Schoenstatt News and Currents
Opening of the Jubilee Year in Milwaukee
USA, Rosario Santos, Sr. M. Isabel Bracero. The Schoenstatt Family in the United States opened the jubilee year 2013-2014, by opening the door of two very significant shrines: the Exile Shrine and the International Shrine of the Father Kingdom. The celebration took place during the weekend of the leaders’ convention, on Saturday, October 11 at night.
“I do not have words to express the atmosphere I was able to breathe in the Shrine, as we walked and renewed the Covenant of Love upon opening the jubilee year. How blessed we are to belong to this most beautiful family!” expressed Sister M. Isabel.
Waukesha: During the Leaders` Conference one month ago
The opening of the jubilee year at the International Center in Waukesha, Wisconsin, started with a procession from the entrance of the retreat center to the holy area of the Shrine. To everyone’s surprise, fireworks were being launched from the neighbor’s property. “Sister, are those fireworks ours? Are they for the opening?” all asked, since they started exactly at the moment procession begun, singing and praying. The first stop was by the Father statue near the International Shrine of the Father Kingdom. Upon the arrival by the Father statue, the fire was lit and one hundred roses were brought forward, which symbolized the one hundredth anniversary this month begins.
“From the beautiful fire that burned right next to the statue, we lit a large candle with the centennial logo of 2014. Then we approached the Shrine in silence. Fr. Langsch, Schoenstatt Father, prayed the words from the rite; the banners flanked him while we enjoyed another nice surprise. One of the youngest memebers of our Schoenstatt family, Jacob, not quite 2 years old, began to knock at the door. It sure was cold and dark out there! Fr. Langsch continued to pray in a solemn tone, while everyone smiled and responded to the prayers. Once the door opened everyone squeezed into the Shrine with the hope of landing right inside the Shrine for the renewal of the Covenant of Love”, someone shared in a report used for this article.
After reading parts of the First Founding Document, the traditional “My Queen, my Mother,” was sung followed by the prayer of consecration in German and in Spanish. The beautiful cards given out as a gift reminded all of the threefold jubilee year that starts in the United States: the Original Shrine with its 100th anniversary, the Exile Shrine with its 60th anniversary and the International Shrine of the Father Kingdom with its 50th anniversary.
The next morning all went to the Joseph Engling Memorial and in a very simple and solemn act they buried a small box with the names of all Schoenstatt members who have passed away in the last 50 years since the Shrine was dedicated. “These are our heroes, those who inspire our efforts for the next one hundred years.”
“At the end of this weekend, I can only say that it sure would be beautiful if we could inspire the jubilee spirit in one another for the great celebration of the hundredth anniversary of Schoenstatt. This gift, this heritage is so wonderful! Besides the international celebration in Schoenstatt we hope to also have a great national celebration during the year in the nearness of our International Shrine. We left with this question: where will I be in October 2014? How will we celebrate the great jubilee?”
Milwaukee: October 18
The second celebration of the opening of the jubilee year was at the Exile Shrine, on October 18 at night.
The university young women and some of the young men from Milwaukee took the initiative to enhance the usual celebration of weekly Holy Mass on the 18th of each month in the Exile Shrine by using the ceremony and prayers for the opening of the jubilee year. With flags, candles and beautiful music the jubilee year began in the nearness of Father Kentenich in the Exile Shrine, which turns 60 years on October 18, 2014.
During the ceremony Father Francisco Rojas, Schoenstatt Father, knocked at the door for the second time, the door opened from the inside, quite promptly. Mr. and Mrs. Horn had been inside waiting for the congregation. This small detail seemed like a sign from Father Kentenich himself, since Mr. and Mrs. Horn are known for their deep attachment to and their many anecdotes and experiences with him.
As the door of the Exile Shrine was opened, the people who had gathered out in the cold in front of the Shrine began to find their way into the little chapel. It seemed the walls of the Shrine expanded. “I counted close to 65 people inside the Shrine,” someone remarked the next day. There were so many people and from so many different parts of the world: a group from the mothers’ league from Florida, the Hispanic Schoenstatt members from Milwaukee, the youth, a young woman from Germany (who played the keyboard most beautifully!, and another one from Poland. (Both young women are staying at the International Center.) Outside one could see even more people. The many sisters who were present braved the cold weather outside the Shrine. All in all, it was outstanding to see the Exile Shrine so full. Everyone wanted to make sure that they celebrated that first Holy Mass of the jubilee year in the Exile Shrine very close to Father.
Again in Waukesha the Sunday after the Opening
On Sunday, there was a third opportunity to open the jubilee year. Many families from different areas came to open the door of the International Shrine of the Father Kingdom. This is also its jubilee year!
The International Shrine turns 50 next year and therefore, the opening of the jubilee year was also the opening of a year of grace for the Schoenstatt Family in Wisconsin. When Father Kentenich celebrated 50 years of Schoenstatt’s foundation, he looked upon this Shrine as a promise for the future.
The flame by the Father Statue and the many children who gathered around him and around the Shrine brought to everyone’s awareness the new epoch that began on this day. At the end of the Holy Mass before the ceremony took place, it was announced that the children would bring the one hundred roses into the Shrine. “Oh, but we too are children!” replied a few adults. Hence, the hundred roses were brought into the Shrine by all those who had a chance to have one in their hands. One by one, they came into the Shrine and presented their rose at the altar. Some children were smaller and some others were taller.
As is the custom and tradition, they ended the Covenant Sunday by singing “My Queen, my Mother,” and by praying the consecration prayer in German and in Spanish, in that order. After the final blessing, the Schoenstatt Girls’ Youth sang a few songs with their natural enthusiasm. Again, this was another sign of the hope for the future and of the beginning of a new epoch in our Schoenstatt land. “Now, 50 years later after this Shrine was dedicated, we look at the future with the same expectation as did our Father and Founder, and place this Shrine into the hands of the MTA as a pawn for the future of Schoenstatt in USA.”