“Everything that you accomplish for the benefit of the family will demonstrate its efficacy beyond itself, it will work in many men and in the interior of society. The future of the world and of the Church passes through the family.”
John Paul II to the Schoenstatt Movement
The work with couples and families – the germinal cell of society – is essential to the Schoenstatt Movement. Different initiatives within Schoenstatt support and provide vigor to family relationships; the family fortifies every human being and also all of society.
The Schoenstatt communities for families regularly develop seminars, retreats, and different conferences with subjects related to education and marriage. During these events, time is also devoted to strengthening and cultivating family relationships through these activities. All of this is complemented with books, magazines, and on Internet websites, all of which feature articles, audiovisual materials, and testimonies with subjects relating to marriage and the family.
Marriage as vocation
In Schoenstatt the time prior to marriage is initiated with Youth work. The Youth work deals intensely with subjects such as: discovery and acceptance of himself/herself, self- identity (male/ female), sexuality, relationships, attachments, and social responsibility. In the field of training, this is the main facet of Schoenstatt: to strengthen the development towards a mature personality, one, which lives responsibly within the relationships in the world that surrounds them. Finally this period is also about discovering, cultivating, and forming marriage as a vocation of life. The goal is to strengthen marriage and the family. Through the training of experts, who are Schoenstatters with college degrees in the areas of family relationships, couples are trained to work knowledgeably in their surroundings with the goal of revitalizing the families.
Strengthening of Marriages, the Couples’ Retreat, Home Talks, the celebrations, Masses, and family pilgrimages, and also courses about the pedagogy of marriage and the family are proven methods for strengthening marriages and families. The Schoenstatt Mothers’ Branch in Germany offers seminars and guidance for divorced and seperated women. Through the “pastoral of hope”, the Schoenstatt Family Movement in Paraguay offers to accompany and support divorced persons in a second marriage.
The family missions
The family missions are especially attractive precisely because the missions are carried out as a family.
The places chosen for these missions are generally predominately small poor towns. The missionary group is composed of families comprised of eight to ten couples including their children and their children’s friends, which means that there are anywhere from seventy to ninety people involved. What is unique about the experience? What makes it unique is that the families become missionaries. Parents and children work together at the service of the Gospel and for their brethren who are most in need. As a result, the impact of these missions is twofold: for the family that goes on mission as well as for the townspeople. Parents and children get to know each other in a situation they have never before experienced: that of evangelizers, as servants to their fellowmen. This reveals many hidden strengths in the couples, the children, and the entire family. It is a truly uplifting experience, the Holy Spirit’s love, strength, and power acting in and through the marital Covenant of Love and love of the family. It is also impressive to all who are involved in this experience.
The Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign at the service of the families
The Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign wants to reach all people and in a special way by helping families make their homes, Shrines, where Mary can educate and evangelize. John Pozzobon had a fondness for children and those most in need, and he wanted the Campaign to serve as a “salvation for families” (Testament). This is a strategic pastoral accent of the Campaign.
Translation: Celina Garza, Melissa Janknegt, USA