GERMANY/HUNGARY, Johannes Bechtold •
The Schoenstatt Men’s Youth (SMJ) from the Speyer, Fulda, and Mainz / Limburg dioceses in Germany also met once again this year from April 1st to the 7th for a workweek at the Hungarian Schoenstatt Center in Óbudavár, where we drove together. The week’s motto was “Life is calling!”—
On Easter Sunday, more than fifty young men met at their Schoenstatt centers in Herxheim, Dietershausen, and Weiskirchen, before heading off to Lake Balaton together. Lake Balaton is the first Schoenstatt Branch Shrine in Hungary. Although for many it simply sounds like a holiday, everyone started with a broadcast prayer and asked themselves what they expected to get out of the week, what they were looking forward to, also what their personal contribution could be to make the week a success, and if there was a person or situation on their minds/hearts that they would like to take with them for the week. All these questions and answers were put in a common evening prayer, and then we drove to Hungary through the solitude of the night.
After we finally arrived, we enjoyed the day’s first rays of sunshine and many members of the Hungarian SMJ greeted us with joy. They showed us the Schoenstatt Center and told us one or two stories about the site and the emergence of the Hungarian Schoenstatt Movement.
After one or more cups of coffee, the entry into the week’s theme was introduced with the slogan “Life is calling.” The group then split up into smaller groups that they kept throughout the week so that they could share experiences with one another and have more intense interactions. There were a lot of pictures that all had to do with the week’s motto, and each group presented their connection and interpretation of the theme in a creative way.
Wherever life calls me
Over the next few days, we grappled with our lives, as we had known them until now. Everyone created a poster depicting their “central theme,” and then we exchanged experiences, successes and failures, hobbies, and much more during intensive discussion. Another day was devoted to the question of what our future might look like. What am I good at and how can I put my strengths to work for me in professional situations? In addition to all these questions, we practiced different situations, as they can come up in job interviews or at assessment centers. We studied all different kinds of possibilities both playfully and practically. Towards the end of our week, we dealt with the call of being a Christian. How do we live our faith and what does it mean to live as a Christian?
Of course, fun and free time also did not get cut short during the week. We enjoyed springtime weather at Lake Balaton and consciously spent an afternoon with various leisure activities: an action park, a cave-tour, hiking through a national park, or a swimming trip to Lake Balaton.
Hungarian-German Covenant of Love
On the last day of our workweek, we left the idyllic Óbudavár again and drove to the capital city of Budapest. Some Hungarian friends of the SMJ then showed us their (university) city and brought their favorite places to life. In the evening, we met in the rooms of the Schoenstatt Youth and celebrated a jam-packed shrine, joint covenant of love celebration! It was the highlight of a week that ended with a barbecue party to which the Hungarian SMJ invited us!
Thank you for the hospitality and the week’s experience!
Unfortunately we then had to go home, but everyone was able to take the good mood, intense discussions, moments, and encounters back into their everyday life and follow life’s calling with new motivation and perspective.
Original: German, 15.04.2018. Translation: Lindsay Burger, Munich, Germany. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX, USA