From Fr Antonio Cosp, Tuparenda, Paraguay/Editors schoenstatt.org •
As a reader of this website you know the rich life the collaborators of schoenstatt.org collect week after week. This amazing life would remain hidden from many if we didn’t have this website, which characterises itself with a certain pride as “MTA reloaded”. Here we can discover what Fr Kentenich thought about communication, and what he did about it.
MTA reloaded: This refers to the MTA magazine that celebrated its centenary on 5 March. A few weeks after Schoenstatt’s foundation the first young Schoenstatters, who called themselves “Sodalists” at that time, left for the battlefields of World War I. A very real, terrible and cruel war that cost many young men’s lives, including those who had offered to work so that from the little, neglected chapel in the Schoenstatt Valley in Germany the world could be renewed. A Schoenstatt on the go, as Pope Francis would say, a Schoenstatt that at his recommendation is going out onto the streets to offer an answer. It goes out from the little valley, from the protective community, in order to bring hope that does not turn out to be a utopia, but finds expression in practical action and projects of evangelisation, restoring life and dignity to the people.
Fr Kentenich made use of many means to enable the Sodalists to develop their spiritual lives and their apostolate in the circumstances of war. An example of this is Joseph Engling in his moments of grace and his death on the battlefield, and along with him so many of his friends belonging to the founder generation, who spent more time in the trenches than in their “homely Sodality chapel”.
The trenches became a shrine at grace-filled moments
The word “communication” stems from the Latin “comunis” and means “together”. So communication means passing on ideas and thoughts with the aim of sharing them “together” with others. To achieve this you need a common communication code. Fr Kentenich gave us such a code. It is the code of attachment and solidary that grows out of relating stories and mutual inspiration from shared experiences, as a service to a family going out as missionaries from the shrine.
Each article published by schoenstatt.org, and everything that appears in other media that feel an obligation to the communication culture of Joseph Kentenich, and everything that communicators do in imitation of Fr Kentenich, is a valuable jubilee contribution to the worldwide Movement, and helps it to celebrate the brilliant initiative of Fr Kentenich in supporting his young friends at the front.
The magazine was given the name MTA, and it appeared for the first time on 5 March 1916. Fr Kentenich was looking for new ways to support the young men in their self-education and missionary and apostolic path as soldiers. The MTA was a “letter” from Fr Kentenich to each one individually. For this letter he collected valuable material that had arrived from the trenches. The young men told him about things in their letters, and, without mentioning names, he collected material that showed how each one was trying to grow. In this way the trenches became a shrine for a moment. In the sometimes difficult and long hours without anything to do, these letters helped them to overcome the weight of their youthful nature and original sin, which becomes particularly hard if there is nothing to do. Most of them remained true to themselves and grew in their spiritual and apostolic lives. Almost daily they were joined by others who allowed themselves to be caught up by what they read in the MTA.
A culture of encounter, covenant culture, solidarity
The MTA magazine, with its extremely modest appearance, is the mother and model of all communication that wants to follow Fr Kentenich’s example. It is a marvellous anticipation of the new synodal, family-like and missionary communication recommended by the Second Vatican Council. It is the mother and model of our schoenstatt.org and an obligation to employ a Kentenich style of a communication culture in the Holy Year of Mercy, in which Pope Francis challenges us to enter into a fruitful encounter between communication and mercy.
Communication has the power to build bridges, and to cultivate encounter and inclusion, and in this way to enrich society.”
Pope Francis, Message for the world day of social means of communication 2016.