Posted On 2016-09-26 In Covenant Life

An invitation to the place in Rome, where their parish priest feels at home

ROMA-BELMONTE, by Maria Fischer •

“It could be them, they look like tourists, and they look somewhat tired…” From the door of Domus Pater Kentenich in Belmonte, those who come to Belmonte on public transportation are seen from a distance; it is almost the image of the merciful father from the Gospel parable!

At the bus stop in front of the Belmonte’s lower entrance, there is a group of about ten people; after a few minutes, they begin to move–  Yes, it was them! It was the small group from St. Ludwig Parish in Marktbreit with their parish priest Fr. Adam Possmayer, who was born in Romania, has worked in that parish since 2013, and is a member of the Schoenstatt Institute of Diocesan Priests.

Fr. Adam came on pilgrimage to Rome with a small group of ten people for the canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. On the afternoon of 5 September, he wanted to show these pilgrims the place in Rome, where he feels at home: the International Schoenstatt Shrine Center at Belmonte in the outskirts of Rome.

Thanks to the excellent view from the doorway, there was enough time to wait for the pilgrims and to greet them personally.  Fr. Adam Possmayer had previously asked if it was possible to celebrate Holy Mass in the shrine and to visit the house with a group of pilgrims.


Sometimes the grace of having a home is transmitted simply with a glass of water

The weather was indescribably hot and humid.  These pilgrims had waited in line to enter the Vatican Museum, they had walked many kilometers, and they were tired and sweaty. Amazed and awed, they observed the young people paving the parking lot in this heat, and doing it voluntarily!  Fr. Armin Noppenberger told them a little about the group, and their enthusiasm was felt; it was a convincing testimony.

In the Domus Pater Kentenich entry hall, the chairs used for the Italian Schoenstatt Movement gathering from the previous day were still there. More importantly, there was lots of bottled water, plastic glasses (very chic in the Belmonte color), and refreshing towelettes. Nothing else was necessary to awaken the parishioners’ feelings of friendliness toward this place, which meant a lot to their parish priest!

Ursula Ihlefeldt, the parish secretary, belongs to the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign. The others know about Schoenstatt only by name, except for one of the men, who recalled making pilgrimages by bus to Schoenstatt with his grandmother with the unavoidable potato salad and rolls with liver pate. The guide from Belmonte began to explain the mission of Belmonte with her memory of…the pilgrimages to Schoenstatt with the potato salad and rolls with liver pate, which evoked laughter, and with this, the ice was broken.

When everyone received a fan as a gift from Belmonte; they were totally attached to the place!


Who is the man with the blue suit and tie?

Two Italians joined Holy Mass that the group celebrated in the Shrine at 5:00 p.m. The youngest participant from Marktbreit was the most daring, placing a little paper with her intention and petition in the jar; then the rest followed.  After the Eucharist, they took a group photo with Fr. Kentenich’s statue.

“Schoenstatt is an ecclesial Movement, where everyone, each according to his individual vocation and united in covenant, serves the Church, its mission and the world God has entrusted to us.” Belmonte is exactly the ideal place to illustrate this definition of Schoenstatt.  The picture of the Mother Thrice Admirable with hundreds of faces, the different countries’ rooms with their cultural symbols, the shrine, where so many communities and different countries have worked for a symbol that was later given to Belmonte…Diversity, once and again and always new: diversity of vocations, diversity of projects, joy in diversity.

“And who is the man with the blue suit and tie?,” one of the pilgrims asked.  Only recently discovered, the photo has been in the shrine for four days; it is a small picture of João Pozzobon showing him leaving Belmonte shrine with a firm step, and taking the Blessed Mother to the streets.  Suddenly, this picture takes on life. Yes, it is João Pozzobon, who always dressed in a suit and tie when he carried the Blessed Mother! This picture represents the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign initiative that wants to attach itself to Belmonte, where a hall bears João Pozzobon’s name. There will be a picture of the Blessed Mother made of photos of wayside shrines from the all over the world. Diversity of cultures, of vocations: depicted strongly in the diversity of the different wayside shrines! The group from Marktbreit listens attentively. “A unity which does not delete originality has to do with Europe, with the European Union.” Of course. “… a unity that does not become mass-mindedness nor lead to inner slavery,” says Kentenich.

Finally, Ursula Ihlefeld asked for some photos of João Pozzobon, to distribute along with the Pilgrim Mothers in her parish.  After all, Pozzobon had the idea of the wayside shrines, and he encouraged their construction, after his trip through southern Germany, where he saw many crosses and wayside shrines on the road.  “Then, this also has something to do with us!”

Another glass of water and the Markbreit pilgrims radiantly bid farewell.  They really liked the house and the place where their parish priest feels at home in Rome.


Belmonte website

Original: German. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA

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