With a moving welcome celebration the celebrations of the 100 year anniversary jubilee have started.
“It is truly unbelievable for me, that after such a long time preparing that we have made it this far!” More than one pilgrim is has had that same feeling when they were waiting in the arena for the welcome celebration.
Many pilgrims came to the arena hours before the program and prepared themselves and their hearts to be moved by the MTA, the Lord, the founder, and their Schoenstatt family.
The Program was colorfully put together:
A short video gave the onlookers a taste of the preparation. The hosts greeted each of the participating countries individually and the students of the Marienschule here in Vallendar walked out and presented the flags of each of the countries. Each country that was spoken was greeted with a great applause, cheers, and whoops - the sound was spectacular. the international choir, under the direction of Sr. M Tabea Platzer framed the celebration with songs in multiple languages. The volunteers, who have been preparing for the Jubilee for over half a year, guided the choreography for the song “Let us come together,” so that there would be special emphasis on the meaning of the song.
The Pilgrim Shine and Founding Father Symbol
There were so many special things to see here that are full of emotion and happiness. Before the mass Deacon Joao Pozzobon carried the Pilgrim shrine onto the stage. The Pilgims addressed the flags and the shine with the song “Who is this Woman?”
Another very special “guest” was the fathers-eye, that Fr. Kentenich gave as a gift to the Diocese Trier for the Original Shrine. Sr. Marion McClay, who has been responsible for the coordination since 2010, carried he Symbol onto the stage. Together with the delegations from each continent, as a representative for each country that the Father’s symbol has been to in the past years.
Father Kentenich greeted his spirited children through a video with photos of him along with original voice recordings. That is how the pilgrims received a very special feeling as they bonded with the founder, and their happiness, all together with their international family.
With these words the public was invited to celebrate the mass. As the head of the mass was the bishop of Trier, Bishop Stefan Ackerman. Also participating in the mass was Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, The Arch Bishop Robert Zollitisch, and various other Bishops and about 300 priests.
“I have come to realize, that before the Mass at the welcome celebration many people were saying ‘I am coming home’ to Schoenstatt. Now even more often people are saying ‘Welcome Home!’ I am so thankful and very happy, but also a little proud that the bishop from our diocese is here, and that he has listened to Schoenstatt and has put some of his roots into our international movement.” This is how the homily of The Bishop from Trier began and it receive a huge applause.
Bishop Ackerman reminded everyone, that the shrine is a holy place, that stands alone and belongs completely to God; that the people of Schoenstatt must have the grace to carry the shrine into the future, to be holy in our everyday lives. “That is why it is important that we don’t just have the original shrines and all the shrines constructed around the world, but that we build shrines in each of our hearts,” he said. The sound created by the attendees clear, the desire and the expectations have been met - and there is still more to come. The faces, the smiles, and the tears of joy were silent signs… And this is only the beginning!