In the afternoon of October 18th, the international Schoenstatt Family renewed its Covenant of Love with Mary during a great celebration at the place of origin. This was the highlight of the Jubilee Pilgrimage 2014. Schoenstatt members from all over the world were able to follow the celebrations via TV and internet.
More than 10000 pilgrims filled the pilgrims’ arena. All prayers to St. Peter were heard: the weather cooperated and the sun was shining. Heaven provided a beautiful golden October day.
The Historic Hour
The International Schoenstatt Family was gathered around the Original Shrine. It was 5 pm, the exact same hour as 100 years ago, when Fr. Kentenich and the young seminarians were together at the founding hour. “We have longed and prepared for this day for many years. Now we walk together through the threshold of the shrine”, wrote Fr. Heinrich Walter, chairman of the General Presidium. Church representatives, civil authorities and Schoenstatt friends took part of the celebration as well.
At the beginning of the celebration, Cardinal Lajolo called to mind the founding hour and read the greeting of the Holy Father for the Jubilee. The message read: “The grace of God needs only one person to do great things in the Church and world. We see this in the history of this humble Marian Shrine in Schoenstatt, from which an International Movement took its name.”
The praises of Mary
In a moving procession, the image of grace of the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt was brought into the arena so that all the pilgrims could see her. Everyone stood up to welcome Her. It was a beautiful moment that touched everyone’s heart. Mary came to us. When sister Maria Gorettie Nguyen, from Vietnam, in a simple and modest way, started singing a song to the Blessed Mother, everyone at the arena held their breath and there was complete silence.
We set out
Young representatives from all communities and many countries started walking towards the Shrine. A varied group: parents with their young children, the Father Symbol for the Original Shrine, the Founding Document signed by all who where present – and digitally signed by many who stayed at home. The thousands of pilgrims who remained at the arena were able to follow everything thanks to the big screen placed there.
“Mary, we come to you, to our Mother. Bless all the children of the world… bless your youth… Mary, we want to carry you to our world… turn your merciful eyes towards those who suffer… show yourself as the Mother of all humanity”; a fervent prayer that accompanied the procession.
God’s merciful love
The representatives arrived at the Shrine. Many carried banners with the Schoenstatt logo, which represented the life that flows from the daughter shrines. Two young people carried the image of the MTA. When the image returned to its place in the shrine, the entire arena broke out in applauses and expressions of joy. Fr. Heinz Künster presented the Father Symbol, which had been given to him by Fr. Kentenich as representative of the diocese of Trier. The Father Symbol took its place in the Original Shrine. This symbol reminds us of our baptismal grace: we are called and are God’s children.
Your Covenant our Mission
The moment finally arrived… the renewal of the Covenant of Love. The entire Schoenstatt Family is spiritually around the Original Shrine. Filled with joy and gratitude they pray: “Remain faithful to your covenant. Give us the strength to spread a covenant culture in our world today. Your Covenant – our Mission.” At the beginning of the second century of Schoenstatt, the Family renews its consecration to the Mother of God.
A new missionary era
Fr. Heinrich Walter pronounced his sending out words, he called all Schoenstatt children to choose a way to sanctity: “Let us have the strength to become the first Schoenstatt saints of the new century!” These new times call us to go out, to dialogue, to walk together, and to live the Covenant.