GERMANY, Sr. M. Charissa Frenzl/mda. “On 8 December we started a project in the Marienpfalz: German for refugees. A retired teacher from the neighbourhood gives the lessons and another neighbour looks after the people, helping them to make contacts … This happens in co-operation with the parish, and some other people have already applied to help, e.g., to visit two Albanian families. We feel that both the refugees – in the meantime from five countries – and those who offer to help them are enjoying it more and more, and that is precisely the mission of our shrine.” This was the comment of Sr M. Charissa Frenzl to an article that appeared before Christmas: ‘Almost a Christmas fairy tale: Refugees in the houses in Schoenstatt’. “We would be very happy if something in this direction were to happen in Schoenstatt. It would be – at least, that is how we understand it here – a fruit of the international jubilee”, she wrote. The editors of schoenstatt.org wanted to know more.
GERMANY, Felix Geyer. Every year the Schoenstatt Boys Youth (SMJ) of Germany meets for its annual conference between Christmas and New Year's Eve. 2014 was a very special year for us all and our conference reflects this.
GERMANY, fma. The whole of the ground floor, including the cafeteria, “papered” with coloured pages – this is how the Schoenstatt Centre in Memholz greeted young people, families and singles, collaborators at the Schoenstatt Centre and those involved with the Movement, on the Third Sunday of Advent for the sixth Memholz Conference. It had dealt on four occasions with making the Schoenstatt Centre fit for Schoenstatt’s second century, but this had already been in operation for some time. Yet there was no thought of taking a rest, recuperating and waiting for what would happen. The coloured pages on the walls made it clear from the start that movement was required, going out to the outskirts of society and the wide world. A total of fifty statements from Pope Francis’ message to the Schoenstatt Movement, and in between no fewer “outward thrusting” statements from Fr Kentenich’s address at the laying of the foundation stone, inspired those present to action from here, or, put more casually: Second century – Memholz to go! More than you thought possible.
BURUNDI, Diomède Mujojoma. The Monte Sión Gikungu [Mount Zion Gikungu] Marian Schoenstatt Shrine joyfully celebrated the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception with the new Apostolic Nuncio in Burundi, on Sunday, December 7, 2014. This solemnity is usually celebrated on the 8th of December each year and which has a special characteristic in the Shrine of Monte Sión Gikungu as well as all celebrations honoring the Virgin Mary. In fact, after the opening and closing of the Marian month in May and Feast of the Assumption, on the 15th of August of every year, it is one of the most outstanding large pilgrimages at the Marian Shrine of Mont Sión Gikungu.
IRAK, aleteia.org. These touching pictures arrive from the refugee camps of Iraq: The Holy Family beneath a tent, just like any other refugee. Surely, one of the most significant nativity scenes that are erected this year: there was no place for Him in the inn, just as there is no place for them in the cities of Iraq dominated by extremists.
ARGENTINA, Anahi Mariño. On the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Sunday, the 7th of December, the wayside shrine of the Mother Thrice Admirable Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt in San Justo was blessed. A few minutes before 8:00 p.m., before nightfall, the faithful who gathered at the feet of the wayside shrine in front of the local parish were sure that God had blessed them with rain from heaven when many of them saw a rainbow. The rainbow is one of the signs of the Covenant. “All of the Blessed Mother’s things are blessed with rain,” was a comment that was also heard.
BRAZIL, Sister M. Angela Zam. On November 15th, a Parish Shrine was inaugurated in the northeastern region of the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
TEXAS, USA, Carlos Cantú. November 18th, 2014, will be a special day forever to the parishioners of St. Pius X Catholic Church in Weslaco, Texas. The sixth Wayside Shrine of the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt was dedicated on this day in the Diocese of Brownsville. It was noted that fifty years earlier on October 18, 1964, marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Schoenstatt Movement, the first MTA Wayside Shrine in the Brownsville Diocese was dedicated on the parish grounds of St. Francis Xavier Church in La Feria, Texas. Father Carlos Zúñiga, pastor of St. Pius X Church and an ardent Schoenstatt supporter, was the instrument used for making this new Wayside Shrine a reality.
ARGENTINA, mda. When Father Alan Sosa Tello from San Luis, Argentina went on pilgrimage to Rome in the context of the Covenant of Love Jubilee, he took a stone from Belmonte’s grounds to place on the grounds of the future San Luis Shrine. In additon he also took the blessing of the Holy Father, Francis, from the audience to this year’s Marian Youth Walk and of the blessing of the land for the greatly desired San Luis Shrine. As a missionary of the Rosary Campaign Youth and later as a seminarian, he began the Marian Youth Walk. “The presentation of the grounds was very Marian, impressive. EVERYTHING: the weather, rain, clouds, youths, Family, Movement, Bishop, Governor, etc. God the Father prepared everything to honor the Blessed Mother,” he shared. “The Bishop’s homily was the clear sign that the Blessed Mother already had taken possession of the place.”
FACKELLAUF 2014, mda. Until now in Schoenstatt, there has only been one rainy night before the real beginning of the Jubilee pilgrimage, and otherwise contrary to the weather forecast in Schoenstatt, a radiant sun and temperatures are almost summer-like while pilgrims – some of whom are dressed warmly just in case – arrived in Schoenstatt and going on pilgrimage to the Original Shrine. Meanwhile the burning torch, the symbol of the fire of the Covenant of Love is running through rain and storms to arrive on time for the Jubilee vigil in Schoenstatt. Since October 15th, the torch runners are in the final stretch, supported through encounters with the members of the Schoenstatt Family from Switzerland in Brunnen and the Schoenstatt Movement from Freiburg, by Archbishop Emeritus Dr. Robert Zollitsch and Auxiliary Bishop Dr. Michael Berber, who also ran one leg.