Interview with Sister Francine

From Maria Elena Vilches. The Schoenstatt Family is getting ready to celebrate its Jubilee. Pilgrims from over 50 countries will come to Schoenstatt seeking a personal encounter with the MTA in the Original Shrine and with one another as family. Definitely, one of the highlights of their pilgrimage to Schoenstatt will be the encounter with Schoenstatt’s founder, Fr. Joseph Kentenich. Sr. Francine-Marie Cooper – member of the team responsible for the preparation of the encounter with Father – gives us an idea of what we can expect during the Jubilee Celebrations.

Why should pilgrims come to encounter Fr. Kentenich during the jubilee celebrations? Fr. Kentenich is the Founder of Schoenstatt and I am sure many Schoenstatt members have a personal relationship with him. He is the third point of contact in the Covenant and for that reason I think there will be two poles during these days: one of them will be the Original Shrine – together with the arena in the valley, and the other one will be the Founder Chapel. We want to celebrate the jubilee together with Fr. Kentenich and also experience him and his presence during the jubilee days.

What will the pilgrims find when they come looking for this encounter with Father? We as team have looked at some different “stations” around Mount Schoenstatt and also in the valley, places where Fr. Kentenich lived or spent some time. These “stations” consist of guided visits, testimonies and different kinds of impulses. We want to make it possible for people to have this personal encounter with our father and founder in any way which they are looking for, which they find is good for them. It was our aim to create an atmosphere in which true encounters can take place.

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Wright Opening Prayer

When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate in America, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard: “Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it Pluralism. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbour’s possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honoured values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent to direct us to the centre of Your will and to openly ask these things in the name of Your Son, the living Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen!” The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest. In six short weeks, Rev. Wright’s Church, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls respond-ing negatively. The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa, and Korea. “If you don’t  stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”  


Taste and See Family Mass in October

Centenary FlagWelcome to our Taste and See Family Mass at the Shrine on Sunday  12th October starting at 3.30pm with Mass. Followed by a shared meal. We would finish by 5.30pm. The International Schoenstatt Family celebrates 100years of the Covenant of Love with Our Lady in the Shrine on Saturday 18th October 2014. Father Kentenich wanted that the Shrine should be the cradle of our sanctity and a powerhouse of evangelisation. In the Schoenstatt Hearts Afire series we are asking this month the question: “Are you serious about your spiritual life?”  One answer to this important question is that God has committed himself to me in a Covenant of Love and I have committed myself to that Covenant. That bond of love drives us to want to live a life of faith and in service to others. We prove by our deeds that we really take our life with God seriously. My attitude becomes more and more one of commitment which prioritises my time to talk to God and listen to him. Helping the members of my family especially parents encouraging their children to commit to the highway of love which takes them to the heart of God, becomes our central task in the family. Evangelisation is nothing other than helping ourselves and others to see God in life and experience his care and healing. He gives us the joy of the Covenant and invites us to shape our lives to reflect that Covenant. Please bring another family with you.



Jubilee Supper 2014

Top of Shrine DoorYou are invited to our Jubilee Supper to celebrate Schoenstatt’s Centenary Friday 24th October 2014

Jubilee Supper 2014 starts at 7.30pm in St John Fisher’s Hall. This will be an all-ticket  event Tickets will be made available nearer the time. We will have Supper and music for the night. We look forward to seeing you there.


Cristiano Ronaldo Is Alive Thanks to a Conscientious Objector

Seventy individual prizes, among which are two Gold Balls and a FIFA World Player, a jumble of trophies won with the jerseys of Sporting Lisbona, Manchester United and Real Madrid. And even a string of records that require a good measure of patience for one who wants to read them all, as well as two high honours conferred by the Portuguese State. No small merit for these achievements is owed to an unknown Portuguese doctor. Small and fragile is the vulnerable body that grows day by day in the womb of a woman, but great is the noble gesture of one who carries out his work with professionalism and faith and thus succeeds in saving a human life from abortion. Back in 1984, the life that this man saved was that of Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the most prolific football players in terms of achievement in recent years. It was the mother herself of the star player of Real Madrid and the Portuguese national side who revealed the behind-the-scene-action in her auto-biography Mother Courage, which came out last Friday in Portugal. In one of the most touching passages of the book, the woman, who is called Dolores Aveiro, recounts when she discovered she was pregnant with the child who would later become the famous Cristiano Ronaldo. “At the time I was already 30 and had three children, and it seemed to me I couldn’t face a new birth and enlarge the family so I turned to a doctor who, however, refused to operate on me,” she explains. It was anything but a rosy picture in her home, having to feed her children Hugo, Elma and Catia Liliana, which every day became a more arduous challenge with a husband, Joser Dinis, who was unemployed (he died in 2005 an alcoholic, and with savings reduced to a minimum). However, that doctor’s reluctance and his attempt to dissuade her from aborting did not stop the woman’s determination, who tried to end her pregnancy with a “home-made” medicine” suggested to her by a friend. “She told me to drink dark hot beer and the child would die.” However, the beer did not succeed in stopping the vital energy of the beating heart in Dolores’ womb. A few hours after having taken the potentially murderous drink, tranquility continued to reign in the lower part of her abdomen, a sign of the ineffectiveness of the “home-made medicine.” Little by little the woman – already accustomed to nursing, diapers and night crying – decided to have her fourth child. “If it’s God’s will that this child be born, so be it,” was her profound thought. On February 5, 1985, Cristiano Ronaldo was born, a strong and healthy baby, who saw the light of day in an anonymous place and who would become famous throughout the world for his exceptional football talent. A rather delicate behind-the-scenes story, which his mother decided to publish after being authorized by her son Cristiano. If that doctor had not been faithful to his oath and, therefore, firm in his opposition to abortion, today the football world would have one star less. Conscientious objection is always a gesture that looks on high.


Covenant Mass in September

This Thursday, 18th September we celebrate Covenant Mass at 7.30pm at the Shrine. There will be light refreshments afterward. You are invited to this Holy Mass prepared by the Women’s Group based at St John Fisher’s. Father Reginald will be our main celebrant. This will be Sebastian’s final Covenant Mass. In october he will be in Schoenstatt for the Jubilee and then he returns to Chile to continue his studies at University. Sebastian you will be missed! Father Reginald has the theme from Schoenstatt Heart’s Afire: How do you become a saint in modern times? How do we connect the roots of our faith of life in the Church with the fruits of our faith in service to others? We look forward to welcoming you. Please bring a friend with you!