ROME BELMONTE, Maria Fischer in an interview with Fr. Marcelo Cervi •
February 2nd, Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple also known as “Candlemass,” a feast for Belmonte and the small Belmonte family gathered in memory of a previous February 2nd, in 1966. That day, Fr. Kentenich visited the Belmonte site and spoke on the mission of this place and this Shrine – which at that time only existed in people’s hearts – in the local and personal center of the universal Church, in the city of the Pope.
Those, who on the eve of February 2nd or on the same day visited the Belmonte website, “actually” found this information along with an invitation to unite physically or spiritually in the Holy Mass to be celebrated in Belmonte at 7:00 P.M.
Fr. Marcelo Cervi added, “Our people from Brazil,” and also the WhatsApp groups for the friends of Belmonte, where the invitation was circulated. In a few hours, with great joy, Schoenstatters from Switzerland, Austria, Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Chile “ran” to Belmonte.
A sign of solidarity with Chile
A very significant gesture occurred precisely on the same day in which the Director of the Schoenstatt Movement in Chile, Fr. Mariano Irureta, asked in a letter for help in solidarity – in prayer, contributions to the Treasury of Grace and donations – for the victims of the horrible fires in Chile: The jar taken from the Bellavista Shrine, Chile, which for several days had been in the Shrine, was present at this Mass.
The Mass was celebrated at 7:00 P.M., Rome time. It had been planned to bless the candles in the Shrine and then go in procession to the Father Kentenich House. However it turned out to be a very cold night with a very strong and frigid wind that made the procession impossible.
Then, with 40 people present – also among them children and young families – the blessing of the candles took place at the entrance of the house and the procession took place on the stairway. Fr. Marcelo Cervi, Fr. Georg Egle and Fr. Daniel Lozano celebrated Holy Mass in the Father Kentenich House hall, a small musical group accompanied – along with many candles!
The Covenant of Love makes us more of Christ, more of the Church
In the homily, Fr. Marcelo recalled the antiphon of the psalm: “The Lord comes to his holy temple,” saying that the temple in the Old Testament, which was in Jerusalem, now, in the time of the Church, it is us, as the Apostle St. Paul teaches (1Cor. 3:16). Then today’s feast is a petition to God that he may come to his Temple, which we are, and that just as he illumined Jerusalem’s ancient temple, he illumines the Temple of our life, so that we may achieve being his reflection that is the true light which illumines the world. Christ is the light that breaks the darkness. We need this light to break the great interior and exterior dark places in our lives. The interior dark places include our fears, doubts, insecurities, and temptations… The exterior dark places are occasions of sin, the world’s evils, the difficulty of bearing witness to Christ in daily life… He can enter us and break all of this. And who brings Jesus? Mary… We find him in Mary’s arms… Just as it was Mary who took him to the Temple in Jerusalem, today it is Mary who brings him to our life, especially through the Covenant of Love. We, who are here, have experienced how the Covenant of Love has illumined our lives and has pierced many dark places.
Naturally many of us were already Christ’s people, the Church’s people … but the Covenant has made us more of Christ and of the Church. And we have to announce that to the world! Therefore… this is the mission of Belmonte: to announce to the Church and to the entire world what the Covenant of Love in Schoenstatt has aroused as light in our lives for the life of the world… so that many may find this Covenant of Love for their own lives.
This February 2nd, our Schoenstatt Family recalled how, 75 years ago (02-02-1942), while Father Kentenich was incarcerated in Koblenz waiting for them to decide about his future, a providential miracle occurred. That day in 1942, by the Gestapo’s decision in Berlin, our Father and Founder was destined to go to Dachau concentration Camp instead of Mauthausen (a death camp), as was foreseen. If he had been destined for Mauthausen, he would have surely died! Divine Providence acted in silence… this information became known only after World War II.
We also recalled how, in 1966, on this same date, here, on this holy land of Belmonte Rome (where our Father and Founder was three times), we received the task of making Schoenstatt, through our lives and united work just as it was thought by Divine Providence, be acknowledged by the Church and announced to the entire world, a Schoenstatt at the service of the Church.
This “people of the covenant” disposed to create a covenant culture that creates solidarity, just as Pope Francis told us at the Jubilee audience in 2014.
How was this first celebration of the Presentation of the Child in the Temple for Fr. Marcelo Cervi? We want to know. He joyfully answers: “A feast! We all left the celebration very happy, filled with the spirit of Belmonte which is the spirit of being on the way, of taking to all people and making known the marvelous thing Schoenstatt is, to all the Church and all the good that Schoenstatt has incited in us, illuminating our lives so that we may be true missionary disciples of Jesus!”
In the Aparecida Shrine, where the mission to be missionary disciples was proclaimed, there is a statue of the Blessed Mother with the title “Our Lady of Hope of Belmonte.” This Mass on February 2nd had the feel of this Hope of Belmonte for those present, but especially for the Chilean Schoenstatt Family, present in the symbol of their jar, throughout this painful time for all the loss of life and damage due to the fires.
Tita Rivera, a Chilean on the schoenstatt.org team, on the evening of February 2nd, when she received the pictures of the Chilean Jar in the Belmonte Shrine, responded: “Thank you so much for this beautiful gesture of solidarity!”
Belmonte needs donations from all of us
Original Spanish. Translation: Carlos Cantú, La Feria, Texas USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA