USA, Carlos Cantú •
Indeed, an auspicious occasion took place on December 12, 2015, at the Confidentia Shrine and Schoenstatt Center in Rockport/Lamar, Texas. Here is where the Schoenstatt Movement in Texas was founded. In 1948, Father Joseph Kentenich, our Father and Founder – while on his worldwide trip – was invited to visit Texas by the then bishop of the Corpus Christi Diocese. The bishop asked Father Kentenich to send Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary to work in his diocese. On Father Kentenich’s return through South Africa, he asked three of the Sisters to come to Texas. He told them to come to Texas and to build a house for themselves, a Shrine, and to foster Schoenstatt spirituality among the people. The three Sisters were: Sr. M. Hroswitha Jockheim, Sr. M. Renata Hagen, and Sr. M. Clementia Wolkmann. The three Sisters boarded a freighter bound for Mobile, Alabama. They had very little money with them and wondered how much it would cost, and how they would get to Corpus Christi, Texas. Trusting in God and Blessed Mother, they prayed for this intention. Lo and behold, there was a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico and the freighter had to come to the dock in Corpus Christi. Thus the name of our first and central Schoenstatt Shrine in Texas, CONFIDENTIA. Why? Because the Sisters trusted and since their arrival in 1949, they have done everything in unlimited, childlike, victorious confidence.
House Schoenstatt re-opened
In 1959, the Confidentia Shrine was erected along with what we call House Schoenstatt. House Schoenstatt was the home of the Sisters, and as the Movement grew and developed, the Movement also used some parts of House Schoenstatt. Matters were alleviated when in 1967, a wing was added to House Schoenstatt and this provided more bedrooms and a dining room to accommodate the workshop/retreat participants. Things improved even more when in 1974, our Training Center was built. After the Sisters built their Provincial House, the Movement had full use of House Schoenstatt. However, as we all know, the time came to remodel House Schoenstatt to make it even more accommodating. Earlier this year, the remodeling began through the generosity of many people. Today House Schoenstatt has many more bedrooms and baths, larger dining rooms, a remodeled kitchen, meeting spaces, accommodations for priests and an elevator. It has been beautifully decorated and painted and immediately one feels at home!
So the blessing of the remodeled House Schoenstatt – an auspicious occasion – took place on December 12, 2015. Among the approximately 150 visitors that day were: the Most Reverend Michael Mulvey, bishop of Corpus Christi Diocese, Schoenstatt Fathers Gerold Langsch and Jesús Ferrás, Fr. Peter Anthony, chaplain for the Schoenstatt Sisters in Lamar, Fr. Yrlas, the local pastor, Sr. M. Joanna, Provincial Superior, Sr. M. Gabriella, former Provincial Superior, several Schoenstatt Sisters visiting from Wisconsin, and our local Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary who worked so hard to make this a truly auspicious occasion. We cannot thank our Sisters enough for all they do for our Schoenstatt Family in Texas.
Be ambassadors of Mercy
The Holy Mass was offered in thanksgiving to the Triune God and Our Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt for the marvelous gift of our remodeled House Schoenstatt, and also in gratitude to all who have so generously helped with their donations and also for all involved in the remodeling construction of House Schoenstatt.
Fr. Jesús Ferrás, director of the Schoenstatt Movement in Texas, extended a warm welcome to Bishop Mulvey and the priests present. Following are excepts from Bishop Mulvey’s homily:
“With Pope Francis proclaiming a year of mercy, we have an opportunity to receive many graces from God. What grace is there today? It is about receiving and giving, not about storing up graces. Receive and give. The Blessed Mother is our perfect model because she is full of grace. She is a vessel of honor. What does God have in store for each one of us? Here I am, Lord, use me. Acknowledge yourself as a vessel of grace. Where is our world headed? Why is there so much fear? Fear should not paralyze us for we are vessels of grace. The Lord gave Mary to us. God is at work, if we are paralyzed in fear, we impede God’s work. The consecrated person has to relocate, not physically relocate, but have a relocation of hearts into the heart of Jesus and into his Mother’s heart. Live our faith and be ambassadors of mercy. Be confident and give confidence to others.”
The offertory procession was very meaningful. Three gifts were presented:
1) A picture of House Schoenstatt…we offer a picture of our newly remodeled retreat center, House Schoenstatt, as our Jubilee gift to our Mother and Queen and our Father and Founder. In gratitude we pray that all who come and dwell here profoundly experience the graces of a Home of Inner Transformation and of Apostolic Zeal from our Schoenstatt Shrine.
2) An envelope with the names of our benefactors…in thanksgiving and in deep appreciation, we offer the names of our generous benefactors: those who have sacrificed and prayed; those who have worked and given their time and strength; those who have offered their illnesses; and all who have given monetary gifts for the special project. We ask our Queen of Victorious Childlike Confidence to reward our wonderful benefactors with her graces from our Confidentia Shrine as only she can.
3) The gifts for the Holy Eucharist.
Before the final blessing, Sr. M. Gabriella addressed the assembly, not only thanking all who had made this auspicious occasion possible, but also recognizing the architect, contractors and other personnel who had taken such great pains throughout the entire remodeling project. She also explained the purpose of the retreat house and of its service to the Schoenstatt Movement and to the Diocese of Corpus Christi.
Following the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, a beautiful procession took place, leading from the Training Center, in front of the Shrine and to the newly remodeled House Schoenstatt. A light rain fell from the Heavens, blessing the event. The procession included the Centennial Banner, course banners from both the Mothers’ Federation and the Family Federation, diocesan banners, a crowned picture from the Mothers’ Federation, Auxiliaries from the Dioceses of Brownsville and Corpus Christi, and a picture of our Father and Founder in remembrance of the miracle of the Holy Night when Father Kentenich returned to Schoenstatt on December 24, 1965.
A short introductory rite took place and was led by Bishop Mulvey. Then came the solemn moment of the unveiling and blessing of the cornerstone. Bishop Mulvey prayed the following:
“Your word, Lord, is Spirit and Life! Your mercy is unlimited and your goodness is inexhaustible. Thank you for all that you in your loving majesty have given us. We ask you, gracious and loving Father, to bless this cornerstone. The symbol of the eye of the Father is a reminder of your Fatherly goodness and knows us, loves us and leads us in our everyday life. May this cornerstone with the Father-Eye Symbol help us to come to the acknowledgement that your Fatherly grace never abandons us, but constantly welcomes us into your vineyard. May our Mother Thrice Admirable always remind us that ‘He who is mighty has done great things for us and holy is His Name’ (LK 1:49.)”
The Bishop then said the prayer of blessing: “O God, inspirer and author of every holy resolve, hear our prayer that you will bestow the kindness of your grace on this our Schoenstatt Retreat House and on all those who will come here. Make it a place of continuous meditation on your word, of mutual love, of hospitality to all and of tireless service to others. Grant that those who loyally follow Christ may together become an eloquent witness for our Church and world. We ask this through Christ our Lord.”
Bishop Mulvey, accompanied by the Sisters, then went throughout the house blessing it. Refreshments and fellowship then ensued.
December 12, 2015 – feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe – will indeed be remembered as an auspicious occasion for the Texas Schoenstatt Family at the Confidentia Shrine and Center.
Edited by: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA