A great “passion for the Covenant of Love” could be experienced – as Fr. Heinrich Walter mentioned at the end of the “Countdown Meeting” which was held in Schoenstatt. “The jubilee began long ago. Everything that we’ve heard and seen today has impressed me, so I’m happy and grateful,” said the President of the General Presidium of Schoenstatt. About 130 collaborators and leaders of all the areas and teams that work in preparation for the jubilee came to Schoenstatt on August 16th – exactly 8 weeks before the jubilee celebration days in Schoenstatt and Rome – to present the fruits of their labor. The aim of the day: To exchange information about the current state of the plan, to get to know each other, but especially the power of experiencing from there the growing joy of the pilgrims who will come to Schoenstatt.
Schoenstatt, as exciting as 100 years ago
Currently, Schoenstatt feels “much excitement, like 100 years ago,” said Sr. Veronika Riechel at the beginning of the day. “The countdown continues! Only 63 days left.” Sr. Veronika, the leader for the program in Schoenstatt, and Fr. Stefan Strecker, in charge of organization, mentioned several important dates leading up the 18th of October, 1914. Fr. Stefan expressed that what excited the sodalists 100 years ago must also be experienced by the collaborators of the Jubilee. “The hope is that ‘the fervor grows’”, according to Fr. Stefan. About 25 team heads presented their work. Many teams, composed mostly of volunteers, have committed to working for the Jubilee for months – even some for several years.
The Jubilee approaches Schoenstatters
After the presentation of the main celebrations, Sr. Marion McClay highlighted that the second world pilgrimage of the Father Eye Symbol was motivated by the members of the Movement around the world that got to see it. The Father Eye Symbol visited 39 countries on 5 continents, many people came to know it because of this pilgrimage, mentioned by St. Marion. The pilgrimage of the Father Eye Symbol is a sign of “how much the Movement of Schoenstatt has grown.”
“The Original Shrine is our core and treasure,” said Sr. Renata Zürrlein, who leads the “Original Shrine” team. Everything possible is being done so that the pilgrims can experience the Original Shrine as a place of graces and light.
The presentations signaled in every moment that what is being prepared is a celebration of the International Schoenstatt Family: So, we had many suggestions that the countries welcomed, for example, in the selection of songs, mentioned by Sr. Tabea Platzer. Sr. Veronika Riechel stressed that, during the days of celebration, “the culture of the different countries will be something visible and palpable.” The Tents of Covenant Culture will present projects of the different countries. The leaders of the tents hope that these will become a place of exchange where they can join forces to work together in the future.
Procession from the Founder Chapel to the Original Shrine
At the end of the day, those present joined in a procession from the Tomb of the Father, on Mount Schoenstatt, to the Original Shrine. The procession made a stop in the pilgrim arena, where the main celebrations will be held. The pilgrims brought the torch that the young men will run with from the Valley of Pompeii to Schoenstatt. The runners will arrive at the vigil on the 17th of October to mark the beginning of the next century of Schoenstatt.