ROME, Aloisia and Albert Busch. Thirty volunteers from Swabia, Baden and the Freiburg region met on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and in the night before Holy Saturday with their experienced kitchen team from Germany and set off to work here in Belmonte. This is the eighth building deployment supported by Jürgen and Carmen Reinle. There have never been so many helpers together at the same time before: In the Casa del’Alleanze every bit of space that can be used for sleeping is occupied, with the result that not only the kitchen and site management teams, but all concerned, are facing a particular challenge. In addition, at the moment the site is the scene of intense activity: builders, tilers and workers engaged in the interior installations are working under pressure – seven different construction firms are on the job simultaneously – from 6.30 a.m. until around 3.30 p.m.
Celebrating Easter at Belmonte
“Since 2009 I have celebrated every Easter in Rome,” Jürgen remarked. He has again taken on the management of the volunteers this year. Yes, celebrating Easter at Belmonte takes precedence over all work. We were happy that almost all those taking part had arrived before we met on Holy Saturday at the Easter Fire on the future parking area of DOMUS PATER KENTENICH. Marius from the Rheingau had already collected the palm branches that decorated the Shrine on Palm Sunday, and used them with scattered bits of wood from the building to get the fire going. Jürgen and Carmen Reinle saw to the Easter Candle, and together with Fr Stefano and Lucas we accompanied the new Easter Light with the chant “Lumen Christi” from the parking area to the foyer of the house.
At a workbench of the actual building site
There we celebrated the Service of the Word “at the table of the Word”, a workbench of the actual building site. After the Creation account, the complete text of which was read, and after the Exodus account, the words of the Prophet Baruch invited us to undertake a personal search for God’s footsteps in our personal history of salvation; in small groups we shared the promises God had placed in each of our hearts. After quarter of an hour a bell summoned us to go to the shrine to bear witness to one another: “Everywhere we see your footprint ..”, and the solemn Easter proclamation rang out. The renewal of our baptismal promises touched us deeply when we blessed one another after the water had been blessed. We entered upon the celebration of the Eucharist with hearts full of joy. Of course, after the Easter Vigil in the shrine the celebration continued in the Casa del’Alleanza with the blessing of the Easter food …
From St Peter’s Square to the steps of the shrine
The crowning of Easter in Rome for us was to take part in the Papal Mass on St Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday. In the afternoon, after a game of football and an Easter Egg hunt in the grounds at Belmonte, there was a spontaneous meeting on the steps of the shrine. We came into conversation with one another, got to know each other better, and rejoiced that we would be able to spend time together here….
In the meantime everyday life has returned. There are more than enough tasks awaiting the volunteers: plastering on the terrace, painting the cellars of the Domus Pater Kentenich, and looking after the gardens and grounds kept us all on the go. The atmosphere was good and everyone joined in with great zeal.
Pilgrims from Portugal, Australia, USA, Brazil …
Besides all the work on the building, pilgrims also arrived at the shrine. On Wednesday last week two young women belonging to the Institute of Our Lady of Schoenstatt arrived from Lisbon. They reported on the “Jubilee Minutes” of the young women and girls and placed their jubilee gift in the shrine. Yesterday (22 April) a couple arrived from Sidney, Australia, as well as two men from Washington DC, USA. In the course of the week 50 Brazilians and about 40 pilgrims from the USA are expected.
All who are here at present to live and work know that if you get involved with life at Belmonte, you won’t be spared surprises. At the same time you will experience that you are urgently needed!
Translation from the German: Mary Cole