and Queen of the world!”

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The Adventure of Evangelisation

The Schoenstatt Movement was originally called the “Apostolic Movement”. In this terminology, since 1919, Schoenstatt’s life and purpose was deliberately expressed. Father Kentenich founded a Missionary Society — called the Marian Congregation — which had as its ultimate aim apostolate or evangelisation – any time, anywhere. When Schoenstatt was founded in 1914, through the establishment of the original shrine, he commented: “We cannot achieve a greater apostolic endeavour”. Schoenstatt then experienced the founding of the “Apostolic Federation”, then the “Apostolic League”.

Historical background

Father Kentenich always understood any apostolate, organised by the Schoenstatt Movement, as a modern-day development of the charism of St Vincent Pallotti, who founded in 1835 the “Catholic Apostolate”. Pallotti’s vision was the full involvement of lay people in the mission of the Church. For Father Kentenich, the basic task of the Church in regard to evangelisation is to “permeate the world”, and to be the very “soul of the world” — nothing more, and nothing less. Continue reading “The Adventure of Evangelisation”

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A Pope who wants to Serve

This is a photo taken of Cardinal Jorge – now Pope Francis I – with the Schoenstatt Pilgrim Mother Pilgrimage. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is already well known for his simplicity: for being a pastor among the people, a cardinal who takes the bus and cooks for himself, for example, and a great defender of the poor. Now as Pope, he has begun with simplicity. “To pray the simplest prayers with the people is the greatest sign of simplicity,” observed his fellow Jesuit, Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, in reference to Pope Francis’ leading the people in the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be during his first appearance on St. Peter’s central balcony. Fr. Lombardi acknowledged his surprise at the election, and declared this is a “moment of joy for the Church.” He went on to speak of Cardinal Bergoglio-Pope Francis’ style of “evangelical testimony” and stressed his humility, evidenced in how he bowed down before the people, asking them to pray for God’s blessing upon him, prior to giving his first apostolic blessing as the Successor of St. Peter. Fr. Lombardi also noted his pastoral style, immediately applied to his new diocese, the Diocese of Rome. The Vatican spokesman said it was an act of courage for the cardinals to “go across the ocean and choose a Pope.” Pope Francis is the first pope from the Americas. In fact, he was immediately acclaimed as a pope of many firsts: the first Jesuit pope, the first pope of the Americas, and also the first to choose the name Francis. Father Thomas Rosica of Canada’s Salt and Light Television, who has been assisting Father Lombardi during the time of the interregnum, spoke of his choosing the name Francis as a sign of humility. He recounted that Cardinal Bergoglio had asked him for prayers prior to the conclave, explaining that he was a little nervous. Fr. Lombardi went on to speak about the Pope’s vocation as a Jesuit. The spokesman referred to their order as one “known for serving.” The role of the Successor of St. Peter is also one of service, he said, reflecting that Cardinal Bergoglio has probably accepted his new mission in that vein, with the simplicity of a servant. “St. ignatius has formed us to have a view of the world, attentive to answer to necessities in the world we live in,” Father Lombardi said, highlighting especially faith and justice as “the greatest gift for our fellow man.” “I see it [the papacy] as a call to service from the part of [Cardinal] Bergoglio, that results from a strong call and not in the search of the power of authority,” Father Lombardi added. “In this sense I am absolutely convinced we have a Pope who wants to serve.” [from Zenit International News]

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The Innkeeper’s Tale

They think I’m some kind of cruel, heartless landlord. Someone must have told them that. But they’re wrong, just plain wrong, and it’s time to set the record straight, once and for all. People say I’m an innkeeper. Then came that census the governor thought up. Taxation, pure and simple! People from all over the province flooded into town that week. Filled us clean up. I must have gotten in and out of bed ten times that night, stumbling over bodies to get to the door. “No more room, sorry folks. No more room. Come back in the morning. We have a couple of families leaving then.” I just couldn’t make any more room. That’s the honest truth. But I did make room for one more couple. Joseph was a burly man with big arms and strong hands, down from Nazareth, I think he said. He wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. I would say, “No, I’m sorry,” and he’d tell me about his “Mary.” Well, when I saw Mary she was just about as pregnant as a woman can get, and awfully pale. The barn. That would just have to do, I told myself, and led them and their donkey out back.  Joseph said, “We sure are grateful, sir.” Then with a serious look, he asked me, “Do you know where I can find a midwife in these parts? We might need her tomorrow or the next day.” That man didn’t know much about having babies, it was plain enough to see. I ran to Sarah’s house and pounded on the door until her husband came. I stopped a moment to catch my breath. “And tell her to hurry.” By the time we got back to the barn, Joseph had prepared some soft, clean hay for Mary and wrapped her up in a blanket, wiping the perspiration off her brow, and was speaking softly to her. Sarah sent me to get my Rachel, and then pushed Joseph and me out of the barn. “This ain’t no place for men,” she said. We waited just outside in the shelter of the barn for hours, it seemed like. Well, all of a sudden, we hear a little cry. “You’ve got a baby boy,” Sarah was saying as we peeped around the corner. She hands the young-un to Rachel, and she wraps it up in those swaddling bands she had saved. Cute little thing, I tell you. Well, Joseph goes over to Mary and gives her a big hug, and a kiss on the cheek. The lantern was blowing almost out, the cattle were lowing softly, and baby Jesus was asleep in his mother’s arms. By the time I got back, Rachel was in bed, and I was about ready to put out the light, step over sleeping bodies, and get under the warm covers, when I heard some murmuring out by the barn. I’d better check, I told myself. When I peeped in, I saw shepherds. Raggedy, smelly old shepherds were kneeling down on the filthy barn floor as if they were praying. The oldest one was saying something to Joseph about angels and the Messiah. And the rest of them just knelt there with their heads bowed, some with tears running down their faces. I coughed out loud, and Joseph looked up. I was almost ready to run those thieving shepherds off, when Joseph motioned to me with his hand. “It’s okay,” he whispered. “They’ve come to see the Christ-Child.” The Christ-Child? The Messiah? That was when I knelt, too. And watched, and prayed, and listened to the old shepherd recount his story of angels and heavenly glory, and the sign of a holy baby, wrapped in swaddling bands, to be found in a manger. My Lord, it was my stable where the Christ-Child was born. My manger he rested in. My straw, my lamp, my wife Rachel assisting at his birth. The shepherds left after a while. Some of them leaned over and kissed the sleeping Christ-child before they departed. I know I did. I’ll always be glad I made room in the barn for that family– that holy family. You see, I’m not some mean innkeeper. I was there. I saw him. Oh, I believe in him, I tell you. And, mark my words, if you’d seen what I’ve seen, you’d be a believer, too.

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My Angels Name

Once upon a time there was a child ready to be born. One day he asked God: “They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?” God replied, “Among the many angels, I chose one for you. She will be waiting for you and will take care of you.” “But tell me, here in Heaven, I don’t do anything else but sing and smile, that’s enough for me to be happy.”  “Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you every day. And you will feel your angel’s love and be happy.” “And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me, if I don’t know the language that men talk?” “Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak.”  “And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?” “Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray.” “I’ve heard that on earth there are bad men. Who will protect me?” “Your angel will defend you even if it means risking its life.” “But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore.” “Your angel will always talk to you about me and will teach you the way for you to come back to me, even though I will always be next to you.” At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from earth could already be heard.  And the child in a hurry asked softly: “Oh God, if I am about to leave now, please tell me my angel’s name.” “Your angel’s name is of no importance, you will just call your angel: ‘Mummy’.”

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New Evangelisation – Schoenstatt’s Vision

Since 7 October the Bishops’ Synod has been meeting in Rome to discuss “the new evangelisation for passing on the Christian faith”. Among the more than 260 Synod members from all over the world there are three important representatives from the Schoenstatt Movement. Each has been sent by his Bishops’ Conference: Archbishop Robert Zollitsch DD, President of the German Bishops’ Conference and member of the Schoenstatt Institute of Diocesan Priests, Bishop Catalino Claudio Giménez Medina, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Paraguay and member of the Schoenstatt Fathers. Our Holy Father appointed Fr Heinrich Walter, Superior General of the Schoenstatt Fathers and President of the General Presidium of the International Schoenstatt Movement as a member of the Synod. So far the work of the Synod has been marked by the many personal comments of the members on the subject of the Synod. How, according to the ideas of the Bishops (and other members of the Synod), can we describe the “new evangelisation”? Just as the circumstances in the worldwide Church differ, so do the statements of the members. The way our Schoenstatt Synod members answered this question can be seen from the statements they presented to the plenary session, and which now follow. Continue reading “New Evangelisation – Schoenstatt’s Vision”

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