GERMANY, Maria Fischer •
May is Mary’s month in Germany and many other countries. Auxiliary Bishop Michael Gerber, Institute of Schoenstatt Diocesan Priests, and many pilgrims celebrated the first May Devotion at the Shrine of Vocations in Freiburg-Merzhausen. Carmen Reinle and her husband were there, not just as pilgrims, but as Belmonte ambassadors. In the past few years Carmen has grown tomato plants from tomato seed from Belmonte (to be exact, from a business nearby), and sold them in spring at the shrine – fundraising for Belmonte and more: “Through the tomatoes the people should get a taste for Belmonte!”
After the first Belmonte Congress in November last year, and an intensive exchange with others for whom Belmonte is a matter close to their hearts, the idea arose: We don’t just sell tomato plants, but the “Pasta di Belmonte” to go with them. These are the famously coloured noodles shaped like St Peter’s with the shrine, and along with them a Belmont brochure.
Belmonte tomatoes in the Auxiliary Bishop’s garden
“Yesterday, after the first May Devotion, I was able to sell all the tomato seedlings I had with me. Some regular customers were there who enjoyed the tomatoes last year.” Carmen related. “And after the May Devotion on 11 May I could sell a lot of tomato seedling and noodles.”
On the Covenant Day, 18 May, Carmen announced proudly, “Imagine, today I got 150 Euros for Belmonte. The tomatoes and the noodles appeal to the people. Even Auxiliary Bishop Michael bought a tomato seedling for his garden.”
Five tomatoes and twelve packets of noodles
Carmen only took five tomato seedlings home, and only twelve packets of noodles were left over. New noodles have already been ordered, the tomato seedlings are growing and waiting for the next buyers…
It is bit like the Gospel’s five loaves and two fish. What is that for so many, one might think when you consider what is still missing to complete Belmonte? But in the hands of Jesus and in the hands of the people who believe in Belmont’s mission, “the Belmonte of all of us” will be completed. It is our gift to Fr Kentenich, the shrine of all our love for the Church, the shrine of all of us who are going out, the shrine of all of us in the centre of the universal Church.
Whoever comes to the Belmonte Conference in Stuttgart from 18-19 June will learn first hand about the tomatoes that build a renewed Church, because Carmen and Juergen Reinle will be there.
Out there, out at the periphery, out in the countryside, not we, but the Blessed Mother had built us a nest and given us a task. If we want to be Catholics, we ultimately need the blessing of our Holy Father. March on Rome!
Fr Joseph Kentenich, 16 November 1965
Belmonte Webpage: www.roma-belmonte.info