GERMANY, Karin Schmitz. After my wonderful experiences with Schoenstatt in the last few months, I wanted to spend 9 days of my holidays there in September. Please note: on HOLIDAY! Shortly before I set off I got the idea print copies of Pope Francis’ prayer intention, called a “prayer rally”, in the various languages. I made a list with the heading: “I pray daily for Pope Francis and his mission”, so that people who are unable to go online could show that they wanted to carry out his request, Pray for me!
With the “Prayer Rally” in the boot of my car I set off from Sankt Augustin for Schoenstatt. The Pilgrim Mother visits me once a month, and somehow my initiative with the Prayer Rally connected itself with her and Schoenstatt. In the Original Shrine I prayed to the Triune God and the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, and asked for help to spread the prayer crusade.
A deal with Fr Kentenich, or Rheinlanders among themselves
In the Church of the Blessed Trinity, at Fr Kentenich’s tomb, I got the idea of making a deal with him, “I’ll pray every day for your beatification, no matter how long it takes, and you help me to find many people who are prepared to pray daily for the Pope, and to sign online that they will do so.”
Why must they also sign online? Something Maria Fischer said on schoenstatt.org follows me, “Sometimes they simply need numbers. If they have 1000 who pray, the media in the archdiocese or elsewhere could even become interested.”
I started carrying out my part of the promise immediately. I then had to wait and see how long Fr Kentenich would keep me waiting …
In Marienland, the Training Centre, where I was staying, I was given a sketch showing all the Schoenstatt shrines, and the houses of the Sisters, priests, etc., in Schoenstatt.
Somehow I could not get rid of the idea to ask the priests and sisters to join in the campaign.
From door to door, or, if God closes a door, he opens a delivery entrance
I drove to the first house. There was a telephone at the door giving the various telephone numbers of the Fathers. I tried my luck. No one seemed to be at home. It was a good start.
At the second house on Mount Sion no one opened the door. I don’t know whether Divine Providence did it, but I then landed at the delivery entrance and a friendly cook let me in.
At least I was in the kitchen. Tremendous progress!
She called the Rector of the house who listened to my request and sent me to the next house, that of the Adoration Fathers. There I told the truth and said the Rector had sent me.
The Father to whom I spoke seemed very open, he listened to my request and promised to pass it on to his confreres.
In the third house, Mount Moriah, all the priests were out. I met an elderly Sister who was at home with the internet and proved to be open to this campaign.
Sealed with a cup of coffee, or, when missionary endeavour encounters hospitality
I like to look back on my visit to the Pallottine Fathers. One of the Fathers suggested putting the website with the Prayer Rally on the notice board in the house where the students at the Theological High School were staying.
The promise was then “sealed” with the cup of coffee he offered me. That was a nice idea …
In Marienland I passed on my request to the Sister in charge of the house, who said she would inform all the Sisters in the house.
I still visited three other houses of the Sisters, but I wasn’t able to reach the Sister I was told to ask for, because she was caught up in the preparations for Schoenstatt’s centenary celebrations. I was told that she wouldn’t be able to consider the request until after the celebrations. However, other Sisters promised to pass on my request.
Evening blessing, or, where initiatives are given a voice
I recall one Wednesday evening when a Sister suggested that I drive to the Original Shrine. She told me that the volunteers would be meeting there to pray, and that afterwards a priest would give the blessing. I would be able to advertise my campaign there.
At that moment I was feeling very tired, and I really wanted to spend the evening reading a book. I suddenly asked myself why I had gone to Schoenstatt: to have a holiday, or to advertise a campaign?
In the end my mind won the victory over my feelings and I drove down the mountain once more, according to the motto: “Criss-cross for the Pope through Schoenstatt”, and arrived at the evening blessing at the Original Shrine.
Rector Egon M. Zillekens gave the blessing, then he called me to come foreword and told the people gathered there that I would never have dreamed of using the microphone in the Original Shrine. He was right about that!
In German and English I asked the people to take part in the Prayer Rally, and Rector Zillekens repeated it in Spanish. I had taken along slips of paper with the internet address and so was able to hand these out.
Latin American enthusiasm, or, Almost like Paul in Athens
In the days that followed I spoke to people at table and also out and about, told them about the campaign and handed out slips of paper with the internet address. I also gave them an opportunity to sign the list I had with me. In the end I had 23 names I could sign up on the website.
I was very impressed by the way young, Spanish-speaking people from Chile, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, etc., took up the Prayer Rally with enthusiasm. They were happy to put the paper with the address in their pocket and thanked me for telling them about the campaign. They embraced me and promised they would tell their friends about it when they got home. I really felt that their joy was genuine.
“The history of the ‘Pray for me campaign’ reminds me of when poor Paul preached in Athens. When he started to talk about such essentials as the redemption and resurrection, many of the so-called intellectuals turned away; they didn’t have the time. What was left were the very simple, ordinary people who then formed the core of the Church in Athens,” one of the editors of schoenstatt.org remarked to me.
At the last minute, or, at least it has been said
From 20-21 September there was a group of more than 700 pilgrims from the diocese of Freiburg in Schoenstatt. It would have been so nice if I could have collected signatures from them, but the pilgrims had a full programme and I was informed at too short notice.
Nevertheless I was really happy when the priest who was leading the pilgrimage begged the people to pray for the Holy Father, and mentioned the prayer campaign. It was a pity that he forgot to mention the link to the prayer rally on the schoenstatt.org website. Instead he said they could look on the Schoenstatt Pilgrimage home page. That he even mentioned it I found super! Even if the pilgrims don’t find the website, if they at least pray it will be wonderful.
Even the best holidays come to an end. Holiday? Yes, in spite of everything.
I had a few outings as well, and lots and lots of grace.
Thank God, the Mother Thrice Admirable and Fr Kentenich.
Our deal hasn’t closed, it continues!
All who didn’t meet Karin Schmitz in Schoenstatt can find the website here: www.papst-franziskus-prayerrally.de
Original: German. Translation: M. Cole, UK