Around 3000 pilgrims walked from St. Vincent Pallotti’s grave to the Vatican. The celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the International Schoenstatt Movement continue 6 days after the unforgettable day: October 18th.
A narrow street full of people, lit candles, flapping flags, families and cheerful songs marked the pilgrimage of the Schoenstatt Family in Rome. Before the pilgrimage started, the youth met in San Carlo ai Cantinari Church and celebrated Holy Mass. When the Mass ended they joined the rest of the family in San Salvatore in Onda Church, place of rest of St. Vincent Pallotti. From there they set out towards St. Peter’s Square.
The idea was to go in pilgrimage from there to the “heart of the Church and renew our Covenant of Love” all together. As spiritual preparation for this moment, every pilgrim received a candle that they kept burning until the end, a symbol of the torch that some young men carried from Pompey to Schoenstatt. The WYD Cross and the image of the Blessed Mother were present also, leading the procession carried by the boys.
One of the themes for the evening was a question that Father Kentenich asked Father Menningen; “Do you come with me?” At some point every pilgrim received a bracelet with this phrase as a symbol of the commitment assumed from now on in the Schoenstatt Movement.
After that, they got together in pairs that for a little section of the road to share personal experiences about what was that made them fall in love with Schoenstatt and which moments of the celebrations were the most important for them. “It is incredible to know that, despite the distances and age difference, we have the same ideals and that we have had similar experiences”, told us Cecilia Dutra, a young girl from Uruguay.
When they arrived in the Vatican the members of the Schoenstatt Movement sat on the floor and meditated the words from the Founder. When every pilgrim heard the phrase in their language they got up with energy and responded out loud: YES FATHER, WE GO WITH YOU! After this impressive moment, they renewed their Covenant of Love looking at the mosaic of the Blessed Mother in St. Peters Square and finished with a storm of applause. “What a grate experience it is to say YES to Father Kentenich, to feel that we are part of a story that started so long ago and it is also yet to be written”, said Maria Elena Aguirre.
This first encounter of the Schoenstatt Family in Rome ended with the Hymn of Franz Reinisch. It was a great moment in which they could get together as members of the Church and prepare for the Audience with the Holy Father. Full of joy and excitement they left with their groups, ready to start the new 100 years guided by Mary.