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Create on 2013-12-10 14:23:04 - Apostolic Projects

100 Years Schoenstatt – Torch Relay 2014: What matters is the second and third step; what matters is going on

INTERNATIONAL, Stephan Jehle/mda. First the bad news - the torch has disappeared. Now for the good news: It has to be there. And it will be, somehow. Perhaps as a result a lot more life will be generated. This is the conviction of Fr Jose Maria Iturreria of Argentina, who together with Fr Claudio Martinez, Chile, a team of Argentinean and Chilean Schoenstatt Young Men  Cruzada de Maria 2014, are preparing the Cruzada de Maria 2014, a contribution of the "Missionary Generation 2014" of the international Schoenstatt Young Men. A torch for the Torch Relay 2014 was meant to be carried on foot along the 400 kilometres over the Andes Mountains from the shrine in Mendoza to the shrine of the Third Milestone in Bellavista. A combination of two initiatives by young men in South America and Europe, which is more than a sporting challenge and more than an internal affair. "Our torch is going over the Andes", reported Stephan Jehle, initiator of the Torch Relay of 2009 and the Torch Relay 2014. "The Torch Relay 2014 is part of the Jubilee 2014; it isn't just a youth programme. With it we want to help shape the jubilee, and we want to make it international." Hence the torch for the Cruzada 2014 ...

Someone was meant to take it along in his luggage to Chile. But somewhere during one of the many customs checks at an airport it disappeared. Searching led nowhere. "We hope that we will find another possibility for someone to bring a torch. Or send it. And if noting else works, we will make one for ourselves here. The torch of the Torch Relay will definitely be there," was Argentina's message.

What makes the Torch Relay 2014 so interesting that young people from Argentina and Chile pull out all the stops to ensure that a torch is there when they set off on foot to cross the Andes Mountains out of love for Mary and for Schoenstatt, which is turning 100 this year?

Fascination of a Torch Relay: Words of Nelson Mandela

South Africa and the whole world are mourning Nelson Mandela in these days. He was a man who used his long imprisonment to reflect, and who found the strength to change and be reconciled. He was a man who used his freedom to start again and build up a country anew, to create covenants between people who had done terrible things to one another, so that a new future became possible. He was a man whose death united the whole country in quiet mourning and new readiness to reach out to one another.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate – our deepest fear is that we are boundlessly powerful. Our light – not our darkness – is what makes us most afraid. It doesn't serve the world if you make yourself seem small. It isn't enlightened behaviour if your make yourself appear small only in order that the people around you may not feel insecure. We were born to manifest the glory of God in us. He isn't present only in some of us; he is present in each one of us. If we allow our light to shine out, we unconsciously give others the permission to do the same. If we have been set free from our own fears, our presence automatically sets others free."

On the basis of this quotation the motto of the Torch Relay came into being. "Now, five years later, we do exactly what we promised in 2009. We will go on. We will follow our way consistently." These words appear on the internet page of the Torch Relay 2014, which starts in Valle di Pompeii near Naples, Italy, and ends in Schoenstatt. It starts at the place which in July 1914 inspired the foundation of Schoenstatt, and ends at the Original Shrine where the worldwide family of all those meet who are not simply looking back on an interesting history (you can do that anywhere), but who want to set out to cross the threshold of Schoenstatt's second century in order to pass on selflessly what has grown in the first century to the people of this world. For those who want to carry on, for all the people who want to re-found Schoenstatt in faithfulness to its origins (as Fr Kentenich put it), young men will be running in October 2014 from Pompeii to Schoenstatt.

Part of something great

"Shine your light!" A light, a flame, a fire – it doesn't matter what you call it, it exists in each one of us and is waiting there. Sometimes God's grace and a person are enough for something great to come about in the world. This is your chance – and as a torch relay racer you can show what you are made of. Personal growth is certain.

In Pompeii a little idea grew to become a large place of pilgrimage. It was the inspiration for Fr Kentenich to dare to bring about Schoenstatt with his students. From this grew an international Movement within the Catholic Church. And now, a hundred years later, we dare to carry on his work in our own way.

The Torch Relay 2014 is emphasising new features. We will have to overcome ourselves to dare not just the first step, but the second and the third. What matters is "keeping going". Schoenstatt is an international Movement, so we need to have an International Torch Relay. Only together will we be able to cope with the challenges and problems of the future. The riches of diversity have to set their stamp on our perspective.

In 100 years a great deal has come about that seemed impossible at first. We do our share in order to be part of something great. We help to carry out the task God places before each one of us. This is how we bear the light of faith into the future.

Three things are important to us:

Shine Your Light                       100 Years Schoenstatt Internationality

The motto of the international Schoenstatt Movement for the 2014 Jubilee, "Your Covenant - our Mission" confirms our intention and unites us.

Your Covenant – the covenant of love with the Blessed Mother is unique and can be found only in Schoenstatt. Ultimately everything centres on it. Step by step led by Mary we very consciously want to live God's covenant with us human beings. It is Schoenstatt.

Our Mission – part of the covenant of love is the promise: Nothing without you - nothing without us! It is our mission to live the covenant of love and to search for and carry out our contribution. We bear Schoenstatt into the world." (Website

We are God's sportsmen

Pompeii, Rome and Belmonte, Milan, Freiburg, Speyer ... For nine days the Torch Relay will pass through three countries before the flame of the covenant of love arrives in Schoenstatt on 17 October for the Youth Vigil.

To believe in something, that is, to have a sense for something greater, to reach beyond our own limits, simply not to trust only in our own knowledge, but to WILL, to SEEK, to LONG FOR more, and hence to DARE more and DO more!

In connection with an actual place – the shrine – and in connection with a definite expression – the covenant with Mary – Schoenstatt brings about precisely this: to live the faith, in practical ways, along paths that change the world.

A simple application of what happened there a hundred years ago isn't easy, and yet we believe we can say one thing about one little point: What happened a hundred years ago when the covenant was entered into takes place, at least for some young men, when they say, "I am a torch relay racer, and from this perspective I transform my life and the world around me." The place is obvious: the Original Shrine, this little chapel that tangibly embraces you, and for which part of you is longing. Led by Mary: In the covenant we enter into and our firm decision to walk our way through life with HER. And finally, very practically: I decide to run and to make my way, which no one can do for me, step by step.

It is easy to find comparisons. In order to run, to make our way, we have to prepare ourselves. During the vigil at the World Youth Day Pope Francis spoke to the young people, "Be God's sportsmen and women!" He spoke about prayer: in order to learn to pray, that is, to express our faith, we need constant training and practice: being a Christian today needs practice. This doesn't mean learning the truths of the Catechism by heart, but connecting our everyday lives with God again and again. This is exactly what we are trying to do during the Torch Relay: We express with gratitude what we experience through meeting people, and the many people who have already repeatedly surprised us in our preparations ... At every preparatory meeting we can feel that one thing affects the other: When something doesn't work, a creative alternative becomes possible in another way. We have been enriched and upheld, and hence motivated to carry on gratefully and carry the fire a bit further than we originally envisaged.

I want to join in ...

They are still accepting applications. Young men from all over the world can run with us.

If I am neither young, nor a man, if I don't have a holiday and can't afford the trip to Europe, or simply aren't s sporty type? It's not a problem.

The Torch Relay 2014 is open. You can join in. You can give us your intentions. You can enter into covenant solidarity with the Torch Relay 2014 or with individual runners, as well as with the cruzada. You can take some steps in keeping going, a second or third step. Living the motto "Your covenant our mission". Place a torch in your home shrine. Carry the fire of the covenant where it is not yet burning – at work, to the outskirts of society, to the people I deal with every day. How would it be with the lady at the checkout in the supermarket who is shouted at by impatient people in the queue? Or the homeless at the church door?

What matters is the second step. The Jubilee step. The step of the Torch Relay 2014.

Prayer intentions

The runners will take your prayer intentions with them on the road. Write them to us at, directly to, or to Stephan Jehle, Segner 2/1, 88213 Ravensburg, Germany.


The young men of the Torch Relay will be glad to answer your questions, suggestions and ideas. Even if you want to advertise the Torch Relay 2014 at a suitable location, please contact us.

Stephan Jehle
Segner 2/1
Mobil: 0160/94655127
88213 Ravensburg

Internet page of the Torch Relay 2014 in a number of languages:

Original: German. Translation: Mary Cole, Kearsley, England