ROME BELMONTE, Bettina Betzner and Maria Fischer •
On the feast of Pentecost, Schoentatt also celebrated the golden jubilee of the Shrine belonging the Apostolic Women’s Federation. This shrine was blessed by Fr. Joseph Kentenich on the feast of Pentecost 50 years ago.
The plaque with the Father-Holy Spirit symbol from the wayside shrine at Belmonte was present at the celebration. This is the same symbol that can still be found today at the entrance to the property at Belmonte and is a reminder of the simple wayside shrine blessed on 8 December 1965 by Fr. Joseph Kentenich as the “first symbolic stone for the future Schoenstatt shrine in Rome.” This plaque contains a symbol of the Holy Spirit next to the symbol of God the Father.
A week earlier, the leaders of the Women’s Federation in the southern region placed the red stone that was missing from the plaque during a retreat in Stuttgart-Freiberg. The seven red stones that surround the Holy Spirit symbol represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. The final stone, which has now been added, represents the gift of piety.
Desire of the heart
The gift of piety points to our close relationship with God, who gives meaning to our lives and accompanies us in difficult situations. This attachment to God is not something that is forced, but is an attitude that comes from the heart. In the real sense of the word, it is a desire of the heart and this is not a decision or a something that one prepares for; instead, it is a gift received from the Holy Spirit.
Pope Francis has the following to say about the gift of piety:
“If the gift of piety makes us grow in relation to and in communion with God and leads us to live as his children, at the same time, it helps us to pass this love on to others as well and to recognize them as our brothers and sisters. And then, yes, we will be moved by feelings of piety — not pietism! — in relation to those around us and to those whom we encounter every day. Why do I say “not pietism”? Because some think that to be pious is to close one’s eyes, to pose like a picture and pretend to be a saint. In Piedmont we say: to play the “mugna quacia” [literally: the pious or serene nun]. This is not the gift of piety.”
(General Audience, 4 June 2014)
The gift of piety is what Fr. Kentenich describes as a “sympathy for God” which “gives us a mysterious and positive bias towards God” (Kentenich Reader, Volume III).
For the Church
Bettina Bezner wrote: “It was an extraordinary moment when we placed the stone of piety on the plaque. It was like a sign from the Holy Spirit telling us: “Don’t forget to pray and do not depend on your own strength, but turn to the Triune God in all your need and powerlessness, to me, to the spirit of God.”…May the Centre (Belmonte) increasingly become, in all our communities, in the sense that our father and founder intended, into his and our heart desire for the Church.”
The plaque and the Holy Spirit symbol from the Belmonte Shrine, which now shines even more brightly, were in Schoenstatt during the Pentecost celebrations. The relationship between the Community of the Schoenstatt Women’s Federation with Belmonte is marked by many pilgrimages to Rome to visit the wayside shrine over many decades and different generations in the Federation. The great desire: that the centre increasingly becomes, in all our communities, in the sense that our father and founder intended, into his and our heart desire for the Church.””
The following week, a representative of the Women’s Federation took the symbol of the Holy Spirit and the plaque back to Belmonte.
Original: German. Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Cape Town, South Africa